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Binding of Isaac

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Binding of Isaac
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Photo Comments

A detail of the "Binding of Isaac" (Genesis 22) on the mosaic floor of at the entrance to the sixth century A.D synagogue at Bet Alpha.

The horizontal panel at the top of the image depicts the "Binding of Isaac."  On the left is a ram tied to a tree and above it, an inscription "And behold . . . a ram."  Above the ram is the hand of God reaching out from heaven and the inscription "Lay not thy hand on the lad."  The central figure is Abraham with a knife in one hand and Isaac in the other.  Above them are the names "Abraham" and "Isaac."  To the right is the sacrificial altar with flames on it.

Information from Nahman Avigad,  "Beth Alpha." Pages 190-92 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land — vol. 1. Edited by Ephraim Stern, Ayellet Lewinson–Gilboa, and Joseph Aviram. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Carta, 1993.

The synagogue dates to the sixth century A.D. and was destroyed by an earthquake. It was discovered in 1929 and excavated by E. L. Sukenik of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  Today it is located on the grounds of Kibbutz Hetzi–Ba.