God appears to Abraham and tells him he must prove his faith by sacrificing his best beloved son, Isaac. Abraham resolves to be obedient. He tells Isaac to make ready for a trip up the mountain to make a sacrifice. Isaac says he is ready and carries the firewood. Abraham is tormented by what he must do and Isaac becomes suspicious, asking where the sacrificial beast is. Abraham confesses that Isaac is the one who is to be sacrificed. Isaac begs him not to do it, saying if his mother were there she would be on her knees to stop him. Abraham explains that God has commanded this and when Isaac has accepted this he asks for his father’s blessing. A slow intense build up to the moment of killing, Abraham hesitant and anachronistically asking for Christ’s pity, Isaac begging him not to wait and offering his soul to God…. But he is interrupted by God, who tells him not to kill Isaac as he has passed the test. Abraham is overjoyed and spots a ram caught in the briars nearby, and resolves to sacrifice that instead.
The source of this is obviously the story of Abraham and Isaac from Genesis. But the text for this version is taken from the 15th century “Chester Miracle Play: Histories of Lot and Abraham”. Hence the Christian anachronisms. The soundtrack for this film is the setting of this text by Benjamin Britten for Tenor, Alto and piano.