2818. To slay his son. That this signifies until whatever was from the merely human was dead, is evident from the internal sense of these words; for they signify the Lord's most grievous and inmost temptations, the last of which was that of the cross, in which it is evident that what was merely human also died. This could not be represented by Abraham's son or Isaac, because to sacrifice sons was an abomination; but it was represented so far as it could be, namely, even to the attempt, but not to the act. Hence it is evident that by these words, "Abraham took the knife to slay his son," is signified until all that was merely human was dead.
 That it was known from the most ancient time that the Lord was to come into the world, and was to suffer death, is evident from the fact that the custom prevailed among the Gentiles of sacrificing their sons, believing that they were thus purified, and propitiated to God; in which abominable custom they could not have placed their most important religious observance, unless they had learned from the ancients that the Son of God was to come, who would, as they believed, be made a sacrifice. To this abomination even the sons of Israel were inclined, and Abraham also; for no one is tempted except by that to which he is inclined. That the sons of Jacob were so inclined is evident in the Prophets; but lest they should rush into that abomination, it was permitted to institute burnt-offerings and sacrifices (see n. 922, 1128, 1241, 1343, 2180).