Abraham took Isaac's hand
And led him to the lonesome hill
While his daughter hid and watched
She dared not breathe; she was so still

Just as an angel cried for the slaughter
Abraham's daughter raised her voice

Then the angel asked her what her name was
She said, "I have none"
Then he asked, "How can this be?"
"My father never gave me one"

And when they saw her raised for the slaughter
Abraham's daughter raised her bow
"How darest you, child, defy your father?"
"You better let young Isaac go"


Lyrics submitted by brdy724, edited by valjeang, goodnews, katnisspippin6, Mellow_Harsher


Abraham's Daughter song meanings
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  • +7
    My InterpretationAbraham=The Capitol; Isaac=The Tributes, representing the Districts; The Angel=President Snow; The Daughter=Katniss.

    Abraham took Isaac's hand
    And led him to the lonesome hill
    While his daughter hid and watched
    She dare not breathe; she was so still

    (Katniss and the people in all the Districts must silently watch the Capitol murder their children in the Hunger Games. To speak out is to risk even worse punishments.)

    Just as an angel cried for the slaughter
    Abraham’s daughter raised her voice

    (In Biblical times, a woman wasn't even allowed to SPEAK, much less raise her voice. This is an act of rebellion in itself.)

    Then the angel asked her what her name was
    She said, "I have none."
    Then he asked, "How can this be?"
    "My father never gave me one."

    (The people in the districts are considered subhuman by the Capitol and are of no account other than as slaves. They are not even worth a name.)

    And when he saw her raised for the slaughter
    Abraham’s daughter raised her bow

    (her=Rue. When Rue dies in her arms, Katniss intimately experiences the depth of the Capitol's evil. She is compelled to "raise her bow" and make a statement by decorating Rue with flowers and saluting her to the cameras, thus demonstrating to everyone in the Districts how wrong it is. This is a direct challenge to the Capitol and the beginning of the uprisings.)

    "How darest you, child, defy your father?"
    "You better let young Isaac go."

    (The last line is not Snow OR Katniss speaking; it is BOTH of them addressing each other at the same time. Snow says you'd better not interfere with our system, the games, or our ability to kill the Tributes and dominate the Districts. Katniss says the Capitol's system is unjust and the sacrifice of the Tributes must stop. Neither one will give an inch. It is a mutual declaration of war.)
    couesboyon March 31, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWinn Butler said this to Entertainment Weekly about this song:

    "Our whole approach was to get into the world and try to create something that serves the story and the film. There’s something in the story of Abraham and Isaac that I think resonates with the themes in the film, like sacrificing children. So we made a weird, apocryphal, alternate-universe version of that, where it’s as if Abraham had a daughter — kind of a metaphor for Katniss.”
    shiftinshapeson March 28, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentCould it be "And with a sword up, raised for the slaughter?"
    1alillon May 04, 2012   Link
  • +2
    Lyric CorrectionInstead of "And when he saw her, raised for the slaughter," it's "And with his sword up, raised for the slaughter."
    MusicInMyVeinson June 02, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningAs opposed to the Biblical account where Abraham is told by the angel at the last second to spare Isaac, this song supposes that a daughter followed them up the mountain and Abraham mistook her voice for the angel's. The angel then decides to let the daughter take the place of Isaac as the sacrificial lamb/ram, but she defies this decision as well by raising her bow to fight. The angered angel declares that she'd better let young Isaac go - because she will not get to be with him no matter the outcome.

    This interpretation can directly parallel the story with the angel symbolizing the Capitol, Abraham symbolizing District 12, Isaac symbolizing Prim, and the nameless daughter symbolizing Katniss.
    atalia831on March 31, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI used to believe the last line was "You better than young Isaac go." rather than "You'd better let young Isaac go.". Implying that the angel felt that the daughter would be better suited for the sacrifice due to her disobedience and that she has "No name". This could also explain why Isaac survived and the daughter was never mentioned afterwards.
    Raulegon October 01, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHow's this for a twist on the traditional "meaning of the song". Abraham, the father, is summoned to the mountain to sacrifice his son...a HUMAN BEING. Until this time, God has only accepted animal sacrifices and shown a complete devotion and love for the sanctity of human life. Now, here's where it may get wierd and possibly offensive to some people, but here we go, anyway. WHAT IF God hadn't been the one who summoned Abraham to the mountain? What if this was a rouse by Satan to lure Abraham into a trap that would ultimately lead to the murder of Isaac by his own father, thereby destroying relations between God and Abraham? Abraham's daughter know's something is terribly wrong, and follows father and son to the mountain. At the last moment, an angel of God does appear to stop the murder. Thus, the line "How darest you child defy your father (God). You better let young Isaac go." is not directed at the daughter, but Abraham himself! Not sure what really happened on that mountain, but some theologians do consider the "evil plot theory" to at least be a possibility.
    soonerbobon January 19, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI agree with most of you. the second verse is the toughest one. obviously the daughter didn't mean much to abraham, since he never gave her a name.
    But the sentence ''ánd with his sword up raised for the slaughter'' doesn't seem right. I am listening very closely, and i just can't decide if they say ''and with his sword up'' or ''and when he saw her''. it seems like they say both..
    anyway.. the second could make sense too though. when you think about ''when he saw her raised for the slaughter'' katniss wasn't raised like every other kid in district 12. maybe the daughter was ''raised'' to rebel against her father, since he never gave her a name..

    am I making sense? I don't know..
    Sideraon March 13, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI am assuming that the author is very clever and knows the story of the Sacrifice of Isaac very well.

    As for what means what if you want to fit that quota, here it is.
    Abraham = All Non-tributes, Angel = Reapers (People who draw the tributes), Isaac = All tributes, Daughter = Rebels, The Father = The Capitol, Lonesome Hill = Hunger Games

    Now that is some big claims, lets back this story up.

    "Abraham took Isaac's hand and led him to that lonesome hill."
    Translated using my theory - "The people of the districts solemnly led their tributes to the hunger games."
    The reason I add solemnly is because in the Bible Abraham led Isaac up the hill in agonizing pain knowing that Isaac would die. In his protecting him, he didn't tell Isaac until he had to. Now you may ask, "What about the rich districts? They want their tributes to go in!" Now that's what you see when they broadcast and sure some parents are proud. But seriously, you are now the mother of a boy who volunteers. If you discount every district that doesn't have an academy dedicated to winning the hunger games, your boy has a 1/6 chance of surviving, now imagine rolling a six sided die, hoping it would land on 1, and the process taking the length of the hunger games. Even those most privileged can still know suffering.

    "While his daughter hid and watched she dare not breathe; she was so still."
    Translation - "While the rebels watched and did nothing, as if choked."
    This fits extremely well with the story line. The peacekeepers choking out any rebellion, we saw it with district 11 in the movie, how they ripped them apart with water cannons when they did fight back. From a biblical standpoint, Abraham's daughter then would actually be symbolism for the part of Abraham that did not want to kill his son, or even God's true agenda of mercy and love, which he veiled with saying that he needed to sacrifice Isaac to gain his favor.

    "Just as an angel cried for the slaughter Abraham’s daughter raised her voice."
    Translation - "Just as the reaper called the names of the tributes, then rebels raised their voice."
    With my translation this would actually mean the instances of rebellion, The Civil War of district 13 being first and failed, then Katniss with saving Prim (her sister) by volunteering as tribute and finally Katniss and the revolution that follows her because of her voice that she keeps using, The flaming suits, showing compassion during the games, the district 13 call (3 fingers) to the cameras that gave district 11 the courage to rebel after Rue died, a few others happened but above all she directly defied the Capitol when she refused to be their pet when her and Peta almost ate the Nylock. None of these names in the song refer to a single person, although at certain points a single person does fit the description the song gives if applied to the right time period in the universe of The Hunger Games. This is also where the story no longer is parallel to the Biblical story, but still connected via the names, which are perfect choices I must say.

    '"Then the angel asked her what her name was she said, "I have none." Then he asked, "How can this be?" "My father never gave me one."'
    Translation - " Then the Reaper asked the rebels who do you represent?, and they answered, no one. The Reaper asks how can this be? The Rebels say the Capitol ignores them."
    Ok, now I must have some serious evidence for that one or else I'm in deep. The rebels are faceless, ignored, and when they poke their heads out they are killed or beaten into submission. They have no form, nothing but a vision combining them. The Reaper, just like an angel, does not know The Fathers true plan, ignorantly insults the rebels cause by saying "How do you not have a name?" When the truth is that the Capitols real plan is to snuff out the very existence of a real rebellion, and the rebels know that. Snow solidifies this claim very concretely with a single line, "Do you know why we have winners? Hope, hope is good when it's just a little, a spark is good as long as it is controlled... Contain it." He speaks of the hope and face that Katniss is giving the rebellion.

    "And when he saw her raised for the slaughter Abraham’s daughter raised her bow." (The lyrics are wrong on this site for some reason)
    Translation - "And when the reapers saw the rebels for who they truly were, the rebels, now led by the face of Katniss Eberdene (The Bow), send a message.

    "How darest you, child, defy your father?" "You better let young Isaac go."
    Translation - "Then the reapers say how dare you defy the Capitol." The rebels reply "No more tributes or else." Very nicely this becomes parallel to the story of the Bible again, where Abraham no longer must sacrifice his son, but a lamb takes his place, which would symbolize that the Hunger Games is replaced by something good and pure. Just like the rebels wanted all along.

    This is my theory, with hopefully no contradictions :). BAM
    ire52on May 04, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song - the tone, the mood, it's great. I understand most of it - it's not complicated. As Arcade Fire says,

    "There’s something in the story of Abraham and Isaac that I think resonates with the themes in the film, like sacrificing children. So we made a weird, apocryphal, alternate-universe version of that, where it’s as if Abraham had a daughter — kind of a metaphor for Katniss"

    Note that he said "kind of a metaphor". Not a 100% complete mirror of the Hunger Games stories, which is why although these complicated metaphors people have are fun, they aren't an interpretation created by the artists.

    The song makes sense to me until the last paragraph, where I get confused.

    And when he saw her raised for the slaughter
    Abraham’s daughter raised her bow
    "How darest you, child, defy your father?"
    "You better let young Isaac go."

    We can assume "he" is the Angel since he was talking earlier. I'm not sure what it means that he sees her 'raised for the slaughter.' Perhaps the Angel realized that Abraham truly cared nothing for his daughter if he never even bothered to name her. Maybe Abraham had planned on sacrificing her all along, who knows. Whatever the case, the Angel sees the daughter as connected to a slaughtering.

    When the daughter raises her bow to stop the sacrifice of Issac, the Angel condemns her for disobeying her father. At first I thought that the Angel was then saying to Abraham, "you better let young Issac go," as if the Angel had decided that the daughter should be killed instead of Issac. Another option is that the Angel is impressed with the daughter's rebellion and tells the father to let Issac go, in co-ordinance with the normal Abraham/Issac story.

    Looking at this again though, it's difficult to decide if the last line is spoken by the daughter or the Angel. There is no line of dialogue that continues over to a 2nd line in any other parts of the song, so we have no way of telling for sure. I'm realizing now there is a good possibility that the daughter is actually speaking the last line since the quotation marks close and begin again. In that case, the daughter is commanding the Angel, Abraham, or both of them, to let Issac go.

    Thinking it over, I think that last scenario is the most likely because we already know the daughter is rebellious, raising her bow against her father and the Angel's command, so it would make sense for her to end the song with a command to release her brother.

    Still not sure about the 'raised for the slaughter' bit though. Abraham had never planned on sacrificing his children before God commanded him to one day, so I'm a bit confused.
    nutmeg7on April 18, 2012   Link

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