Abe says man you must be puttin me on
God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man you must be puttin' me on"
Compare to "Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest" (Genesis, 22:2).
In Dylan’s lines the key word is the vernacular "Man" cutting god down to size. The god in Dylan's song is a diminished thing reigning over a diminished universe. Any son will do for the desired sacrifice. Note the sacred individuality of the biblical Isaac: "thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest."
You can do what you want Abe, but The next time you see me comin' you better run
You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run
Compare to the biblical Abraham: "God will provide" (Genesis 22:8). God, all action no talk, makes no threats. Abe has faith equal to doubt. The rest is silence.
But now we're on highway 61, the dawn of a noisy new age, 1961, with a handsome new president and a short-lived new frontier, it's over and we're visiting, revisiting if not revising it, and JFK has given way to LBJ how many kids did you kill today -- it's time for VIETNAM -- and Abe, successor to honest Abe, who freed the slaves -- Abe clears his throat:
Abe say "Where do you want this killing done?" '
God say "Out on Highway 61."
And God directs traffic.
And grammar go out window.
And young Isaac is not content with observing the fire and wood and noting the absence of the lamb for the offering.
Young Isaac doesn't want to work for Maggie's brother no more.
He is tired of working for the white man boss and when he thinks of the stream he wants to cross to cool his feet in the heat of a summer day he thinks of death, gambling, and the Mississippi River.
He is tired of bullshit friends who have a lot of nerve and just want to be on the side that's winning.
He has done his share of quarreling in the captain's tower. He has read all of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books. And he knows what is happening (the vandals took the handles) though he doesn't know something is. A strange man, Mr. Jones, Isaac Jones that is.