TEC, the story about Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac isn't exactly a cliff-hanger: the intended audience was Israelites, the sons of Jacob who formed the 12 tribes of Israel. Since they were alive and listening to their family legend (!), there was no question if YHWH would carry through with His request or provide a last-minute stunt ram to serve as replacement, since they were there listening to a story of their patriarchs.
"This event never happened to begin with... but it must be taken EXACTLY as written, because it is inconceivable that there could have been ANY errors creeping into the account as it was passed down and copied and re-copied, and also translated from one language and people to another language and people... in the 3000 years or so and who know how many generations* since it was first written."
Well, OF COURSE we don't believe it actually happened, but the PROBLEM is that most Christians DO believe it actually happened, and read it as if it were an actual historical event. They get the message loud and clear, such that JWs POINT to Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to justify shunning their own children, placing God above their own flesh and blood. THAT'S the problem: some cannot discern fantasy from fact.
(BTW, did you know that Job is NOT a real historical character, but was only intended as a PARABLE since the inverted syntax that opens the story is ONLY used ONLY with Hebraic parables? In fact, the Bible itself tells the reader this by using the equivalent of "once upon a time", but that detail has been overlooked with time (as well as the FACT the speeches in the core use poetic form). Robert Sutherland is a lawyer who has written a book (available for free reading online) on Job, which relies on an ancient legal principle called "the Oath of Innocence" whereby a defendent could swear in court they were innocent, and then be let off scot-free!
It's interesting reading.)
Back to Abraham, though, I suspect you're missing the POINT of the story: the intended message is that if God asks you to jump, you shouldn't ask "how high?", but should jump as if your life depended on it! The request to sacrifice his son was a blind loyalty test, pure and simple, just like the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad was an obedience test for Adam and Eve, or Job's tale stemmed from an idle bar bet on a slow day in Heaven that arose surrounding Job's loyalty, or Jonah's story, etc: you'd think readers would finally catch on that there's a common theme running through them all, but apparently not! ALL are loyalty and obedience tests, and nothing more than that when it comes right down to it.
Problem is, blind unthinking and unquestioning loyalty is EXACTLY the same trait that's used by mortals to exploit and control the behavior of their fellow men: I shouldn't have to tell that to ANYONE on this forum, right? Inevitably SOME charasmatic individual claims to be God's Earthly representative, and the gullible and unquestioning will follow them like lemmings over the cliff (Heaven's Gate cult in San Diego, David Koresh in Waco, Jim Jones in Guyana). ALL demanded unquestioned loyalty, using the Bible.
Now, doesn't that strike you as just a little bit odd that God would feel the need to endlessly test loyalty of humans? Wouldn't the God who supposedly can read hearts and possesses omniscience (including having Divine foreknowledge) KNOW what the outcome would BE? Why would a PERFECT being have ANY need for beta-testing ANYTHING, or ANY kind of tests? Only beings without foresight need to conduct tests (and non-destructive tests are best).
Now, an argument could be made that Jehovah already KNOWS the outcome, but goes through the motions as a "teaching experience" for the mortal. Unfortunately, that argument runs into a stiff head-wind, since God would have supposedly permitted men to exercise their free will, but then wanted to punish them when they actually EXERCISED it and made the wrong choice: that decision instantly shifts the choice out of man's domain and into God's decision-making domain (God's will), so it's NOT free will, but the very ANTITHESIS of free will.
So if that's the lesson God was trying to teach Abraham, then God SHOULD'VE made men as robots who HAD to obey and love Him (JWs LOVE that line, don't they?), since that's exactly what he wants: unquestioned obedience.
Now, it's no coincidence that MEN in power benefit from having an army of other men who are willing to die for a make-believe being. The Pharoahs of Egypt depended on it to maintain control of a large country, and to live in the lap of luxury: it worked for them! Hebrews were only trying to keep up in an early version of the arms race, except instead of nuclear warheads, they had deities (where it's hard to bluff the deity's support after a crushing military defeat! However, the Hebrews were the first ones to LOSE on the battlefield, but not to accept the superiority of the Gods of their conquering Nations: they made excuses for why Jehovah lost, despite back-to-back defeats).
See, that's (yet) another example of where the Jehovah character blows his own traits, with too many claims piled on past the point of believability. You're stuggling with the cognitive dissonance that SOMETHING just doesn't add up, but you only need to accept the OBVIOUS: Jehovah doesn't exist, but the image of Gods have been an extremely useful tool for clever men to use to control others.
BTW, The whole idea of Jehovah providing a suitable proxy at the last minute also doesn't add up: the whole element of sacrifice is foregoing something with real tangible value by offering it to God, but with the hopes that He in turn will bless the person in spades (Eg Job or Abraham were wealthy men). But if Abraham didn't actually OWN the ram, but only found it, then what was he sacrificing? Similarly, if God supplied His own sacrificial ram, wasn't He basically offering a sacrifice to Himself? That's a level of self-gratification that borders on being embarrassing: He really should do that kind of thing in private!
Similarly, what was God sacrificing by sending Jesus as the "perfect" sacrifice, knowing that He could resurrect Him into Heaven, or knowing that Jesus WOULD BE coming to Heaven?
And what was humanity sacrificing in Jesus' offering? Because as I'm seeing it, the Christian story-line is that God basically loaned Jesus to mankind so we could pay a debt we owed to..... God? The debt to God (for original sin, and subsequent sin) was owed to God, but was paid back to God by a loan from God. Huh? Hasn't someone heard of loan forebearance?
That's exactly WHY Jews focus on God's mercy and forgiveness, and don't believe in original sin (and obviously not big fans of Jesus!). Christianity just makes no gob-smacking sense if you understand the principles underlying sacrificial rites!
Another BIG problem is that God cannot experience ANY LOSS, even temporary, which is a basic principle needed to offer a sacrifice; so once again, God is depicted as experiencing human emotions which are inconsistent with His claimed omnipotent traits.
PS noting the irony that infants in the Bible are not given independent status as sentient beings with souls, but rather are viewed only as an extension of their parents; that's why God feels justified in destroying Amaelkite, Babylonian, and Egyptian infants, or wanting to kill Moses' son for being uncircumcised. Yet Xian fundamentalists claim even a fetus is a living being with a soul, seemingly going against the example of their own God?