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Genesis 17

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Chapter 17
God changes Abram's name to Abraham
1When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him. The Lord said, ‘I am God Almighty. #17:1 Almighty’ means that God is the Lord of everything. He is the one who blesses people and gives them life. In all your life, obey me and do nothing wrong. 2Then I will certainly keep my covenant with you. I will make your descendants grow in number.’ #17:2 God had already promised Abraham that he would have very many descendants See Genesis 15:4-5. Now God is helping Abram to remember his promise. Abram should continue to trust God.
3Abram fell down so that his face touched the ground. God said to him, 4‘As for me, this is my covenant that I have made with you. You will become the ancestor of many nations of people. #17:4 Abram will have many descendants. They will live all over the earth, in many different countries. 5Your name will not be Abram any more. Instead your name will be Abraham, because I will cause you to become the ancestor of many nations. 6I will give you many descendants. These will make many nations of people. Some of your descendants will become kings.
7My covenant with you is very strong. I am making it with you and with your descendants. It will continue for generation after generation of your descendants, for all time. I will be your God. I will also be the God of all your descendants. 8You are now living here in Canaan as a foreign person. But I will give all of this land to you and to your descendants. It will belong to them for ever. I will be their God.’
Circumcision
9God continued to speak to Abraham. He said, ‘As for you, you must agree to obey me. You must obey the rules of my covenant. You, and all your descendants after you must obey it. 10This is what you and all your descendants must do to obey my covenant: Every male person in your family must be circumcised. 11Your circumcision will show that you have agreed to my covenant with you. 12Every male child among you must be circumcised when he is 8 days old. You must continue to do this for every generation. Do it for every male that lives with you, not just your own family. Circumcise servants that have been born in your house. Also circumcise foreign servants that you have bought with money. 13You must circumcise all the male servants who work for you in your house. Circumcision will be a mark in your bodies which shows that you accept my covenant. It will continue for all time.
14If any male person among you has not been circumcised, I will not accept him as one of my people. He must become separate from his people. He has not obeyed my covenant.’ #17:14 Circumcision showed that a person trusted God. Every father had to circumcise his son. This showed that the family agreed to obey God's covenant.
God changes Sarai's name to Sarah
15Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for your wife, do not call her Sarai any more. Instead, her name will be Sarah. 16I will bless her. She will give birth to a son for you. Many nations of people will be her descendants. Some of them will become kings. That is how much I will bless her!’
17Abraham fell down so that his face touched the ground. He laughed and he said to himself, ‘I am now 100 years old. That is too old to have a son. Sarah is 90 years old, so she could never give birth to a child. That is too old to have a child.’ 18So Abraham said to God, ‘I would be happy if you would bless Ishmael as my son.’
19God said to Abraham, ‘No, your wife Sarah will give birth to a son for you. You must give to him the name “Isaac”. I will make my covenant with him and with his descendants for all time. #17:19 God tells Abraham that Sarah's child will continue Abraham's family line. It will not be Hagar's child, Ishmael. The name ‘Isaac’ means ‘he laughs’. 20I have heard what you want me to do for Ishmael. I will bless him. I will cause him to have many descendants. Among his descendants there will be 12 rulers. His descendants will become a great nation. 21But I will make my covenant with Isaac, not with Ishmael. At about this time next year, Sarah will give birth to your son, Isaac.’ #17:21 God agrees to bless Ishmael because Abraham asked him to do that. But God makes his covenant with Isaac because he will be Abraham and Sarah's own son. That is what God had promised to do for them.
22When God had finished speaking to Abraham, he went away.
23On that same day, Abraham circumcised Ishmael and every male person in his house. He circumcised every male servant that was born in his house, as well as those that he had bought with money. He did this in the way that God had told him. 24Abraham himself was circumcised when he was 99 years old. 25His son, Ishmael, was 13 years old when he was circumcised. 26Abraham and Ishmael were circumcised on the same day. 27As well as them, all the male people living in Abraham's house were circumcised. This included the male servants that had been born in his house and those that he had bought with money.
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Covenant of Circumcision.#The Priestly source gathers the major motifs of the story so far and sets them firmly within a covenant context; the word “covenant” occurs thirteen times. There are links to the covenant with Noah (v. 1 = 6:9; v. 7 = 9:9; v. 11 = 9:12–17). In this chapter, vv. 1–8 promise progeny and land; vv. 9–14 are instructions about circumcision; vv. 15–21 repeat the promise of a son to Sarah and distinguish this promise from that to Hagar; vv. 22–27 describe Abraham’s carrying out the commands. The Almighty: traditional rendering of Hebrew El Shaddai, which is P’s favorite designation of God in the period of the ancestors. Its etymology is uncertain, but its root meaning is probably “God, the One of the Mountains.” 1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said: I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless.#Gn 35:11; Ex 6:3. 2Between you and me I will establish my covenant, and I will multiply you exceedingly.#Gn 12:2; 13:16; Ex 32:13.
3Abram fell face down and God said to him: 4For my part, here is my covenant with you: you are to become the father of a multitude of nations.#Sir 44:21; Rom 4:17. 5No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham,#Abram and Abraham are merely two forms of the same name, both meaning, “the father is exalted”; another variant form is Abiram (Nm 16:1; 1 Kgs 16:34). The additional -ha- in the form Abraham is explained by popular etymology as coming from ab-hamon goyim, “father of a multitude of nations.” for I am making you the father of a multitude of nations.#Neh 9:7. 6I will make you exceedingly fertile; I will make nations of you; kings will stem from you. 7I will maintain my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting covenant, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.#Ps 105:42; Lk 1:72–73; Gal 3:16. 8I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you are now residing as aliens, the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God.#Ex 32:13; Dt 1:8; 14:2; Lk 1:55; Acts 7:5. 9God said to Abraham: For your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages. 10This is the covenant between me and you and your descendants after you that you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised.#Circumcised: circumcision was widely practiced in the ancient world, usually as an initiation rite for males at puberty. By shifting the time of circumcision to the eighth day after birth, biblical religion made it no longer a “rite of passage” but the sign of the eternal covenant between God and the community descending from Abraham. #Jn 7:22; Acts 7:8; Rom 4:11. 11Circumcise the flesh of your foreskin. That will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.#Sir 44:20. 12Throughout the ages, every male among you, when he is eight days old, shall be circumcised, including houseborn slaves and those acquired with money from any foreigner who is not of your descendants.#Lv 12:3; Lk 1:59; 2:21. 13Yes, both the houseborn slaves and those acquired with money must be circumcised. Thus my covenant will be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant. 14If a male is uncircumcised, that is, if the flesh of his foreskin has not been cut away, such a one will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.
15God further said to Abraham: As for Sarai your wife, do not call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.#Sarai and Sarah are variant forms of the same name, both meaning “princess.” 16I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her. Her also will I bless; she will give rise to nations, and rulers of peoples will issue from her.#Gn 18:10; Gal 4:23. 17Abraham fell face down and laughed#Laughed: yishaq, which is also the Hebrew form of the name “Isaac”; similar explanations of the name are given in Gn 18:12 and 21:6. as he said to himself, “Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah give birth at ninety?”#Rom 4:19; Heb 11:11–12. 18So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael could live in your favor!” 19God replied: Even so, your wife Sarah is to bear you a son, and you shall call him Isaac. It is with him that I will maintain my covenant as an everlasting covenant and with his descendants after him.#Gn 11:30; 21:2; Ex 32:13; Sir 44:22. 20Now as for Ishmael, I will heed you: I hereby bless him. I will make him fertile and will multiply him exceedingly. He will become the father of twelve chieftains, and I will make of him a great nation.#Gn 16:10; 21:13, 18; 25:12–16. 21But my covenant I will maintain with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you by this time next year.#Gn 18:14; 21:2; 26:2–5; Rom 9:7. 22When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God departed from him.
23Then Abraham took his son Ishmael and all his slaves, whether born in his house or acquired with his money—every male among the members of Abraham’s household—and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins on that same day, as God had told him to do. 24Abraham was ninety-nine years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised,#Gn 17:10; Rom 4:11. 25and his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised. 26Thus, on that same day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised; 27and all the males of his household, including the slaves born in his house or acquired with his money from foreigners, were circumcised with him.