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Genesis 17

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1-2When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, “I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt! I’ll make a covenant between us and I’ll give you a huge family.”
3-8Overwhelmed, Abram fell flat on his face.
Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: You’ll be the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.’ I’ll make you a father of fathers—I’ll make nations from you, kings will issue from you. I’m establishing my covenant between me and you, a covenant that includes your descendants, a covenant that goes on and on and on, a covenant that commits me to be your God and the God of your descendants. And I’m giving you and your descendants this land where you’re now just camping, this whole country of Canaan, to own forever. And I’ll be their God.”
9-14God continued to Abraham, “And you: You will honor my covenant, you and your descendants, generation after generation. This is the covenant that you are to honor, the covenant that pulls in all your descendants: Circumcise every male. Circumcise by cutting off the foreskin of the penis; it will be the sign of the covenant between us. Every male baby will be circumcised when he is eight days old, generation after generation—this includes house-born slaves and slaves bought from outsiders who are not blood kin. Make sure you circumcise both your own children and anyone brought in from the outside. That way my covenant will be cut into your body, a permanent mark of my permanent covenant. An uncircumcised male, one who has not had the foreskin of his penis cut off, will be cut off from his people—he has broken my covenant.”
15-16God continued speaking to Abraham, “And Sarai your wife: Don’t call her Sarai any longer; call her Sarah. I’ll bless her—yes! I’ll give you a son by her! Oh, how I’ll bless her! Nations will come from her; kings of nations will come from her.”
17Abraham fell flat on his face. And then he laughed, thinking, “Can a hundred-year-old man father a son? And can Sarah, at ninety years, have a baby?”
18Recovering, Abraham said to God, “Oh, keep Ishmael alive and well before you!”
19But God said, “That’s not what I mean. Your wife, Sarah, will have a baby, a son. Name him Isaac (Laughter). I’ll establish my covenant with him and his descendants, a covenant that lasts forever.
20-21“And Ishmael? Yes, I heard your prayer for him. I’ll also bless him; I’ll make sure he has plenty of children—a huge family. He’ll father twelve princes; I’ll make him a great nation. But I’ll establish my covenant with Isaac whom Sarah will give you about this time next year.”
22God finished speaking with Abraham and left.
23Then Abraham took his son Ishmael and all his servants, whether houseborn or purchased—every male in his household—and circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins that very day, just as God had told him.
24-27Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised. His son Ishmael was thirteen years old when he was circumcised. Abraham and Ishmael were circumcised the same day together with all the servants of his household, those born there and those purchased from outsiders—all were circumcised with him.
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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.