Genesis 17: A Covenant of Circumcision; Name Changes

shutterstock_168520190-2-800x430Hebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Yahweh promises Abram great offspring through Ishmael and Isaac, who is yet to be born. Isaac’s children, who will be the only members of the covenant, must be circumsized on the eighth day. Yahweh changes Abram’s name to Abraham, Sarai’s name to Sarah, and Abraham circumsizes the male members of his household.

II. Photo

Abraham’s loyalty to Yahweh is evident: “Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he circumcised the flesh of his foreskin.” (v. 24)

III. Select Verses

3-8: Abram threw himself on his face; and God spoke to him further, “As for Me, this is My covenant with you: You shall be the father of a multitude of nations. And you shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I make you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fertile, and make nations of you; and kings shall come forth from you. I will maintain My covenant between Me and you, and your offspring to come, as an everlasting covenant throughout the ages, to be God to you and to your offspring to come. I assign the land you sojourn in to you and your offspring to come, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting holding. I will be their God.”

11-14: You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And throughout the generations, every male among you shall be circumcised at the age of eight days. As for the homeborn slave and the one bought from an outsider who is not of your offspring,  they must be circumcised, homeborn, and purchased alike. Thus shall My covenant be marked in your flesh as an everlasting pact.  And if any male who is uncircumcised fails to circumcise the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his kin; he has broken My covenant.

15-19: And God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, you shall not call her Sarai, but her name shall be Sarah. I will bless her; indeed, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she shall give rise to nations; rulers of peoples shall issue from her.” Abraham threw himself on his face and laughed, as he said to himself, “Can a child be born to a man a hundred years old, or can Sarah bear a child at ninety?”  And Abraham said to God, “O that Ishmael might live by Your favor!”  God said, “Nevertheless, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac; and I will maintain My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring to come.

23-27: Then Abraham took his son Ishmael, and all his homeborn slaves and all those he had bought, every male in Abraham’s household, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins on that very day, as God had spoken to him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he circumcised the flesh of his foreskin, and his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. Thus Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised on that very day; and all his household, his homeborn slaves and those that had been bought from outsiders, were circumcised with him.

IV. Outline

1-22. Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham

    1-2. Yahweh introduces his covenant to Abram, who is 99 years old

    3. Abram prostrates himself

    4-16. The covenant

        4. Abram will be father of many nations

        5. Abram shall be called Abraham

        6. Fertility

        7. An eternal covenant

        8. Canaan belongs to Abram

        9-10a. Future generations must observe the covenant

        10b-14. All boys must be circumsized on the eighth day

        15-16. Sarai is to be called Sarah and will be fertile

    17. Abraham laughs (“yitzhak”) at the idea of having a child with Sarah

    18. Abraham prays for Ishmael

    19. Yahweh will make Sarah fertile; Abraham is to name his son Isaac (“yitzhak”)

    20. Ishmael will father twelve chiefs

    21. The covenant is for Isaac

    22. Yahweh departs from Abraham

23-27. Circumcision

    23. Introduction: Abraham circumcizes his household

    24. Abraham was 99 at his circumcision

    25. Ishmael was 13 at his circumcision    

    26-27. Summary: Abraham, Ishmael, and the males were circumcised

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http:// http://www.rawstory .com/2014/02/nc-officer-shoots-70-year-old-man-in-the-chest-as-he-reaches-for-his-walking-cane/