Genesis 17

The covenant renewed
.1 ¶ And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
 2  And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
 3  And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
   1 - Walk ... perfect Some feel that there was no law before Sinai. What defined perfection for Abram (later "Abraham" v5)? Was God expecting behavior acceptable in His sight leaving Abram to guess? Certainly not. The principles had been expressed in various ways before this, and God may have told the people specifically without it having been recorded for us. In fact this was the "everlasting" covenant v7. A divine requirement need not be in writing.
.4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
 5  Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
 6  And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
  4 - As for me God places Himself at the beginning of the sentence. He holds Himself bound to the covenant of long before.
  4 - Covenant - The covenant is for the restoration of harmony which was broken by sin en Eden. See table ge11t. More below.
  5 - Abram ... Abraham from "exalted father" to perhaps "father of a great number." The new name is apparently based on the Arabic word, ruham.
.7 ¶ And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
.8  And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
.9  And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
  7 - Covenant Promises in chapters 15 and 18. ge1201, ge1501ff. The Messiah who would give His life to redeem His people, here establishes His covenant ge1506.
   7 - Everlasting The plan was never to change mt0517, mal0306. Indeed the standard of righteousness has always been the holy character of God.
   8 - Given to your seed This final possession will be in the new earth. Paul explains that the covenant promises are for spiritual Israel, the church of Christ re0705.
   9 -  Keep Obedience is important.
.10  This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
.11  And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
.12  And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
 13  He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
.14  And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
  10 - Circumcision At first this seems like a strange requirement. The Messiah would appear in the lineage of Abraham but somehow not by the natural process of procreation. None of the men of God's people would be His father. Their unnatural physical sexual organ would remind them and perhaps more those of us who live after the birth of Christ that He would not be subject to any human authority.
  12 - Eight days old That is, on the eighth day including the day of birth. See on ge0706.
.15 ¶ And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
 16  And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
.17  Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
.18  And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
 19  And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
  17 - Laughed Some believe this to have been an expression of happiness, but the next verse implies that it was doubt. Abraham did believe as noted in ro0419, but that would have been later. Consider his weakness in passages beginning at ge1211, ge1602.
  18 - Ishmael ... before thee Abraham failed to understand, perhaps because of his profane laughter .
  19 - God states the situation clearly.
 20  And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
.21  But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
 22  And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
  21 - Covenant with Isaac This was not only an honor but a great responsibility. The Lord loves children of Ishmael as much as those of Isaac. Isaac's son's were to invite the rest of the world to join them as heirs of the covenant which ultimately meant salvation.
 23 ¶ And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
.24  And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
 25  And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
 26  In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
 27  And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.
  Abraham did not delay.
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