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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 17

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

Verses 1-14

Circumcision and the Promise

The act of circumcision was a part of the covenant which included the land promise (17:1-14). It should be noted the giving of the land was unconditional, but retaining it was conditional ( Deu_28:58-64 ; Deu_29:22-28 ). The land promise was later fulfilled under the leadership of Joshua ( Jos_21:43-45 ; Jos_23:14-16 ). Solomon reigned over the promised land. Nehemiah said God's promise had been fulfilled ( 1Ki_4:20-21 ; Neh_9:7-8 ).

During the renewal of the land promise, Abram's name was changed. Abram meant "exalted father." It was changed by God to Abraham, which means "father of a multitude" (17:5). As the new name implies, many people would one day come out of the loins of Abraham.

Christ and the Seed Promise

Paul tells us Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the seed promise ( Gal_3:8 ; Gal_3:14 ; Gal_3:16 ). All people can be blessed by him because he died for all ( Joh_3:16-17 ; Mat_20:28 ). Thus, the fulfillment of the promise to Abram extends to us today. While the other promises were fulfilled in Abraham's seed according to the flesh, this is filled in his spiritual seed. The faithful of the Christian age can truly call Abraham their father and claim this wonderful promise of blessing ( Gal_3:29 ).

Verses 15-22

Laughing At God's Promise

When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, God told him Sarah would bear a son ( Gen_17:15-16 ). It is interesting that her name was changed just as Abraham's had been. Sarah means "princess." Her new name was appropriate since the greatest king the world has ever known would come from her descendants. Abraham laughed at the thought of a one hundred year old man and a ninety year old woman bearing a child after years with no offspring. His laughter did not rest completely in disbelief. Paul said he hoped against hope ( Rom_4:13-25 ). Abraham suggested Ishmael as the one through whom the covenant could be kept, but God assured him the covenant would be established with Isaac (17:17-22).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Genesis 17". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/genesis-17.html. 2014.
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