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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Genesis 17

 

 

Verses 1-27

SIXTH SECTION

Abram and the repeated Promise of God. The name Abram changed to Abraham. The personal Covenant of Faith, now a Covenant Institution for him, his Household and his Seed. Circumcision. The name Sarai changed to Sarah. The new Names. The promised one not Ishmael, but Isaac

Genesis 17:1-27

1And when [after the lapse of a long period] Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him. I am the Almighty God [El Shaddai]; 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 God4[Elohim] talked with him, saying, As for me [in the covenant promise], behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many [multitude of] nations 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram [high father], but thy name shall be Abraham [father of a multitude of nations; of a people of peoples]; for a father of many nations [a people of peoples] 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 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 [Elohim] 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 [thou hast settled], all the 9 land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God [Elohim].

9And God [God Elohim, as Elohim] said to Abraham [first after his new name], Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations 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 [sign] 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 [הִמּוֹל יִמּוֹל]: 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 [who will not suffer himself to be circumcised, o avoids circumcision], that [same] soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

15And God [Elohim] said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai[heroine], but Sarah [princess] shall her name be. 16And 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 [עַמִּים] 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 one hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might [even yet] live before thee 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac [he or one will laugh]: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him 20 And as for Ishmael [God hears], I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly [evermore]; 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 [Elohim] went up from Abraham.

23And Abraham took Ishmael his Song of Solomon, 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 [Elohim] had said 24 unto him. 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; 27And all the men of his house, born in his house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.

GENERAL REMARKS

1. This Section is described by the pseudocritical exegesis as Elohistic (Knobel, p161). But here, also, the internal reasons for the use of the name Elohim, are obvious. The sealing or ratifying of the covenant of God with Abram, whose foundation (not something holding a mere connection with it, its side-piece) we recognize in Genesis 15, embraces not only the immediate bearer and mediator of the covenant, in the narrower sense, Isaac and his seed, but all those who, in a wider sense, are sharers in the covenant, Ishmael and his descendants. If we do not distinguish these two conceptions of the covenant in this chapter, we shall not thread our way through the apparent confusion, to a correct understanding of it. It is entirely incorrect when Keil (p157), says, Ishmael was excluded from the salvation of the covenant, the grace of the covenant was promised only to Isaac. Upon this supposition what does the circumcision of Ishmael mean? We must distinguish the relations of the different parties to the covenant as stated above; and since here the covenant embraces all who share in it, God appears and acts as Elohim, although under a new title: El Shaddai.

2. That thirteen years should have rolled away between the birth of Ishmael and this new Revelation, appears to us very important. Abram had anticipated the purpose of God in his connection with Hagar, and must now, therefore, pass through a long time of discipline, of expectation, and of temptation. [“That which could not be reached by nature was to be secured by promise, in the miraculous seed, thus pointing forward to Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore the time has come when, after having first allowed the unbelieving spirit to make proof of human expedients ( 1 Corinthians 1:20), God will show Himself again, and place the fulfilment on the basis of the promise alone ( Galatians 3:18). The covenant, therefore, must now be solemnly and formally sealed.” Jacobus: “Notes,” vol. i. p281.—A. G.] Thus, indeed, Moses must wait fifty long years after his premature attempt to reach his destination. The divine decree over Adam and Eve mirrors itself in these facts. They anticipated their destination, to be as God; and therefore a waiting time of thousands of years was decreed for the people, until the Messiah, the image of God, should appear.

3. The new Names. The ground upon which the new names are given to Abram and Sarai, lies in the fact, that God reveals himself to Abram under a new name, El Shaddai. For he is El Shaddai as the omnipotent God, i.e., God of power to do wonders, to create new things in the old world, and the very centre of his wondrous deeds is the new birth, in which man receives a new name, and of which circumcision is here set apart to be the typical sign. The titles, El Shaddai, Abraham, Sarah, and circumcision, are connected by the closest inward tie; they lie upon one line of thought. The name El Shaddai may have been known to Abram before, as the name Jehovah, and even circumcision; but now it became to him the specific name of the Covenant God, for the patriarchal history, as circumcision was now consecrated to be the sacred sign of the covenant, and as later in the history, Jehovah was made the specific designation of the God of covenant truth, ( Exodus 6:3). The names Elohim and El Eljon ( Genesis 14:18) have not lost their meaning and value under the new economy of El Shaddai, and thus also the name El Shaddai preserves its meaning and value under the economy of Jehovah, which is modified in the prophetic times into the economy of Jehovah-Zebaoth. The wonders of El Shaddai run through the whole kingdom of grace; but the great wonder lying at the foundation of all that follow, is the birth of Isaac, in the near future from his dead parents (dead in this respect, Romans 4:18-21 : Hebrews 11:11-19), in connection with the marvellous faith corresponding with it, and with circumcision the seal of the covenant, the type of the great, eternal, central miracle of the kingdom of God, the new birth of Christ from heaven, and that new birth of Christians which is grounded and confirmed in his.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

A. The Covenant of God with Abram in the wider sense. The sharers in the Covenant( Genesis 17:1-14).

1. The Covenant in the wider sense on the part of God ( Genesis 17:1-8). When Abram was ninety years old and nine. [Lit, a son of ninety and nine years.—A. G.] The long interval between this age and that given Genesis 16:16, must be closely observed. It marks a great delay of the promise, a tarrying on the part of God, but which indeed corresponds with the over-haste of Abram (see 2 Peter 3:9).—I am God the Almighty [El Shaddai; Genesis 28:3; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 43:14; Genesis 48:3; Exodus 6:3]. “שַּׁדַּי formed from שָׁדַד, to be strong, to practise violence, with the nominal termination י—as חַגַּי festive, יְשִׁישַׁי the old, סִינַי thorn-covered, and other nouns are formed.” Keil. The idea of omnipotence is inwoven through the whole Scripture, with the idea of his miraculous works, the creation of the new, or the new creation ( Psalm 33:9; Romans 4:17; Numbers 16:30; Isaiah 42:9; Isaiah 62:6; Jeremiah 31:22; the new covenant; the new man; the new child; Revelation 21:1; Revelation 21:3). Delitzsch has raised this idea to a supposition of violence done to nature, which corresponds well with the idea of a miracle held in the seventeenth century (“that which is contrary to nature.”) “Elohim is the God who makes nature, causes it to be, and preserves it—causes it to endure; El Shaddai the God who constrains nature, so that it does what is against itself, and subdues it, so that it bows and yields itself to the service of grace. [“It designates Jehovah the Covenant God, as one who has the power to fulfil his promises although the order of nature may appear against them. It is a pledge to Abram that notwithstanding ‘his own body already dead, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb’ ( Romans 4:19), the numerous seed promised could and would be given to him.” Keil.—A. G.] Jehovah is the God who, in the midst of nature, causes grace to penetrate and break through the forces of nature, and at last, in the place of nature, establishes an entirely new creation of grace” (p381). A sad dualistic conception of nature and grace lies at the bottom of this supposition. The creature is against its will subject to vanity ( Romans 8:20); on the contrary, it sighs after the liberty of the children of God. We can only speak of an element of opposition to nature, in the miracle, so far as the lower nature is penetrated by the higher, and must of course give way to it. The play upon the letter ה by Delitzsch (p382), appears to us cabalistic, and the more Song of Solomon, since the names Abraham and Sarah, into which the ה enters, are not grounded in the name Jehovah with its ה, but upon El Shaddai.—Walk before me (see Genesis 5:22; Genesis 24:40; Genesis 48:15; Isaiah 38:3). The great elements of Abram’s faith must be permanent; he must walk continually before the eye of the Almighty, in the consciousness of his presence who is mighty to work miracles. He was still wanting in the development of this wonderworking faith, and therefore, also, was not blameless.—And be thou perfect[FN1]free from blame or guiltless. This is not, indeed, a new command, but the result of the command: walk before me. He will be guiltless, free from blame, if he remains in the presence of the God who works wonders; that, indeed, will make him guiltless, free, purify his consciousness.—And I will make my covenant.—The נָתַן בְּרִית must be understood here after the analogy of Genesis 9:12, where the previously formed covenant ( Genesis 6:18) with Noah, was presupposed, as here the covenant with Abram ( Genesis 15) is presupposed. “It does not signify to conclude a covenant (= כָּרַתב), but to give, settle, arrange,” etc. Keil. [“At the former period ( Genesis 15) God formally entered into covenant with Abram, here he takes the first step in the fulfilment of the covenant, seals it with a token and a perpetual ordinance.” Murphy, p307.—A. G.] It thus denotes the establishing of the covenant, or the giving it a traditional force for his seed, the arrangement of a permanent order or institution of the covenant (comp. Numbers 25:12).—And Abram fell on his face. An expression of deep humility and trustful confidence, and indeed also of the joy which overpowered him;[FN2] hence he repeats ( Genesis 17:17) the same act in the most emphatic way.—And God talked with him.—We must notice here the expression Elohim, and the דַבֵּר. God, as the God of the universe, begins a conversation with Abram, when he should become Abraham the father of a multitude of nations.—As for me. I for my part. The אֲנִי evidently emphasizes the opposition of the two parties in the covenant (what concerns me or my part). It answers to ואַתָּה of Genesis 17:9. Just as in the ninth chapter the וַאֲנִי הִנְנִי of Genesis 17:9 stands in opposition to the וְאֵךְ אַךְ of verses4,5 (comp. Exodus 19; Genesis 24).—And thou shalt be a father. The ו announces the subjects of the covenant. For it is not simply the individual covenant of faith of Abram, but the entire general covenant of blessing in him which is here spoken of. Knobel thinks that the name Abraham was first formed after Abraham had become the father of many nations. This is the well-known denial of the prophetic element. His own quotation, however, refutes him. “The Hebrews connected the giving of names with circumcision ( Genesis 21:3 ff.; Luke 1:59; Luke 2:21). The Persians likewise, according to Tavernier: ‘Travels,’ i. p270, and Chardin: ‘Voyages,’ x. p76.” The connection of the giving of names, and circumcision, effects a mutual explanation. The name announces a definite human character, the new name a new character (the new name, Revelation 2:17, the perfect stamp of individual character), circumcision, a new or renewed, and more noble nature.[FN3] “Moreover,” Knobel remarks: “we hear only in the Elohist the promise of a multitude of nations ( Genesis 17:16; Genesis 17:20; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 48:4); the Jehovist uses only the singular ( Genesis 12:2; Genesis 18:18; Genesis 46:3). So likewise the promise of kings and princes among the successors of the patriarch is peculiar to the Elohist (ver20; Genesis 25:16; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 36:31).” This distinction corresponds entirely with the fact, that Jehovah, out of the (Goim) nations, which he rules as Elohim, forms one peculiar people (עַם) of faith, as he at first changed the natural Israel to a spiritual. As to this promise of blessing from God, the name Abraham, father of a mass, noise, tumult of nations, embraces the whole promise in its widest circumference1. People and kings [“Kings. David, Song of Solomon, Christ, whose royal genealogy is given Matthew 1:1-16.” Wordsworth, p79. Especially in Christ and the spiritual seed of Abraham, who are kings and priests unto God, Revelation 1:6. Jacobus: “Notes.”—A. G.]; even rich kings should come from him; 2. the covenant of blessing from God with him and his seed should be eternal; 3. the whole land of Canaan should belong to his seed for an eternal possession. It should be observed here, that Canaan has fallen in the very same measure to the Arabians as descendants of Abraham ( Galatians 4:25), in which it has actually been rent from the people of Israel for indefinitely long periods of time; it has thus remained permanently in the possession of the descendants of Abraham in the wider sense; 4. Jehovah will remain (be) the God (Elohim) of the seed of Abraham. This promise, also, notwithstanding all the transient obscurations, has been fulfilled in the patriarchal monotheism in Palestine and Arabia. The stipulated, imprescriptible, peculiar right of the peeple of Israel to Canaan is included in this general promise. [Literally to the lineal seed and the earthly Canaan, but the everlasting covenant and the everlasting possession, show that the covenant and the promised inheritance included the spiritual seed, and the heavenly Canaan.—A. G.] “In this new name, God gave to him a real pledge for the establishment of his covenant, since the name which God gave to him, could not be, or remain an empty sound, but must be viewed as the expression of the reality it conveys.” Keil. “A numerous posterity was regarded by the Hebrews as a divine blessing, which was the portion of those well-pleasing to him ( Genesis 24:60; Genesis 48:16; Genesis 48:19; Psalm 128; Ecclesiastes 6:3).” Knobel.

2. The covenant of Abraham (on his part) with God, in the wider sense ( Genesis 17:9-14). And God (Elohim) said unto Abraham. The covenant of circumcision in the wider sense is a covenant of Elohim. In his new destination Abraham was called to introduce this sign of the covenant for himself and his seed. He came under obligation at the first for himself with his seed to keep the covenant with Elohim. But circumcision is the characteristic sign and seal of this covenant, as a statute and a type, i.e, with the included idea of its spiritual import. In this sense it is said: This is my covenant,… shall be circumcised. Upon circumcision compare Winer: Real-Wörterbuch, and similar works1. The act of circumcision: the removal of the foreskin; 2. the destination: the sign of the covenant; 3. the time: eight days after the birth (see Genesis 21:4; Leviticus 12:3; Luke 1:59; Luke 2:21; John 7:22; Philippians 3:5; Joseph.: “Antiq.” i12, 2); 4. the extent of its efficacy: not only the children, but slaves born in the house [and those also bought with his money.—A. G.] were, to be circumcised; 5. its inviolability: those who were not circumcised should be cut off, uprooted.—Circumcision, as a sign of the patriarchal covenant, appears to presuppose its earlier existence as a religious rite. According to Herodotus, circumcision was practised among the Colchi, Egyptians. [It has been urged, however, against the idea that the Egyptians practised this rite generally; 1. That Abraham circumcised all his male servants—among them probably those who were presented by Pharaoh; 2. that Pharaoh’s daughter knew that Moses was a Hebrew child—( Hebrews, and behold a male-child);—3. Ezekiel 31:18; see Bush: “Notes,” p273.—A. G.] and Ethiopians; and the Syrians of Palestine and Phœnicians might have learned it from the Egyptians. In Ewald’s view, its original home was the valley of the Nile; and it still exists as a national usage among the Ethiopian Christians, and among the Congos. With regard to the circumcision of the Egyytians, we remark, that while Herodotus and Philo regard it as a general custom, Origen ascribes it simply to the priests. [Wordsworth, p81, urges in favor of this view, that circumcision was not practised by the other sons of Ham; that Ishmael, the son of an Egyptian mother, was not circumcised until after this institution of the covenant; and that Joshua is said to have rolled away the reproach of Egypt when he circumcised the Israelites at Gilgal.—A. G.] According to Ezekiel 31:18; Ezekiel 32:19, the Egyptians seem to be included among the uncircumcised. We need not, however, insist too strictly upon a prophetic word, which may possibly have a higher symbolical sense (comp. Romans 2:28). And Origen informs us of a later time, in which the Coptic element was mingled with Hellenic elements in Egypt. Some have viewed Egyptian circumcision as an idolizing of the generative power. The bloody act points rather to purification. Delitzsch remarks: that circumcision, as some think, has been found in America, upon the South Sea Islands, e.g. in a mode resembling that in use among the Jews, in the Feegee Islands, and among the southeastern Negro tribes, e.g. among the Damaras in tropical South Africa. And here we cannot assume any connection with the Abrahamic, nor with the Egyptian circumcision. But the customs prevailing in the valley of the Nile, might spread themselves widely over Africa, as those of the Phœnicians over the ocean. The Epistle of Barnabas, in a passage which has not been sufficiently regarded ( Genesis 9), brings into prominence the idea, that we must distinguish circumcision, as an original custom of different nations, from that which receives the patriarchal and theocratic sanction. “The heathen circumcision,” as Delitzsch remarks, “leaving out of view the Ishmaelites, Arabians, and the tribes connected with them both by blood and in history, is thus very analogous to the heathen sacrifice. As the sacrifice sprang from the feeling of the necessity for an atonement, so circumcision from the consciousness of the impurity of human nature.” But that the spread of circumcision among the ancient nations is analogous to the general prevalence of sacrifice, has not yet been proved. It remains to be investigated, whether the national origin of circumcision stands rather in some relation to religious sacrifice; whether it may possibly form an opposition to the custom of human sacrifices (for it is just as absurd to view it with some, as a remnant of human sacrifice, as to regard it with others, as a modification of eunuchism); whether it may have prevailed from sanitary motives, the obligation of bodily purity and soundness, (see Winer, i. p159); or whether it has not rather from the first had its ground and source in the idea of the consecration of the generative nature, and of the propagation of the race (Delitzsch, p385). At all events, circumcision did not come to Abraham as a custom of his ancestors; he was circumcised when ninety-nine years of age. This bears with decisive weight against the generalizing of the custom by Delitzsch. As to the destination of circumcision to be the sign of the covenant, its patriarchal origin is beyond question. [As the rainbow was chosen to be the sign of the covenant with Noah, so the prior existence of circumcision does not render it less fit to be the sign of the covenant with Abraham, nor less significant. “It was the fit symbol of that removal of the old Prayer of Manasseh, and that renewal of nature which qualified Abraham to be the parent of the holy seed.” Murphy. See also Kurtz and Baumgarten.—A. G.] (See John 7:22). Still it was placed upon a new legal basis by Moses ( Exodus 4:24-25; Leviticus 12:3), and was brought into regular observance by Joshua ( Joshua 5:2). That it should be the symbol of the new birth, i.e, of the sanctification of human nature, from its very source and origin, is shown both by the passages which speak of the circumcision of the heart ( Leviticus 26:41; Deuteronomy 10:16; Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 9:25; Ezekiel 44:7), and from the manner of speech in use among the Israelites, in which Jewish proselytes were described as new-born. As to the terminus of eight days, which was so strictly observed, that even the law of the Sabbath was held subordinate to the law of Circumcision, Delitzsch explains the prescription of this period, from the fact that the child was not separated and purified from the sustenance of its embryonic state until this period. It is better to regard the week of birth as a terminus for the close of the first throes and labor, and at the same time, as the term fixed for the outward purification. Keil explains: “because this day was viewed as the beginning of the independent life, as we may infer from the analogous prescription as to the age of the young animals used in sacrifice ( Leviticus 22:27; Exodus 22:30).[FN4] He remarks also, “that the Arabians circumcise at a late period, usually between five and thirteen years, often during the thirteenth year, because Ishmael was thirteen years old when he was circumcised.” For more detailed observations, see Knobel, p164.—The threatening that the uncircumcised should be cut off—uprooted, can refer only to the conscious, wicked contempt of the command, as the same threatening must be understood in regard to other offences. Clericus and others explain the “cutting-off” as a removal from the people and its privileges. But the theocratic death-penalty (which was indeed the form of a final, complete excommunication from the people) can alone be understood here, as it naturally could alone meet the case of the despiser of the covenant-sign, and of the covenant itself. [But it is the covenant between Jehovah and the seed of Abraham which is here before us, and exclusion from the people of the covenant would be, as Baumgarten urges, exclusion from all blessings and salvation. That this was connected with the death-penalty in other passages (as Exodus 31:14), would seem to show that the phrase itself did not necessarily imply such a penalty.—A. G.] (see Knobel, p163). The reference by Delitzsch, to an immediate divine judgment, or to the premature, childless death of the uncircumcised, who had reached full age, implies an extraordinary introduction or enlargement of the theocratic regulation, which belongs to the Israelitish tradition. Keil strives to unite both views (p156). But here also we must distinguish the legal and typical elements. In the typical sense, the “cutting-off” denotes the endless destruction, the total ruin of the man who despises the covenant of God. [And it is worthy of observation, that to despise and reject the sign, was to despise and reject the covenant itself. He who neglects or refuses the sign, hath broken my covenant.—A. G.]

B.—3. The establishment of the covenant in a narrower sense with Isaac—the more direct bearer and mediator of the covenant ( Genesis 17:15-22). And God (Elohim) said. God establishes the covenant in this form also as Elohim, not as Jehovah, since not only Israel, but Edom, should spring from Isaac, the son of Sarah.—Sarah thy wife. “As the ancestress of nations and kings, she should be called שׂרָה (princess), not שָׂרַי (heroine).” Knobel. Delitzsch explains שָׂרַי the princely, but this does not distinguish sufficiently the old name from the new. (Jerome distinguishes: my princess, my dominion and princess generally). Even in this case the name declares the subject of the following promise, and its security. Now it was definitely promised to Abraham, that he should have a son from Sarah; and it was also intimated that the descendants from this son should branch themselves into (Goim) nations.—Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed. The explanation of Knobel is absurd: “Abraham doubted the possibility, since he was an hundred, and Sarah was ninety years old, and laughs, therefore, but falls upon his face, lest God should notice it” (!). “In the other writer, the patriarch, as the man of God, believes ( Genesis 15:6), and only the less eminent wife, doubts and laughs ( Genesis 18:12). But here as there, the laughter, in the name of the promised seed (יִצְחָק), passes into the history of Abraham.” That the interpreter, from this standpoint, knows nothing of a laugh of astonishment, in connection with full faith, indeed, in the immediate experience of the promise ( Psalm 126:1-2), is evident. Delitzsch: The promise was so very great, that he sank reverently upon the ground, and so very paradoxical, that he involuntarily laughs (see also the quotation from Calvin, by Keil, p151). [“The laughter of Abraham was the exultation of joy, not the smile of unbelief.” Aug.: de Civ. Dei. xvi26. Wordsworth, who also urges that this interpretation is sustained by our Lord, John 8:56.—A. G.] We may confidently infer from the different judgments of Abraham’s laughter here, and that of Sarah, which is recorded afterward, that there was an important distinction in the states of mind from which they sprang. The characteristic feature in the narration here Isaiah, that Abraham fell upon his face, as at first, after the promise, Genesis 17:2.—Shall there be born unto him that is an hundred years old?[FN5] The apparent impossibility is twofold (see the quotations, Romans 4and Hebrews 11).—O that Ishmael might (still) live. The sense of the prayer is ambiguous. “Abraham,” says Knobel, “turns aside, and only wishes that the son he already had should live and prosper.” Calvin, and others, also interpret the prayer in the sense, that Abraham would be contented if Ishmael should prosper. Keil, on the contrary, regards the prayer of Abraham as arising out of his anxiety, lest Ishmael should not have any part in the blessings of the covenant. The fact, that the answer of God contains no denial of the prayer of Abraham, is in favor of this interpretation. But in the prayer, Abraham expresses his anticipation of an indefinite neglect of Ishmael, which was painful to his parental heart. He asks for him, therefore, a life from God in the highest sense. Since Abraham, according to Genesis 16, actually fell into the erroneous expectation, that the promise of God to him would be fulfilled in Ishmael, and since there is no record of any divine correction of his error in the mean time, the new revelation from God could only so be introduced when he begins to be in trouble about Ishmael (see Genesis 21:9), and to doubt, as to the truth and certainty of his self-formed expectation, both because Jehovah had left him for a long time without a new Revelation, and because Hagar had communicated to him the revelation granted to her, as to the character of her son—a prophecy which did not agree with the heir of the promise. In this state of uncertainty and doubt [Calvin, however, holds, that Abraham was, all this time, contented with the supposition, that Ishmael was the child of promise, and that the new revelation startled him from his error.—A. G.] the promise of the heir of blessing was renewed to him. But then he receives the new revelation from God, that Sarah shall bear to him the true heir. It puts an end to the old, sad doubt, in regard to Ishmael, since it starts a new and transient doubt in reference to the promise of Isaac; therefore there is mingling with his faith, not yet perfect on account of the joy ( Luke 24:41), a beautiful paternal feeling for the still beloved Ishmael, and his future of faith. Hence the intercession for Ishmael, the characteristic feature of which Isaiah, a question of love, whether the son of the long-delayed hope, should also hold his share of the blessing. אֲבָל may, indeed, include so far the granting of the prayer of Abram; it may mean, still, nevertheless. [Better, as Jacobus, indeed, as addressed to the transient doubt as to Isaac, which may lie in Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael. Indeed, on the contrary, Sarah is bearing thee a son.—A. G.] But the nineteenth verse distinctly declares that the son of Sarah should be the chief heir, the peculiar bearer of the covenant. Closer and more definite distinctions are drawn in Genesis 17:20.—Twelve princes shall he beget (see Genesis 25:12-16).—At this set time. The promise is now clearly revealed even in regard to time; and with this the revelation of God for this time ceases.

4. The compliance with the prescribed rite of circumcision ( Genesis 17:23-27). The prompt obedience of Abraham [This prompt obedience of Abraham reveals his faith in the promise, and that this laughter was joyful and not unbelieving.—A. G.] is seen in his circumcising himself and his household, i.e. the male members of his household, as he was commanded, in the same day. According to the expression of the text, Abraham appears to have performed the rite upon himself with his own hands.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. See the General Remarks, and the Critical Notes upon the double circle of the covenant, and circumcision.

2. El Shaddai. We do not comprehend the whole of this name, if we identify it with Elohim. We make it too comprehensive if we represent it as including the idea of all the divine attributes, or as an expression of the majesty of God. It is the name of the Almighty, and stands here at the very beginning of the announcement of theocratic miracles, for the same reason, that in the Apostles Creed, it designates the nature of God the Father, for the Christian faith. The Almighty God (παντοκράτωρ) is the God of the Theocracy, and of all the miracles. He makes the highest revelation of his miraculous power in the resurrection of Christ ( Ephesians 1:19 ff.).

3. Before my face. The anthropomorphisms of the Scripture. The soul, head, eyes, arm of God, are mentioned in the Bible. The Concordances give all the information any one needs. It is not difficult to ascertain the meaning of the particular descriptions. His face is his presence in the definiteness and certainty of the personal consciousness ( Psalm 139).

4. Keil brings the narrower circle of the covenant into conflict with the wider, as was above remarked. [Keil puts his argument in this form: Since the grace of the covenant was promised alone to Isaac, and Abraham was to become the father of a mass of nations by Sarah ( Genesis 17:16), we cannot include the Ishmaelites nor the sons of Keturah in this mass of nations. Since, further, Esau had no part in the promise of the covenant, the promised descendants must come alone through Jacob. But the sons of Jacob formed only one people or nation; Abraham is thus only the father of one people. It follows, necessarily, that the mass of nations must embrace the spiritual descendants of Abraham, all who are ἐκ πίστεως ’Αβραάμ (comp. Romans 4:11; Romans 4:16). He urges also, in favor of this view, the fact, that the seal of the covenant was applied to those who were not natural descendants of Abraham, to those born in his house and bought with his money. He holds, also, that the promise of the land of Canaan to this seed for a possession is not exhausted by the fact, that this land was given to the literal Israel, but that as the ’Ισραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα are enlarged to the ’Ισραὴλ κατὰ πνεῦμα, so the idea and limits of the earthly Canaan must be enlarged to the limits of the spiritual Canaan, that in truth, Abraham has received the promise κληρονόμον αὐτὸν εἶναι κόσμου, Romans 4:13, p138.—A. G.] Under the seed promised to Abraham of a “multitude of nations,” the descendants of Esau should not be understood; on the contrary, the spiritual descendants of Abraham must have been intended, and reckoned with the people of Israel, which constitutes, indeed, but one nation. But still, we must always clearly distinguish between the promise, “in thee shall be blessed all the families of the earth,” and the promise, “from thee shall spring a mass of nations,” through Ishmael and Isaac, and these shall all be embraced in the covenant of circumcision, the one as bearer of the covenant, the others as associates and sharers in the covenant. Otherwise, indeed, even the spiritual seed of Abraham must be circumcised. But as circumcision is the type of the new birth, so the mass of nations which should spring from Abraham, is the type of his spiritual descendants, and in the typical sense, truly, he is here the father of all believers. In the typical sense, also, the promise of Canaan, and the promise of the eternity of the covenant, have a higher meaning and importance. The remarks of Keil, as to the estimation of this spiritual significance of the Abrahamic promise, against Auberlen and others, who sink the reference of the promise to the spiritual Israel to a “mere application,” are well founded [and are most important and suggestive.—A. G.]

5. Circumcision (as also baptism still more effectually, Romans 6), as the type of the renewing through natural suffering, evidently forms an opposition between the old and sinful human nature, and the new life. It is therefore a testimony to human corruption on the one hand, and to the calling of men through divine grace to a new life, on the other. [The ground of the choice of circumcision as the sign and seal of the covenant may be thus stated. It lies in the nature of the blessing promised, i.e. a seed of blessing. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but the promised seed were to be holy, and thus channels of blessing. The seed of Abraham were thus to be distinguished from other races. As corruption descended by ordinary generation, the seed of grace were to be marked and symbolically purified from that corruption. It thus denoted the purifying of that by which the promise was to be secured.—A. G.] But as a sign placed upon the foreskin, it designates still more definitely on the one side, that the corruption is one which has especially fallen upon or centres in the propagation of the race, and has an essential source of support in it, as on the other side, it is a sign and seal, that man is called to a new life, and also, that for this new life the conception and procreation should be consecrated and sanctified (see John 1:13-14). The male portion of the people only, were subjected to this ordinance. This rests first of all upon natural causes. Luther finds a compensation in the birth-throes and exposure to death on the part of the females. The pains of birth were truly translated to the male sex through circumcision. But then this one-sidedness of the sacrament of circumcision declares the complete dependence of the wife upon her husband under the old covenant. [Kurtz: The dependent position of the woman, by virtue of which, not without the Prayer of Manasseh, but in and with the Prayer of Manasseh, not as woman, but as the bride, and mother, she has her importance in the people and life of the covenant, does not allow her to come into the same prominence here as the Prayer of Manasseh, p188. Jacobus says: “Under the Old Covenant, as everything pointed forward to Christ the God-Man—Son of Man—so every offering was to be a male, and every covenant rite was properly enough confined to the males. The females were regarded as acting in them, and represented by them. Under the New Testament this distinction is not appropriate. It is not male and female, Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11. That the rite was applied so expressly to those born in the house, and those bought with his money—the son of the stranger—was intended to point to the universal aspect of the covenant, the extension of its blessings to all nations.—A. G.] But it was enlarged, or completed, in fact, through the law of purification, to which the mother was subjected. Its spiritual significance is finally, that it is not birth itself, but the sexual generation, as such, which is the tradux peccati. In the New Covenant, the wife has an equally direct share in baptism as the husband. And this was typified in the Old Covenant through the giving of the name. Sarah possesses a new name as well as Abraham.

6. It scarcely follows from Exodus 4:25, as Delitzsch thinks, that circumcision proclaimed to the circumcised Prayer of Manasseh, that he had Jehovah for a bridegroom; although Jews, Ishmaelites, and Moslems generally name the day of circumcision the wedding-feast of circumcision. The Scripture constitutes a bridal relation between Christ and his Church, viewed in its totality.

7. If Delitzsch in this, as in other passages, gives to circumcision too great an importance, he does not esteem sufficiently its importance when he remarks, that it is no peculiar rite of initiation, like baptism. “It is not circumcision which makes the Israelites what they are as such, i.e, members of the Israelitish church. It is through its birth [While it is true that the Israelite by his birth was so far a member of the congregation or church, that he had a title to its rites and ordinances, it is true that circumcision was the recognition of that membership, and that if he neglected it, he was exscinded from the people.—A. G.]; for people and church are coterminous in the Old Testament.” This is totally incorrect, just as incorrect as if one should say, Christendom and the Church are coterminous. [It lies, too, in the face of the whole New Testament, which places circumcision and baptism in the closest relations to each other, and makes the one to come in the place of the other. The differences between them upon which Delitzsch dwells are just those which we should expect under the two economies.—A G.] As one must distinguish between Jacob and Israel, so one must distinguish between Israel as the naturally increased (גוֹי) and Israel as the called people of God (עַם). Israel Isaiah, in a qualified sense, the people of God; viz, as it, through circumcision, purification, and sacrifice, was consecrated a congregation of God (קהל). And thus we must distinguish circumcision as to its old national, its patriarchal, and its theocratic and legal power and efficacy. In the last meaning alone, it belonged to the people of Israel as the Church of God, and was so far an initiatory rite, that by means of it an Edomite or Moabite could be incorporated into the people of God, while genuine Jews, even the sons of Aaron, might be exscinded, if it were neglected. The Old Testament people of God, has thus definitely the characteristic traits of the spiritual New Testament Israel, a people of God, gathered from all the nations of the earth: It was precisely the fault of the Edomite Jews, that they failed to distinguish between circumcision in this higher sense, as it passed over into baptism, and circumcision as a national custom. And this is the fallacy of the Baptists, through which they, to this day, commonly attempt to rend away from the defenders of infant baptism the argument which they draw from circumcision. They say, “circumcision was no sacrament of the Jews; it was a mere national custom.” But it was just as truly a sacrament of the Jews, as the passover, from which we must distinguish likewise, the eating of a roasted lamb in the feasts of the ancients. We refer again to the well-known distinction in the Epistle of Barnabas ( Genesis 9).

8. The moral nature of the divine covenant appears in this chapter, as in the earlier formation of the covenant; and here still more definitely through the opposition: I on my part ( Genesis 17:4), but thou on thy part ( Genesis 17:9). Circumcision, according to this antithesis, must be regarded by Abraham especially as a duty, which declares comprehensively all his duties in the rendering of obedience, in the self-denying, subduing; and sanctifying of his nature; while the giving of the name is the act of God, which is comprehensive of all his promises. There is no conflict between this first and nearest significance of circumcision, and the fact, that it is a gift, a sign and seal, and type of the truth of the covenant of God. The application to the passover-meal, and indeed to the Christian sacraments, will be obvious. [“As a sign, circumcision was intended to set forth such truths as these: of repentance and flesh-mortifying, and sanctification and devotement to God; and also the higher truth of the seed of promise which Israel was to become, and the miraculous seed, which was Christ, As a seal, it was to authenticate God’s signature, and confirm his word and covenant promise, and execute the covenant on God’s part, making a conveyance of the blessings to those who set their hand to this seal by faith. Under the New Testament economy of the same covenant of grace, after “the seed” had come, the seal is adapted to the more spiritual dispensation, though it is of the same general import. Jacobus, “Notes,” vol. i. p286.—A. G.]

9. The first laughter mentioned in the Bible is that of Abraham, Genesis 17:17. A proof that there is nothing evil in the laugh itself. The first weeping which is mentioned is the weeping of Hagar in the desert ( Genesis 21:16). Both expressions of human feeling thus appear at first, in a consecrated and pious form.

10. The Jews declare that the law of circumcision is as great as the whole law. The idea Isaiah, that circumcision is the kernel, and therefore, also, that which comprehends the whole law: a. as a separation from an impure world; b. as a consecration to God. When they say, it is only on account of circumcision that God hears prayer, and no circumcised man can sink to hell, it is just as true, and just as false, as the extra ecclesiam nulla salus, according as it is inwardly or outwardly understood.

11. We have here the first allusion to slaves who were bought with money ( Genesis 17:27). Starke: “Thus it seems, alas! true, that at this time slavery prevailed, which, indeed, to all appearance, must have begun from the Nimrodic dominion. For when men have begun to treat their fellow-men as wild beasts, after the manner of hunters, they will easily enslave those who are thus overcome; and this custom, though against the rights of nature, soon became general. When, now, Abraham found this custom in existence before his time, he used the same for the good of many of these wretched people; he bought them, but brought them to the knowledge of the true God, etc. To buy and sell men for evil is sin, and opposed both to the natural and divine law ( Exodus 21:2); but to buy in order to bring them to the knowledge of the true God is permitted ( Leviticus 25:44-45).”—To buy them in order to give them bodily and spiritual freedom is Christ-like.

12. Starke: “The question arises here, whether a foreign servant could be constrained to be circumcised. Some (Clericus, e.g.) favor, and others oppose this opinion. The Rabbins say: If any one should buy a grown servant of the Cuthites, and he refused to be circumcised, he should sell him again.” Maimonides.

13. As in the ark of Noah, so in the fact that Abraham should circumcise all the male members of his household, the full biblical significance and importance of the household appears in a striking way; of the household in its spiritual unity, which the theory of the Baptists in its abstract individuality, dissolves.

14. The promise of blessing which Abraham receives, repeats itself relatively to every believer. His life will be rich in fruits of blessing, reaching on into eternity. In the abstract sense this avails only of Christ ( Isaiah 53:10), but therefore in some measure of every believer ( Mark 10:30).

15. The word Genesis 17:14 in a typical expression contains a fearful and solemn warning against the contempt of the sacraments. The signs and seals of communion with the Lord and his people are not exposed to the arbitrary treatment of individuals. With the proud contempt of the signs of communion, the heart and life are separated from the communion itself, and its blessings and salvation.

16. The New Testament fulfilment of circumcision ( Romans 2:29). If circumcision is the type of the new birth, its essential fulfilment lies in the birth of Christ. The, sanctification of birth has reached its personal goal in his birth, which is a new birth. But Christ must be appropriated by humanity through his sufferings. Therefore he was made subject to the legal circumcision ( Galatians 4:4), and the perfect result of this communion with his brethren, was his death upon the cross ( Romans 6:6; Colossians 2:11-12). In the communion with this death, into which Christians enter with baptism, they become the people of the real circumcision, over against which bodily circumcision, in a religious sense, becomes a cruel mangling of the body ( Philippians 3:3).

17. We must distinguish the typical significance of our chapter from its historical basis, and bind both sides together without confounding them. This avails of the twofold circle of the covenant; of the name Abraham; of the blessing for his seed; of the eternity of the covenant; of his sojourn in Canaan, and the gift of the land to him for an eternal possession; of circumcision, and of the threatening of excision. In all these points we distinguish the historical greatness and spiritual glory of the covenant of promise.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

See the Doctrinal paragraphs.—The visitation of Abraham after his long trial and waiting.—God’s delay no actual delay ( 2 Peter 2:9).—The establishment of the covenant between God and Abraham: 1. The precondition of the establishment of the covenant (see Genesis 15–ch. Genesis 17:1); 2. the contents of the covenant of promise: the name Abraham; a. in the natural sense; b. in the typical sense; 3. the covenant in the wider and narrower sense: 4. the covenant-sign.—The new covenant of God in his name (El-Shaddai, God of wonders), the basis of the new name of believers.—Faith in the miracle is faith in that which is divinely new.—The renewed call of Abraham: 1. As a confirmation of his calling; 2. as the enlargement and strengthening of it.—The contents of the call: Walk before me and be perfect, i.e, walk before me (in the faith and vision of my presence, in grace and miraculous power), 1. so art thou blameless (pious, righteous, perfect); 2. so wilt thou be blameless; 3. so prove it through thy pious conduct.—The particular promises of God, which are contained in the name Abraham: 1. According to its natural greatness; 2. according to its typical glory.—The promises of God conditioned through the covenant of God.—The two sides in the covenant of God.—In the covenant of circumcision.—Circumcision as a type: 1. Of the new birth; 2. of baptism; 3. of infant baptism.—Abraham’s laughter.—Abraham’s intercession for Ishmael.—For missions among the Mohammedans.—He will laugh.—Isaac’s name henceforth a name of promise.—The significance of this name for the children of God ( Psalm 126:2; Luke 6:21).—Abraham’s obedience the spiritual side of circumcision.

Starke: [derivations of El-Shaddai. More particularly upon the biblical anthropomorphisms]. The change of names. There is here a glorious proof that even the heathen shall come to Christ, and become the children of Abraham.—Upon Genesis 17:6. But above all, the King of kings, Christ, is to descend from him ( Luke 1:32; Romans 9:5).—Upon Genesis 17:7. As to the earthly prosperity which God promised to the natural seed of Abraham, namely, the possession of the land of Canaan, the word Eternal is here used to denote a very long time, which, however, has still an end ( Genesis 17:8; Genesis 17:13; Genesis 17:19; Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:17; Jeremiah 18:16). But as to the spiritual good which he promised to the spiritual seed of Abraham, to all true believers, namely, the grace of God, forgiveness of sins, protection and blessing in this life, and heavenly glory in the life to come, it is surely an eternal, perpetual covenant. [Thus also Wordsworth, essentially, and Murphy: “The phrase, perpetual possession, has here two elements of meaning—first, that the possession in its coming form of a certain land, shall last as long as the co-existing relations of things are continued; and secondly, that the said possession in all the variety of its ever grander phases, will last absolutely forever, p309.”—A. G.].—Cramer: The covenant of grace of God is eternal, and one with the new covenant in Christ ( Jeremiah 31:33; Isaiah 54:10).—Osiander: Even the children of Christian parents, born dead, or taken away before the reception of baptism, are not to be esteemed lost, but blessed.—He introduces a sacrament which, viewed in itself alone, might be regarded as involving disgrace. But on this very account it typifies, 1. the deep depravity of men, in which they are involved from the corruption of original sin, since not only some of the members, but the whole Prayer of Manasseh, is poisoned, and the member here affected in particular as the chief instrument in the propagation of the human race2. For the same reason, it confirms the promise of the increase of the race of Abraham.—3. Through this sign God intends to distinguish the people of his possession from all other nations4. He represents in it, the spiritual circumcision of the heart—the new birth.—Upon Genesis 17:14. Cramer: Whoever despises the word of God and the sacraments, will not be left unpunished by God ( Isaiah 7:12; Luke 7:30; 1 Corinthians 11:30.—Musculus: Sarah, although appointed to be the royal mother of nations and kings, does not bear them to herself, but to Abraham, her own husband; thus the Church of Christ, espoused to Christ, although the true royal mother of nations and kings, i.e, of all believers, bears them not to herself, but to Christ.—Cramer: Although women in the Old Testament had no sacrament of circumcision, they share in its virtue, through the reception of the names, by which they voluntarily subscribe to the covenant of God ( Isaiah 44:5).—God is an Almighty God, who is not bound to nature.

Genesis 17:23. As to the readiness with which all the servants of Abraham suffer themselves to be circumcised, we see at once that they must have had already, through the instruction of Abraham, some correct knowledge of God, since otherwise they could not have understood an act which, to mere reason, appears so preposterous, foolish, and disgraceful.—Osiander: Believing householders, who yield themselves in obedience to the divine will, shall have also, through the divine blessing, yielding and docile domestics.—Cramer As circumcision was applied to all the members of Abraham’s household, so all, great and small, should be baptized ( Mark 10:14; John 3:5-6; Acts 16:15; Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16.—As Abraham used no delay in the sacrament of circumcision, even so we also should not long defer the baptism of infants.

Lisco: The essential element of the covenant on the part of God is grace; on man’s part, faith (still, the grace here receives a concrete expression in a definite, gracious promise, and faith likewise in obedience, and in a definite, significant rendering of obedience).—Gerlach: Genesis 17:19. Isaac (“he laughs,” or “one laughs”), the child of joyful surprise is now announced as soon to appear.

Genesis 17:8. The eternal possession stands in striking contrast to the transient, ever-changing place of sojourn, which Canaan was, at that time, for Abraham. This land, however, which God promises to Abraham and his seed for an inheritance, is still at the same time a visible pledge, the enclosing shell of the still delicate seed or kernel, therefore the prophetic type of the new-world, which belongs to the Church of the Lord; therefore it is pre-eminently an eternal possession. This is true, also, of all divine ordinances, as circumcision, the passover, the priesthood, etc, which, established in the Old Testament as eternal, are, as to the literal sense, abolished in the New Testament, but are in the truest sense spiritually fulfilled.—Calwer (Handbuch) upon Genesis 17:1 : Walk before me, etc. The law and the gospel, faith and works, are brought together in this one brief word or sentence. Genesis 17:7. Eternal covenant. Truly, in so far as the spiritual seed of Abraham take the place of the natural Israel, and the earthly Canaan is the type of the heavenly, which remains the eternal possession of all believers.—The female sex, without any external sign of the covenant, were yet included in the covenant, and shared its grace, so far as through descent or marriage they belonged to the covenant people ( Genesis 34:14 ff.; Exodus 12:3; Joel 2:15-16).—Schröder: Genesis 17:1. This manifestation was given to Abraham, when he had now grown old and gray in faith, for the hope of the fulfilment of the divine promise. How he rebukes and shames us who are so easily stumbled and offended, if we do not see at once the fulfilment of the divine promises! (Rambach).—Upon the name Elohim. The same epoch which ( Genesis 17) introduces the particular view of that economy ( Romans 4:11-12), opens also its universal tendencies and features. What profound divine wisdom and counsel shine in these paradoxes! (The foundation, however, of this opposition is laid already in Genesis 12:1, and first appears in its decisive, complete form in the Mosaic institution of the law).

Genesis 17:1. We need to mark more carefully the “I am” of Genesis 17:1, because, so many false gods present themselves to our hearts, and steal away our love (Berleb. Bibel).—Before Abraham was commanded to circumcise himself, the righteousness of faith was counted to him, through which he was already righteous (Luther).—Although he utters no word, his silence speaks louder than if he had cried in the clearest and loudest tones, that he would surely obey the word of God (Calvin).—The significance and importance of names, among the Hebrews, especially in Genesis.

Genesis 17:5. Abraham is not called the father of many nations, because his seed should be separated into different nations, but rather because the different nations should be united in him ( Romans 4; Calvin).

Genesis 17:8. The land wherein thou art a stranger. The foreigner shall become the possessor.—Upon Genesis 17:14. The connection shows that the reference is to the conscious contempt of the sacraments, not to those children who, through the guilt of their parents, were not circumcised upon the eighth day ( Exodus 4:24, ff.)

Genesis 17:17. Abraham laughed. In the region of unbelief the doubt is of no moment. It has its importance in the life of believers, where it presupposes faith, and leads as a transition step to a firmer faith. (There Isaiah, however, a twofold kind of doubt, without considering what is still a question, whether there is any reference to doubt in the text). Luther thinks that Christ points to this text (in John 8:56). Then the laughing also is an intimation of the overflowing joy which filled his heart, and belongs to his spiritual experiences.

Genesis 17:19. Isaac. The name teaches that those who tread in the footsteps of Abraham’s faith, will at times find cause for laughter in the unexpected, sudden, and great blessings they receive. There is reason in God, both for weeping and laughter (Roos).

Genesis 17:23. We see how well his house was ordered, since even those who were bought with money cheerfully submitted to circumcision (Calvin).—Passavant: (Abraham). The Almighty God, the God who can do all, sees all, knows all, he was, Isaiah, and will be all, to his servants.


Footnotes:

FN#1 - “Not sincere merely, unless in the primitive sense of duty, but complete, upright, holy; not only in walk, but in heart.” Murphy, p308.—A. G.]

FN#2 - Calvin and Keil recognize in this prostration of the patriarch his appropriation and reception of the promise, and his recognition of the command.—A. G.]

FN#3 - “For the significance of names, and the change of names, see Hengstenberg’s Beiträge ii. p270 ff.;” Kurtz.—A. G.]

FN#4 - A son of eight days. It was after a week’s round, when a new period was begun, and thus it was indicative of starting anew upon a new life. The seventh day was a sacred day. And this period of seven days was a sacred period, so that with the eighth day a new cycle was commenced Jacobus, p287.—A. G.]

FN#5 - “These questions are not addressed to God; they merely agitate the breast of the astonished patriarch.” Murphy, p311. “Can this be? This that was only too good to be thought of, and too blessed a consummation of all his ancient hopes, to be now, at this late day, so distinctly assured to him by God himself.” Jacobus, p289.—A. G.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Genesis 17:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/genesis-17.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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