Genesis 17

 

Genesis 17:1–27

God Requires Circumcision as a Sign of the Covenant


These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).


Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.


Links to the word-by-word, verse-by-verse studies of Genesis (HTML) (PDF).

 

What follows is a collection of the weekly lessons of Genesis (HTML) (PDF) interspersed with the complete word-by-word exegesis of this chapter from the Hebrew with most of the text from my original Genesis exegesis (HTML) (PDF) added in. Furthermore, the examination of this chapter has been expanded with additional commentary as well. However, much of this material was thrown together without careful editing. Therefore, from time to time, there will be concepts and exegetical material which will be repeated, because there was no overall editing done once all of this material was combined. At some point in the future, I need to go back and edit this material and consider other source material as well.

 

One more thing: it is not necessary that you read the grey Hebrew exegesis tables. They are set apart from the rest of the study so that you can easily skip over them. However, if you ever doubt a translation of a phrase or a verse, these translation tables will tell you exactly where that translation came from.


This should be the most extensive examination of Gen. 17 available, where you will be able to see every word of the original text.


Outline of Chapter 17:

 

Introduction

 

         vv.     1–2           God Speaks to Abram: Introduction to the Covenant

         vv.     3–8           God Renames Abram, as a Part of the Covenant Promise

         vv.     9–14         God Requires Abraham to Circumcise All the Males to Confirm the Covenant

         vv.    15–16         God Renames Sarai, as the Covenant will be Fulfilled Through Her

         vv.    17–18         Abraham Laughs, Questions God, and Proposes Ishmael to Fulfill the Covenant

         vv.    19–22         God Reconfirms His Covenant Through Abraham and Sarah

         vv.    23–27         Abraham Demonstrates His Faith Through Circumcision

 

Addendum


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:


 

         Introduction         The Prequel of Genesis 17

         Introduction         The Principals of Genesis 17

         Introduction         The Abrahamic Timeline for Genesis 17

         Introduction         A Synopsis of Genesis 17

         Introduction         Genesis 17 Graphic

 

         v.       1              Genesis 15–17 in the Abrahamic Timeline

         v.       1              El Shaddai graphic

         v.       1              El Shaddai; God All-Sufficient (graphic)

         v.       1              Ancient Law Codes

         v.       1              The Spiritual Life Implied and Stated so far in the Book of Genesis

         v.       6              “I will make you exceedingly fruitful” (graphic)

         v.       6              Abraham Bowing before God (a graphic)

         v.       7              The Suzerain Vassal Treaty

         v.       7              God’s Everlasting Covenant

         v.       8              A Map of What God Has Given the Jews

         v.       8              A Map of the Davidic Kingdom

         v.       8              Comparing and Contrasting Israel and the Church

         v.      12              Circumcision Represents Regeneration

         v.      12              What is this New Heart?

         v.      12              The Familial Relationship between God and Abraham’s Seed

         v.      12              Slavery and the United States

         v.      12              Slavery in the United States—An Addendum

         v.      13              Genesis 17:13 (graphic)

         v.      16              God Waited to Specifically Include Sarah in the Son of Promise

         v.      16              Ancient Translations of the Bible

         v.      17              Genesis 17:17 (graphic)

         v.      19              God’s 4 Responses to Prayer

         v.      19              The Importance of Isaac

         v.      20              God’s 4 Answers to Prayer

         v.      21              Isaac is the Son of Promise (graphic)

         v.      21              Acts 7:1–8 Interlude

         v.      21              Acts 7:51–60 Interlude

         v.      27              Romans 4 Interlude

         v.      27              The Abbreviated Doctrine of Sanctification

 

         Addendum          Genesis 17 as a chiasmos

         Addendum          What We Learn from Genesis 17

         Addendum          Josephus’ History of this Time Period

         Addendum          Edersheim Summarizes Genesis 17

         Addendum          Genesis 17 and the Suzerain Vassal Treaty

         Addendum          A Complete Translation of Genesis 17

         Addendum          Word Cloud from a Reasonably Literal Paraphrase of Genesis 17

         Addendum          Word Cloud from Exegesis of Genesis 17


Chapter Outline

 

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

Forward

Doctrines Covered and Alluded to

Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Definition of Terms

Introduction

Text

Addendum

www.kukis.org

 

Exegetical Studies in Genesis


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

God Almighty

 

 

Faith-rest

 

Laws of Divine Establishment

Rebound

Tongues, The Gift of


Chapters of the Bible Alluded To

Gen. 14

Gen. 19

 

 


Psalms Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

 

 

 

 


Other Chapters of the Bible Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

 

 

 

 


Many who read and study this chapter are 1st or 2nd generation students of R. B. Thieme, Jr., so that much of this vocabulary is second nature. One of Bob’s contributions to theology is a fresh vocabulary along with a number of concepts which are theologically new or reworked, yet still orthodox. Therefore, if you are unfamiliar with his work, the definitions below will help you to fully understand all that is being said. Also, I have developed a few new terms and concepts which require definition as well.

In addition, there are other more traditional yet technical theological terms which will be used and therefore defined as well.

Sometimes the terms in the exegesis of this chapter are simply alluded to, without any in-depth explanation of them. Sometimes, these terms are explained in detail and illustrated. A collection of all these terms is found here: (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

Definition of Terms

1st Advent

The time period when Jesus was born and had His earthly ministry.

4th Stage of Discipline

This is when a foreign nation comes in and rule over the country which is under discipline. These stages of discipline were devised primarily for nation Israel, but there is some application to us today.

5th Stage of National Discipline

This is the stage of discipline God brings upon Israel when the people are removed from the land and taken into slavery by some foreign power.

Age of Israel

This is the period of time in history where God works through believers in nation Israel. God also worked through the Abraham and those descended from him until nation Israel was established.

Chiasmos

A chiasmos organizes a passage, so that there is a parallel with the beginning of the chiasmos with the end of it; the second portion of the passage finds its match in the second to the last portion of the passage; etc.

Church Age

The period of time in history where God works through the body of believers, also known as the church.

Covenant Theology

This is the incorrect interpretation of Scripture that Israel failed so many times before God that God finally just gave up on them and transferred all of His promises over to the church. Many churches and denominations hold to this theology. The over-arching view opposed to this is dispensationalism.

Dispensationalism

The over-arching theological view that God has slightly different programs from one era to the next. All of His promises to Abraham and to Israel will be fulfilled, even though God has temporarily set the Jewish race aside as His representatives here on earth.

Edification complex

The Edification Complex of the Soul is an illustration developed and named by R. B. Thieme, Jr. It is a “building” which is constructed within the soul to illustrate spiritual growth and what sorts of things have been attained by a person who is spiritually mature.

Faith-rest

Faith-rest is placing your trust in God, in His Word, in His promises or in Bible doctrine, and you step back and allow God to keep His Word, or fulfill His promises, or vindicate the doctrine which is in your soul.

Laws of Divine Establishment

These are natural laws which apply to people and nations, which cause a nation to be preserved and a people to be perpetuated. These laws are designed for believers and unbelievers alike.

Rebound (Restoration to fellowship with God)

In the New Testament, this is naming your sins to God, so that you are both restored to temporal fellowship with God and are then filled with the Spirit of God. In the Old Testament, naming your sins to God would result in a restoration of fellowship and, in some cases, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit once again (the Holy Spirit was not given to all Old Testament believers). See the Doctrine of Rebound (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

Spiritual Life

The life that God expects for us to lead. An unbeliever cannot lead a spiritual life.

Supergrace; the Supergrace life

This is a term and doctrine, developed by R. B. Thieme, Jr., which indicates a stage of spiritual maturity that some believers attain. Essentially, this is our first stage of spiritual growth and it is based upon the words greater grace as found in James 4:6.

Some of these definitions are taken from

http://www.bibledoctrinechurch.org/?subpages/GLOSSARY.shtml

http://rickhughesministries.org/content/Biblical-Terms.pdf

http://www.gbible.org/index.php?proc=d4d

http://www.wordoftruthministries.org/termsanddefs.htm

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics.html

http://www.theopedia.com/


——————————


An Introduction to Genesis 17


I ntroduction: Chapter 17 takes place 13 years after Gen. 16. Abram raises Ishmael, his son by Hagar, his wife’s personal slave girl. Abram becomes quite naturally fond of him. Sarai will continue to bear some animosity for him and his mother until he is removed from the household. Abram has experienced great spiritual growth during this period of time and will now be used by God in most marvelous ways throughout the next few chapters. God first asks for a demonstration of Abram's faith, an outward sign of his being regenerated. He is to cut off the foreskin of his penis, which represents the beginning of his new line, his spiritual seed, his line of the promise and the grace of God. As any man would tell you, at age 99,this represents a tremendous step of faith. The majority of this chapter is God making promises to Abraham and Abraham fulfilling God's mandates.


Gen. 17 is a pivotal chapter in the book of Genesis, if not the entire Old Testament. God has already come to Abram on 3 previous occasions and has made promises to him. However, Abram chose to sire a child by Hagar, his wife’s Egyptian slave girl (this was his wife’s idea), and God set Abram aside for 13 years. God did speak to Hagar during that time, but not to Abram. It is important to note that God was not going to nullify His promises to Abram nor did Abram fail so much that God was just going to cast him aside. God simply put Abram on the shelf, and He would get back to him in this chapter.


It is important to understand what has gone before.

The Prequel of Genesis 17

Yehowah God told Abram to come to this land of promise, and he eventually did, bringing his wife and his nephew. His cattle business was so successful, that he and Lot could not keep their inventory separated and accounted for, so they separated from each other. So now it was just Abram, his wife and a large compound of slaves and employees (there may have been as many as 600, as he gathered an army of at least 318 to rescue Lot).


God has come to Abram on several occasions under somewhat murky circumstances—was it a dream a trance; was he awake, did all of this occur while asleep? These meetings certainly took place, but their exact nature remains undefined (Gen. 15 provides us a good example of these meetings being undefined). We know that these meetings were not just a dream, as dreams tend to be difficult to recall for any length of time (apart from recurring dreams); and Abram clearly recalls the very words that God spoke to him.


However, in these meetings, God has made clear promises to Abram—God would multiply his seed like the sand of the sea or like the stars in the sky; and that He would make many nations of Abram. God would also give a very specific piece of land to Abram—the land where he now lived. Finally, God would bless those who blessed Abram and He would curse those who curse Abram (and his seed).


In Gen. 16, at the suggestion of his wife, Abram had relations with Hagar, her Egyptian maidservant, and they had a child. This resulted in no little hostility between Hagar and Sarai, to the point where a very pregnant Hagar ran away. However, God came to her—as the Angel of the Lord—and He told her to return to her mistress (presumably for her own protection and provision).

Gen. 17 takes place 13 years after the birth of Ishmael (Abram’s son by Hagar). This chapter will begin with God coming to Abram and introducing Himself as God Almighty.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


We need to know who the people are who populate this chapter.

The Principals of Genesis 17

Characters

Commentary

God, as ʾEl Shaddai

This is the first appearance of God Abram for 13 years. He speaks of Himself as being God Almighty or God All-Sufficient. He will make it clear that Abram’s son will come through Sarai.

Abram/Abraham

Abram is the man to whom God has made these many promises. He is 99 in this chapter and God will promise him a son by Sarai, his wife. God also changes his name to Abraham, which means father of many.

Sarai/Sarah

Sarai is clearly brought into the plan of God and into the promises made by God to Abram, whereas, before, her part in God’s promises was implied, but never stated outright. God changes her name from Sarai (my prince) to Sarah (princess).

Ishmael

Ishmael is Abram’s son by Hagar. He is 13 years old in this chapter, and it is almost time for he and his mother to make it on their own. Abram will ask for God’s promises to be fulfilled through Ishmael in this chapter, indicating a very close bond between this father and son.

The males in Abraham’s household

All of the men in Abraham’s compound will be circumcised.

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


The Abrahamic Timeline for Genesis 17


Personally, I love charts, and this chart gives us a general idea as to what events happened when, with an emphasis upon Gen. 17.

This is taken from the Abrahamic Timeline (HTML) (PDF) and reduced in size for this chapter.

The Abbreviated Abrahamic Timeline

Brent MacDonald

Christian Shepherd (age of Abram)

Reese’s Chronology Bible

Scripture

Event/Description

2164 b.c.

0

1967 b.c.

Gen. 11:26–27

Abraham (Terah’s son) and Lot (Haran’s son) born in Ur of the Chaldeans. Abram would be the 43rd generation from Adam. Gen 11:26 Terah lived 70 years and fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

 

 

1907 b.c.

1927 b.c. (Klassen)

Gen. 11:28, 31

Abram’s family travel from Ur to Haran, although their original intention had been to go to the land of Canaan. Gen 11:28, 31 Haran died in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans, during his father Terah's lifetime. Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (Haran's son), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

2089 b.c.

75

1892 b.c.

Gen. 12:1–4

Abraham leaves for Promised Land from Haran, after being so instructed by God. Gen 12:4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran.

 

 

1891 b.c.

1889 b.c. (Klassen)

Gen. 13:5–13

Abram and Lot separate from one another.

 

 

 

Gen. 13:14–17

God renews His covenant with Abram.

 

 

 

Gen. 14:18–20

Abram’s meeting with Melchizedek.

 

 

1882 b.c.

Gen. 15:1–21

God’s covenant with Abram is given in greater detail.

2079 b.c.

(derived date)

85

1882 b.c.

1881 b.c. (Klassen)

Gen. 16:1–14

Sarah gives Hagar, her Egyptian slave girl, to Abram in order to sire a son. Gen 16:3 So Abram's wife Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife for him. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan 10 years.

2078 b.c.

86

1881 b.c.

Gen. 16:15–16

Ishmael born to Abraham and Hagar in the land of Canaan. Gen 16:16 Abram was 86 years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

2065 b.c.

(derived date)

99

1868 b.c.

Gen. 17:1–8

God renews His covenant with Abram and renames him Abraham. Gen 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to him, saying, "I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be devout.

99

Gen. 17:9–14

Circumcision is given as a sign of the covenant and of Abraham’s faith in his covenant with God.

99

Gen. 17:15–19

Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah and Isaac, a future son, is promised the Abraham and Sarah. Gen 17:17 Abraham fell to the ground, laughed, and thought in his heart, "Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?"

99

Gen. 17:20–22

Ishmael’s destiny is foretold. Gen 17:21 But I will confirm My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year."

99

Gen. 17:23–27

Abraham obeys God and circumcises himself and the men with him. Gen 17:24 Abraham was 99 years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised, and his son Ishmael was 13 years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Here is what to expect from Genesis 17:

A Synopsis of Genesis 17

God comes to Abram when he is 99 years old and calls for Abram to walk before Him and to be blameless. This takes place 13 years after Gen. 16. Gen. 17:1

Despite the fact that God appears to Abram in a different form, Abram knows Who He is, and falls down before Him. Gen. 17:3

God makes more promises to Abram related to the covenant which He has spoken of before; and God tells Abram that he will be the father of many nations. Then He changes his name to Abraham (which means, father of many). Gen. 17:2, 4–6

This covenant which God is making with Abram will be an eternal covenant and it will continue between God and Abram’s descendants. God also reminds Abraham that this is a land covenant; and that God will give a great deal of land to him and to his descendants. Gen. 17:7–8

God tells Abraham that He will require Abraham to give an overt sign that he is signing onto this covenant; God asks Abraham to be circumcised, along with all of the males in his household. Gen. 17:9–11

In fact, all males in Abraham’s line will be circumcised on the 8th day, whether born as slaves or as free. Those who refuse circumcision will be cut off from their people. Gen. 17:12–14

God changes the name of Sarai and promises that she will become the mother of many nations as well. What God said made it clear that Abraham and Sarah (her new name) would have descendants together. Gen. 17:15–16

The idea of having children caused Abraham to fall on his face laughing. In so many words, Abraham says that such a thing is impossible, given their relative ages, and then he calls for Ishmael to be the heir of Abraham. Gen. 17:17–18

God makes it clear that Abraham and Sarah will have a child together, and that boy will be named Isaac. He would be the heir to all of the promises given to Abraham. God quickly adds that Ishmael is not forgotten; but that he will become the father of 12 rulers. Gen. 17:19–20

God reiterates that His covenant is with Isaac; and then God leaves Abraham by ascending. Gen. 17:21–22

Abraham obeys God and has everyone circumcised, including Ishmael and himself, along with every male in his household. Gen. 17:23–27

Like all chapters of the Word of God, you need more than just the simple plot outline to understand what God wants us to know.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

gen17.jpg

Genesis 17 Graphic from The Last Days Calendar; accessed December 6, 2013


In this chapter, God will come to Abram, after 13 years of silence, and renew His covenant with Abram. God will also rename Abram and Sarai, his wife, and give them a date certain when their son will be born. However, what God will require is an act of faith on Abram’s part. God will require Abram to circumcise himself and all of the males who are with him. That will be the sign that Abram has faith that what God has promised, God can and will bring to pass.


There is certainly more to circumcision than just that. Circumcision is not merely an act of obedience. Circumcision is a ritual which will represent rebirth, the new birth, the spiritual birth. Abram’s sexual abilities will be revitalized—reborn, if you will—and through this rebirth, the Jewish race will be born. Such a revitalization represents a person being born again through faith in the Revealed God.


As an aside, you may think that we have spent too much time on each chapter. Quite frankly, when I began this project of a weekly Bible lesson (which has been inserted into the word-by-word exegesis of each chapter of Genesis), I never expected to spend 5–10 lessons on each chapter. I actually anticipated spending 5–10 pages on each chapter. However, Genesis is filled with great information. There is no book in the world like Genesis. Although the book of Genesis is principally narrative, it is filled with principles and doctrines and is the very foundation of all that we know to be true. Furthermore, there are times when individual words and phrases require no little investigation. Therefore, rather than focus on how fast we can get to Gen. 50, we should focus on the scenery and enjoy the drive along the way. It is why God recorded these words for us to study.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


God Speaks to Abram: Introduction to the Covenant


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so is Abram a son of ninety year and nine years. And so is seen Yehowah unto Abram and so He says unto him, “I [am] ʾEt Shaddai! Walk to My faces and be complete;...

Genesis

17:1

When Abram was 99 years old, Yehowah appeared to him [lit., Abram] and He said to him, “I [am] God Omnipotent! Walk before Me and be complete [spiritually mature];...

When Abram was 99 years old, Jehovah appeared to him and said, “I am God Omnipotent. Walk before Me and be spiritually mature;...


Here is how others have translated this verse:

 

Ancient texts:                       Note: I compare the Hebrew text to English translations of the Latin, Syriac and Greek texts, using the Douay-Rheims translation; George Lamsa’s translation, and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation as revised and edited by Paul W. Esposito, respectively. I often update these texts with non-substantive changes (e.g., you for thou, etc.). I often use the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible instead of Brenton’s translation, because it updates the English text.

 

The Septuagint was the earliest known translation of a book (circa 200 b.c.). Since this translation was made before the textual criticism had been developed into a science and because different books appear to be translated by different men, the Greek translation can sometimes be very uneven.

 

When there are serious disparities between my translation and Brenton’s (or the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible), I look at the Greek text of the Septuagint (the LXX) to see if a substantive difference actually exists (and I reflect these changes in the English rendering of the Greek text). I use the Greek LXX with Strong’s numbers and morphology available for e-sword. The only problem with this resource (which is a problem for similar resources) is, there is no way to further explore Greek verbs which are not found in the New Testament. Although I usually quote the Complete Apostles’ Bible here, I have begun to make changes in the translation when their translation conflicts with the Greek and note what those changes are.

 

The Masoretic text is the Hebrew text with all of the vowels (vowel points) inserted (the original Hebrew text lacked vowels). We take the Masoretic text to be the text closest to the original. However, differences between the Masoretic text and the Greek, Latin and Syriac are worth noting and, once in a great while, represent a more accurate text possessed by those other ancient translators.

 

In general, the Latin text is an outstanding translation from the Hebrew text into Latin and very trustworthy (I say this as a non-Catholic). Unfortunately, I do not read Latin—apart from some very obvious words—so I am dependent upon the English translation of the Latin (principally, the Douay-Rheims translation).

 

Underlined words indicate differences in the text.

 

Bracketed portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls are words, letters and phrases lost in the scroll due to various types of damage. Underlined words or phrases are those in the Dead Sea Scrolls but not in the Masoretic text.

 

The Targum of Onkelos is actually the Pentateuchal Targumim, which are The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel. On the Pentateuch With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee by J. W. Etheridge, M.A. Taken from http://targum.info/targumic-texts/pentateuchal-targumim/ and first published in 1862.

 

Targum of Onkelos                And Abram was the son of ninety and nine years, and the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am El Shadai; serve before Me and be perfect (shelim) in your flesh.

Latin Vulgate                          And after he began to be ninety and nine years old, the Lord appeared to him: and said unto him: I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be perfect.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so is Abram a son of ninety year and nine years. And so is seen Yehowah unto Abram and so He says unto him, “I [am] ʾEt Shaddai! Walk to My faces and be complete;...

Peshitta (Syriac)                    WHEN Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk well before me, and be faultless.

Septuagint (Greek)                When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, I am your God, be well-pleasing before Me, and be blameless.

 

Significant differences:           When there are several wâw consecutive, it is reasonable to translate the first one when. The Hebrew way of saying that Abram is 99 is rather convoluted, and therefore, reasonably shortened in the translation of that. The Greek lacks Shaddai and has the 2nd person pronoun instead. Both the Greek and Targum have different words than walk. The words used to translate complete are legitimate renderings of the Hebrew. The Targum adds in your flesh.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           God's covenant with Abraham

When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am El Shaddai [Or God Almighty or God of the Mountain] Walk with me and be trustworthy.

Contemporary English V.       Abram was ninety-nine years old when the LORD appeared to him again and said, "I am God All-Powerful. If you obey me and always do right,...

Easy English (Pocock)           God changes Abram's name, 17:1-8

When Abram was 99 years old, the *Lord appeared in front of him. The *Lord said, `I am God who can do anything. Walk with me and do not *sin.

Easy-to-Read Version            When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him. The Lord said, “I am God All-Powerful [Literally, "El Shaddai."]. Do these things for me: Obey me and live the right way.

Good News Bible (TEV)         When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am the Almighty God. Obey me and always do what is right.

The Message                         When 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!

New Berkeley Version           When Abram was 99, the Lord appeared to Abram and told him: I am God Almighty; live in my presence and be upright.

New Century Version             Proof of the Agreement

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty. Obey me and do what is right.

New Life Bible                                                    The Special Act Of The Agreement

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord came to him and said, "I am God All-powerful. Obey Me, and be without blame.

New Living Translation           Abram Is Named Abraham

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am El-Shaddai-`God Almighty.' Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then, when Abram was ninety-nine years old, Jehovah appeared to him [again] and said: 'I am your God. So be pleasing to Me and don't do anything that you can be blamed for,...

Ancient Roots Translinear      Abram was a son of ninety nine years. Yahweh saw into Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty! Go in my face and be faultless.

Christian Community Bible     When Abram was ninety-nine years old, Yahweh appeared to him and said, “I am God Al mighty. Walk in my presence and be without blame!.

God’s Word                         When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to him. He said to Abram, "I am God Almighty. Live in my presence with integrity.

NIRV                                      The Covenant of Circumcision

When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him. He said, "I am the Mighty God. Walk with me and live without any blame.

Today’s NIV                          The Covenant of Circumcision

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty [Hebrew El-Shaddai]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord came to him, and said, I am God, Ruler of all; go in my ways and be upright in all things,...

Conservapedia                       When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and told him, "I am Almighty God. Walk with me, and be spotless.

The Expanded Bible              Proof of the Covenant

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am ·God Almighty [LEl Shaddai]. ·Obey [LWalk before] me and ·do what is right [Lbe innocent/blameless; Job 1:1].

Ferrar-Fenton Bible                When Abram was ninety-six years old, the Ever-Living revealed again to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be perfect;...

HCSB                                     When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to him, saying, "I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be devout.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am El Shaddai [i.e., God heeds]. Walk in My ways and be blameless.

NET Bible®                             The Sign of the Covenant

When Abram was 99 years old [Heb "the son of ninety-nine years."], the LORD appeared to him and said [Heb "appeared to Abram and said to him." The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun ("him") and the final phrase "to him" has been left untranslated for stylistic reasons.], "I am the sovereign God [tn The name ʾÊl (אֵל) [pronounced ALE]Shadday (שַדַּי) [pronounced shahd-DAH-ee] ('el shadday, "El Shaddai") has often been translated "God Almighty," primarily because Jerome translated it omnipotens ("all powerful") in the Latin Vulgate. This very lengthy footnote will be continued after the Hebrew exegesis]. When it comes to making an actual material change to the text, the NET Bible® is pretty good about indicating this. Since most of these corrections will be clear in the more literal translations below and within the Hebrew exegesis itself, I will not continue to list every NET Bible® footnote.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           When Avram was 99 years old ADONAI appeared to Avram and said to him, "I am El Shaddai [God Almighty]. Walk in my presence and be pure-hearted.

exeGeses companion Bible   And so be it,

Abram is a son of ninety years and nine years

and Yah Veh is seen by Abram

and says to him, I am El Shadday;

walk at my face and be integrious:

Kaplan Translation                 Circumcision

Abram was 99 years old [Thirteen years after Ishmael was born, in the year 2047. See Genesis 17:25. The vision did not come until Ishmael was legally an adult.]. God appeared to him and said, 'I am God Almighty [El Shaddai in Hebrew. Shaddai is interpreted as being the same as she-dai, 'He who has sufficient [power]' (Rashi).]. Walk before Me and be perfect [Tamim in Hebrew. The word can be translated as whole, unblemished, perfect, innocent, pious, or honest.]. The Kaplan Translation, particularly in Exodus through Deuteronomy, takes note of historic rabbinic opinions.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And when Avram was ninety and nine shanah, Hashem appeared to Avram, and said unto him, I am El Shaddai; walk before Me, and be thou tamim (blameless).

The Scriptures 1998              And it came to be when Abram was ninety-nine years old, that יהוה appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Ěl Shaddai – walk before Me and be perfect [Messiah gives the same command in Mt. 5:48.].


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                WHEN ABRAM was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, I am the Almighty God; walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect (blameless, wholehearted, complete).

Concordant Literal Version    And coming is Abram to be ninety nine years of age. And appearing is Yahweh to Abram and is saying to him, "I am the El-Who-Suffices. Walk before Me and become flawless.

Context Group Version          And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, YHWH appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be whole {or fully-developed}.

Hebrew Names Version         When Avram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Avram, and said to him, "I am El Shaddai. Walk before me, and be blameless.

Heritage Bible                        And when Abram was a son of ninety-nine years, Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am God, The Almighty; walk before my face, and be perfect..

NASB                                     Abraham and the Covenant of Circumcision

Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him,

"I am God Almighty [Heb El Shaddai];

Walk before Me, and be blameless [Lit complete, perfect; or having integrity].

Syndein/Thieme                     And when Abram was ninety years old and nine {99 years old}, Jehovah/God appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I . . . {am} the Almighty {Shadday} 'El/God. Walk yourself {halak - reflexive Hithpa'el imperative - idiom for 'your way of life'} before My Presence/Face {paniym} {being in fellowship with God in time}, {and} 'be mature'/'grow up spiritually'/'demonstrate integrity' {tamiym - understanding and applying divine viewpoint to experiences in life}. {Note: At 99 years old, this is the peak of Abram helplessness.}

World English Bible                When Abram was ninety-nine years old, Yahweh appeared to Abram, and said to him, "I am God Almighty. Walk before me, and be blameless.

Young’s Updated LT             And Abram is a son of ninety and nine years, and Jehovah appears unto Abram, and says unto him, “I am God Almighty, walk habitually before Me, and be you perfect;...

 

The gist of this verse:          God appears to Abram again, when Abram is 99, and God tells Abram to walk before God and to be complete.


What we get from this first verse is, there was a spiritual life for the believer in the time of Abraham. We will examine that in depth in this chapter.


Genesis 17:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

ʾAberâm (אַבְרָם) [pronounced abv-RAWM]

father of elevation, exalted father; and is transliterated Abram

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #87 BDB #4

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

tisheʿîym (תִּשְעִים) [pronounced tish-ĢEEM]

ninety

indeclinable noun; adjective; archaic plural

Strong’s #8673 BDB #1077

shânâh (שָנָה) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

têshaʿ (תֵּשַע) [pronounced TAY-shahģ]

nine, ninth

masculine singular noun; ordinal or cardinal numeral

Strong’s #8672 BDB #1077

shânîym (שָנִים) [pronounced shaw-NEEM]

years

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040


Translation: When Abram was 99 years old,... The Bible, in the original language, was not broken down into chapters and verses. So the previous verse tells us that Abram is 86 years old. This verse tells us that he is 99; so, quite obviously, 13 years have elapsed since Gen. 16:16.


One of the reasons that Abram’s age is mentioned here is, Abram is at the point where he can not longer sire children. Abram no longer has sex with Sarai. God has promised on 3 previous occasions that a great many people would come from him, like the stars of the sky (Gen. 15:5) and that they would occupy this huge piece of land (Gen. 15:18–21); and yet, it is clear to Abram that he is not going to have any more children. He is out of bullets and his gun no longer shoots. God wants this to be crystal clear that, He will make this happen. The descendants that come from Abram will be a matter of God’s grace and God’s power.


May I again suggest the Abrahamic Timeline (HTML) (PDF). In this timeline, the times during which Abraham speaks to God are denoted by a lavender background. Deaths and births are denoted with a pale yellow background. This timeline allows you to step back and take in a fuller view of Abraham’s recorded life; so that you can see the forest rather than the individual trees. What follows is a small portion of that timeline:


Genesis 15–17 in the Abrahamic Timeline


Brent MacDonald

Christian Shepherd (age of Abram)

Reese’s Chronology Bible

Scripture

Event/Description

 

 

1882 b.c.

Gen. 15:1–21

God’s covenant with Abram is given in greater detail.

 

85

1882 b.c.

1881 b.c. (Klassen)

Gen. 16:1–14

Sarah gives Hagar, her Egyptian slave girl, to Abram in order to sire a son. Gen 16:3 So Abram's wife Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife for him. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan 10 years.

2078 b.c.

86

1881 b.c.

Gen. 16:15–16

Ishmael born to Abraham and Hagar in the land of Canaan. Gen 16:16 Abram was 86 years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

 

99

1868 b.c.

Gen. 17:1–8

God renews His covenant with Abram and renames him Abraham. Gen 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to him, saying, "I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be complete.”


At the time of Gen. 17:1, Abram is 99 years old. 13 years have passed since the previous chapter, during which time, Hagar, Sarai’s personal maid, has given birth to Abram’s son Ishmael. Although nothing is said about who raised Ishmael, I think that we may reasonably conclude that he was raised by Hagar and Abram. As Sarai’s personal maid, Hagar would take care of all the unpleasantries of raising a little male child, which would have increased their bond, and kept the child away from Sarai, both actually and emotionally. Furthermore, there was all of this drama between Sarai and Hagar; so when Hagar returned and gave birth to Ishmael, it is hard to imagine that Sarai would have gone out of her way to develop a bond with Ishmael. Her ill treatment of Hagar would have precluded such a bond. Therefore, what Sarai planned out in her mind—to use Hagar as a surrogate mother for her own child—things did not work out that way.


Application: God has designed a family structure to be based upon biology—one father + one mother + “x” number of children. Communal groups rarely continue as a mass of adults who do not pair up. They may believe in natural food, but they try to reject natural biology. Natural biology demands that, when a man and a woman have a child (and there is no other way), that there is a natural bond and natural connection there. A woman may find the children in her commune to be absolutely precious; but when it comes to the child from her own womb, that child, she will protect with her life.


Apparently, God has not appeared to Abram at all during these 13 years. Abram has been temporarily set aside, just as God would later set aside the people of Israel. Abram got off track. He tried to pursue a life which was in keeping with his culture, which pursuit went against God’s plan. So God stepped out of Abram’s life for 13 years. However, it is now time for God to begin to fulfill His promises that He made to Abram on 3 earlier occasions.


Abram is learning to wait on God. God has given specific promises to Abram, and God expects Abram to wait on Him for these promises to be fulfilled. God has made it clear what these promises were and that there are no shortcuts, like using a surrogate mother in order to fulfil these promises. You cannot fulfill God’s plan through the efforts of the flesh (that is, human good).


Ishmael, Abram’s son by Hagar, is now 13 years old. God has made several promises to Abram—13 years ago and earlier—and has been speaking to Abram over these past 24 years, from time to time, but not lately. At this point in time, none of God’s promises seem to make sense, as they are all dependent upon Abram having a son, and that appears to be less and less likely. 13 years ago, Abram was capable of fathering a son. In fact, the situation was becoming so dire that, his wife suggested that he impregnate her personal slave girl, because it appeared as though she was unable to have a child. As we have studied, Sarai probably wanted children herself, and this seemed the only way for it to happen. In any case, this tells us that, for awhile, Abram and his wife chose not to believe the promises of God, but to trust in their own human ingenuity. God had promised them that they would have a son and that Abram would be the father of many nations. If what God is saying is true, then there is no reason for Abram and Sarai to do anything other than to wait on God to fulfill His promises to Abram.


Now, 13 years have passed, Abram himself is no longer able to sire a child. Abram is 99 and sexually dead (Gen. 17:17 18:12 Rom. 4:17, 19). His wife has been infertile for at least the entirety of their marriage. This is the most apropos place to introduce God as the All-Sufficient God. God has several components to His character; He is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Love, Perfection, Truth, etc. Here, He is presented as Omnipotent, or all-powerful; God with the ability to do anything, to accomplish anything. He is a God Whose strength and abilities transcend the laws of the universe, which universe He Himself created, which universe He holds together with the power of His Word, and which laws He predetermined. See the Doctrine of God Almighty (HTML) (PDF).


Genesis 17:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

râʾâh (רָאָה) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to be seen, to be visible; to let oneself be seen, to appear; to present oneself; to be provided [cared] for (i.e., looked after)

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ʾAberâm (אַבְרָם) [pronounced abv-RAWM]

father of elevation, exalted father; and is transliterated Abram

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #87 BDB #4


Translation: ...Yehowah appeared to him [lit., Abram]... The last time that God appeared to someone was 13 years ago, and it was to Hagar. Hagar had believed in the God of Abram; and, when she was running away from Abram and Sarai, she encountered God, Who told her to return home to her mistress.


It is most logical that much of what is recorded about Abram’s life will be the instances where he spoke with God. That is, I don’t believe that Abram had face to face dealings with God on a daily or weekly or even yearly basis. God appears to Abram perhaps a half-dozen times throughout his life. In recording the details of his life, it would seem odd for Abram to leave out a meeting with God, and yet record some other event which would surely be seen as more trivial (any event ought to be seen as more trivial than God having direct contact with Abram). Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that every time that God spoke to Abram (or to someone that Abram knew), that incident is recorded in the Word of God.


Genesis 17:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied) with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ʾânîy (אָנִי) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me; in answer to a question, it means I am, it is I

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

ʾÊl (אֵל) [pronounced ALE]

God, god, mighty one, strong, hero; transliterated El

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #410 BDB #42

Shadday (שַדַּי) [pronounced shahd-DAH-ee]

the many-breasted one; and is generally translated Almighty, the Almighty One; Omnipotent [One]

proper noun

Strong’s #7706 BDB #994

Together, these two nouns are often transliterated ʾEl Shaddai.


Translation: ...and He said to him, “I [am] God Omnipotent! There are several theories on the meaning of Shaddai. For most of Biblical history, it has been understood to mean Almighty and that suggests Omnipotent. There are some who claim that this means the many-breasted one, which is a reference to His all-sufficiency.


062812_otnames_shaddai.jpg

God All-sufficient here is two words, the first being ʾÊl (אֵל) [pronounced ALE], a word which has four or five entirely different meanings and several sub-usages within those categories of meanings. One usage has to do with strength and might, and in this regard, can refer to any deity; i.e., the God of the Universe or pagan gods (Isa. 43:10 44:10, 15, 17). It is rarely used alone and can refer to mighty ones (a reference to men or to angels—Ex. 31:11 Isa. 9:6 29:1 89:7) as well as to God (Gen. 31:13 35:1, 3). The second word in this title is Shadday (שַדַּי) [pronounced shahd-DAH-ee] and it means (self-) sufficient, almighty, many-breasted and here it would be best translated All-Sufficient. This is the first instance in the Bible where this title is used. We do not know if God uses it first of Himself here or whether it was a title for our Lord just not put into Scripture until now. This designation for our Lord is found 31 times in Job, which is roughly coterminous with this narrative (Job probably took place a few generations earlier). God will renew His covenant with Abram, both for possession of the land of Canaan and for the multitude of his descendants.


El Shaddai graphic from Blue Letter Bible blog; accessed December 6, 2013.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

 

From Syndein’s webpage: {Note: RBT says 'El is used for God in His Power - His omnipotence. Shadday is the Hebrew word meaning 'many breasts' - as in a mother feeding many babies. It is used for 'many sources of help' - and becomes 'Almighty'. It means there is no problem in the life a believer for which God has not made provision. But, you must be saved (Abram believed . . . ), rebound (Abram returned to Canaan - 1 John 1:9), be in fellowship (walk in My Presence/Way, and demonstrate integrity (Bible doctrine/divine viewpoint transferred from the Written Page into the norms and standards of your soul - and then applied to experience)}.

 

From the NET Bible: There has been much debate over the meaning of the name. For discussion see W. F. Albright, "The Names Shaddai and Abram," JBL 54 (1935): 173–210; R. Gordis, "The Biblical Root sdy–sd," JTS 41 (1940): 34–43; and especially T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 69–72. Shaddai/El Shaddai is the sovereign king of the world who grants, blesses, and judges. In the Book of Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he both blesses/protects and takes away life/happiness. The patriarchs knew God primarily as El Shaddai (Ex. 6:3). While the origin and meaning of this name are uncertain (see discussion below) its significance is clear. The name is used in contexts where God appears as the source of fertility and life. In Gen. 17:1–8 he appeared to Abram, introduced himself as El Shaddai, and announced his intention to make the patriarch fruitful. In the role of El Shaddai God repeated these words (now elevated to the status of a decree) to Jacob (Gen. 35:11). Earlier Isaac had pronounced a blessing on Jacob in which he asked El Shaddai to make Jacob fruitful (Gen. 28:3). Jacob later prayed that his sons would be treated with mercy when they returned to Egypt with Benjamin (Gen. 43:14). The fertility theme is not as apparent here, though one must remember that Jacob viewed Benjamin as the sole remaining son of the favored and once–barren Rachel (see Gen. 29:31; Gen. 30:22–24; Gen. 35:16–18). It is quite natural that he would appeal to El Shaddai to preserve Benjamin's life, for it was El Shaddai's miraculous power which made it possible for Rachel to give him sons in the first place. In Gen. 48:3 Jacob, prior to blessing Joseph's sons, told him how El Shaddai appeared to him at Bethel (see Genesis 28) and promised to make him fruitful. When blessing Joseph on his deathbed Jacob referred to Shaddai (we should probably read "El Shaddai," along with a few Hebrew MSS, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint (LXX), and Syriac) as the one who provides abundant blessings, including "blessings of the breast and womb" (Gen. 49:25). (The direct association of the name with "breasts" suggests the name might mean "the one of the breast" [i.e., the one who gives fertility], but the juxtaposition is probably better explained as wordplay. Note the wordplay involving the name and the root שָדַד, shadad, "destroy"] in Isa. 13:6 and in Joe. 1:15.) Outside Genesis the name Shaddai (minus the element "El" ["God"]) is normally used when God is viewed as the sovereign king who blesses/protects or curses/brings judgment. The name appears in the introduction to two of Balaam's oracles (Num. 24:4; Num. 24:16) of blessing upon Israel. Naomi employs the name when accusing the Lord of treating her bitterly by taking the lives of her husband and sons (Rth. 1:20–21). In Psalm 68:14; Isa. 13:6; and Joe. 1:15 Shaddai judges his enemies through warfare, while Psalm 91:1 depicts him as the protector of his people. (In Eze. 1:24 and Num. 10:5 the sound of the cherubs' wings is compared to Shaddai's powerful voice. The reference may be to the mighty divine warrior's battle cry which accompanies his angry judgment.) Finally, the name occurs 31 times in the Book of Job. Job and his "friends" assume that Shaddai is the sovereign king of the world (Gen. 11:7; Gen. 37:23; a) who is the source of life (Gen. 33:4 (i.e., Genesis 33:4b)) and is responsible for maintaining justice (Gen. 8:3; Gen. 34:10–12; Gen. 37:23 (i.e., Genesis 37:23b)). He provides abundant blessings, including children (Gen. 22:17–18; Gen. 29:4–6), but he can also discipline, punish, and destroy (Gen. 5:17; Gen. 6:4; Gen. 21:20; Gen. 23:16). It is not surprising to see the name so often in this book, where the theme of God's justice is primary and even called into question (Gen. 24:1; Gen. 27:2). The most likely proposal is that the name means "God, the one of the mountain" (an Akkadian cognate means "mountain," to which the Hebrew שַד, shad, "breast"] is probably related). For a discussion of proposed derivations see T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 70–71. The name may originally have depicted God as the sovereign judge who, in Canaanite style, ruled from a sacred mountain. Isa. 14:13 and Eze. 28:14; Eze. 28:16 associate such a mountain with God, while Psalm 48:2 refers to Zion as "Zaphon," the Canaanite Olympus from which the high god El ruled. (In Isaiah 14 the Canaanite god El may be in view. Note that Isaiah pictures pagan kings as taunting the king of Babylon, suggesting that pagan mythology may provide the background for the language and imagery.)].


Genesis 17:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hâlake (הָלַךְ) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk [up and down, about]; to wander, to prowl; to go for oneself, to go about, to live [walk] [in truth]; to flow

2nd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperative

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular); with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean before me, before my face, in my presence, in my sight, in front of me.


Translation: Walk before Me... God has always had a plan for Abram's life but it has not been until now that this plan kicks into high gear. Abram had to develop a lot of patience and trust to arrive at this point. He has screwed up a couple of times, but he just got up and moved on. His failures did not stop his growth. God gives Abram two imperatives; the first is the Hithpael imperative of walk, one of the most used verbs in the OT. The Hithpael is intensive reflexive and it means that Abram is to walk himself. The intensive means that his conduct of life has become even more important than his previous 99 years. Before me also means in my presence. This is an imperative for all believers; we should all conduct our lives as though God is right there in front of us because He is. We are watched by a multitude of angels and God is omniscient. Since God only spoke directly with Abram on a few occasions (of which we are aware) and since the full revelation of Scripture was not available to Abram, this is the first time when Abram is exposed to God's omniscience. What is occurring is what is known theologically as the progressive revelation of God; God did not reveal to Adam, Noah, or to Abram everything about Himself. In fact, we in the church age know more about God's character and actions than any Old Testament saint ever knew. Abram has known God as God, the Highest; as God the All-Sufficient and Omniscient< and here as God Who is omniscient.


There are two characteristics of God which have been emphasized to Abram: that God is omniscient (He is all-seeing; He sees everything); and in this verse, His omnipotence is spoken of. However, Abram is to walk before God (in His sight, in His presence); so God’s omniscience is brought back into view. Abram is to function as if God is watching him (which He is). R. B. Thieme, Jr. took this concept and said that we are to live our lives in the light of eternity. This is very much the same idea. Where we live and what we are at this point in time is transitory. We will awaken at some point and be with God; and that will begin our eternal life with Him.


In this verse, Abram is told to walk before God, walk in God’s sight; to live his life in the light of eternity.


Genesis 17:1e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

be, become; make, do

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

tâmîym (תָּמִים) [pronounced taw-MEEM]

complete, whole, entire, sufficient, without blemish

adjective

Strong’s #8549 BDB #1071


Translation: ...and be complete [spiritually mature];... Although this word can be translated without blemish, this is an impossibility for the believer. We may, as we grow spiritually, sin less and less. We may, as we grow older, sin less and less; but we always possess the sin nature. Therefore, we are always capable of sinning; and, in fact, we do sin. We never reach a state of sinless perfection in this life. Therefore, we reach a different state, which might be termed spiritual maturity; and which R. B. Thieme, Jr. has given the names having an edification complex (HTML) (PDF); and living the supergrace life (Prof. Mario Velez) (Cherreguine Bible Doctrine Ministries). These are synonyms for being complete, as God is commanding Abram. However, Abram lived in a different dispensation; therefore, spiritual maturity for him is slightly different for him than it is for us. In fact, one of the doctrines we will cover here is, we will reconstruct what the spiritual life was for Abram, 4000 years ago.

 

From the NET Bible: Walk [Or "Live out your life." The Hebrew verb translated "walk" is the Hitpael; it means "to walk back and forth; to walk about; to live out one's life."] before me [Or "in my presence."] and be blameless [There are two imperatives here: "walk and be blameless [or "perfect"]." The second imperative may be purely sequential (see the translation) or consequential: "walk before me and then you will be blameless." How one interprets the sequence depends on the meaning of "walk before": (1) If it simply refers in a neutral way to serving the Lord, then the second imperative is likely sequential. (2) But if it has a positive moral connotation ("serve me faithfully"), then the second imperative probably indicates purpose (or result). For other uses of the idiom see 1 Sam 2:30, 35 and 12:2 (where it occurs twice).


Gen 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be spiritually mature,...


We often take verses like this for granted. We read a verse like this in 3 seconds, and give it very little thought. What is God telling Abram to do? When it comes to a specified moral behavior, very little is revealed in Genesis as a clear command. There is a clear commandment not to murder in Gen. 9:6 (which commandment is not so much a prohibition of murder, but what society should do with a murderer). Mankind is told to split up in Gen. 10 (which God forces to happen by confusing the languages). Gen. 12 implies that lying and adultery are wrong. Gen. 14 implies that, in a war, the victor legitimately may take all that belonged to his vanquished enemy. Finally, God legitimizes the authority in slavery in the previous chapter. In other words, in the book of Genesis, as far as we have gone, there is no clearly-defined code of moral behavior which stands written, beyond the implications named. Yes, God tells Abram: “Walk before Me, and be blameless [complete; i.e., spiritually mature].”


el-shaddai.jpg

El Shaddai; God All-Sufficient (graphic); from Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem; accessed December 6, 2013.


God first identifies Himself to Abram as Êl Shaddai, which means God Almighty or God Most-Powerful. This is a title which indicates power and ability, which is important here, because God is going to repeat His promise about Abram bearing a son. Abram no longer has the ability to sire a son; Sarai no longer can bear children, so the fulfillment of God’s promises are dependent upon God. No one can bring any of God’s promises into reality except for God. In order for God’s promises to Abram to be fulfilled, Abram will have to depend wholly upon God Most-Powerful, as only a God Who is omnipotent will be able to fulfill the promised which He made to Abram.


Rom. 4:19–21 And not being weak in faith, Abram did not consider his own body already dead (being about a hundred years old) or the deadening of Sarah's womb. He did not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that what God had promised, He was also able to perform. God is able to do what He has promised because He is Êl Shaddai, God Almighty.


This title for God is found 6 times in the book of Genesis and 31 times in the book of Job. It is for this, and several other reasons, that the book of Job is thought to be from this era (personally, I think that Job predated Abraham by several generations). This same name for God occurs only 11 times throughout all the rest of the Old Testament books, occurring no more than 2 or 3 times in any single book.


God tells Abram: "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be spiritually mature,... In there King James Version, the final word is translated perfect, which has caused no little confusion in the Christian doctrine. This word does not mean perfect in the sense of attaining some level of sinless perfection in this life. We continue in this life with an old sin nature. We may come to a point where we sin less today than we did 10 years ago; but we do not reach a state of sinlessness, perfection or flawlessness.


What we have here is the imperative of to be followed by the adjective tâmîym (תָּמִים) [pronounced taw-MEEM], which means complete, whole, entire, sufficient, without blemish. When spoken of a man, it means a man who operates on the basis of spiritual integrity; i.e., he is spiritually mature and in fellowship. Strong’s #8549 BDB #1071. You may recall that this adjective was applied to Noah in Gen. 6:9. In the immediate context, God would be calling for Abram to be in fellowship and focused on the words of God while they discussed this covenant. God expects Abram to hear these words, concentrate on them and to believe them. In the context of the rest of Abram’s life (he still has 76 years to live), God wants him to reach a state of completion, which is spiritual maturity, and to maintain that spiritual state. No more fooling around with Egyptian slave girls; no more trying to help God keep His promises.


God has told Abram to be spiritually mature, to behave with integrity. Abram is an important witness in God's program and he is, before the face of God, to show personal and spiritual integrity. God has already blessed him and God has already made several unconditional promises to Abram. Still, God expects Abram to show integrity.


God tells Abram to walk before Him and to be blameless, and this implies that there is some concept of moral or spiritual behavior. However, there is no indication that this standard of morality is enumerated by God at any point; nor has man recorded God’s explanation of exactly what this standard of morality is. 500 years or so from this point in time, God is going to give the Law to His people; but right now at this point in time in Gen. 17, God has not laid down a specific set of laws. Almost everything we know about right and wrong, at this point in our walk through Genesis, is found in the implications of the previous chapters, which then logically suggests that what is right and wrong is imprinted on the souls of mankind. Let’s go back to Gen. 9:6, which reads: Whoever sheds man's blood, his blood shall be shed by man. For He made man in the image of God. You will recall that, previous to this, God allowed those who murdered to live. Cain was banished, but not executed. Lamech sang a folk song about murdering and he continued to live and sing about it. But in Gen. 9:6, God sets up consequences, which implies there ought to be specific consequences for certain acts that are wrong. This takes us back to, how do we know what is wrong? We have two possibilities: (1) God specifically gave a pre-Mosaic Law, where right and wrong was defined—and there is no indication of that. Or (2) the concept of right and wrong was imprinted on the souls of most men. This does not mean that it is inherent in their souls, but that it is imprinted there. How? By their parents. And they learned it from their parents, who learned it from their parents, who, going back far enough, learned from Noah. Recall that we are not that far removed in time from the flood, and, by one estimation of dates, the sons of Noah are still alive at this time.


God created Adam and the woman, and there was only one defined act of wrongdoing—taking and eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Apart from this, Adam and the woman were created perfect. So, even after they sinned and acquired a sin nature, they understood right from wrong (recall, they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil). In their souls—which souls were created directly by God—they understood notions of right and wrong. As the population of the earth grew (recall that Adam was nearly 1000 years old), he was able to take what he knew in his soul and apply it to his life. This soulish understanding of right and wrong was carried by many simply through the training that they would have received from their parents. This was certain true of the soul of Noah. Noah was a just man and perfect [spiritually mature] in his generations. Noah walked with God (Gen. 6:9b). Noah would have taught the concepts of right and wrong to his own children, even in a most corrupt world, which world they would all escape. The 3 sons of Noah would continue to perpetuate the morality in their own souls by teaching their sons and daughters, who would perpetuate this teaching.


Furthermore, if Noah’s sons are still alive, along with all of their sons and grandsons, it is quite difficult to argue right and wrong with men who learned right and wrong from Noah. One of the reasons a new era must begin with Abram is, God must begin with a man who has righteousness in his soul (a clear understanding of right and wrong); and all of the patriarchs are dying off almost all at the same time.


Let me further suggest that, for many people, during this era, even so separated from God, they had an innate desire to define right and wrong, and to set up just consequences for doing wrong. From this general time period, a number of well-defined codes of ethics were developed.


These are the codes which we actually have records of, which suggests that there were many legal codes from this era.

Ancient Law Codes

Codes

Date

Information

The Code of Urukagina

2,380–2,360 b.c.

Urukagina was a ruler of the city-state Lagash in Mesopotamia circa 2380–2360 b.c.

The Code of Ur-Nammu

circa

2100–2050 b.c.

This is the oldest known tablet which contains a law code that survives today. It was written in the Sumerian language.

The Laws of Eshnunna

1930 b.c.

These laws are inscribed on two cuneiform tablets discovered in Baghdad, Iraq. This law code is named after a city, rather than after a person. This apparently governed an area north of Ur. These laws are written in the Akkadian language.

The Codex of Lipit-Ishtar

1934–1924 b.c.

Lipit-Ishtar was the fifth ruler of the first dynasty of Isin. He is partially known for the legal code written in his name. This is apparently written in Sumerian, and the laws were a legal code, defining specific penalties for specific crimes and acts of wrongdoing.

The Code of Hammurabi

circa 1780 b.c.

The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian law code written by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi

This suggests that during this time period, there was a profound concern with law, morality and legal consequences. This is the time period during which Abram lived.

These references are taken out of Wikipedia, accessed November 16, 2011, and linked below:

The Code of Urukagina

The Code of Ur-Nammu

The Laws of Eshnunna

The Codex of Lipit-Ishtar

The Code of Hammurabi


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


My conclusion would be that, by the teaching of Abram’s parents, Abram had a good understanding of right and wrong in his soul. Historically, this was of profound importance to mankind. They were beginning to have groups of families living in close proximity, and codes of behavior had to be established along with laws to regulate groups of people. In a family, particularly with their long lives, they could go to the oldest, who is probably father of all of them, and resolve disputes. However, as these families began to gather side-by-side, codes had to be developed, not just to define morality, but to deal with acts of immorality. Hence, these many codes that we know of. In fact, let me suggest that these codes existed in nearly every city and town; and certainly in any city-state. Just because we have records on these codes does not mean they are the only codes from that era.


Gen 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be spiritually mature,...


When God tells Abram to walk before Him, this would be analogous to the Christian walk; that is, there would be a modus operandi of some sort that Abram would follow. This is stated specifically with Enoch (Gen. 5:24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.) and implied with Noah (Gen. 6:9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.). This spiritual code would include faith in Jehovah Elohim (Gen. 15:6), a limited system of animal sacrifices (Gen. 12:8 13:18 15:9–11), and probably rebound (confession of personal sin to God) (HTML) (PDF) and faith-rest (which is what Abram ought to be doing with the promises of God) (HTML) (PDF).


There would have been a specific moral behavior, but that is much like the function of moral behavior in the Church Age; it is a part of the laws of divine establishment (HTML) (PDF), it is something which Christians ought to adhere to, but it is designed for man universal and not only for believers. These laws are designed to preserve freedom, families, and nations. That is what these codes were all about; and they established a code of justice, necessary for any society.


The actual Hebrew word for walk is the Hithpael imperative of the very common word hâlake (הָלַךְ) [pronounced haw-LAHKe], which means, to go, to come, to depart, to walk [up and down, about]; to wander, to prowl; to go for oneself, to go about, to live [walk] [in truth] (these are all Hithpael meanings). Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229. Although the Hithpael is most simply described as the reflexive intensive, it actually has several uses which are not specifically reflexive. Here, its iterative use is probably what is meant, which means that there will be several (even thousands) of periods of time when Abram is walking. What follows qualifies the verb “Walk before Me [or, walk in My Presence].” This is why there is a spiritual connotation to the interpretation this phrase.


You will recall the Hagar understood God to be the God of Seeing; and she would have learned this from Abram. God is omniscient. Therefore, God is telling Abram to walk before Him, with this understanding. God may not have contacted Abram for the past 13 years, but that does not mean that God is not there. Abram is to conduct his life knowing God is there; knowing that He is an omniscient God. And because God is going to reiterate and expand on His promises, Abram needs to know that God is able to bring these promises to pass. God does not need Abram to traipse off with some Egyptian gal in order for His promises to be fulfilled. God is omnipotent. He does not need us to help Him with our human works or with our human schemes.


Gen 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me [or, walk in My Presence], and be complete [whole, sufficient, spiritually mature],...


So, essentially, God is commanding Abram to live the spiritual life and to be spiritually mature. We have guessed what this means, but it is not laid out as a simple, step-by-step process in the book of Genesis (these mechanics are clearly laid out for believers in Church Age, however). In order to determine what this means, we need to dig a little deeper into the chapters of Genesis which we have already studied.


Gen 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me [or, walk in My Presence], and be complete [whole, sufficient, spiritually mature],...


In this first verse of Gen. 17, God identifies Himself and gives Abram two mandates: “Walk in My Presence and be spiritually mature.” These commands are both in the imperative mood; which suggests (1) these are things that God wants Abram to do; and (2) Abram understands what he is being commanded to do.


As we have already studied, complete is the adjective tâmîym (תָּמִים) [pronounced taw-MEEM], which means complete, whole, entire, sufficient, without blemish. When spoken of a man, it means a man who operates on the basis of spiritual integrity; i.e., he is spiritually mature and in fellowship. Strong’s #8549 BDB #1071. So far, we have one clear example of what it means to be tâmîym, Noah was declared to be complete (whole, sufficient, spiritually mature) in Gen. 6:9.


Therefore, let’s step back and see if we can understand what the spiritual walk would be for Abram, based upon what stands written in his time.

The Spiritual Life Implied and Stated so far in the Book of Genesis

1)      Salvation:

         i.       It is clear that salvation is based upon faith in Jehovah Elohim. Gen. 15:6 reads: And Abram had believed Yehowah, and He [God] counted [or, valued, imputed, regarded] it [Abram’s faith in Yehowah] to him as righteousness.

         ii.      Throughout the book of Genesis, up to this point, we have seen the emphasis which is made upon animal sacrifices, which is a picture of Jesus Christ dying for our sins.

                  (1)     In order for Adam and the woman’s nakedness to be covered by animal skins, those animals had to be killed, something which had never been done before. They had never seen anything die before and they had never seen blood before. Gen. 3:21

                  (2)     God valued Abel’s animal sacrifice over Cain’s works (bringing a bloodless offering of vegetables). Gen. 4:1–7

                  (3)     From the clean animals, Noah was to bring 7 pairs of them. My assumption is, some of those would be used for sacrifice. Gen. 7:2–3

                  (4)     Noah, immediately after stepping off the Ark after the flood, began to offer animal sacrifices to God. Gen. 8:20–21

                  (5)     Abram, on several occasions, builds altars to God. Since this is clearly associated with Noah and offering up animal sacrifices, we may reasonably conclude that was the purpose of the altars built by Abram. Gen. 8:20 12:7–8 13:4, 18

                  (6)     The author of Hebrews explains the connection between the animal sacrifices and the death of Jesus on the cross (Heb. 9:13–20). Even though the author of Hebrews was specifically describing the Mosaic code for sacrifices, this still applies to sacrifices of animals which occurred prior to the Mosaic Law. After all, he was writing to Jews about their rituals, telling them that the reality of those rituals had come to pass, so that there was no further need to practice these rituals now that Jesus had become our sacrifice, one man for all time. Heb. 9:23–28

2)      Confession of sin (naming one’s sins to God, for which R. B. Thieme, Jr. coined the word rebound).

         i.       When Adam and the woman had sinned, God has them first name their sins to Him. This is established first before God moves forward with His judgment. Gen. 3:9–13

         ii.      God attempts to coax a confession of wrongdoing from Cain in Gen. 4:8–10, which confession, God does not seem to get. God imposes a permanent judgment of exile upon Cain in Gen. 4:11–12.

         iii.      God speaks to Hagar and she admits what she has done. There is no punishment placed upon her; she is simply told to return to Abram and Sarai. Also, God makes a promise to Hagar about the descendants of her boy. So, interestingly enough, she sins, she admits this sin to God; and she is not punished by God but given promises from Him. Gen. 16:8–13

         iv.     In raising a child and teaching them right from wrong, when they do wrong, the first thing that we do when they do wrong is get them to admit what it is that they have done that is wrong.

3)      Faith-rest, which is knowing the promises, guarantees and doctrines of God, believing them and adhering to them.

         i.       God gave assurances to Cain, even though he may not have gotten back into fellowship. Gen. 4:14–15

         ii.      God promises Noah (and all mankind) that He would never flood the earth again. Therefore, man was to operate on that basis, despite the fact that Noah and his 3 sons went through a world-wide flood. Gen. 9:9–16

         iii.      God told Abram to go to the land of Canaan, but God also gave promises to Abram, toward which he was to exercise faith. Gen. 12:1–3

         iv.     When Abram separated from Lot, God came to Abram again and gave him promises. Gen. 13:14–17

         v.      On occasion, God has to reinforce the promises that He made to Abram. Abram questions how these promises are to be fulfilled, and God reiterates the promise, and then gives Abram more information—more promises and prophecies to believe in. The implication is, if you are having trouble believing this or that doctrine, the key is to have more information (more doctrine). God does not simply stop right there, when Abram questions Him, and say, “I am not going to teach you any more until your first believe this.” God teaches Abram more. Gen. 15:1–21

         vi.     Abram found out, after 13 years of silence from God, that one does not try to bring God’s promises to pass by means of human good or by doing things which are outside of God’s plan. Abram has also faced 13 years of household friction based upon his mistake of listening to his wife and stepping outside of the plan of God. Gen. 16

         vii.     As we have recently studied, God even made specific promises to Hagar in Gen. 16:9–12.

         viii.    This may seem pretty elementary, but some people do not get it: you must have something to believe before you can exercise faith. Having faith is meaningless unless that faith has an object and that object is true. Everyone has faith; everyone believes in a variety of things. People believe in global warming, evolution, supply-side economics, conservative principles socialism, and abortion (which they call a woman’s right to choose). These things may be true or false; but all kinds of people believe in some of those things. Having faith is not enough. God does not look down and say, “Wow, you really believe in evolution; your faith is strong; I appreciate that.” Your faith is of no value when it is placed in the wrong things. Your faith must have an object and that object is truth, also called Bible doctrine. It is not your faith, per se, which is meritorious; it is the object of your faith that is meritorious.

         ix.     Paul will, many centuries later, tell us that there is a righteousness associated with faith in God’s promises. Rom. 4:19–22 And [Abraham] being about a hundred years old, not weakening in faith, he did not consider his body to have died already [he was sexually dead], nor yet the death of Sarah's womb, and he did not stagger in unbelief at the promise of God [that they would have a son], but was strengthened by faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that what God has promised, He is also able to do. Because of this, "it was also counted to him for righteousness." You will note that Paul has taken the words of Gen. 15:6 and given them a different application here. Abram will place his faith in what God has promised, and this faith—the faith that Abram places in the promises of God—would be credited to Abram as righteousness. This is fascinating because Paul took a promise of salvation to Abram and gave it a new spin—his faith in God’s promises. Therefore, subsequent to salvation, faith in God’s promises are counted to Abram as righteousness. So there is an accumulated righteousness which is a part of our lives post-salvation, that when we believe God’s promises, this faith is counted as righteousness. In the New Testament, we call this experiential sanctification or phase II sanctification. We are already saved, but we continue to accumulate righteousness based upon our faith in God’s promises, doctrines and mandates.

4)      The concept of grace—which is an attitude that results in acts that bestow upon people that which they do not deserve.

         i.       From the very beginning, God came to Abram and promised to make a great nation of him and to give him the land of Canaan. At this time, Abram had done very little that we could consider meritorious. Gen. 12:1–3

         ii.      Abram rescued Lot. It was Lot who chose to associate himself with the most degenerate elements of Canaan. Lot did not deserve Abram’s faithfulness or the deliverance that he brought to pass. Gen. 14:12–16

         iii.      Abram is gracious toward the King of Sodom, returning to him both his people and all of their belongings, which Abram could have legitimately kept. Gen.14:21–23

         iv.     However, closely associated with Abram’s graciousness is his not requiring his friends to be held to the same standard. That is, Abram did not impose his standards of righteousness upon others. They were remunerated for their services. Gen. 14:24

         v.      Even though we have grace being taught throughout Gen. 14, the Old Testament word for grace will not be found until Gen. 19:19 (which will indicate that, in the midst of judgment, there is God’s grace).

5)      Blessing by association and cursing by association.

         i.       Forever, nations would be cursed or blessed based upon their relationship with God’s people, the Jews. Gen. 12:3 (“And I will bless those who bless you, and curse the one despising you. And in you all families of the earth shall be blessed.”)

         ii.      Lot was blessed by his association with Abram. Gen. 13:6

         iii.      Lot was cursed by his association with the worst elements of Canaan. Gen. 14:12–14 15:13–16 19:1–28

         iv.     This concept may be further generalized into being blessed if you are in association with those associated with God; and cursed if you are in association with those who are in rebellion against God.

6)      The concept that Jesus Christ (in the Old Testament, Jehovah Elohim) controls history. This is most clearly seen and understood in Gen. 14 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD) and Gen. 19 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

         i.       We have already studied Gen. 14, which is simultaneously, one of the greatest and one of the most ignored chapters in Scripture. Abram led a tiny battalion of about 300 men against a brigade of possibly 3000–5000 well-trained soldiers and they defeated the larger army, causing them to retreat, and changing history in that region.

                  (1)     By the way, if you scoff at this and say, “That is just silly; these things don’t happen.” Israel today is a tiny country; it is 0.2% of land mass of the Middle East. All around them are people who have been raised from childhood to hate the Jews. There are nearly 8 million people in Israel, ¾ths of whom are Jewish (I write this in 2012). They are surrounded by countries which hate them. Egypt has about 85 million people and various political parties in Egypt continually speak of the destruction of Israel. Syria has nearly 23 million people. Iran has about 78 million people. All of these nations are, for the most part, hostile toward Israel. There are 1 billion Muslims in this world; they are hostile to Israel. Why don’t they simply attack Israel? Because of 6 days in 1967, when the Jews fought against Syria, Egypt and Iraq and defeated them. Israel fought an offensive war and God gave them victory. Although a repeat of this war in 1973 was not as successful for Israel (they were not as aggressive to begin with), still, the small population of Israel held their own against nations which were much larger (Egypt and Syria). Since Israel’s war of independence, there are been a dozen wars between the Jews and others in their periphery, and Israel has continued to increase their land holdings.

         ii.      Back to Gen. 14, and God controlling history. God wanted Abram to meet Melchizedek, which came about because of Abram’s military victory, which took place in the proximity of Melchizedek’s city. Jesus Christ controls history.

         iii.      Abram showed grace to the King of Sodom, which gave him a window of time during which he could have turned his own city-nation around. However, this king simply took from Abram what he was given, and had little interest in what was in Abram’s soul to make him do what he did. Similarly, the king of Sodom and his people had little interest in Melchizedek.

         iv.     Quite obviously, with the flood and with the confusion of the languages, God has controlled history throughout the ages.

         v.      In application to today, we believers in the United States must continue to have faith in Jesus Christ controlling human history, because our nation is in the worst shape it has ever been in. There are many nations with large armies that do not like us. We have a national debt as we have never had before. Our government has made trillions more in promises which it has no ability to keep (with regards to social security and medicare), and we have a huge number of people who refuse to think that this is a problem. So, whatever happens in the next year, or the next decade or in the next half-century, our faith needs to be in Jesus Christ, that He controls history.

7)      Obedience to God’s commands:

         i.       God told Noah about the flood to come and told him what to do to prepare for it. What Noah did in building the ark and gathering all of the animals was acting in obedience to God’s Word. Gen. 6:12–22

         ii.      The Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1–5) was disobeying the order from God for man to swarm the earth (Gen. 9:7). God told Noah not to worry about being flooded after the great flood, and the Tower of Babel appears to have been built with the partial intention of a place of safety in a great flood.

         iii.      God came to Abram and told him to move to Canaan. The Jewish race is dependent upon Abram’s obedience to God’s geographical will. Gen. 12:1–5

         iv.     Abram tried to fulfill God’s promises to him by having sex with Hagar, in order to raise up a son, and God put Abram on the shelf for 13 years. His faith and resultant actions were misplaced. Gen. 16:3–4, 16 17:1

8)      Living our lives, making choices and doing things, based upon what we know about God. God did not follow Abram every step of the way, saying, “Now, go 5 miles southwest, take a 10 minute rest, and then go 3 miles west.” That is, the spiritual life does not consist of following a long list of specific, narrow and tedious commands from God, which guide our each and every step. Obedience to God, does not mean that He stands there as a drill sergeant, orchestrating our each and every move, Whose orders we obey robotically. The process is far more organic than that.

         i.       Let me give you the football game analogy. During a football game, every individual player operates on the basis of free will and, even though there are well-defined and well-practiced plays, every player has to also be cognizant of events transpiring around them. 11 coaches are not simultaneously speaking into 11 headsets telling each and every player what to do next. God has designed us to have a modicum of independence and to make a variety of free will choices. However, these choices must be made according to the rules of the game, as football players must follow. A pass receiver might see an open spot out of bounds, but he is wasting his time to rush to that open spot in the stands.

         ii.      God appears to Abram about a half-dozen times, and each time is for a fairly short period of time. In the interim of these appearances are years of Abram’s life, where he functions, having God’s promises, but without having God continually come to him, telling him exactly what to do moment by moment. Gen. 14 is a perfect example of Abram doing what is right, but without God telling him exactly what to do, moment by moment. Although God is always with Abram, as He is with all of us, God is not right there with us, telling us each and every step to take and direction to move in. For this reason, Hagar calls Him, a God of Seeing.

         iii.      Therefore, the function of our free will in our lives and doing what ought to be done is very much the spiritual life (in conjunction with being in fellowship and knowing God’s Word). In Gen. 14, Abram did not sit around and wait for God to give him marching orders. He had to act and he acted. He had to save his nephew Lot. Gen. 14 represents one of Abram’s greatest spiritual victories. One might even say there was symbolic indication of this spiritual victory, where Abram went from offering animal sacrifices to taking the wine and bread in a pre-Church Age communion service. Gen. 14:18

         iv.     Many systems of evil seek to restrict the free will of man, particularly when it comes to expressing our spiritual lives. In communist countries, Christianity is all but outlawed; in Muslim countries, Christianity is outlawed and/or viciously persecuted; in liberal thinking, no government official ought to publically profess faith in God or faith in Jesus Christ. We have actually had government authorities tell chaplains and pastors what they can and cannot say in various services.

                  (1)     There was an attempt to remove God from public prayers at veterans’ funerals (leading to the common sense question, just Who the hell are you praying to, then?).

                  (2)     New York City Mayor Bloomberg thought that prayers mentioning God at a 9-11 memorial were inappropriate (causing many to ask, just who exactly are we praying to, then?).

                  (3)     One religious writer for the Washington Post warns that there are times the majority in a democracy ought not to get what it wants, if we are speaking of the 65% of Americans who want to see prayer reinstituted in school. He also suggests considering prayers without the mention of God or religion, whatever that means.

                  (4)     We have a myriad of instances where the words Christmas and Easter are virtually banned from mention, in public schools which just happen to celebrate those holidays each and every year. Many such schools do not hold a Christmas pageant or allow the singing of Christmas songs, even thought this is a rich tradition in American history. If a principal of a school came on the intercom and recited George Washington’s Thanksgiving message or even a public prayer from FDR, he would be disciplined or fired by the school board for his over-the-top religious fervor.

                  (5)     Chaplain Klingenschmitt's, a former Navy Chaplain, was court-martialed and fired for praying publicly in uniform "in Jesus name."

         v.      We have the illustration of our own children. We want the best for them and we don’t want them to make a series of life-destroying mistakes. Therefore, we raise them with the best intentions of guiding them, knowing that, at some point, they will function independently of us. The last thing a normal parent wants to do is be with their child every minute of the day telling them what to do next and what not to do. I believe the contemporary term for this is helicopter parents.

         vi.     We live lives, therefore, with some independence from God, but functioning within the boundaries that He has established.

9)      When Abram meets Melchizedek, they seem to bond immediately, based upon the fact that they both worship of the same God, even though these men had no previous contact and are likely only distantly related to one another (they share the common ancestors of Adam and Noah, but are probably descended from different sons of Noah).

10)    In this era, there was a rudimentary understanding of the laws of divine establishment, which many rulers attempted to codify into law at that time. These were laws which applied to all of their citizens, in order to have an orderly society. Again, Gen. 14, while illustrating Abram able to act and make good decisions without God telling him what to do; we also got to peer into the understandings of morality and the interaction of nations at that time.

         i.       Some of these laws of divine establishment would include punishment by society for murder. However, there is no indication in Scripture that this ought to be practiced by vigilantes. Gen. 9:6

         ii.      The concept of nationalism over internationalism is taught in Gen. 11:1–9

         iii.      The right of self-defense, the right of defending one’s own family, and the right to the spoils of war are all found in Gen. 14.

         iv.     Although God would give the land of Canaan to Abram’s progeny, this would be based upon the great degeneracy of the Canaanite people in the land. This also indicates that, being the first people into a geographical area does not guarantee perpetual ownership or control over that geographical area, either morally or actually. Gen. 12:1–2 13:15–17 15:13–16 17: 19:1–28

         v.      God punishes nations for great degeneracy within that nation, which punishment can include being defeated militarily and even having one’s land taken away. Gen. 15:13–16 19:1–28

11)    Although there are the laws of divine establishment and there was an attempt to codify that which is true, that does not mean that cultural norms and standards define what is right and wrong.

         i.       When Abram and Sarai decided to use Hagar as a surrogate mother, this was in accordance with the customs of that day, but it was not in God’s directive will that Abram impregnate Hagar.

         ii.      Although it was legitimate for Abram to keep the goods and people that he liberated in Gen. 14, he kept neither. At this point, he was obeying higher principles of his faith in God blessing him as He had promised.

12)    There is a concept of right and wrong—one’s conscience—which is embedded in the soul. This conscience appears to be fairly well-developed in some, and I would attribute that to parental training and guidance.

13)    So, even though we do not have the spiritual life laid out for us step-by-step in the book of Genesis, there is enough information here so that we can understand that there was, nevertheless, a well-defined spiritual life. Furthermore, when God tells Abram to live the spiritual life, that suggests that Abram understood what God was telling him to do.

This information, primarily culled from Gen. 3–16, taken with the various laws and codes which were developed during this time period, indicates that there was certainly a rudimentary spiritual life for believers as well as a national code of morality and justice for unbelievers (which we call the laws of divine establishment).

Similarly, the book of Job, besides giving us a lot of information about the Angelic Conflict in the first two chapters, also allows us to see 4 men from the ancient world discussing their ideas about God, the world they live in, their lives, and the application of what they believed to be universal spiritual laws to their lives. This book, more than likely, took place prior to Abram or coterminous with Abram’s life.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


For an historical context, I believe it is important to stop, like we did here, and review, and see if there was a spiritual life defined for believers in Abram’s era, as there is for us in the Church Age. Because Gen. 3–16 covers an era of 1000–2000 years, the limited amount of writing that exists in the canon of Scripture has to be carefully searched to recognize the continuities between our time and theirs. Furthermore, this helps to explain what God means when He tells Abraham to walk before Him and to be spiritually mature:


Gen 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be spiritually mature,...


So far, God has delivered a series of commands and promises to Abram, which is why he is living in Canaan in the first place. However, there is no indication that God has ever laid out a system of specific laws and that the pre-Mosaic spiritual life is only implied. However, as we have studied in previously that there appears to be enough information presented so that we can reasonably determine the basic spiritual life for believers and the concept of right and wrong for believers and unbelievers alike (the common morality for believers and unbelievers is known as divine establishment or the laws of divine establishment). So, the function of the spiritual life combined with the morality of the laws of divine establishment was how a believer was to function.


In fact, one of the things which has been lost to our society is the concept of right and wrong, good and bad, which is for nations of believers and unbelievers both. In the United States, this is being foisted upon our young in the form of relativism, humanism and multi-culturalism (all of which are taught in the public schools); and in Muslim countries, sharia law is replacing divine establishment laws. It would be wrong for believers to think that morality applies to them alone; and for unbelievers to think, whatever they think they ought to do, that is what they ought to do (or, as it phrased in the book of Judges, every man did what was right in his own eyes—Judges 17:6 21:25; see also Deut. 12:18 Prov. 12:15).


As we will soon discover, nations are preserved by the believers in that nation. Some of that preservation is direct. That is, if there is a large percentage of believers in a nation and a reasonable percentage of them understand Bible doctrine, then the nation is preserved simply because so many in that nation understand the laws of divine establishment. The direct influence of such believers on a society helps to preserve that society. As divine norms and standards are a part of the lives of believers in a society; and these believers are large enough in size to affect that society, in this way the society is preserved. That is the principle; we will study it in the not-too-distant future.


As an aside, one way that concepts of right and wrong are distorted in a society is by taking the vocabulary of right and wrong and distorting that. We have seen that in the past few years with the word justice, redefining it in such a way so as to reflect Marxist thinking (state directed redistribution of wealth), as in economic justice; or to reflect fanatical environmentalism, as in environmental justice (which is a cover for economic justice). These very same people would shrink back in horror, if you were to suggest any restrictions be placed on their sexual behavior, even though there are simple straight lines that can be drawn from sexual immorality to crime, increased immorality, increased lawlessness (which 3 things are a result of single motherhood), and a decreased lifespan (which results from homosexual activity). On the other hand, when it comes to so-called economic justice, any attempt to equalize income distribution results in a less productive, a less free and a more restrictive society. So, these same people who want complete freedom when it comes to sexual behavior—regardless of the negative consequences on society—are more than willing to place devastating restrictions on the productive elements of their society.


Back to Abram. It is 13 years after Ishmael was born to him by Hagar, his wife’s Egyptian slave-girl; and God appears to Abram once again.


Gen 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be spiritually mature,...


God reminds Abram that He is omnipotent and indicates that there is a specific walk for believers, as well as a concept of spiritual maturity even in Abram’s day, over 4000 years ago.


——————————


...and so I give my covenant between Me and between you and I will multiply you exceedingly, exceedingly.”

Genesis

17:2

...and I will grant My contract between Me and you. Furthermore, I will greatly multiply [your descendants].”

...and I will establish My covenant between Me and you. Furthermore, I will greatly multiply your descendants.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And I will set My covenant between My Word and thee, and will multiply thee very greatly.

Latin Vulgate                          And I will make my covenant between me and thee: and I will multiply thee exceedingly.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so I give my covenant between Me and between you and I will multiply you exceedingly, exceedingly.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And I will make my covenant between me and you and will multiply you exceedingly.

Septuagint (Greek)                And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted."

Easy English (Pocock)           Then I can make my *covenant between me and you. I will give you very many *descendants.'

Easy-to-Read Version            If you do this, I will prepare an agreement between us. I will promise to make your people a great nation.”

Good News Bible (TEV)         I will make my covenant with you and give you many descendants."

The Message                         I'll make a covenant between us and I'll give you a huge family."

New Berkeley Version           I will make My covenant between Me and you and I will in a most unusual way multiply you.

New Century Version             I will make an agreement between us, and I will make you the ancestor of many people."

New Life Bible                        And I will keep My agreement between Me and you. I will give you many children."

New Living Translation           I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants."


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          ...and I will establish a Sacred Agreement between you and Me; and I will also give you great prosperity!'

Ancient Roots Translinear      I gave my covenant between me and you, to multiply you a ||hundredfold||."

Beck’s American Translation And I will make My covenant with you, and I will make you the father of very many people.

Christian Community Bible     I will make a covenant between myself and you, and I will multiply your race.”

God’s Word                         I will give you my promise, and I will give you very many descendants."

New American Bible              Between you and me I will establish my covenant, and I will multiply you exceedingly. Gn 12:2; 13:16; Ex 32:13.

NIRV                                      I will now put into practice my covenant between me and you. I will greatly increase your numbers."

New Simplified Bible              »I will establish my covenant between us. I will greatly increase your numbers.«

Revised English Bible            ...so that I may make my covenant with you and give you many descendants.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And I will make an agreement between you and me, and your offspring will be greatly increased.

Conservapedia                       I will make My covenant between Me and you, and I will make you more numerous than you can imagine."

The Expanded Bible              I will make an ·agreement [covenant; treaty; 6:18] between ·us [Lme and you], and I will make you ·the ancestor of many people [Lexceedingly numerous]."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...and I will make a Covenant between Myself and you; and I will increase you very, very greatly.”

HCSB                                     I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly."

NET Bible®                             Then I will confirm my covenant [tn Following the imperative, the cohortative indicates consequence. If Abram is blameless, then the LORD will ratify the covenant. Earlier the LORD ratified part of his promise to Abram (see Gen. 15:18–21), guaranteeing him that his descendants would live in the land. But the expanded form of the promise, which includes numerous descendants and eternal possession of the land, remains to be ratified. This expanded form of the promise is in view here (see Gen. 17:2 (i.e., Genesis 17:2b); Gen. 17:4–8). See the note at Gen. 15:18 and R. B. Chisholm, "Evidence from Genesis," A Case for Premillennialism, 35–54.] between me and you, and I will give you a multitude of descendants [Heb "I will multiply you exceedingly, exceedingly." The repetition is emphatic.]."

NIV – UK                                I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           I will make my covenant between me and you, and I will increase your numbers greatly."

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and I give my covenant

between me and between you

and abound you mightily mighty.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will make you exceedingly numerous.”

Kaplan Translation                 I will make a covenant between Me and you, and I will increase your numbers very much.'

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And I will confirm My brit (covenant) between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And I will make My covenant (solemn pledge) between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly.

Concordant Literal Version    And giving am I My covenant between Me and you, and increasing am I you exceedingly exceedingly.

English Standard Version      ...that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly."

Heritage Bible                        And I will give my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.

LTHB                                     ...and I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you very much.

NASB                                     "I will establish [Lit give] My covenant between Me and you,

And I will multiply you exceedingly."

New RSV                               And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.'

Syndein                                  And I will give { nathan-grace operation-God does the work} My covenant {b@riyth - and this is 'unconditional' here - no dependence on Abram or what 'work' he does} between me and you, and multiplying . . . I will multiply { m@`od m@`od - doubling of the word - very strong} you {Abram} exceedingly {many, many nations will be descended from Abram}.

A Voice in the Wilderness      ...and I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly abundantly.

Young’s Updated LT             ...and I give My covenant between Me and you, and multiply you very exceedingly.”

 

The gist of this verse:          God reminds Abram of his covenant with him.


Genesis 17:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâthan (נָתַן) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set; to make

1st person singular, Qal imperfect with the cohortative hê suffix

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

All of the BDB meanings for the Qal stem of nâthan are as follows: 1) to give, put, set; 1a) (Qal); 1a1) to give, bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, employ, devote, consecrate, dedicate, pay wages, sell, exchange, lend, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, yield produce, occasion, produce, requite to, report, mention, utter, stretch out, extend; 1a2) to put, set, put on, put upon, set, appoint, assign, designate; 1a3) to make, constitute.

The hê at the end is called a voluntative hê and the verb itself is known as a cohortative and is often translated with the additional word let, may, might, ought, should.

berîyth (בְּרִית) [pronounced bereeth]

covenant; pact, alliance, treaty, alliance, contract

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136

bêyn (בֵּין) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #996 BDB #107

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bêyn (בֵּין) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix; pausal form

Strong's #996 BDB #107


Translation: ...and I will grant My contract between Me and you. ... God has a particular contract or covenant which He will give to one person—that person is Abram. God did not go around and willy nilly offer up covenants to a variety of people (like Buddha or to Mohammed). This is specifically God’s contract and it will be made specifically between Abram and God.


This is the second time that God has spoken of making a covenant with Abram, the first being back in Gen. 15. Although God has talked with Abram on 3 previous occasions, only once did God speak about a covenant. A covenant is simply an anachronistic word for contract. Sometimes Christians hold on too tightly to some of these anachronistic words, and young people are confused and put off by their foreign-sounding words (churches which continue to use the excellent but anachronistic KJV should be warned about this). God is simply making an agreement with Abram; He is establishing a contract with Abram.


The word here generally translated to make, to establish is actually the very common Hebrew word to give. Anytime you see God as the subject, give as the verb, and some person or group as the recipient of that gift, we are talking about grace. Grace may be defined as, all that God is free to do for us based upon the cross; and which things God does for us, are undeserved by us. We have touched on grace in the previous lesson, but we have not yet fully studied this word.


This verb is nâthan (נָתַן) [pronounced naw-THAHN], which means: 1) to give, put, set; 1a) to give, bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, employ, devote, consecrate, dedicate, pay wages, sell, exchange, lend, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, yield produce, occasion, produce, requite to, report, mention, utter, stretch out, extend; 1b) to put, set, put on, put upon, set, appoint, assign, designate; 1c) to make, constitute. All of these BDB meanings for the Qal stem of nâthan. Strong's #5414 BDB #678


At the end of the verb to give, we have the cohortative hê, which simply means that the Hebrew letter hê (ה) is added to the end of the verb. When applied to the first person, the idea is an expression of will or compulsion, and in the singular, may be expressed with I must, I could, I would, I will, I should, I may.


God has promised Abram that He would make Abram a great nation, a father of many people, and is about to begin to fulfill those promises to Abram. The promise of most concern to Abram is the one of children; Abram has desired children for most of his 99 years on this earth and God has promised him that he would have children and that his progeny would be like the sand of the sea. Abram has trusted God perhaps 15 years ago on this point (in Gen. 15), but now he is sexually dead and the possibility of having children, other than Ishmael, seems quite unlikely.


God has always been here with Abram, tapping His foot, as it were, waiting to bless Abram by giving him an agreement, a gracious contract. In Gen. 15, it appeared as though God was going to start to make good on His promises made thus far to Abram, and then, Abram went out ahead of God and impregnated Hagar the Egyptian slave-girl. So, for 13 years, God has been there, tapping His foot, waiting to give grace to Abram.


Let’s not become confused here. God has not withdrawn His promises from Abram. God is not punishing Abram for 13 years because of his dalliance with Little Egypt. What Abram did was throw off the timetable. God cannot desert Abram’s seed, which is Ishmael, born to him by Hagar. So God allows Ishmael to be born and to grow into a young man (13 years old). God’s specific promises to Abram had to be put on hold until that time.


Abram’s spiritual heritage is going to flow through one very specific genetic line, which line will be begun with a child sired by Abram and carried by Sarai. God still has to allow for Abram’s decision to impregnate Hagar; and time must be allowed for their child to be raised properly in a good environment. That takes 13 years. So, for all intents and purposes, Abram is not waiting on God but God is waiting on Abram.


Application: Is God waiting on you to move His plan for you forward?


Genesis 17:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

râbâh (רָבָה) [pronounced rawb-VAWH]

to make [do] much; to multiply, to increase; to give much; to lay much; to have much; to make great; many [as a Hiphil infinitive construct]

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #7235 BDB #915

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; among, in the midst of; at, by, near, on, before, in the presence of, upon; with; to, unto, upon, up to; in respect to, on account of; by means of, about, concerning

primarily a preposition of proximity; however, it has a multitude of functions

No Strong’s # BDB #88

meʾôd (מְאֹד) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547

meʾôd (מְאֹד) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547


Translation: ...Furthermore, I will greatly multiply [your descendants].” As a part of God’s contract—or, as a part of His relationship with Abram, God promises to multiply Abram, which suggests that God would multiply Abram’s descendants.


Gen 17:1–2 When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be spiritually mature, that I may make My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly."


God has to let certain things run their course before He can step back into Abram’s life. Raising up Ishmael to the point of being a young adult has to occur, and then God can come back to Abram and give him grace. God can come back into Abram’s life and bless him with a gracious contract. But, because of Abram’s actions, God had to wait. This was not punishment to Abram; God has not walked off in a huff, saying, “I’ll show him!” A certain amount of time has to transpire and Ishmael has to become a young adult before God can step back into Abram’s life and to continue the work which God had begun.


Walking before God and being spiritually mature means, Abram is in fellowship (there is no unconfessed sin in his life), he is trusting God’s promises, and he is obedient to the laws of divine establishment.


To multiply is in the Hiphil imperfect. The Hiphil is the causative stem, and this verb is given the following Hiphil definitions: to make much, make many, have many; to multiply, increase; to make much to do, do much in respect of, transgress greatly; to increase greatly or exceedingly; to make great, enlarge, do much. What follows is a repetition of the adverb meʾôd (מְאֹד) [pronounced me-ODE], which means exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very. Strong’s #3966 BDB #547. Not only is the verb intensified, but it is doubly intensified, as this adverb occurs twice, which is rare in the Hebrew. Verbs in the Hebrew are often doubled, relatively speaking; adverbs much less so. This indicates that God has an incredible amount of blessing that He wants to pour on Abram.


Abram is just one man, a very successful rancher, who comes down to us today as one of the most well-known people from the ancient world. During Abram’s day, there were many vigorous peoples, many powerful nations; and yet, the most well-known person of this era is Abram. What king from Abram’s day is as well-known? What king or man of great power can you name from that era (say, 2100–1900 b.c.)? And yet, Abram is not a king he is simply a very successful businessman, successful because God has greatly blessed him. He is known to us today as the father of the Jewish race or the father of the Jewish people. Furthermore, he is known to us because God promised him, “I will multiply you greatly.“


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


God Renames Abram, as a Part of the Covenant Promise


And so falls Abram upon his face; and so speaks with him Elohim, to say,...

Genesis

17:3

Abram then fell upon his face; and God spoke to him, saying,...

Abram then fell on his face; and God spoke to him, saying,...


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And because Abram was not circumcised, he was not able to stand, but he bowed himself upon his face; and the Lord spake with him, saying...

Latin Vulgate                          Abram fell flat on his face.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so falls Abram upon his face; and so speaks with him Elohim, to say,...

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Abram fell on his face; and God talked with him, saying,...

Septuagint (Greek)                And Abram fell upon his face, and God spoke to him, saying,...

 

Significant differences:           The Latin sensibly takes the latter half of this verse and places it with v. 4. This explains some of the translations below. The targum adds all kinds of additional material, much of which is false or not pertinent.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Abram bowed with his face to the ground, and God said:...

Easy English (Pocock)           Then Abram *bowed down with his face close to the ground. God spoke to him.

Easy-to-Read Version            Then Abram bowed down before God. God said to him,...

Good News Bible (TEV)         Abram bowed down with his face touching the ground, and God said,...

The Message                         Overwhelmed, Abram fell flat on his face. Then God said to him,...

New Berkeley Version           Abram fell on his face while God continued speaking to him:...

New Century Version             Then Abram bowed facedown on the ground. God said to him,...


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Well at that, Abram fell with his face [to the ground]. Then God spoke to him [again], saying,...

Ancient Roots Translinear      Abram fell toward his face. God spoke with him, saying,...

God’s Word                         Immediately, Abram bowed with his face touching the ground, and again God spoke to him,...

New Jerusalem Bible             And Abram bowed to the ground. God spoke to him as follows,...

Revised English Bible            Abram bowed down, and God went on,...

Today’s NIV                          Abram fell facedown, and God said to him...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And Abram went down on his face on the earth, and the Lord God went on talking with him, and said,...

Conservapedia                       Abram fell on his face. God continued to talk with him, saying,...

The Expanded Bible              Then Abram ·bowed facedown on the ground [Lfell on his face]. God said to him,...

New Advent Bible                  Abram fell flat on his face.

NET Bible®                             Abram bowed down with his face to the ground [tn Heb "And Abram fell on his face." This expression probably means that Abram sank to his knees and put his forehead to the ground, although it is possible that he completely prostrated himself. In either case the posture indicates humility and reverence.], and God said to him [tn Heb "God spoke to him, saying." This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.],...

NIV – UK                                Abram fell face down, and God said to him,...


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           Avram fell on his face, and God continued speaking with him:...

exeGeses companion Bible   And Abram falls on his face:

and Elohim words with him, saying,...

JPS (Tanakh—1917)               And Abram fell on his face; and God talked with him, saying:...

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               Abram threw himself on his face; and God spoke to him further,...

Kaplan Translation                 Abram fell on his face. God spoke to him [again], saying,...

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And Avram fell on his face; and Elohim talked with him, saying,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And falling is Abram on his face.

English Standard Version      Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him,...

Syndein                                  And Abram kept on falling face {picture of his own helplessness - a perfect response to the grace of God}. 'Elohim/Godhead kept on communicating categorically {dabar} {with him}, saying {'amar}...

World English Bible                Abram fell on his face. God talked with him, saying,...

Young’s Updated LT             And Abram falls upon his face, and God speaks with him, saying,...

 

The gist of this verse:          Abram falls on his face before God, and God continues speaking with him.


Genesis 17:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâphal (נָפַל) [pronounced naw-FAHL]

to fall, to lie, to die a violent death, to be brought down, to settle, to sleep deeply; to desert

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5307 BDB #656

ʾAberâm (אַבְרָם) [pronounced abv-RAWM]

father of elevation, exalted father; and is transliterated Abram

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #87 BDB #4

ʿal (עַל) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, against, above

preposition

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

pânîym (פָּנִים) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular) with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, ʿâl and pânîym mean upon his face of, facing him, in front of him, before (as in preference to) him, in addition to him, overlooking him.


Translation: Abram then fell upon his face [or, in front of Him];... It has been 13 years since Abram has spoken with God. This is somewhat of a shock to him, and he takes this meeting quite seriously, falling on his face. You will note that there are two different ways of interpreting this final phrase; Abram can either be falling upon his own face; or he can fall in front of God.


This is new. Abram’s response was to do obeisance to God, which is something he has not done before. God has not spoken to Abram for a long time. God spoke to Hagar, Sarai’s slave girl, 13 years previous to this (which information, she apparently passed along to Abram), and prior to that, God spoke to Abram, which would have been perhaps 15–20 years previous (Abram left Charan at age 75, and he is now 99). Therefore, Abram, having no idea how much longer he will live, is quite overwhelmed to speak to God again.


It is reasonable to suppose that Abram has remembered and/or recorded all that God said to him earlier. In other words, all of the contact between God and Abram are recorded for us today. There is no reason to think that there were several other meetings between God and Abram that Abram chose not to talk about.


My guess is, this is not a forced reaction, or something that Abram thinks about, and then does. My thinking is, after all of this time, Abram automatically falls to his face in front of our Lord. He does not do it intentionally to indicate his respect, but does this as an automatic reaction to God standing before him and speaking.


Somehow, in some way, we have taken a very casual attitude toward God. Some of us think that, if we spoke to God, we’d be like, “That’s right; it’s cool. I’m probably cool since God is here speaking to me.” If it were not for God’s justice, which has been satisfied at the cross, God could cast us immediately into the Lake of Fire. For whatever sins we have doing lately, God could lay out all kinds of punishment upon us.


So, Abram, after this time, has become more responsive to God, not less. As I have suggested earlier, I believe that Abram received the Word of God from Melchizedek (the first 10–12 chapters of Genesis and perhaps the book of Job) and had spent time reading it, to understand God. Or, as I have suggested before, it is possible and reasonable that Melchizedek gave these books to Abram verbally. Abram’s thinking was superior to ours and that he had memorized these pages of God’s Word and was, over the past 13 years, calling them back into his mind, and thinking about them. As a result, his respect for God has increased immensely.


Genesis 17:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

dâbar (דָּבַר) [pronounced dawb-VAHR]

to speak, to talk [and back with action], to give an opinion, to expound, to make a formal speech, to speak out, to promise, to propose, to speak kindly of, to declare, to proclaim, to announce

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #1696 BDB #180

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

ʾĚlôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

God; gods, foreign gods, god; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55


Translation: ...and God spoke to him, saying,... As has been mentioned, the Latin Vulgate wisely places this half of v. 3 with v. 4. However, it ought to be noted here that God does not speak to Abram, but He now speaks with Abram. That is an important advance. It suggests that Abram has advanced spiritually.


The Hebrew is much more difficult that most English translations make it out to be here. First of all, there are 2 verbs here which mean to speak. The first is the Piel (intensive stem) imperfect of dâbar (דָּבַר) [pronounced dawb-VAHR], which means (in the Piel): to speak, to talk [and back with action], to give an opinion, to expound, to make a formal speech, to speak out, to promise, to propose, to speak kindly of, to declare, to proclaim, to announce. Strong’s #1696 BDB #180. This phrase ends with the words to speak, to say (the more common verb for to say). Furthermore, we do not have the normal preposition here; we would expect the lâmed preposition, which simply means to or the more formal preposition, unto. What we have here instead is, with. The implication is, God is speaking to Abram as a friend and willing to interact with him. Literally, this reads: And so speaks with him, Elohim [the subject of the verb, in Hebrew, usually follows the verb], to say... My point is, this is much more formal than it appears in most English translations.


Gen 17:3b And Elohim spoke with him, saying,...


God is about to lay out His covenant with Abram, so the Hebrew indicates that this is a very formal event.


——————————


“I, behold, My covenant [is] with you and you have been to a father of a multitude of nations.

Genesis

17:4

“[It is] I; listen, My contract [is] with you and you will be a father of many [gentile] nations.

“Listen to Me! My agreement is with you; you already have become a father of many gentile nations.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                Behold, I have confirmed (or divided) my covenant with you; and you will be the father of many peoples.

Latin Vulgate                          And God said to him: I am, and my covenant is with you, and you will be a father of many nations.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        “I, behold, My covenant [is] with you and you have been to a father of a multitude of nations.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    As for me, behold, I am establishing my covenant with you, and you shall be a father of many peoples.

Septuagint (Greek)                And I, behold! My covenant [is] with you, and you shall be a father of a many nations.

 

Significant differences:           The Latin more sensibly affixes v. 3b to v. 4. The English translations from the targum and from the Syriac insert a verb at the beginning. The Hebrew verb to be is in the perfect tense. However, it is a future middle indicative in the Greek and appears to be a future tense in the targum, Latin and Syriac. The preposition found in the Hebrew is not found in the other ancient translations.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           "But me, my covenant is with you; you will be the ancestor of many nations.

Contemporary English V.       I promise that you will be the father of many nations. That's why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham. This is actually vv. 3–4 combined.

Easy English (Pocock)           'Look! I have made a *covenant with you. You will be the father of a great crowd of nations.

Easy-to-Read Version            “This is my part of our agreement: I will make you the father of many nations.

Good News Bible (TEV)         "I make this covenant with you: I promise that you will be the ancestor of many nations.

The Message                         "This is my covenant with you: You'll be the father of many nations.

New Century Version             "I am making my agreement with you: I will make you the father of many nations.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          'Look; I am making My Sacred Agreement with you. You will become the father of many nations.

Ancient Roots Translinear      "Behold me and my covenant with you! You are the father of a multitude of nations.

God’s Word                         "My promise is still with you. You will become the father of many nations.

New American Bible              For my part, here is my covenant with you: you are to become the father of a multitude of nations. Sir 44:21; Rom 4:17.

New Jerusalem Bible             'For my part, this is my covenant with you: you will become the father of many nations.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             As for me, my agreement is made with you, and you will be the father of nations without end.

Conservapedia                       "As for Me, look: My covenant is with you, and you will be a father of many ethnic groups.

The Expanded Bible              "I am making my ·agreement [covenant; treaty; 6:18] with you: I will make you the father of ·many [La host/multitude of] nations.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 “I now make a Covenant with you, and you shall be a father of many nations;...

New Advent Bible                  And God said to him: I am, and my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. You see here how this follows the more logical Latin Vulgate with regards to the verses.

NET Bible®                             "As for me [tn Heb "I."], this [Heb “is” (הִנֵּה, hinneh).] is my covenant with you: You will be the father of a multitude of nations.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 'As far as I am concerned, here is My covenant with you: You shall be the father of a horde of nations.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           As for Me, hinei, My brit (covenant) is with thee, and thou shalt be an Av of many Goyim [see 18:18].


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                As for Me, behold, My covenant (solemn pledge) is with you, and you shall be the father of many nations.

Concordant Literal Version    And speaking with him is the Elohim, saying, "I, behold! My covenant is with you. And you are to become the forefather of a throng of nations.

English Standard Version      "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.

Heritage Bible                        As for me, behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many peoples..

New RSV                               `As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.

World English Bible                "As for me, behold, my covenant is with you. You will be the father of a multitude of nations.

Young’s Updated LT             “I—lo, My covenant is with you, and you have become father of a multitude of nations;...

 

The gist of this verse:          God tells Abram that His covenant is with Abram and that he is a father of many nations.


Genesis 17:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾânîy (אָנִי) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me; in answer to a question, it means I am, it is I

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

hinnêh (הִנֵּה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

Hinnêh can be used as a particle of incitement.

berîyth (בְּרִית) [pronounced bereeth]

covenant; pact, alliance, treaty, alliance, contract

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85


Translation: “[It is] I; listen, My contract [is] with you... Jesus Christ, the Revealed Member of the Trinity is standing; Abram is laying on the ground; and Jehovah Elohim says, “I, listen!” Or, “Behold Me!” The idea is, while Abram is laying there, he needs to pay close attention.


God never had to tell Abram to fear Him or to give Him reverence. Abram was well-acquainted with God's power and majesty and that he, Abram, was nothing in comparison. He immediately does obeisance to God, being in His presence. One of the toughest words to translate and make work in the demonstrative particle hinnêh (הִנֵּה) [pronounced hin-NAY] and it means to pay attention, listen to this, observe, give me your undivided attention. It is too often anachronistically translated as behold! or lo! God promises to Abram that He will give him a great number of descendants and that these descendants will become many nations.


13 years have passed since God last spoke to Abram. Abram may have even thought that God was now working through Hagar, as God had spoken to her and gave him a son through her. God assures Abram that His covenant is with Abram. God has not gone off and made a covenant with someone else; God did not make a covenant with Hagar.


Like v. 3b, this phrase is also more complicated that most English translations make it out to be. Literally, it reads: “I, behold! My covenant [is] with you.” Some translators render this, “As for Me, behold...” Several ignore these first 2 Hebrew words. Essentially, the first 2 words might be more idiomatically rendered, “Listen to Me” “Listen up” “Pay attention to what I am going to say.” Remember, Abram fell on the ground before God. God needs his full attention here.


The second phrase leaves out the verb to be, which indicates great emphasis in these words. Elliptical phrases often indicate great emphasis. As mentioned before, God has not said anything to Abram, and now He tells him to listen, saying, “My covenant with you!” The idea is, God has not changed His mind. He has not been observing Abram over the past 15 or so years, deciding, “Naw, I need to pick someone else as a part of my covenant.” The power and force here indicates that we are speaking of something which is quite exclusive and directed specifically toward Abram. God is not going around and making agreements with several dozen people. This is a very specific and very exclusive contract that God is making with Abram.


There is a reason I am putting great emphasis upon this: God, who is all-knowing (Job 37:16 Psalm 139:1–4 147:4–5), Who knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10), did not make a mistake by choosing Abram and He is not going to transfer all of His promises to Abram to another group of people (the church) because the Jews never turned out to be quite the people that God wanted them to be. That view is called Covenant Theology, and it is the basis for much of the Christian theology today. God will set the Jewish race aside, for a time, and work through the church (just as He has done with Abram), but the Jews are still His people.


Genesis 17:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Additional meanings of the lâmed preposition: with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to.

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

ʾâb (אָב) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household, clan or tribe; founder, civil leader, military leader

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

hâmôwn (הָמוֹן) [pronounced haw-MOHN

multitude, crowd, throng; murmur, roar, abundance, tumult, sound, murmur, rush, roar; tumult, confusion; great number, abundance; abundance, wealth

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1995 BDB #242

gôwyîm (גּוֹיִם) [pronounced goh-YIHM]

Gentiles, [Gentile] nations, people, peoples, nations

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #1471 BDB #156


Translation: ...and you will be a father of many [gentile] nations. Almost every translation I read has the verb as a future tense. However, God says, “You are [already] a father of many nations.” Or, “You have become a father of many gentile nations.” The verb is in the perfect tense, which means, this is an established fact; this thing has already occurred in some point in time. However, quite obviously, Abram has but one son. Insofar as God is concerned, Abram is already the father of a multitude of nations. He already has a down payment on this promise; Ishmael, Hagar’s child, was born to Abram. This is at least one nation, the Ishmaelites. And Ishmael will begin having a number of children right from the get-go.


Also in this second half of the verse is the untranslated lâmed preposition. Its use here seems to be #4 above; the mark of the dative case. Abram is the father of many gentile nations; this is to his benefit; to his advantage.


God tells Abram that he will be the father of many nations; so from Abram will not just come Israel (in its various forms), but a number of Semitic nations. Semitic then refers back to Shem, Abram’s ancestor from the ark. Today, we use the term Semitic to refer almost exclusively to Jews.


Gen 17:1–4 When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be spiritually mature, that I may make My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly." Then Abram fell on his face. And Elohim spoke with him, saying, "Behold Me, My covenant [is] with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.


Up to this point, Sarai, Abram’s wife, had talked Abram into siring a wife by her Egyptian slave girl, Hagar, which Abram did. Although this was culturally acceptable, it was outside of the Divine plan for Abram. Although God has never specifically told Abram that his seed would come through Sarai, all historical precedents involved one husband and one wife. God began with Adam and Eve, not Adam, Eve + 1 surrogate mom. Although marriages to more than one woman existed, they were aberrant coalitions.


So, God did not abandon Abram’s child by Hagar; but this was outside of God’s directive will, and our study of what the spiritual life was in the ancient world involved a one-man/one-woman marriage (which is a part of the laws of divine establishment, which apply to all people).


So, 13 years have gone by since Abram’s child was born, and during that time, God did not appear to Abram. However, God is with Abram now, and this will be a pivotal chapter, both in the life of Abram and in human history.


——————————


God continues speaking to Abram, saying something which is quite unusual:


And not named yet your name, Abram; and has become your name Abraham, for a father of a multitude of nations I have given you.

Genesis

17:5

No longer is your name called Abram; but [lit., and] Abraham has become your name, for I have made you a father of many nations.

No longer will your name be Abram, but Abraham is now your name, for I have made you the father of many nations.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And thy name shall be no more called Abram, but Abraham shall be thy name, because to be the father of a great multitude of peoples have I appointed thee.

Latin Vulgate                          Neither shall your name be called any more Abram: but you shalt be called Abraham: because I have made you a father of many nations.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And not named yet your name, Abram; and has become your name Abraham, for a father of a multitude of nations I have given you.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many peoples.

Septuagint (Greek)                And your name shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations..

 

Significant differences:           The Hebrew is quite clunky at first—and perhaps it is very proper Hebrew, as God is speaking. It is hard to pick out the subject of the verb—which appears to be Abram. However, it seems to make more sense you have your name as the subject of the verb, which is what is found the English translations from the targum, the Latin and the Syriac. The actual Greek, and not the English translation above, matched the Hebrew nearly exactly in this first phrase.

 

The second phrase sounds like the future tense in all of the ancient translations. However, it is the perfect tense in the Hebrew, indicating, most of the time, an accomplished fact. For God, who is not subject to time, this would be an accomplished fact; albeit, difficult to translate.

 

The final verb is also in the perfect tense, and that is how it appears to be translated in the ancient translations.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           And because I have made you the ancestor of many nations, your name will no longer be Abram [Or exalted ancestor] but Abraham [Or ancestor of a multitude]..

Contemporary English V.       That's why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham.

Easy English (Pocock)           Your name will not be Abram any longer. It will be Abraham because I will make you the father of a great crowd of nations.

Easy-to-Read Version            I will change your name. Your name will not be Abram [This means "honored father."] —your name will be Abraham [This means "great father" or "father of many."]. I give you this name because I am making you the father of many nations.

Good News Bible (TEV)         Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, because I am making you the ancestor of many nations.

The Message                         Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that 'I'm making you the father of many nations.'

New Berkeley Version           Your name shall no longer be Abram but your name shall become Abraham, because I have designated you a father of many nations;...

New Century Version             I am changing your name from Abram [Abram This name means "honored father."] to Abraham [Abraham The end of the Hebrew word for "Abraham" sounds like the beginning of the Hebrew word for "many."] because I am making you a father of many nations.

New Living Translation           What's more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham [Abram means "exalted father"; Abraham sounds like a Hebrew term that means "father of many."], for you will be the father of many nations.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And your name will no longer be called Abram. it will be AbraHam, 5 for I have made you the father of many nations.

Ancient Roots Translinear      Never call your name Abram again. Your name is Abraham (father of multitudes), given to you as a father of a multitude of nations.

God’s Word                         So your name will no longer be Abram [Exalted Father], but Abraham [Father of Many] because I have made you a father of many nations.

New American Bible              No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham,* for I am making you the father of a multitude of nations. Neh 9:7.

New Simplified Bible              »You will no longer be called Abram (Exalted Father). Your name will be Abraham (means Father of Many). I have made you a father of many nations.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             No longer will your name be Abram, but Abraham, for I have made you the father of a number of nations.

Conservapedia                       In fact, your name will not be Abram anymore. From now on, your name is Abraham, because I have made you a father of many nations. In Hebrew, the name Abram means "exalted father," but Abraham means "father of a multitude." Notice the common root ?? (av-), "father," in both names.

The Expanded Bible              I am changing your name from Abram [Cmeaning "exalted father"] to Abraham [Csounds like "father of a multitude" in Hebrew] because I am making you a father of ·many [La host/multitude of] nations.

NET Bible®                             No longer will your name be [tn Heb "will your name be called."] Abram. Instead, your name will be Abraham [Your name will be Abraham. The renaming of Abram was a sign of confirmation to the patriarch. Every time the name was used it would be a reminder of God’s promise. “Abram” means “exalted father,” probably referring to Abram’s father Terah. The name looks to the past; Abram came from noble lineage. The name “Abraham” is a dialectical variant of the name Abram. But its significance is in the wordplay with אַב־הֲמוֹן (’av-hamon, “the father of a multitude,” which sounds like אַבְרָהָם, ’avraham, “Abraham”). The new name would be a reminder of God’s intention to make Abraham the father of a multitude. For a general discussion of renaming, see O. Eissfeldt, “Renaming in the Old Testament,” Words and Meanings, 70-83.] because I will make you [tn The perfect verbal form is used here in a rhetorical manner to emphasize God's intention.] the father of a multitude of nations.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           Your name will no longer be Avram [exalted father], but your name will be Abraham [Avraham in Hebrew. It is related to Av Ham, the 'father of hordes,' but the 'r' is retained.] [father of many], because I have made you the father of many nations.

Kaplan Translation                 No longer shall you be called Abram. Your name shall become Abraham, for I have set you up as the father of a horde of nations.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           Neither shall thy shem any more be called Avram, but thy shem shall be Avraham; for Av hamon Goyim (Father of a multitude of Goyim) have I made thee. [T.N. Ga 3:29 says "And if you belong to Moshiach (YESHAYAH 53:10), then you are of the ZERAH of Avraham Avinu, you are yoreshim (heirs) according to the havtachah (promise).]


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Nor shall your name any longer be Abram [high, exalted father]; but your name shall be Abraham [father of a multitude], for I have made you the father of many nations.

Concordant Literal Version    And no further shall your name be called Abram. Yet your name becomes Abraham, for the forefather of a throng of nations have I made you.

English Standard Version      No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and your name is no more called Abram,

but your name becomes Abraham;

for a father of a multitude of goyim I give you:.

Heritage Bible                        And your name shall not any more be called Abram [Abram means High Father, and], and your name shall be Abraham [Abraham means Father Of A Multitude.], because I have made you a father of many peoples..

Modern KJV                           Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham. For I have made you a father of many nations.

New RSV                               No longer shall your name be Abram [That is exalted ancestor], but your name shall be Abraham [Here taken to mean ancestor of a multitude]; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations.

Syndein                                  "Neither shall your name {shem} any more be kept on calling 'Abram' {means 'father of high and windy places'}, but your name . . . {shall be} 'Abraham' {means 'father of many nations'}. For a 'father of great multitude' {'ab + hamown} of nations {gowy} have I {God} given {you to be}." {Note: As Abram, God took him to the top of a mountain and said look in all directions. This land I give to you. Abram was the 'father of all the mountain peaks that he saw'. Now, God is changing his name to Abraham because He is ready to fulfill His promise to make him the father of many nations. The name comes before the son comes.}.

Young’s Updated LT             ...and your name is no more called Abram, but your name has been Abraham, for father of a multitude of nations have I made you.

 

The gist of this verse:          God renames Abram Abraham.


Genesis 17:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lôʾ (לֹא or לוֹא) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

There are several ways this negation is used. (1) It is an absolute no given to a question. (2) It can be used as an interrogative when an affirmative answer is expected. 2Kings 5:26 Job 2:10 Jer. 49:9. (3) It can be used to mean without. 1Chron. 2:30 Psalm 59:4 Job 12:24 34:24. (4) It can be translated not yet. 2Kings 20:4 Psalm 139:16. (5) The negative is prefixed to adjective to negate them; to substantives to indicate that they are not that thing. Although some claim that this negation can stand on its own to mean nothing; there is no clear proof of that.

qârâʾ (קָרָא) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to be named; to be called, to be proclaimed; to be called together [assembled, [summoned]; to be read aloud, to be recited

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

ʿôwd (עוֹד) [pronounced ģohd]

still, yet, again, again and again, repeatedly, in addition to; more, farther, besides; as yet, yet, still, even yet

adverb

Strong’s #5750 BDB #728

With the negative, this means never again, no more, not...anymore, not again.

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

ʾAberâm (אַבְרָם) [pronounced abv-RAWM]

father of elevation, exalted father; and is transliterated Abram

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #87 BDB #4


Translation: No longer is your name called Abram;... Although this sounds a bit clunky, we ought to assume that God knows good sentence structure in the Hebrew. My guess is, this is very formal Hebrew. Although it seems more natural to me for your name to be the subject of the verb and Abram to be the direct object, it is the other way around in the Hebrew. Trying to make up for often involves adding additional words: “And no longer is Abram the designation of your name...” Exalted father is what Abram means.


Even though the Hebrew is somewhat of a struggle here, the meaning of the Hebrew is clear: “Your name will no longer be called Abram.”


Genesis 17:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

ʾAberâhâm (אַבְרָהָם) [pronounced ahbve-raw-HAWM]

father of a multitude, chief of a multitude; transliterated Abraham

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #85 BDB #4


Translation: ...but [lit., and] Abraham has become your name,... God renames Abram Abraham. Now, interestingly enough, the verb is a Qal perfect, which indicates a completed action. So, insofar as God is concerned, Abram’s name has been, in eternity past, changed to Abraham.


God changes Abram’s name to Abraham. Abram means exalted father; father of high and windy places One might even understand Abram to mean father of wind. However, his new name is Abraham, the name by which we know him. Abraham means father of many. Abram can be understood to mean that Abram is the father of nothing; or the father of something that is just too far off to see; he is the father of something which cannot be seen. However, his new name is father of many, which indicates that this is a major change for Abram. He is still a father, but he is no longer a father of wind but of many, of a multitude.


I believe that the implication here is, Abraham has experienced some spiritual growth. In raising his son and in teaching him what he should be teaching him, Abraham has come to better recognize his place in this world and his relationship to God.


I recall a cult of several years ago, which, for all I know, may still be in existence. This cult noticed that our Lord changed to name of Abram to Abraham and Saul of Tarsus to Paul, and made a play on words with the apostle Peter's name. For this reason, they all renamed themselves with some holy name. Get a clue, people. These people did not name themselves; God named them; God did not rename everyone in the Bible, only a small handful of believers were given a new name. These cults grab onto one or two small portions of Scripture; they do not grasp God's plan as a contiguous whole, and are entrenched in apostasy because of that. Almost every Christian cult begins with some undisciplined, charismatic person suffering from power and approbation lust, and they do a limited search of God's Word. Too often, they don't get very far out of the Old Testament, or they get caught in the sermon on the mount, or they dig in at Acts 2 and they do not realize that you cannot base your theology on a dozen or two dozen verses, and then bend the remaining Scriptures to fit this limited view. If you desire to know God's Word, there is one way and one way only to start; and that is under the tutelage of a pastor-teacher which God has provided. We are nowhere commanded to study God's Word for ourselves or to go off to some cave and meditate until the truth comes to us. God has delivered His Word to us and we are to apprehend it; but it is by means of a pastor-teacher who is firmly grounded in the Word, who teaches using ICE principles (isagogics, categories and exegesis). If the primary way of teaching in your church is your pastor takes a verse or a passage and continually launches out into another topic; where the Bible is used as a springboard; or if he teaches primarily by jumping from Scripture to Scripture, quoting proof texts, then you need to move on.


When I first believed in Jesus Christ, or was positive toward Him and wanted more, I began reading and listening to almost anything I could get my hands on. If they would send it to me for free (since I was quite poor) I would check it out. As a result, I listened to many persuasive speakers of many cults, read very persuasive literature of several cults, and realized that these could not all be simultaneously correct. I applied (without knowing it) a simple Biblical principal—by 2 or 3 witnesses (Deut. 17:6 19:15 Matt. 18:16 II Cor. 13:1) shall a fact be established. Three of the people who I listened to, R.B. Thieme, J. Vernon McGee and Duane Spencer, all were independent of one another, yet appeared to have basically the same viewpoint of salvation, God's Word and theological matters in general. Furthermore, two of them taught verse by verse, exegetically. In the cults, there were two or three who might agree, but they all belonged to the same cult. Furthermore, in studying these various cults, I noticed that each doctrine was justified by a proof text, and sometimes, but not often, two. I came to find out the most fundamental issues presented to the unbeliever and the basis for our so great salvation, Christ's death on the cross on our behalf, that we might obtain eternal salvation, eternal fellowship with God by simply believing in Him without any works of any kind, were not based upon one or two proof texts, but a multitude of texts. I once typed 10–11 pages of verses on Salvation alone (HTML) (PDF) which dealt with those simple issues alone, with practically no commentary, just verse after verse which showed that we are to believe in Christ for salvation and that we attain this so great salvation apart from our works but based upon the merit of Christ's work on the cross. For this reason, all minor points of doctrine should be supportable by 2 or 3 verses and the very essence of our faith should be dependant upon a wealth of Scripture. My point here, of several points, is that I did not sit down and begin reading the Bible for myself. I understood its importance, to a limited degree, and I listened to those who were learned in the Word, and finally put myself under the direction of one pastor, R.B. Thieme, who, at the time, I found to be personally offensive.


A minor point: don't change your name. Don't be a fool. God did not call us into service to change our own names as an early step in our ministry. We are a witness to those around us and when they see things like that and think cornball. If you are not a good witness to a sharp unbeliever, then keep your mouth shut and do not tell anyone that you are a Christian. You want Scriptural references for this? Several times, people came to our Lord and asked to be healed, and our Lord sent them away telling them to not say a word to anyone (Mark 5:19, 20, 43). It is not God's plan for everyone of us to begin witnessing for Him two minutes afer our new birth. Enthusiasm is wonderful but when we tell unbeliever things which are false and continually lead them into side issues, then we are not of any benefit to God. Get a clue from this verse: Abram is 99 and now God will bless him with a son and begin the most important phase of his life; Abram has been saved for decades. How old was Noah when he built the ark? How old was Moses when he lead the children of Israel out of Egypt? How long after Paul was knocked on his butt by Jesus Christ before he began to teach? No great spiritual hero began a productive spiritual life two minutes after salvation; or two days or two months after salvation. Keep your mouth shut and grow up a little first.


This is a point which I recall R. B. Thieme, Jr. making on several occasions. Some celebrity will believe in Jesus and suddenly, he will be used by one or several organizations to make a pitch for believing in Jesus Christ. A newly-saved celebrity is no different from any other recently saved person. They know next to nothing at salvation. Using such a one to “sell” Jesus is misplaced enthusiasm at best, crass salesmanship techniques at worst. We do not have to “sell” Jesus. This does not mean that an evangelist ought to be unemotional and use the same approach time after time; it simply means that the evangelist functions within the confines of his own spiritual gift and personality, and allow the Holy Spirit to work His will. I have seen an excellent evangelist on several occasions (Gary Horton), and the power of the Holy Spirit is amazing.


God changes Abram's name at this point. Abram means exalted father or father of high and lofty places or father of nothing. Most of you can see the progression of the meaning of Abram. When you are a father of high and lofty places, then you can be viewed as an exalted father or as a father of nothing. It was a play on words and Abram was a father of nothing. Ishmael did not count; he was unimportant when it came to Abram's true spiritual heritage. Ishmael’s line would not be followed out, as he represents the works of the flesh. This is not so much based on the immorality of the situation but upon this being a human viewpoint solution.


Abraham means father of a multitude. Abraham has one child that does not count and God renames him as a father of a multitude. Abraham when he hears his name called will be reminded daily of God's promise to him. Then God continues with His promises to Abraham:


Abraham is a father of a multitude and a father of nations. There were at least 5 nations which sprung from his loins alone when it came to Jewish nations; and there were several Arab nations which probably came from his loins.


Genesis 17:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

ʾâb (אָב) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household, clan or tribe; founder, civil leader, military leader

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

hâmôwn (הָמוֹן) [pronounced haw-MOHN

multitude, crowd, throng; murmur, roar, abundance, tumult, sound, murmur, rush, roar; tumult, confusion; great number, abundance; abundance, wealth

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1995 BDB #242

gôwyîm (גּוֹיִם) [pronounced goh-YIHM]

Gentiles, [Gentile] nations, people, peoples, nations

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #1471 BDB #156

nâthan (נָתַן) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set; to make

1st person singular, Qal perfect with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

All of the BDB meanings for the Qal stem of nâthan are as follows: 1) to give, put, set; 1a) (Qal); 1a1) to give, bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, employ, devote, consecrate, dedicate, pay wages, sell, exchange, lend, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, yield produce, occasion, produce, requite to, report, mention, utter, stretch out, extend; 1a2) to put, set, put on, put upon, set, appoint, assign, designate; 1a3) to make, constitute.


Translation: ...for I have made you a father of many nations. This final phrase is the justification for why God has named Abram Abraham; God made Abraham, in eternity past, the father of many nations.


Now let’s take vv. 4–5 together: “[It is] I; listen, My contract [is] with you and you will be a father of many [gentile] nations. No longer will your name be Abram, but Abraham is now your name, for I have made you the father of many nations. Abram is to be known as a father of [many] nations, and hence, his name is changed to Abraham.


Both of the verbs at the end of this verse are in the perfect tense, indicating a completed action. “You name has been Abraham for I have [already] made you the father of a multitude of nations.” So, forever, his name has been Abraham and forever, Abraham has been the father of a multitude of nations.


God exists outside of time; God is not confined to time. Time is God’s invention for man. Therefore, from God’s point of view, this name-change is a done deal; this has already been accomplished. From Abraham’s vantage point, his being named Abraham has just occurred, and these multitudes of nations are future from this point in time. To God, these things have already taken place, hence the perfect tense, indicating completed action. We will find this approach throughout this chapter.


If at the beginning of this study, if you knew very little about the Bible, you still probably knew the name of Abraham and you may have even known him as the father of the Jewish race. All this time, you may have wondered why his name has been Abram or you may not have even known that we were even talking about Abraham all this time. Because his name has been Abraham and God has already made a multitude of nations come from him.


One of the cults that I was familiar with, took in new cult members and gave them new names (usually from the Bible). I supposed this was based upon God renaming Abram here and Saul of Tarsus took the name Paul. However, this is not spirituality. You don’t walk into a church and someone says, “Your name used to be Charley Brown, but now it is Hezekiah” (they like to take your new name out of the Bible). This sort of thing is goofy. However, it is common for a cult to take a minor occurrence in the Bible and turn it into a fundamental church doctrine or practice. It is as if they find 40 or so passages, and they build their doctrine upon those particular passages. There is never the instruction in the Bible that we are commanded by God to rename people. This is why verse-by-verse teaching is so essential; it keeps you from falling into cults or into churches with a lot of false principles.


I mention this not because you are familiar with such a cult, because you probably are not. You probably recognize that as a goofy idea without me telling you that it is. I mention this because it lays the groundwork for an important principle for the Christian life. Just because something happens in the Bible, Old or New Testaments, does not mean that you should imitate it. The Bible is filled with verbs in the imperative mood, so it is not as though we lack direction in the Bible; but there is no imperative mood when it comes to changing the name of people like Abram (Abraham) and Saul of Tarsus (Paul). Their new names are indicative of what God has done in their lives; therefore, it is appropriate that God renames them, as God knows what is planned for them.


Let me take a practice that most Christians agree upon: the Eucharist (also called Communion). We may have disagreements about the way this is practiced and what it means, but one thing is clear: this is a ritual all Christians should participate in. Not only do we have the example of the first Communion occurring with Jesus and His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed, but, Jesus tells us to do it, using the imperative mood. “Do this in memory of Me.” When we hear or read the imperative mood, that ought to get our attention.


Now, let me append this slightly. There are some conditional statements in the Bible (if...then... statements) which also teach spiritual mechanics. 1John 1:9 If we name our sins, [then] He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is a mechanic designed for the believer (most of the epistles are written to believers; Hebrews being an exception in part). In order to be temporally cleansed, we name our sins (after we have sinned, of course). There are synonyms for this practice of naming our sins where the imperative mood is used: walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16); be a follower of God (Eph. 5:1); be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18); “Abide in Me” (John 15:4); and walk in love (Eph. 5:2). In order to reach the status of walking in the Spirit, being filled by the Spirit, walking in love, being a follower of God, we use the exact mechanics given to us in 1John 1:9.


What I am doing here is setting you up for something; I am planting a seed in your soul. You may find this or that thing in the Bible, and this or that thing may be fundamental to your church’s doctrine and practice. However, you may need to ask yourself—particularly if it is a controversial practice—did anyone at anytime in the Bible tell you to do this practice? Did God or Paul or Peter or John use the imperative mood and tell you, “Do this”? At any time have you been told that you ought to do this practice—not by someone in your church, but by the Bible itself? Is this a practice or a doctrine which is clearly laid out in Scripture which is not based upon imitation alone?


Let me lay out a simple principle, and leave it here: if your church, denomination or group imitates something that they have found in the Bible, and yet, God the Holy Spirit through Scripture has not commanded you to do this (either by using the imperative mood or some other unambiguous language), then let me submit to you, that could be a false tradition at best and a cultic practice at worst.


Let me give a specific example: the gift of tongues. Is there any Scripture in the Bible which mandates that you get the gift of tongues or that many people in your church ought to practice the gift of tongues all at the same time? Of course there isn’t. That is because the gift of tongues died out once the gospel and Bible doctrine began to be spread around to countries which spoke languages other than Greek or Aramaic. Once the gospel and Bible doctrine has become known in these other countries and once the authority of the Apostles has been established, then there is no reason for the gift of tongues. Speaking gibberish in a crowd of other gibberish speakers may make you feel good or emotionally gratified, but our feelings are not the final arbiter of the spiritual life. The Bible is. See the Gift of Tongues (HTML) (PDF).


One of the reasons that we must know the Word of God is, we find out if we belong to a church or denomination which has traditions and practices which are outside of what God has specifically told us to do. The Bible is our life-manual; it is our Standards and Practices textbook.


Back to Abraham:


Gen 17:3b–5 And Elohim spoke with him, saying, "Behold Me [= listen up!], My covenant [is] with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.


The verbs which are future for Abraham are actually in the perfect tense, indicating that these are past events or completed events, when spoken by God. “Behold Me! My covenant with you and you have been the father of a multitude of nations. Your name will no longer be called Abram, but your name has been Abraham, for I have made you a father of nations.”


Let me get into the weeds here a little bit with the Hebrew language. In the past (and in some Hebrew classes today), we have the misnomer, the wâw conversative. It is claimed that the wâw conjunction (and/or the wâw consecutive) convert the verbs from perfect tense to imperfect (from a completed action to a future action) or vice versa. Well, as far as I am concerned, that is a lot of hooey. I have translated entire books word-by-word from the Hebrew, and there was never a need to convert this or that verb to a different tense. In a narrative, about every 6th word or so is the wâw consecutive and all of the verbs are imperfect tenses. Converting them all to the perfect tense makes no sense.


On the other hand, because of the way that we write and think, we may translate such verbs in the past tense; but this has nothing to do with the way that these verbs were meant to be understood. In my very literal translation of the Bible, I make every attempt to correctly translate the verbs and connectives accurately. I often change the tense of the verbs in the nearly-literal translation. That is simply based upon the way that we think and talk. So, in the Hebrew, a narrative may be strung together with several wâw consecutives followed by several imperfect verbs, and what is being conveyed is consecutive actions without respect to their duration. However, because these things occurred so long ago in the past, we often translate them with past tenses. We loose the immediacy of the action by doing this, but that simply reflects the way that we write and think.


I think it is passages like this which caused the original confusion. Nearly every English translation and even many ancient translations take these verbs in the perfect tense and change them into the future tense. With respect to Abraham, all that is being said is either occurring right at this instant or will occur in the future, so we often use the present or future tense to express the action here. However, one very important consideration is being ignored. God is speaking and He has decreed all that will occur, taking our free will into consideration (which God always does). For God, the One using these verbs, this has already happened. God uses these verbs in the perfect tense, because all that is contained in vv. 4–5 is what God has decreed, so, insofar as God is concerned, these are accomplished events. These things have already taken place because He has decreed them and He is not confined to time.


Let me see if I can present an analogy here that is easier to grasp than saying that God invented time and that God is outside of time. Let’s say you just saw a movie and you thought it was great. At the end of the movie, the hero shoots the bad guy dead and rides off into the sunset with the beautiful girl. It moved you so much, that you take your best friend or significant other to go see it. Now, you know how this movie turns out; you know the end from the beginning. You still enjoy this movie because you are sharing it with a friend, but you know the hero is going to get the girl; and you know that he will shoot the bad guy dead. You, in seeing this movie a second time, are seeing it from a different perspective. All of the events that are future in the movie for you have already occurred and you know what they are. So, in that way, you are standing outside of the time frame of the movie, and all that takes place in the movie has already taken place for you. For your friend, these events are still unfolding until the last frame of the picture; he or she doesn’t know if the hero will shoot the villain yet; he or she has doubts about the hero getting the girl at the end and riding off into the sunset. So, for you, these events have already taken place; for your friend, they are future events and unfolding as the movie continues. You, like God, stand outside of the time frame of the movie, because you have seen it already. You may catch some plot points that you missed before. “Oh, there’s how the hero got a hold of the gun; that’s how he shot him.” Even though, during the second time through, the hero has not yet shot the villain, you see it as an action which has already occurred and you even use past tense verbs in your thought process.


For God, because He decreed these things to come to pass, taking into consideration the free will of Abraham and all those associated with Abraham, He knows the end from the beginning. Therefore, God speaks of these things in the past because, God has decreed them, and therefore, they have already occurred. If Abraham were speaking, then he would use the future tense, because the action of these verbs is future for him.


Now, let’s apply this to your life: God knows everything that will occur in your life. Nothing will catch Him by surprised. God, in eternity past, made provision for every difficulty that you would face. The are difficult situations in your life to come (or situations that you are in right now), and God had designed a solution for them. This may involve you making certain choices with regards to Bible doctrine and they may involve you to stand back and watch the deliverance of the Lord. The choice of what you do is based upon your knowledge of Bible doctrine. Your ability to make the right choice is always based upon the Word of God. Do you stand back or do you act? The better you know Bible doctrine, the easier this question is to answer. God obviously knows because He made provision for that difficulty back in eternity past; the better we know God, the easier it is to determine His path for us.


——————————


And I have caused you to be fruitful, in exceedingly, exceedingly and I have made you to nations and kings from you come forth.

Genesis

17:6

And I have caused you to be exceedingly fruitful—extremely [fruitful]—and I have made [transformed] you into nations and kings will come from you.

And I have already caused you to become extremely, exceedingly fruitful, and I have transformed you into nations, and kings will come out of you.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and will set you for congregations; and kings ruling over peoples will come forth from you.

Latin Vulgate                          And I will make you increase exceedingly, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come out of you.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And I have caused you to be fruitful, in exceedingly, exceedingly and I have made you to nations and kings from you come forth.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And I will make you fruitful, and multiply you exceedingly; and I will make you father of many nations, and kings shall come out of your loins.

Septuagint (Greek)                And I will increase you very exceedingly, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you.

 

Significant differences:           The Syriac appears to add in another verb to go with the double adverbs. The Greek does double up on the adverb as we find in the Hebrew. The 3 verbs in the Greek are in the future tense; this appears to be the case for the Latin and Syriac as well. In the Hebrew, the first two verbs are in the Qal perfect. In God’s thinking, these are completed actions, but they are future for Abram; so the tense of the ancient languages is understandable.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           I will make you very fertile. I will produce nations from you, and kings will come from you.

Contemporary English V.       I will give you a lot of descendants, and in the future they will become great nations. Some of them will even be kings.

Easy English (Pocock)           I shall give you very many *descendants. I shall make you into nations. You will have some *descendants that will be kings.

Easy-to-Read Version            I will give you many, many descendants [A person’s children and their future families.]. New nations and kings will come from you.

Good News Bible (TEV)         I will give you many descendants, and some of them will be kings. You will have so many descendants that they will become nations.

The Message                         I'll make you a father of fathers--I'll make nations from you, kings will issue from you.

New Berkeley Version           I will render you extremely fruitful [Abram—exalted father; Abraham—father of a multitude]. Out of you I will make nations and from you kings shall spring.

New Century Version             I will give you many descendants. New nations will be born from you, and kings will come from you.

New Living Translation           I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          I will make you grow tremendously; I will make nations come from you, and kings will descend from you.

Ancient Roots Translinear      I will make- you fruitful a ||hundredfold||, and give you nations. Kings will proceed from you.

Christian Community Bible     I will make you more and more famous; I will multiply your descendants; nations shall spring from you, kings shall be among your descendants..

New American Bible              I will make you exceedingly fertile; I will make nations of you; kings will stem from you.

New Jerusalem Bible             I shall make you exceedingly fertile. I shall make you into nations, and your issue will be kings.

Revised English Bible            I shall make you exceedingly fruitful; I shall make nations out of you, and kings shall spring from you.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             I will make you very fertile, so that nations will come from you and kings will be your offspring.

Conservapedia                       I will make you fruitful to the highest degree. I will make several ethnic groups come from you. Kings will descend from you.

The Expanded Bible              I will ·give you many descendants [Lcause you to be exceedingly fruitful; 1:22]. ·New nations will be born from you [LI will make nations of you], and kings will come from you.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 And I will make you very fruitful, and I will make nations and kingdoms proceed from you.

NET Bible®                             I will make you [tn This verb starts a series of perfect verbal forms with vav (?) consecutive to express God's intentions.] extremely [tn Heb "exceedingly, exceedingly." The repetition is emphatic.] fruitful. I will make nations of you, and kings will descend from you [tn Heb "and I will make you into nations, and kings will come out from you."].


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           I will cause you to be very fruitful. I will make nations of you, kings will descend from you.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and I give you to mighty mightily bear fruit

and I give you to become a goyim;

and sovereigns come from you:...

Judaica Press Complete T.    And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings will emerge from you.

Kaplan Translation                 I will increase your numbers very, very much, and I will make you into nations - kings will be your descendants.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make Goyim of thee, and Melechim shall come out of thee.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And I will make you exceedingly fruitful and I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you [This prophecy and promise has been literally fulfilled countless times--for example, by all of the kings of Israel and Judah.].

Concordant Literal Version    And fruitful I cause you to be exceedingly exceedingly. And I make of you nations, and kings from you shall fare forth.

Heritage Bible                        And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make peoples of you, and kings shall come out of you..

Modern KJV                           And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, greatly so, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you.

Syndein                                  "Fruitful exceedingly . . . exceedingly fruitful, I {God} will give {to you for descendants}, and I will give nations {to you as descendants} . . . kings shall keep on coming {from your seed}." {Note: This kings will be Arabic kings and Jewish kings and so on. Many and many will keep on coming.}.

Young’s Updated LT             And I have made you exceeding fruitful, and made you become nations, and kings go out from you.

 

The gist of this verse:          God tells Abraham that He has made him extremely fruitful and that both nations and kings would come from him.


Genesis 17:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

pârâh (פָּרָה) [pronounced paw-RAW]

to cause to become fruitful, to make fruitful; to increase with offspring

1st person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #6509 (& #6500) BDB #826

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; among, in the midst of; at, by, near, on, before, in the presence of, upon; with; to, unto, upon, up to; in respect to, on account of; by means of, about, concerning

primarily a preposition of proximity; however, it has a multitude of functions

No Strong’s # BDB #88

meʾôd (מְאֹד) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547

meʾôd (מְאֹד) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547


Translation: And I have caused you to be exceedingly fruitful—extremely [fruitful]—... The doubled-adverb above has no good translation which I have seen. Although this occurs several times in the Old Testament, neither BDB nor Gesenius had good translations for such a construction. As you can see by the translations above, it is tough to translate this. You either have to be very literal, as the Concordant Literal Version is; or you have to do something else (for instance, I doubled up on the verb and used two synonyms to translate meʾôd.


gen17_6fruitful.jpg

“I will make you exceedingly fruitful” (graphic) from the eich MPCWA page; accessed December 6, 2013.


You may have heard the English axiom, do not split an infinitive. If you are old enough and took grammar and paid attention, then you know what the means and you can see that I violated that rule above. The verb is caused to be fruitful; to make fruitful. However, we have the repeated adverb and the direct object to figure into this. For reasons I never really understood, because you could not split an infinitive in other languages (in the Hebrew, you cannot separate caused and to be and fruitful (as it is all one word), we decided that would be a bad thing to do grammatically, even though it is certainly possible to break up these words in the English. In any case, you have my permission to split infinitives all that you want (technically, that is separating to and make fruitful).


We have the perfect tense (an accomplished act or state) here because God is outside of time; therefore, to God, Abram has already been made extremely fruitful. This is a promise that has come to pass. It is a done deal. To Abram, this is to occur in the future. Right now, he has one son, and that was not necessarily a good idea.


Now, even if Abram had no more children, even this one son would become extremely fruitful (although we seem to lose track of what happens to the Ishmaelites after time passes).


Genesis 17:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (נָתַן) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set; to make

1st person singular, Qal perfect with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

gôwyîm (גּוֹיִם) [pronounced goh-YIHM]

Gentiles, [Gentile] nations, people, peoples, nations

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #1471 BDB #156


Translation: ...and I have made [transformed] you into nations... This second phrase was quite difficult to translate. In part, this is because of the lâmed preposition, which generally is rendered to, for. However, here it is used like the Greek preposition εις, and one thing is changed into something else. Abram will be changed or transformed into nations. Again, this is the perfect tense or accomplished action or state of being, because to God, the One speaking, this has already taken place. God is not confined to time. We live inside of time, so that it is difficult for us to perceive of the concept of being outside of time, but God is. So His promise to Abram has already been accomplished with regards to God. Many nations would eventually come out of Abram. Because translators cannot easily explain that God is outside of time when translating this into English, you will note that nearly every English translation has this verb in the future tense.


If you have looked at the Hebrew exegetical table, you can see that the verb to make is the very common verb nâthan (נָתַן) [pronounced naw-THAHN], which means, to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set; to make. Strong's #5414 BDB #678. Primarily, we find this verb translated to give; however, the transformative nature of the lâmed preposition and the object gôwyîm make to make a reasonable translation. Even transformed in this specific instance reasonably explains what God has promised Abram.







hollar19gen17.jpg


Abraham Bowing before God (a graphic); etched by Wenceslaus Hollar on the Divine-name website; accessed December 6, 2013. All of v. 6 reads: And I have already caused you to become extremely, exceedingly fruitful, and I have transformed you into nations, and kings will come out of you.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines






Genesis 17:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

meleke (מֶלֶך׃) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

min (מִן) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

yâtsâʾ (יָצָא) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come [go] forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]; [of money:] to be expended, laid out, spent; promulgated; outgoing [end of a time period]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect pausal form

Strong's #3318 BDB #422


Translation: ...and kings will come from you. Even though Abram is well-known in the land of Canaan—particularly after Gen. 14—he is still a rancher and very much a nomad. In order for him to be a king, he would have to be in one place for a period of time. However, from Abram would come a number of kings. The entire Davidic line is descended from Abram. King Saul is descended from Abram.


Maybe you have noticed the change of the verb. The previous two verbs were both in the perfect tense, indicating a completed action or state of being; and yet, suddenly, we have the imperfect tense. Why the change? Well, if you were paying close attention, you will note that the subject of the verbs also changed. God was the subject of the first two verbs, so, insofar as God is concerned, this action has already been accomplished. What God was going to give Abram had been accomplished in eternity past. It is a done deal. So, when God is the subject, the verb is in the perfect tense to emphasize that this is a completed action insofar as God is concerned. However, the subject of the third verb is kings. Well, these kings don’t exist yet in time; there existence is future from Abram. Therefore, an imperfect tense is used.


Gen 17:6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.


Although that is how most Bibles translate v. 6, here is a more literal rendering of it:


Gen 17:6 I have made you exceedingly fruitful, and I have made you into nations, and kings will come from you.


The first two verbs, where God is the subject, are in the perfect tense—completed action. What God does is a completed action. However, the third verb is in the imperfect tense (continuous or future action) because God is no longer the subject of the verb. Kings is the subject of that verb. Abraham is in time and the kings who will come from him are also confined to time; therefore, in the future, there will be kings who will be descended from Abraham. So, if you understand God and His foreknowledge, then the tense of these verbs make perfect sense.


If Abram is the father of many nations, then many kings will be descended from him. All of the kings of Israel are descended from Abraham and our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will rule over this earth, is descended from Abraham as well.


The repetition of exceedingly means that Abraham will not just be prolific, but that the number of his descendants will be such that he cannot imagine how many there would be. How many people in the past can point down the road 500 years and point out a mass of people who are undoubtedly their descendants? From Abram, we can even today point out descendant after descendant; and not only can we identify his physical descendants, but we can also identify his spiritual descendants. There is no one in history other than Isaac and Jacob where their ancestors can be so readily recognized.


This is often translated is one sentence, which is acceptable, but one loses the idea that there are three separate thoughts being transmitted.

       Abraham will become able to father children again; he will become fruitful or prolific in the extreme.

       From Abraham will come many nations; at least 7.

       From Abraham will come many kings; the leaders of these nations.


So far, we have studied the first 6 verses:


Gen 17:1–6 When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be spiritually mature, that I may make My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly." Then Abram fell on his face. And Elohim spoke with him, saying, “Behold Me! My covenant [is] with you and you have been the father of a multitude of nations. Your name will no longer be called Abram, but your name has been Abraham, for I have made you a father of nations.” I have made you exceedingly fruitful, and I have made you into nations, and kings will come from you.


Jehovah Elohim has renamed Abram (father of high places, father of wind) to Abraham (father of the multitude). God’s promise to Abraham is that He has decreed that Abraham will be a father of nations and that kings would come from him. One set of nations would be set in the land of Canaan, where Abraham is right now. This would first be called Israel, which would be ruled by Saul, David and then Solomon. All of these kings came from Abraham. Then Israel will break up into two nations, the northern kingdom (Israel) and the southern kingdom (Judah), and they would be ruled by kings who all were descended from Abraham. Under the 4th Cycle of Discipline (the 4th Stage of Discipline), the Jews would be ruled over by a series of other nations, during which time, these two nations would be known as Judæa and Samaria. In short, Abraham is a father of a multitude; he is a father of many; and we remember him today as Abraham, and not as Abram. God has made Abraham into nations and kings would be descended from him.


——————————


And I have established My covenant between Me and between you and between your seed after you for their generations for a covenant everlasting, to be to you for an Elohim and to your seed after you.

Genesis

17:7

Furthermore [lit., and], I will establish My contract between Me and you, and [between Me] and your descendants after you, for an everlasting contract for their generations, to be Elohim to you and to your descendants after you.

Therefore, I will establish My agreement between Me and you, as well as between Me and your descendants who live after you, which covenant will be an everlasting agreement for their generations, that I will be your God and I will be God to your descendants who live after you.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And I have established My covenant between My Word and you, and your sons after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your sons after you.

Latin Vulgate                          And I will establish my covenant between me and you, and between your seed after you in their generations, by a perpetual covenant: to be a God to you, and to your seed after you.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And I have established My covenant between Me and between you and between your seed after you for their generations for a covenant everlasting, to be to you for an Elohim and to your seed after you.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, and I will be God to you and to your descendants after you.

Septuagint (Greek)                And I will establish My covenant between you and your seed after you, to their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be your God, and the God of your seed after you.

 

Significant differences:           As in the previous verse, the perfect tense in the Hebrew is translated as a future tense in the Greek, and, apparently, as a future tense in the Latin and Syriac. The covenant being established in the Targum is between My Word and you.

 

The targum and Syriac appear to translate seed as sons or as descendants, which are both reasonable translations.

 

The Syriac appears to translate the final verb as a 1st person, future, rather than as an infinitive. Also, although the English translation of the Greek above has God twice at the end of the verse, His title occurs only once in the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           I will set up my covenant with you and your descendants after you in every generation as an enduring covenant. I will be your God and your descendants' God after you.

Contemporary English V.       I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God.

Easy English (Pocock)           I shall *confirm my *covenant between me and you. My *covenant with your *descendants will be a *covenant that will last for always. I shall be your God and I shall be your *descendants' God.

Easy-to-Read Version            And I will prepare an agreement between you and me. This agreement will also be for all your descendants. This agreement will continue forever. I will be your God and the God of all your descendants.

Good News Bible (TEV)         "I will keep my promise to you and to your descendants in future generations as an everlasting covenant. I will be your God and the God of your descendants.

The Message                         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.

New Berkeley Version           I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants in their successive generations for an everlasting covenant, tobe your God and your offspring’s after you.

New Life Bible                        I will make My agreement between Me and you and your children after you through their whole lives for all time. I will be God to you and to your children's children after you.

New Living Translation           "I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants [Hebrew seed; also in 17:7b, 8, 9, 10, 19.] after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          'I will also extend my Sacred Agreement between you and Me to the seed that comes from you, through [all] its generations. It is a Sacred Agreement through the ages that [I] will be your God and the God of the seed that comes from you.

Ancient Roots Translinear      I will raise my covenant between me and you and your seed after you in their generations as a covenant forever, to be God to you and your seed after you.

Beck’s American Translation I will keep My covenant with you and with your descendants after you in their ages—an everlasting covenant it will be. I will be your God and the God of your descendants.

Christian Community Bible     And I will establish a covenant, an everlasting covenant between myself and you and your descendants after you; from now on I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you, for generations to come..

God’s Word                         I will make my promise to you and your descendants for generations to come as an everlasting promise. I will be your God and the God of your descendants.

New American Bible              I will maintain my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting covenant, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. Ps 105:42; Lk 1:72-73; Gal 3:16.

NIRV                                      "I will make my covenant with you. It will last forever. It will be between me and you and your children after you for all time to come. I will be your God. And I will be the God of all of your family after you.

New Jerusalem Bible             And I shall maintain my covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, as a covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

New Simplified Bible              »I will establish my covenant as a long lasting covenant between us. It will be for your descendants after you, for the generations to come. I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And I will make between me and you and your seed after you through all generations, an eternal agreement to be a God to you and to your seed after you.

Conservapedia                       I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and your children after you-a covenant that will last forever throughout all their generations-to be a God for you and your children after you.

The Expanded Bible              And I will make an ·agreement [covenant; treaty; 6:18] between me and you and all your ·descendants [Lseed] ·from now on [or forever]: I will be your God and the God of all your descendants.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 I will also establish My Covenant between Myself and you, and with your descendants after you from generation to generation, for ever, to be a God to you and to your race after you.

NET Bible®                             I will confirm [The verb קוּם (qum, “to arise, to stand up”) in the Hiphil verbal stem means “to confirm, to give effect to, to carry out” (i.e., a covenant or oath; see BDB 878-79 s.v. קוּם).] my covenant as a perpetual [tn Or "as an eternal."] covenant between me and you. It will extend to your descendants after you throughout their generations. I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you [tn Heb "to be to you for God and to your descendants after you."].

NIV – UK                                I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               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.

Judaica Press Complete T.    And I will establish My covenant between Me and between you and between your seed after you throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant, to be to you for a God and to your seed after you.

Kaplan Translation                 I will sustain My covenant between Me and between you and your descendants after you throughout their generations, an eternal covenant; I will be a God to you and to your offspring after you.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And I will establish My Brit (covenant) between Me and thee and thy zera after thee in their dorot for a Brit Olam, to be Elohim unto thee, and to thy zera after thee.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting, solemn pledge, to be a God to you and to your posterity after you.

Updated Emphasized Bible    And I will confirm my covenant betwixt me and you and your seed after you to their generations for an age-abiding covenant,—to become to you a God, and to your seed after you.

English Standard Version      And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

Heritage Bible                        And I will cause my covenant to rise between me and you, and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant to be God to you and to your seed after you..

NASB                                     I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants [Lit seed] after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.

Syndein                                  " And I {God} will cause to establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting { `owlam} covenant . . . to be 'Elohiym/Godhead unto you, and to your seed/descendents { zera`} after {'achar} {you}."

Young’s Updated LT             And I have established My covenant between Me and you, and your seed after you, to their generations, for a covenant age-during, to become God to you, and to your seed after you.

 

The gist of this verse:          God establishes this covenant with Abraham and his descendants throughout the ages, but be his God and theirs.


I will break this verse up into bite-sized pieces, so I will occasionally insert some extra words in order to carry the meaning of the previous portion accurately.


Genesis 17:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

qûwm (קוּם) [pronounced koom]

to cause to raise up, to cause to stand, to establish, to fulfill; to uphold, to perform [a testimony, a vow, a commandment, a promise]

1st person singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

berîyth (בְּרִית) [pronounced bereeth]

covenant; pact, alliance, treaty, alliance, contract

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136

bêyn (בֵּין) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #996 BDB #107

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bêyn (בֵּין) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #996 BDB #107


Translation: Furthermore [lit., and], I will establish My contract between Me and you,... The verb here means to cause to raise up, to cause to stand, to establish, to fulfill; to uphold, to perform [a testimony, a vow, a commandment, a promise]. This accounts for the several different English translations. Again, this is in the perfect tense, because God has done this, and when God does something, it has already occurred (even though, in time, it is future for Abram).


Will establish means, in the Hiphil form, to raise up, constitute; to cause to stand, set, station, establish; to make binding; to carry out, give effect to. Descendants is actually the singular of seed, but it may be reasonably translated descendants. This covenant or contract that God will establish will be with Abraham and with his descendants as well. Furthermore, this is an everlasting covenant. Since God is all-knowing, and because the future to Him is as perspicuous as the past, when God establishes a covenant with someone, He knows exactly what will happen throughout the centuries. The fact that many religious Jews rejected Jesus Christ at the 1st Advent did not catch God by surprise. God does not and cannot cancel an everlasting covenant.


The verb to establish, is in the perfect tense, because, insofar as God is concerned, this is a completed action. God has already established His covenant between Himself and Abraham and between Himself and Abraham’s descendants.


I have mentioned a Suzerain-Vassal treaty on sever occasions. This may be a good time to delve into it.

God first established a covenant with Noah in Gen. 6:18 9:9, 11–17; and He has established a covenant with Abram, beginning in Gen. 15:18. However, in this chapter, we have the word covenant repeated 13 times.

The Suzerain Vassal Treaty

1.      In the Ancient Near East, treaties between kings was common. However, also common in that era were treaties between a superior and his inferior. If the relationship was familial or friendly, the parties are referred to as "father" and "son." If the relationship is bereft of kindness and intimacy, the parties are referred to as "lord" and "servant," or "king" and "vassal," or "greater king" and "lesser king." However, what is often established as a treaty would be between a king and another people, over whom he is clearly superior (he has a much larger army; he rules over a much greater population, etc.).

2.      Such a king would establish a treaty between himself (the suzerain) and this inferior people (the vassals). Typically, the people would allow themselves to be taxed by this sovereign, and he would offer them protection.

3.      These treaties were quite common in the ancient world, and wikipedia lists the essentials of Hittite treaties.

4.      These Suzerain/Vassal treaties begin with two sections:

         1)      The identification of the Suzerain by his name and titles;

         2)      The historical survey of the Suzerain's dealings with the vassal. The purpose is to illustrate to the vassal how much the Suzerain has done to protect and establish the vassal who therefore owes submission and allegiance to the Suzerain. These two sections are referred to as the "Preamble."

5.      The next section of these treaties list the "stipulations." What the vassal is required to do is spelled out in principal and detail. This section is often concluded with the requirement that the vassal deposit his copy of the treaty in his temple, where he is to occasionally read and study it to refresh his memory concerning his duties.

6.      The last section of these treaties contains the blessings and curses of the Suzerain. If the stipulations are met by the vassal, he will receive the Suzerain's blessings, which are listed. If the vassal fails to meet the stipulations, he will receive the Suzerain's curses, which are also listed.

7.      The Suzerain would keep one copy of the treaty and the vassal would keep one copy of the treaty. A number of ratifying ceremonies were used depending upon the era and culture. But the most widely used rite was that of cutting the bodies of animals in halves and placing them in two rows with enough space between for the two parties of the treaty to walk side by side. As they walked between the pieces, they were vowing to each other, "May what has happened to these animals, happen to me if I break this covenant with you."

8.      This treaty, like any other treaty, was dependent upon the integrity of the people committed to the treaty.

9.      When a people no longer cared for the agreement which they had made, often they would rebel, which was what we studied in Gen. 14.

Although this chapter is not, strictly speaking, given in the order above; it is similar, in some ways, to a Suzerain-Vassal treaty in content.

At the end of this chapter, we will take a look at this entire chapter and match it up with a Suzerain-vassal treaty.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzerainty

http://www.fivesolas.com/suzerain.htm

For additional information:

http://guardianguideandstay.blogspot.com/2012/02/covenants-suzerain-vassal-land-grants.html

http://www.newlife-pca.com/files/womensbiblestudy/12P123JJ_What_Is_A_Covenant.pdf


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


So far, we have Furthermore [lit., and], I will establish My covenant between Me and you,... This identifies God and Abram as parties to this covenant (contract, agreement, treaty).


Genesis 17:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bêyn (בֵּין) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

zeraʿ (זֶרַע) [pronounced ZEH-rahģ]

a seed, a sowing; an offspring, progeny, descendant; posterity

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2233 BDB #282

ʾachar (אַחַר) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29


Translation: ...and [between Me] and your descendants after you,... The treaty which God is making also is between Himself and Abram’s descendants (here, called your seed). We will allow the context to tell us whether God is speaking of Abram’s Seed, as in Jesus Christ; or Abram’s seed as in the Jewish race.


Right now, we have one Jew; and we have Sarai, who has married a man who will become a Jew.


Genesis 17:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

dôwr (דּוֹר) [pronounced dohr]

generation; race; people; age, period, time period [of a generation], a time slice

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1755 BDB #189

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

berîyth (בְּרִית) [pronounced bereeth]

covenant; pact, alliance, treaty, alliance, contract

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136

ʿôwlâm (עוֹלָם) [pronounced ģo-LAWM]

properly what is hidden [time]; of [in] times past, from ancient time, old, antiquity, long duration, forever, perpetuity; for future time, futurity; of the world, worldly

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5769 BDB #761


Translation: ...for an everlasting contract for their generations,... The time period for this covenant is herein given. We occasionally write legislation in the United States, and it stands for two months or two years, at which time it is renegotiated. Often the most powerful party wants to renegotiate such an agreement when they believe it will give them an advantage.


Genesis 17:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

ʾĚlôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

God; gods, foreign gods, god; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...to be Elohim to you... God tells Abram that He will be God to Abram. The idea here is, there will be a real relationship between God and Abram. There are a number of nations, all of which have their own gods and goddesses, and they have their own characteristics, their temples and often statues or idols. These are not God; these people have no relationship with God; and they will not be able to find or develop a relationship with God through these idols or temples. However, Abram will have an established relationship with God.


Genesis 17:7e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

zeraʿ (זֶרַע) [pronounced ZEH-rahģ]

a seed, a sowing; an offspring, progeny, descendant; posterity

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2233 BDB #282

ʾachar (אַחַר) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29


Translation: ...and to your descendants after you. God also herein promises to be God to Abram’s descendants who come after him. God will also remain God to Abram’s descendants. The idea is, God will always be there, available to the Jews; and they will either respond to Him or they won’t. So, we have periods of time when Israel is very much in synch with God and we have periods of time when Israel is in rebellion with God.


Gen 17:7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants [lit., seed] after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants [lit., seed] after you.


Because seed is in the singular, this promise applies to Isaac, Abraham’s son who is yet to be born; and it applies to Jesus, Who is also the Son of Abraham. Paul will make this point in Gal. 3:16: And to Abraham and to his Seed the promises were spoken. It does not say, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, "And to your Seed," which is Christ. So, this is specifically applied to Jesus Christ. God’s covenant with Jesus Christ is the end product with this covenant.


The One speaking to Abraham is the 2nd Person of the Trinity and this contract is being made with Himself, Who will become confined to time as the God-man.


At the same time, the singular of seed is used in such a way as to refer to all of Abram’s born-again descendants. This is clear in the next verse:


Quotations come from the ESV, which has had its pronouns referring to Deity capitalized. everlasting covenant from the ESV.

God’s Everlasting Covenant

Scripture

Text/Commentary

Gen. 9:16–17

[God is speaking to Noah]

“When the [rain] bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth." This covenant is that God would never again destroy all humanity with a flood. At this point in time, it is impossible to cover the entire earth with water; however, a completely flat earth would be about 8000 ft. under water. There are non-creationist scientists who believe that the earth was once covered with water. And there certainly is evidence for a worldwide flood.

Gen. 17:5–7

[God is speaking to Abraham]

“No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” This covenant would stand for the ages.

Gen. 17:11–13

[God is speaking to Abraham]

“You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.”

Gen. 17:18–20

And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before you!"


God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.” God also will establish a covenant with Ishmael; but His everlasting covenant is with Isaac.

1Chron. 16:15–18

King David, making a dedication to the Ark which he had just had moved into Jerusalem: “Remember His covenant forever, the word that He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that He made with Abraham, His sworn promise to Isaac, which He confirmed as a statute to Jacob, as an everlasting covenant to Israel, saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan, as your portion for an inheritance." (Paraphrasing Gen. 17:8).

Psalm 105:9–11

He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance." These are the words exactly from 1Chron. 16.

2Sam. 23:5

These are a portion of David’s last words: "For does not my house stand so with God? For He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For will He not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?” God also made a covenant with David, something which David marveled at.

Isa. 24:1–5

Behold, Jehovah empties the land and makes it bare, and distorts its face, and scatters its inhabitants. And as it is with the people, so it shall be with the priest; as with the servant, so with the master; as with the handmaid, so it is with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. The land shall be completely emptied, and utterly stripped; for Jehovah has spoken this Word. The earth mourns and languishes; the world droops and languishes; the proud people of the earth droop. And the land is defiled under its people; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and have broken the everlasting covenant. (MKJV) This passage describes the Land of Promise when under God’s discipline.

Isa. 55:1–9

God’s message to the people of Israel: "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to Me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, My steadfast, sure love for David. Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you.


"Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isa. 61:5–9

God speaking to the people of Israel: “Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed.” God warns Israel that He will make an everlasting covenant with another people.

Jer. 32:37–41

God speaking of regathering Israel from the countries where He scattered them: “Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in My anger and My wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of Me in their hearts, that they may not turn from Me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all My soul.” Even after subjecting Israel to great discipline, God desires to make an everlasting covenant with them.

Jer. 50:4–6

God speaks of His forgiveness to Israel: "In those days and in that time, declares the LORD, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, 'Come, let us join ourselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.' My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold.”

Ezek. 16:59–63

Despite all of Israel’s evil, God will establish His covenant with them: For thus says the Lord GOD: “I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, yet I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you. I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord GOD."

Ezek. 37:24–28

God speaking of the restoration of Israel in the future: "My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in My rules and be careful to obey My statutes. They shall dwell in the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children shall dwell there forever, and David My servant shall be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore."

It is difficult to read all of these passages and believe that God has completely abandoned Israel.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


——————————


And I have given to you and to your seed after you a land of your sojourns, all land of Canaan for a possession of perpetuity; and I have been to them for an Elohim.”

Genesis

17:8

Furthermore, I have given to you and to your descendants [lit., seed] after you the land of your [present] residence—all the land of Canaan—for a permanent possession. And I will be Elohim to them.”

Furthermore, I have given both to your and to your descendants after you the land where you presently reside—in fact, all the land of Canaan—and it will be your permanent possession. And I will be the God of your descendants.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And I will give to you and to your sons after you the land of your habitation, all the land of Kenaan, for an everlasting possession: and I will be to them Eloha.

Latin Vulgate                          And I will give to you, and to your seed, the land of your sojournment, all the land of Chanaan, for a perpetual possession, and I will be their God.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And I have given to you and to your seed after you a land of your sojourns, all land of Canaan for a possession of perpetuity; and I have been to them for an Elohim.”

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And I will give to you, and your descendants after you, the land in which you sojourn, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting inheritance; and I will be their God.

Septuagint (Greek)                And I will give to you and to your seed after you the land in which you sojourn, even all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be to them a God.

 

Significant differences:           As discussed earlier, the perfect tense verbs in the Hebrew are translated into future tenses in most other languages, even though the perfect tense indicates a completed state or act. The promise is made to Abram and to his seed, called sons in the targum and descendants in the Syriac (this is based upon the English translation in both cases).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           I will give you and your descendants the land in which you are immigrants, the whole land of Canaan, as an enduring possession. And I will be their God."

Contemporary English V.       I will give you and them the land in which you are now a foreigner. I will give the whole land of Canaan to your family forever, and I will be their God.

Easy-to-Read Version            And I will give this land to you and to all your descendants. I will give you the land you are traveling through—the land of Canaan. I will give you this land forever. And I will be your God.”

Good News Bible (TEV)         I will give to you and to your descendants this land in which you are now a foreigner. The whole land of Canaan will belong to your descendants forever, and I will be their God."

The Message                         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."

New Berkeley Version           To you and to your descendants after you I will give the country to which you have migrated — the whole Canaanite country —for an everlasting possession; I will be their God.

New Century Version             You live in the land of Canaan now as a stranger, but I will give you and your descendants all this land forever. And I will be the God of your descendants."

New Life Bible                        I will give to you and your children after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan for yourselves forever. And I will be their God."


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Also, I will give the land where you are [now] living as an alien, to you and to your seed. This includes the entire land of CanaAn. It will become yours through the ages, and I will be a God to them.'

Ancient Roots Translinear      I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land of your pilgrimage forever: all the land of Canaan. I will be their God.

Beck’s American Translation I give you and your descendants this land you’re living in as a stranger: all Canaan is to belong to them forever. And I will be their God.

Christian Community Bible     I will give to you and your descend - ants after you the land you are living in, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession and I will be the God of your race.”

God’s Word                         I am also giving this land where you are living-all of Canaan-to you and your descendants as your permanent possession. And I will be your God."

New American Bible              I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you are now residing as aliens, the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God. Ex 32:13; Dt 1:8; 14:2; Lk 1:55; Acts 7:5.

NIRV                                      "You are now living in Canaan as an outsider. But I will give you the whole land of Canaan. You will own it forever. So will your children after you. And I will be their God."

New Jerusalem Bible             And to you and to your descendants after you, I shall give the country where you are now immigrants, the entire land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity. And I shall be their God.'

New Simplified Bible              »The whole land of Canaan, where you are now a guest (alien) (foreigner) (stranger), I will give a long lasting possession to you and your descendants after you. I will be their God.«

Revised English Bible            As a possession for all time I shall give you and your descendants after you the land in which you now are aliens, the whole of Canaan and I shall be their God.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And to you and to your seed after you, I will give the land in which you are living, all the land of Canaan for an eternal heritage; and I will be their God.

Conservapedia                       I will give you, and your children after you, the land in which you are now a foreigner, all the land of Canaan, as their property forever, and I will be their God."

The Expanded Bible              You live in the land of Canaan now as a ·stranger [sojourner; wanderer; resident alien], but I will give you and your ·descendants [Lseed] all this land ·forever [Las a permanent possession]. And I will be the God of your ·descendants [Lseed]."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 I will also give to you and your race this country where you are a foreigner, the whole land of Canaan for a possession for ever, and I will be their God.”

HCSB                                     And to you and your offspring after you I will give the land where you are residing--all the land of Canaan--as an eternal possession, and I will be their God."

New Advent Bible                   And I will give to you, and to your seed, the land of your sojournment, all the land of Chanaan, for a perpetual possession, and I will be their God.

NET Bible®                             I will give the whole land of Canaan — the land where you are now residing [The verbal root is גּוּר (gur, “to sojourn, to reside temporarily,” i.e., as a resident alien). It is the land in which Abram resides, but does not yet possess as his very own.]— to you and your descendants after you as a permanent [tn Or "as an eternal."] possession. I will be their God."

NIV – UK                                The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 To you and your offspring I will give the land where you are now living as a foreigner. The whole land of Canaan shall be [your] eternal heritage, and I will be a God to [your descendants].'

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And I will give unto thee, and to thy zera after thee, the Eretz wherein thou art now a ger, kol Eretz Kena'an, for an Achuzzah (Possession) Olam (Everlasting); and I will be their Elohim.

The Scriptures 1998              “And I shall give to you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Kenaʽan, as an everlasting possession. And I shall be their Elohim.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And I will give to you and to your posterity after you the land in which you are a stranger [going from place to place], all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

Concordant Literal Version    And I give to you and to your seed after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for a holding eonian. And I become their Elohim.

English Standard Version      And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God."

Heritage Bible                        And I will give to you and to your seed after you the land of your temporary residence, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God..

Modern KJV                           And I will give the land to you in which you are a stranger, and to your seed after you, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. And I will be their God.

New RSV                               And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.

A Voice in the Wilderness      Also I have given unto you and your seed after you the land in which you sojourn, all the land of Canaan, as an enduring possession; and I will be their God.

World English Bible                I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land where you are traveling, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. I will be their God."

Young’s Updated LT             And I have given to you, and to your seed after you, the land of your sojournings, the whole land of Canaan, for a possession age-during, and I have become their God.”

 

The gist of this verse:          God gives all the land of Canaan, where Abraham resides, to him and to his descendants for an everlasting possession; and He will be the God of Abraham’s descendants.


Genesis 17:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (נָתַן) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set; to make

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

zeraʿ (זֶרַע) [pronounced ZEH-rahģ]

a seed, a sowing; an offspring, progeny, descendant; posterity

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2233 BDB #282

ʾachar (אַחַר) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

mâgûwr (מָגוּר) [pronounced maw-GOOR]

sojourning, sojourning-place; residing, residence, dwelling-place, dwelling, abode; possibly travels, traveling

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4033 BDB #158


promisedland.jpgFrom http://www.achorian.com/graphics/FutureIsrael.gif

Translation: Furthermore, I have given to you and to your descendants [lit., seed] after you the land of your [present] residence... The extent of this land has been described in previous chapters, such as Gen. 15:18–21 In the same day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, I have given this land to your seed [descendants], from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the giants, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. There, the land was given both by geographical markers as well as based upon which people live in this land mass.


A Map of What God Has Given the Jews. From Achorian.com, accessed December 2, 2013. This huge land mass has never been owned by them completely at any time in their history. As you can see, it goes from the Nile all the way to the River Euphrates and includes portions of Egypt, all of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, most of Iraq and Yemen. They will not receive all of this land until the Millennium.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


God has promised Abraham again the land where he has resided as a transient. This land belongs to the Canaanites and Abraham has been wandering throughout this land in a tent, with a large company of men and women and children. He does not own any of this land; it has been taken by the Canaanites who have inhabited this land since Gen. 11. They lived in the land as squatters, essentially, except that there was no one to take the land from, other than a few other previous squatters. We did see some struggle for this real estate back in Gen. 14, indicating that at that time it was probably a very prime piece of real estate, certainly not as covered with deserts then as it is today. However, it is still an object which nations battle over even today. God has given that piece of real estate to the Jews; to Abram's descendants.


Genesis 17:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of, any

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ʾerets (אֶרֶץ) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, territory, country, continent; ground, soil; under the ground [Sheol]

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

Kenaʿan (כְּנַעַן) [pronounced keNAH-ģahn]

which possibly means merchant and is transliterated Canaan

masculine proper noun; territory

Strong’s #3667 BDB #488

davids-kingdom.jpghttp://www.bible-history.com/map-davids-kingdom/davids-kingdom.jpg

Translation:...—all the land of Canaan—... What land is clearly given to Abram and to his descendants is the land of Canaan, which may be seen as the land controlled by David at the height of his reign.



A Map of the Davidic Kingdom; from bible-history.com; accessed December 2, 2013. The kingdom shown off to the right is the land that David both occupied, controlled and conquered. It includes his spheres of influence, which was great.


The land which Israel occupies today is much smaller.



Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Genesis 17:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾăchûzzâh (אֲחֻזָּה) [pronounced uh-khooz-ZAW]

possession [of land, slaves, etc.], land possession; inheritance

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #272 BDB #28

ʿôwlâm (עוֹלָם) [pronounced ģo-LAWM]

properly what is hidden [time]; of [in] times past, from ancient time, old, antiquity, long duration, forever, perpetuity; for future time, futurity; of the world, worldly

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5769 BDB #761


Translation: ...for a permanent possession. Although God gives the land of Canaan to Israel, there will be times throughout history—particularly during the Church Age—when they do not live in this land. During the Age of Israel, Jews will live in this land, apart from the times that they have been removed under the principle of the 5th stage of national discipline (these stages will be taught in Lev. 26). However, these stages of national discipline are taught here and here.


Genesis 17:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

ʾĚlôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

God; gods, foreign gods, god; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: And I will be Elohim to them.” These words indicate a relationship between God and those to whom this promise is being made. If the One speaking to Abram—Yehowah—is their God, then they have believed in Him and they partake of the covenant made with Him.


Then we have that amazing statement: "I will be their God." No other nation or group of people has ever had such a statement made of them and perhaps this has caused some of the anti-Semitism. People cannot stand exclusivity. So many people who I have witnessed to do not like that God has established but one way to be saved; that each different religion isn't just basically right for the culture from which it originated. We want to believe that if each man worships God in his own way, that God will be just too thrilled with this man's sincerity and earnestness not to take them into heaven. So wouldn't it be natural for some people, the old sin nature being what it is, to despise the fact that God has come to a particular people to be their God?


Throughout the greater portion of the Bible, from Gen. 12 on through the entirety of the Old Testament on through to the middle of the gospels and then picking back up in Rev. 4, we have God dealing primarily with and through the nation Israel. He chose them from the foundation of the world and for much of human history had an exclusive relationship with the nation Israel. Even the church for many centuries tried to denigrate this relationship with covenant theology. The basic philosophy was that the church began in Abraham's tent and that true Israel is essentially equivalent to the church. How can anyone read past Genesis in the Old Testament and come up with this sort of conclusion? True Israel and the true church (those who have believed in Jesus Christ) are saved and have that in common and could be called spiritual brothers. However, we are not equivalent and the programs which God has set up on our behalf are not equivalent. Here are where cults become confused: they cannot differentiate between the Old and New Testaments; they cannot see a clear difference between the church and Israel. These are two separate entities with different expectations and slightly different relationships. Because someone has not had correct teaching with regard to the church and Israel, the influential leader of a cult originally goes off on the deep end, failing to make this distinction on his (or her) own. All it takes is some initial disorientation, and then coming across the verse "There still remains a Sabbath" and we have instance misapplication and confusion which is passed down to the dupes of the charismatic leader.


See the chart Israel and the church. It is with something as this chart that one becomes grounded and can make the fine distinctions which we have to make in Scripture (Heb. 4:12). As a young Christian, without the careful guidance of Bob Thieme and the excellent Scofield Reference Bible, I would have never made the correct distinctions no matter how many years that I studied. God has made it possible for us to differentiate, but we must get with His program, which, in the church age, is under the careful teaching of a well-trained pastor who uses ICE principles (isagogics, categories and exegesis).


What is humorous (in a tragic way) is that we continually find cults and various Christian religions which try to get us to live in a manner similar to Israel, but rarely do they emphasize circumcision or militarily taking over the land of Palestine or the execution of disobedient teenagers (although the last point definitely has merit, particularly in a degenerate society such as the one we find ourselves in).


Comparing and Contrasting Israel and the Church

Israel

The Church

Israel is a nation chosen by God and sustained by covenant promises (Deut. 7:6-9). Not all individuals in this chosen nation are saved (Rom. 9:6; 11:28).

The Church is a called out assembly of believers who have been baptized into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Every member of the body of Christ is saved, though there are multitudes of professing Christians who may not be saved (2 Tim. 2:19).

Israel traces its origin to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Jacob being the father of the twelve tribes).

The Church traces its origin to the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when believers were first placed into the body of Christ.

In God’s program for Israel, His witnesses comprised a nation (Isaiah 43:10).

In God’s program for the Church, His witnesses are among all nations (Acts 1:8).

God’s program for Israel centered in Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37) and will again center in Jerusalem during the Tribulation (Matt. 24:15-20) and during the Millennium (Isa. 2:1-5).

God’s program for His Church began in Jerusalem and extended to the uttermost parts of the earth (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). The Church is identified with the risen Christ, not with any earthly city.

The hope and expectancy of Israel was earthly, centering in the establishment of the Kingdom of the Messiah foretold by the prophets (Jer. 23:5-8; Isa. 2:1-5; 11:1-16).

The hope and expectancy of the Church is heavenly, centering in the glorious appearing of Christ to take His people to heaven (John 14:1-3; Phil. 3:20-21; Col. 3:1-4; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

God’s purpose and program for Israel was revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures.

God’s purpose and program for the Church was not revealed in the Old Testament, but was revealed by the New Testament apostles and prophets (Eph. 3:5).

Israel’s history which is in view in Daniel 9:24 (the 70 weeks or 490 years) involved animal sacrifices. These years will include the tribulation. Israel’s millennial history will involve the same (Ezek. 43:27).

The Church’s history does not involve animal sacrifices. Messiah’s sacrifice is commemorated by means of the Lord’s Table.

Israel’s history which is in view in Daniel 9:24 (the 490 years including also the Tribulation) involves a temple in Jerusalem. The same will be true in the Millennium (Ezek. chapters 40-48).

During most of the Church age there is no Jewish temple in Jerusalem. In this age God manifests His glory in His believers, both individually and collectively, designating them as His temple (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; Eph. 2:21-22). This is accomplished by the indwelling ministry of God the Holy Spirit.

Israel’s history which is in view in Daniel 9:24 (the 490 years) involves a priesthood limited to the sons of Aaron, and excluding most Israelites. The same applies to the Millennium when Zadokian priests (also sons of Aaron) will serve in the temple (Ezek. 40:46; 43:19; 44:15).

During the Church age every true believer is a priest and able to offer spiritual sacrifices to the Lord (Heb. 13:15; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6). Whereas Israel had a priesthood, the Church is a priesthood.

Israel’s history which is in view in Daniel 9:24 (the 490 years) will terminate with the coming of the Messiah to the earth to establish His Kingdom reign.

The Church’s history will end at the Rapture of the Church when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rom. 11:25).

During Israel’s history (the 490 years of Daniel 9:24 which also includes the Tribulation) the ethnic makeup of the world is bipartite: Jews and Gentiles. This division of all people into Jews and Gentiles will also apply to those in the Millennial Kingdom in natural bodies.

During the Church age from Pentecost to the Rapture the ethnic makeup of the world is tripartite: Jews, Gentiles, and the Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32), the Church being composed of saved Jews and Gentiles united together in one Body (Eph. 2:15; 3:6),

During Israel’s history, from Sinai to the Millennial Kingdom (excluding the Church age), Israel’s role in the world will be characterized by PRIORITY [that is, they will have a leading role as God’s chosen people]””see Deut. 4:6-8; Isa. 43:10; Matt. 10:5-6; Zech. 8:23.

During the Church age, Israel’s role in the world will be characterized by EQUALITY””Jew and Gentiles united together in one body to bear testimony to a risen Christ (Col. 3:11; Gal. 3:28).

Male Jews were circumcised as a sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. Believing Jews were circumcised in the heart (Jer. 4:4).

Believers of this age enjoy an internal circumcision not made with hands (Col. 2:11; Phil. 3:3). Physical circumcision is not required.

Israel was under the law of Moses as a rule of life.

The Church is under the ‟new creature” rule (Gal. 6:15-16).

Unbelieving Jews were physical children of Abraham and spiritual children of the devil (John 8:37-44).

Every believer in Christ (every true member of the Church, whether Jew or Gentile) is a child of Abraham and a child of God (Rom. 4:11-12; Gal. 3:326-29). This statement does not mean that Church age believers are Israelites.

Israel was to observe the Sabbath Day (Exodus 20:8). Sabbath observance will also take place in the Tribulation (Matt. 24:20) and in the Millennium (Ezek. 46:1,3).

The Church is to be diligent and make every effort to enter into God’s rest (Heb. 4:9-11). This is a daily duty.

Membership into the Jewish nation was by birth or by becoming a proselyte (a convert to Judaism).

Membership into the Church is by the new birth accomplished by the baptizing ministry of God (1 Cor. 12:13).

Believing Jews prior to Pentecost, believing Jews during the tribulation, and believing Jews during the Kingdom reign of Christ are not members of the body of Christ.

Believing Jews and Gentiles from Pentecost to the Rapture are members of the body of Christ.

Israel’s place of worship centered in Jerusalem (Dan. 6:10; John 4:20) and this will also be true in the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27) and in the Millennium (Isa. 2:1-5).

The Church’s place of worship is ‟Where two or three are gathered together in My Name” (Matt. 18:20; John 4:21-24). Christ is in the midst of His Churches (Rev. 1:13, 20).

Israel is likened to the wife of Jehovah, often an unfaithful wife (Hosea).

The Church is the beloved Bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-8) to be one day presented blameless and spotless (Eph. 5:27).

I have not gone through to check this entire chart yet; but, for the most part, it appears to be accurate. However, there are serious problems with the website that this came from.

From: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/dispen/israelch.htm


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


The land which Abraham is walking through will be given to the Jews for an everlasting possession. God had already told Abraham to walk throughout this land, so that Abraham could appreciate what was being given to him. “Come, walk through all the land from one end to the other for I will give it to you.” (Gen. 13:17).


God has already specified the boundaries of this land back in Gen. 15:18–21 In the same day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, I have given this land to your seed [descendants], from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the giants, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. This is a huge swath of land.


Although God gives the land of Canaan to Israel, there will be times throughout history—particularly during the Church Age—when they do not live in this land. During the Age of Israel, Jews will live in this land, apart from the times that they have been removed under the principle of the 5th stage of national discipline (these stages will be taught in Lev. 26). However, these stages of national discipline are taught here and here.


I mentioned that the covenant here is between God and those who are born again from Abraham’s seed. We find this at the end of v. 8, where God says, “And I have been to them God.” Jehovah (or, Yehowah), Who is speaking to Abraham, is not the God of the Muslims; He is not the God of those trying to keep the Law and the Sabbath for salvation; but He is God to those who believe in Him; and He is known to us today as Jesus Christ. For those who have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:1–18), the same have Yehowah as their God.


This does not mean that the land of Palestine has been transferred over to Church Age believers. God gives this to Abraham and his descendants; the land is an eternal possession; and the One speaking to Abraham is their God as well.


This possession is forever. The Hebrew word is ʿôwlâm (עוֹלָם) [pronounced ģo-LAWM], which means what is hidden [time]; of [in] times past, from ancient time, old, antiquity, long duration, forever, perpetuity; for future time, futurity; of the world, worldly. Strong’s #5769 BDB #761. As you can see, this word not only means forever, in perpetuity; but it is tied very specifically to this world. As long as there is a world, this promise stands.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


God Requires Abraham to Circumcise All the Males to Confirm the Covenant


And says Elohim unto Abraham, “And you, My covenant you will keep—you and your seed after you to generations.

Genesis

17:9

And Elohim said to Abraham, “You will keep My contract—you and your descendants after you for generations.

And God said to Abraham, “You will keep My agreement—you and your descendants in perpetuity.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                And the Lord said to Abraham, And you will observe my covenant, you and your sons after you in their generations.

Latin Vulgate                          Again God said to Abraham: And you therefore will keep my covenant, and your seed after you in their generation.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And says Elohim unto Abraham, “And you, My covenant you will keep—you and your seed after you to generations.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And God said to Abraham, You shall keep my covenant, you, and your descendants after you throughout their generations.

Septuagint (Greek)                And God said to Abraham, You also shall fully keep My covenant, you and your seed after you for their generations.

 

Significant differences:           What God says begins with an and; this is not found in the Greek and appears to be missing in the Syriac as well. You will note that, again, instead of seed, we have sons in the targum and descendants in the Syriac (in the English translations of them). The final preposition is different in the targum, the Latin and the Syriac (note that it is underlined above).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants in every generation.

Contemporary English V.       Abraham, you and all future members of your family must promise to obey me.

Easy English (Pocock)           Circumcision, 17:9-14

Then God said this to Abraham: `Now, you must obey my *covenant. And your *descendants too, who will come after you, must obey it for all their lives.

Easy-to-Read Version            And God said to Abraham, “Now, this is your part of the agreement. You and all your descendants [descendant(s) A person’s children and their future families.] will obey my agreement.

Good News Bible (TEV)         God said to Abraham, "You also must agree to keep the covenant with me, both you and your descendants in future generations.

New Berkeley Version           Therefore, God said to Abraham: You must keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you in their respective generations...

New Century Version             Then God said to Abraham, "You and your descendants must keep this agreement from now on.

New Living Translation           The Mark of the Covenant

Then God said to Abraham, "Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Then God told AbraHam: 'You must fully keep my Sacred Agreement. both you and your seed that descends from you, through all their generations.

Christian Community Bible     God said to Abraham, “For your part, you shall keep my cove - nant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation..

God’s Word                         God also said to Abraham, "You and your descendants in generations to come are to be faithful to my promise.

New American Bible              God said to Abraham: For your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.

NIRV                                      Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant. You and your children after you for all time to come must keep it.

New Jerusalem Bible             God further said to Abraham, 'You for your part must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation.

Revised English Bible            God said to Abraham, ‘For your part, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation by generation.

Today’s NIV                          Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And God said to Abraham, On your side, you are to keep the agreement, you and your seed after you through all generations.

Conservapedia                       And God told Abraham, "Therefore you will keep My covenant, you and your children after you throughout their generations.

The Expanded Bible              Then God said to Abraham, "You and your ·descendants [seed] must ·keep [obey; guard] this ·agreement [covenant; treaty; 6:18] ·from now on [Lthroughout their generations].

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 God also repeated to Abraham, “Now this is the Covenant which you shall keep, as well as your race after you;...

HCSB                                     God also said to Abraham, "As for you, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations are to keep My covenant.

NET Bible®                             Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep [tn The imperfect tense could be translated "you shall keep" as a binding command; but the obligatory nuance ("must") captures the binding sense better.] the covenantal requirement [Heb “my covenant.” The Hebrew word בְּרִית (bÿrit) can refer to (1) the agreement itself between two parties (see v. 7), (2) the promise made by one party to another (see vv. 2-3, 7), (3) an obligation placed by one party on another, or (4) a reminder of the agreement. In vv. 9-10 the word refers to a covenantal obligation which God gives to Abraham and his descendants.] I am imposing on you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.

NIV – UK                                Then God said to Abraham, As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Kaplan Translation                 God [then] said to Abraham, 'As far as you are concerned, you must keep My covenant - you and your offspring throughout their generations.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           And Elohim said unto Avraham, Thou shalt be shomer over My Brit therefore, thou, and thy zera after thee in the dorot.

The Scriptures 1998              And Elohim said to Araham, “As for you, guard My covenant, you and your seed after you throughout their generations.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And saying is the Elohim to Abraham, "And you shall keep My covenant, you and your seed after you for their generations.

English Standard Version      And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.

Heritage Bible                        And God said to Abraham, You shall hedge about my covenant, you and your seed after you in their generations..

Syndein                                  Abram's Response to the Word} 9^~'Elohiym/Godhead said {'amar} unto Abraham, "Keep on guarding/protecting/observing {shamar} My covenant, {and} your seed after in [their/his] generation(s)/"period of time". [Note: "Seed" is one of those words that is singular but is used often for plural things. Paul reveals to us in Galatians and Romans that here was mystery. The "seed" was singluar. It was God's promise to Abraham and his Seed - Who turned out to be Jesus Christ.].

Young’s Updated LT             And God says unto Abraham, “And you will keep My covenant, you and your seed after you, to their generations.

 

The gist of this verse:          For the first time, God is going to tell Abraham what he will do; and what must be done in generations to follow.


Genesis 17:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

ʾĚlôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

God; gods, foreign gods, god; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43

ʾel (אֶל) [pronounced ehl]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ʾAberâhâm (אַבְרָהָם) [pronounced ahbve-raw-HAWM]

father of a multitude, chief of a multitude; transliterated Abraham

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #85 BDB #4


Translation: And Elohim said to Abraham,... I do not know why suddenly we are told, And Elohim said to Abraham; this would suggest perhaps the Abraham had a few things to say, which were not recorded in the text here. In other words, Abraham really had nothing to add here to the contract that God was making with him.


Genesis 17:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

berîyth (בְּרִית) [pronounced bereeth]

covenant; pact, alliance, treaty, alliance, contract

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136

shâmar (שָמַר) [pronounced shaw-MAR]

to keep, to guard, to protect, to watch, to preserve

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #8104 BDB #1036


Translation:...”You will keep My contract—... God tells Abraham that he would keep God’s contract. The verb to keep generally means to guard, to protect, to watch over, to preserve. So, it will become obvious that Abraham will obey what God says in this contract; but Abraham is told to preserve these words, suggesting that Abraham write them down.


Again, since it says, And Elohim said to Abraham—despite the fact that God has been talking prior to this—God is essentially telling Abraham, write this down; make sure this information is preserved forever. So Abraham may have had some things to say, but God ignored him, and began to speak again, saying, “Write this down.” Even though this is not the word for to write, to engrave; these words can only be preserved if Abraham commits them to memory and/or writes them down for generations to come.


Application: The words in the Bible are not enough. God wants Bible doctrine to be engraved on our souls. That is the only way that we may keep His Word.


V. 9 is one of the few times there is a responsibility laid upon Abraham with regards to this covenant with God. When God spoke to Abraham before, the covenants which He made with Abraham were unconditional covenants, meaning, God was going to fulfill those promises to Abraham and his seed no matter what. However, this time, God tells Abraham, “You will keep My covenant.” Furthermore, Abraham’s seed would keep this covenant as well.


The verb here is the Qal imperfect of shâmar (שָמַר) [pronounced shaw-MAR] and it means keep, guard, watch, preserve. Strong's #8104 BDB #1036. This is a very common verb and the emphasis is not as much on obedience as on preservation. And what the Jews did for hundreds of years, for over 3 millennia prior to the printing press, is preserve the Word of God, which contains His covenants to Abraham and to the Jews in general.


At first, the Old Testament was preserved in all consonants and by its being read to the people. And then, because they would not pronounce the name Yehowah aloud, they realized that they had lost its true pronunciation, which was not preserved in Scripture, because they recorded only consonants. They knew what it said because they read, re-read and studied these words. However, their language was changing, and the Bible was in danger of becoming just a list of consonants that no one understood. Then they had the brilliant idea of adding vowel points. The Jews understood the value of the manuscripts that they had been preserving; they understood this to be the Word of God. They could not just fix the manuscripts by simply adding vowels into the mix, so they developed a set of vowel points, which were dots, and squiggles and short lines, placed above and below and, sometimes, in the midst of the consonants, so that the consonants remained unchanged. In fact, if you mentally blocked out all of these vowel points or covered up what is above and below the consonants, you would read the Word of God exactly as it had been recorded hundreds of years ago. So:


אתבריתיתשמר (My cvnt y wll kp) became אֶת־בְּרִיתִיתִשְמֹר (My covenant you will keep)


In this way, the scribes brilliantly preserved the words of God, just exactly how they were written originally, but added in the vowels in such a way that, they did not change the text but so that subsequent generations would know how to pronounce these words. This pointing occurred sometime between the 5th and 10th centuries a.d.


The preservation of God’s Word, entrusted to the Jews, is certainly something to behold. In the late 1700's, two separate lists of known Hebrew manuscripts were made, one listing 615 and the other 731. Since then, there was a discovery of some 200,000 Hebrew manuscripts in Old Cairo, Egypt (called Cairo Genipa), 10,000 of which are Biblical. These manuscripts reflect a full millennium of time (from 870–1880).


I have mentioned the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery in previous lessons, which takes us back to a pre-Christian era, around 100 b.c. As a result of these and other discoveries, today, we know of tens of thousands of Old Testament manuscripts (these are not complete manuscripts, but books and fragments of books). We do have a handful of complete Masoretic manuscripts as well. So, the Hebrews devoted themselves to preserving God’s Word, as did many other groups of people. Apart from the New Testament, no other writing has been so well-preserved.


What we have by way of manuscripts testifies to the accuracy of the text of the Bible.


Genesis 17:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾattâh (אַתָּה) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

zeraʿ (זֶרַע) [pronounced ZEH-rahģ]

a seed, a sowing; an offspring, progeny, descendant; posterity

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2233 BDB #282

ʾachar (אַחַר) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

dôwr (דּוֹר) [pronounced dohr]

generation; race; people; age, period, time period [of a generation], a time slice

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1755 BDB #189


Translation: ...you and your descendants after you for generations. There will be a part of the contract which Abraham and his descendants must do; and this will continue. What God is about to tell Abraham to do is to circumcise himself and his people.


When God makes this contract, it is not between Abraham, his household and his seed; it is between God and Abraham; God and Abraham’s household; and between God and Abraham’s seed. God is on one side of the contract, Abraham, Abraham’s household and Abraham’s seed are on the other side of the contract. Abraham does not get to negociate this contract; this contract stands based upon the provisions which God is making, which indicates that this most closely follows the format of a suzerain-vassal contract, as God is laying down all of the provisions.


——————————


Then God tells Abraham exactly what he will do for his part of the covenant:


This [is] My covenant which you [all] will keep, between Me and between you [all] and between your seed after you: circumcision for you [all]; every male.

Genesis

17:10

This [is] My contract which you [all] will keep; [this contract is] between Me and you all and between [Me and] your seed: [There will be] circumcision for all of you—[for] every male.

This is My agreement, which all of you will keep; this is an agreement between Me and all of you; and between Me and your seed: All of you—every male—will be circumcised.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Targum of Onkelos                This is My covenant, that you shall observe between My Word and you, and your sons after you:--Every male of you being circumcised, though he have not a father to circumcise him.

Latin Vulgate                          This is my covenant which you shall observe between me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male-kind of you shall be circumcised.

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        This [is] My covenant which you [all] will keep, between Me and between you [all] and between your seed after you: circumcision for you [all]; every male.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    This is my covenant, which you shall keep between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

Septuagint (Greek)                And this is the covenant which you shall fully keep between Me and you, and between your seed after you for their generations; every male of you shall be circumcised.

 

Significant differences:           The targum has the covenant between My Word and Abraham. It also adds an addition phrase at the end: ...though he have not a father to circumcise him.

 

Most of the other differences are minor. We have descendants in the English translation from the Syriac, which is not an unreasonable translation from the Hebrew. The final verb is in the Niphal absolute, so there is some flexibility as to how it can be translated.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Christian Community Bible     This is my covenant with you that you will keep, you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised;...

Contemporary English V.       As the sign that you are keeping this promise, you must circumcise every man and boy in your family.

Easy English (Pocock)           This is my *covenant which you must obey. It is my *covenant between me and you. And it is also between me and your *descendants, who will come after you. You must *circumcise all your men.

Easy-to-Read Version            This is the agreement that you will obey. This is the agreement between you and me. This is for all your descendants: Every boy that is born must be circumcised [Cutting the foreskin from a man. In Israel this was proof that a man had made a special agreement to obey God’s laws and teachings.].

Good News Bible (TEV)         You and your descendants must all agree to circumcise every male among you.

The Message                         This is the covenant that you are to honor, the covenant that pulls in all your descendants: Circumcise every male.

New Berkeley Version           ...and this is My covenant between Me and you and your children after you, which you must observe: Every mal eof you shall be circumcised;...

New Century Version             This is my agreement with you and all your descendants, which you must obey: Every male among you must be circumcised.

New Life Bible                        This is My agreement between Me and you and your children after you, which you must obey: Every man among you must have this religious act done.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          'This is the Sacred Agreement between you and your seed through all its generations, and Me: All of your males must be circumcised..

Beck’s American Translation This is My covenant you and your descendants after you should keep with Me: Circumcise every male.

God’s Word                         This is how you are to be faithful to my promise: Every male among you is to be circumcised.

New American Bible              This is the covenant between me and you and your descendants after you that you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised. Jn 7:22 Acts 7:8 Rom. 4:11.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And this is the agreement which you are to keep with me, you and your seed after you: every male among you is to undergo circumcision.

Conservapedia                       This is My covenant, that you will keep, between Me and you and your children after you: Every man-child among you shall be circumcised. Circumcision is a symbol of stripping oneself bare, in total surrender to God. Conventional medicine also recommends it for cleanliness and even the prevention of cancer.

The Expanded Bible              This is my ·agreement [covenant; treaty; 6:18] with you and all your ·descendants [Lseed], which you must ·obey [keep; guard]: Every male among you must be circumcised [Cthe ritual of membership in the covenant/treaty].

NET Bible®                             This is my requirement that you and your descendants after you must keep [tn Heb "This is my covenant that you must keep between me and you and your descendants after you."]: Every male among you must be circumcised [sn For a discussion of male circumcision as the sign of the covenant in this passage see M. V. Fox, "The Sign of the Covenant: Circumcision in the Light of the Priestly `ot Etiologies," RB 81 (1974): 557-96].


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               Such shall be the covenant between Me and you and your offspring to follow which you shall keep: every male among you shall be circumcised.

Kaplan Translation                 This is My covenant between Me, and between you and your offspring that you must keep: You must circumcise every male.

Orthodox Jewish Bible           This is My Brit (covenant), which ye shall be shomer over, between Me and you and thy zera after thee; every zachar among you shall be circumcised.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your posterity after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

Concordant Literal Version    This is My covenant, which you shall keep between Me and you and your seed after you for their generations: Circumcise to yourselves every male.

Context Group Version          This is my covenant, which you { pl } shall keep, between me and you { pl } and your seed after you: every male among you { pl } shall be circumcised.

English Standard Version      This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

Fred Miller’s Revised KJV     This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your seed after you; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

Heritage Bible                        This is my covenant which you shall hedge about between me and you, and your seed after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised..

New King James Version       This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;...

Syndein                                  "My covenant, keep on guarding/protecting/observing {shamar} . . . {and} your seed/descendants after {you}. Male children {zakar} . . . receive cutting/circumcision {muwl}."

Young’s Updated LT             This is My covenant which you keep between Me and you, and your seed after you: Every male of you is to be circumcised.

 

The gist of this verse:          God now has a requirement for Abraham and his descendants: all of their males must be circumcised.


Genesis 17:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

zôʾth (זֹאת) [pronounced zoth]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

feminine singular of zeh; demonstrative pronoun, adverb

Strong’s #2063 (& 2088, 2090) BDB #260

The verb to be can be implied by the use of this pronoun.

berîyth (בְּרִית) [pronounced bereeth]

covenant; pact, alliance, treaty, alliance, contract

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1285 BDB #136

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

shâmar (שָמַר) [pronounced shaw-MAR]

to keep, to guard, to protect, to watch, to preserve

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #8104 BDB #1036


Translation: This [is] My contract which you [all] will keep;... God will lay out a contract or covenant here, and that is something which will involve things which He will do and things which Abraham and the Jewish race after him will do. Up until now, very little had been demanded of Abraham, other than to leave his family and to move to the land of Canaan.


Genesis 17:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bêyn (בֵּין) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #996 BDB #107

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bêyn (בֵּין) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #996 BDB #107

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bêyn (בֵּין) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

zeraʿ (זֶרַע) [pronounced ZEH-rahģ]

a seed, a sowing; an offspring, progeny, descendant; posterity

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2233 BDB #282

ʾachar (אַחַר) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29


Translation:...[this contract is] between Me and you all and between [Me and] your seed:... I have added a lot of words to this verse in order to convey what I believe is being said here. In part I do this because I am breaking down this verse into its component parts; these extra words allow me to carry over from the previous portion of this verse.


This contract or covenant is between God and you all, indicating that the suffix is a 2nd person masculine plural suffix. This catches us off guard. God is talking simply to Abraham, but he will participate in this covenant, as will those who make up his extended family at this time and all Jews (which have not yet been defined).


When God makes this contract, it is not between Abraham, his household and his seed; it is between God and Abraham; God and Abraham’s household; and between God and Abraham’s seed. God is on one side of the contract, Abraham, Abraham’s household and Abraham’s seed are on the other side of the contract. Abraham does not get to negociate this contract; this contract stands based upon the provisions which God is making, which indicates that this most closely follows the format of a suzerain-vassal contract, as God is laying down all of the provisions. .


Genesis 17:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

mûwl (מוּל) [pronounced mool]

to be circumcised; to circumcise oneself

Niphal infinitive absolute

Strong's #4135 BDB #557

The infinitive absolute has four uses: ➊ when found alone, it sometimes acts as an English gerund, so that we may add ing to the end of the verb; ➋ When found directly before its verbal cognate, it serves to intensify or strengthen the action or the meaning of the verb which follows; ➌ When it follows its cognate verb, it emphasizes the duration or the continuation of the verbal idea; and, ➍ it is sometimes used as a substitute for a finite verb form.

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of, any

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

zâkâr (זָכָר) [pronounced zaw-KAWR]

 male, male offspring (whether animal or people); this word is not used as a collective for males and females