The Covenant of Circumcision
1When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him. He said, “I am the Mighty God. Walk faithfully with me. Live in a way that pleases me. 2I will now act on my covenant between me and you. I will greatly increase the number of your children after you.”
3Abram fell with his face to the ground. God said to him, 4“This is my covenant with you. You will be the father of many nations. 5You will not be called Abram anymore. Your name will be Abraham, because I have made you a father of many nations. 6I will greatly increase the number of your children after you. Nations and kings will come from you. 7I will make my covenant with you last forever. It will be between me and you and your family after you for all time to come. I will be your God. And I will be the God of all your family after you. 8You are now living in Canaan as an outsider. But I will give you the whole land of Canaan. You will own it forever and so will all your family after you. And I will be their God.”
9Then God said to Abraham, “You must keep my covenant. You and your family after you must keep it for all time to come. 10Here is my covenant that you and your family after you must keep. You and every male among you must be circumcised. 11That will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12It must be done for all time to come. Every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised. That includes those who are born into your own family or outside it. It also includes those bought with money from a stranger. 13So any male born into your family or bought with your money must be circumcised. My covenant will last forever. Your body will have the mark of my covenant on it. 14Any male who has not been circumcised will be separated from his people. He has broken my covenant.”
15God also said to Abraham, “Do not continue to call your wife by the name Sarai. Her name will be Sarah. 16I will give her my blessing. You can be sure that I will give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations. Kings of nations will come from her.”
17Abraham fell with his face to the ground. He laughed and said to himself, “Can a 100-year-old man have a son? Can Sarah have a child at the age of 90?” 18Abraham said to God, “I really wish Ishmael could receive your blessing!”
19Then God said, “Yes, I will bless Ishmael. But your wife Sarah will have a son by you. And you will name him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him. That covenant will last forever. It will be for Isaac and his family after him. 20I have heard what you said about Ishmael. I will surely bless him. I will make his family very large. He will be the father of 12 rulers. And I will make him into a great nation. 21But I will establish my covenant with Isaac. By this time next year, Sarah will have a son by you.” 22When God had finished speaking with Abraham, God left him.
23On that same day Abraham circumcised his son Ishmael. He also circumcised every male who was born into his family or bought with his money. He did exactly as God had told him. 24Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised. 25His son Ishmael was 13. 26Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that same day. 27And every male in Abraham’s household was circumcised along with him. That included those born into his family or bought from a stranger.
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B'resheet (Gen) 17
1When 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. 2I will make my covenant between me and you, and I will increase your numbers greatly.” 3Avram fell on his face, and God continued speaking with him: 4“As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. 5Your name will no longer be Avram [exalted father], but your name will be Avraham [father of many], because I have made you the father of many nations. 6I will cause you to be very fruitful. I will make nations of you, kings will descend from you.
(vii) 7“I am establishing my covenant between me and you, along with your descendants after you, generation after generation, as an everlasting covenant, to be God for you and for your descendants after you. 8I will give you and your descendants after you the land in which you are now foreigners, all the land of Kena‘an, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God.”
9God said to Avraham, “As for you, you are to keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation. 10Here is my covenant, which you are to keep, between me and you, along with your descendants after you: every male among you is to be circumcised. 11You are to be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; this will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12Generation after generation, every male among you who is eight days old is to be circumcised, including slaves born within your household and those bought from a foreigner not descended from you. 13The slave born in your house and the person bought with your money must be circumcised; thus my covenant will be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant. 14Any uncircumcised male who will not let himself be circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin — that person will be cut off from his people, because he has broken my covenant.”
15God said to Avraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are not to call her Sarai [mockery]; her name is to be Sarah [princess]. 16I will bless her; moreover, I will give you a son by her. Truly I will bless her: she will be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” 17At this Avraham fell on his face and laughed — he thought to himself, “Will a child be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah give birth at ninety?” 18Avraham said to God, “If only Yishma‘el could live in your presence!” 19God answered, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you are to call him Yitz’chak [laughter]. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20But as for Yishma‘el, I have heard you. I have blessed him. I will make him fruitful and give him many descendants. He will father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21But I will establish my covenant with Yitz’chak, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.” 22With that, God finished speaking with Avraham and went up from him.
23Avraham took Yishma‘el his son, all the slaves born in his house and all who had been bought with his money, every male among the people in Avraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin that very day, just as God had said to him.
(Maftir) 24Avraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, 25and Yishma‘el his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26Avraham and Yishma‘el his son were circumcised on the same day; 27and all the men in his household, both slaves born in his house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
Haftarah Lekh L’kha: Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) 40:27–41:16
B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Lekh L’kha: Acts 7:1–8; Romans 3:19–5:6; Galatians 3:15–18; 5:1–6; Colossians 2:11–15; Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 7:1–19; 11:8–12
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