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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Abram Is Named Abraham
1When 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. 2I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”
3At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, 4“This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! 5What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham,#17:5 Abram means “exalted father”; Abraham sounds like a Hebrew term that means “father of many.” for you will be the father of many nations. 6I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!
7“I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants#17:7 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. 8And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.”
The Mark of the Covenant
9Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. 10This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised. 11You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased. 13All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant. 14Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.”
Sarai Is Named Sarah
15Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah.#17:15 Sarai and Sarah both mean “princess”; the change in spelling may reflect the difference in dialect between Ur and Canaan. 16And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.”
17Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” 18So Abraham said to God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!”
19But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac,#17:19 Isaac means “he laughs.” and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant. 20As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.” 22When God had finished speaking, he left Abraham.
23On that very day Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and every male in his household, including those born there and those he had bought. Then he circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins, just as God had told him. 24Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25and Ishmael, his son, was thirteen. 26Both Abraham and his son, Ishmael, were circumcised on that same day, 27along with all the other men and boys of the household, whether they were born there or bought as servants. All were circumcised with him.
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