Circumcision—Proof of the Agreement
1When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him. He said, “I am God All-Powerful.#17:1 God All-Powerful Literally, “El Shaddai.” Obey me and live the right way. 2If you do this, I will prepare an agreement between us. I will promise to make your people a great nation.”
3Then Abram bowed down before God. God said to him, 4“This is my part of our agreement: I will make you the father of many nations. 5I will change your name from Abram#17:5 Abram This name means “honored father.” to Abraham,#17:5 Abraham This name means “great father” or “father of many.” because I am making you the father of many nations. 6I will give you many descendants. New nations and kings will come from you. 7And I will prepare an agreement between me and you. This agreement will also be for all your descendants. It will continue forever. I will be your God and the God of all your descendants. 8And 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.”
9Then God said to Abraham, “Now, this is your part of the agreement: You and all your descendants will obey my agreement. 10This is my agreement that all of you must obey. This is the agreement between me and you and all your descendants. Every male must be circumcised. 11You will cut the skin to show that you follow the agreement between me and you. 12When the baby boy is eight days old, you will circumcise him. Every boy born among your people and every boy who is a slave of your people must be circumcised. 13So every baby boy in your nation will be circumcised. Every boy who is born from your family or bought as a slave will be circumcised. 14Abraham, this is the agreement between you and me: Any male who is not circumcised will be cut off from his people#17:14 cut off from his people This means he must be separated from his family and lose his share of the inheritance. because he has broken my agreement.”
Isaac—the Promised Son
15God said to Abraham, “I will give Sarai,#17:15 Sarai A name, probably Aramaic, meaning “princess.” your wife, a new name. Her new name will be Sarah.#17:15 Sarah A Hebrew name meaning “princess.” 16I will bless her. I will give her a son, and you will be the father. She will be the mother of many new nations. Kings of nations will come from her.”
17Abraham bowed his face to the ground to show he respected God. But he laughed and said to himself, “I am 100 years old. I cannot have a son, and Sarah is 90 years old. She cannot have a child.”
18Then Abraham said to God, “I hope Ishmael will live and serve you.”
19God said, “No, I said that your wife Sarah will have a son. You will name him Isaac.#17:19 Isaac This name means “he laughs” or “he is happy.” I will make my agreement with him that will continue forever with all his descendants.
20“You mentioned Ishmael, and I heard you. I will bless him, and he will have many children. He will be the father of twelve great leaders. His family will become a great nation. 21But I will make my agreement with Isaac, the son who Sarah will have. He will be born at this same time next year.”
22After God finished talking with Abraham, God went up into heaven. 23Then Abraham gathered together Ishmael and all the slaves born in his house. He also gathered all the slaves he had bought. Every man and boy in Abraham’s house was gathered together, and they were all circumcised. Abraham circumcised them that day, just as God had told him to do.
24Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised. 25And Ishmael, his son, was 13 years old when he was circumcised. 26Abraham and his son were circumcised on the same day. 27Also, on that day all the men in Abraham’s house were circumcised. All the slaves born in his house and all the slaves he had bought were circumcised.
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1-2When 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! I’ll make a covenant between us and I’ll give you a huge family.”
3-8Overwhelmed, Abram fell flat on his face.
Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: You’ll be the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.’ I’ll make you a father of fathers—I’ll make nations from you, kings will issue from you. 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. 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.”
9-14God continued to Abraham, “And you: You will honor my covenant, you and your descendants, generation after generation. This is the covenant that you are to honor, the covenant that pulls in all your descendants: Circumcise every male. Circumcise by cutting off the foreskin of the penis; it will be the sign of the covenant between us. Every male baby will be circumcised when he is eight days old, generation after generation—this includes house-born slaves and slaves bought from outsiders who are not blood kin. Make sure you circumcise both your own children and anyone brought in from the outside. That way my covenant will be cut into your body, a permanent mark of my permanent covenant. An uncircumcised male, one who has not had the foreskin of his penis cut off, will be cut off from his people—he has broken my covenant.”
15-16God continued speaking to Abraham, “And Sarai your wife: Don’t call her Sarai any longer; call her Sarah. I’ll bless her—yes! I’ll give you a son by her! Oh, how I’ll bless her! Nations will come from her; kings of nations will come from her.”
17Abraham fell flat on his face. And then he laughed, thinking, “Can a hundred-year-old man father a son? And can Sarah, at ninety years, have a baby?”
18Recovering, Abraham said to God, “Oh, keep Ishmael alive and well before you!”
19But God said, “That’s not what I mean. Your wife, Sarah, will have a baby, a son. Name him Isaac (Laughter). I’ll establish my covenant with him and his descendants, a covenant that lasts forever.
20-21“And Ishmael? Yes, I heard your prayer for him. I’ll also bless him; I’ll make sure he has plenty of children—a huge family. He’ll father twelve princes; I’ll make him a great nation. But I’ll establish my covenant with Isaac whom Sarah will give you about this time next year.”
22God finished speaking with Abraham and left.
23Then Abraham took his son Ishmael and all his servants, whether houseborn or purchased—every male in his household—and circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins that very day, just as God had told him.
24-27Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised. His son Ishmael was thirteen years old when he was circumcised. Abraham and Ishmael were circumcised the same day together with all the servants of his household, those born there and those purchased from outsiders—all were circumcised with him.
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THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of NavPress. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.