Genesis 17

God changes Abram's name to Abraham

1 Abram was 99 years old. The LORD appeared to him. The LORD said ‘I am God Almighty. Walk before me. And do nothing wrong.’

17:1Almighty’ means that God is the Lord of everything. He had power over everything. God says that Abram is his friend. He knows that Abram worships him. God knows that Abram does what is right for God.

2 ‘I will fix my covenant. My covenant will be between me and you. I will make the number of your descendants grow.’

17:2God had told Abram this in chapter 15. But Abram and Sarai did not wait for God. So Abram used Hagar to have a son. Now God is fixing the covenant between them.

3 Abram fell to the ground. He put his face to the ground. God said to him,

4 ‘This is what I will do. This is my covenant to you. You will be the father of many people.’

17:4Abram will have many descendants. They will live all over the earth, in many different countries.

5 ‘Your name is not Abram any longer. Now your name is Abraham. This is because you are the father of many people. I will make this happen. 6 I will give you many descendants. These will make many different groups of people. Some of your descendants will be kings.

7 My covenant will be for all time. It is between me and you. And it will be between me and your descendants and their sons. (It will be for all time.) I will be your God. I will also be the God of all your descendants. 8 You are a foreign person here. This is the land of Canaan. I will give you all of Canaan. I give it to you and all your descendants. And I will be their God.


9 This is what you must do. You must do as I tell you. Then you will keep my covenant. You, and all your descendants must keep it. 10 This is my covenant with you and with all your descendants. This is what you must do to keep my covenant. This is for every male who lives with you. You must circumcise them. 11 You must be circumcised too. This will show that the covenant is between you and me. 12 You must circumcise every generation of males. Do this when they are 8 days old. This is for every male that lives with you. Circumcise servants and slaves bought with money. This includes males that are not your children. 13 They may be born in your household. Or you may have bought them with your money. Circumcise all males. This is my covenant in your body. It will be for all time.’

17:13Covenant in your body’ means that being circumcised shows that the people are living in God's promise.

14 ‘Circumcise every male. If you do not circumcise someone, I will separate him from his people. Because my covenant is broken.’

17:14Circumcision showed that a person worshipped God. If he is not circumcised, the covenant with God is broken. Every father had to circumcise his son. This showed that they were both living in God's covenant.

God changes Sarai's name to Sarah

15 God also said to Abraham, ‘As for your wife Sarai, you must not call her Sarai. Her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her. I will give you a son through her. I will bless her. And she will be the mother of many descendants. Some of her descendants will be kings.’ 17 Abraham fell to the ground. He put his face to the ground. Abraham laughed. He said to himself, ‘I am 100 years old. That is too old to have a son. Sarah is 90 years old. That is too old to have a child.’ 18 Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael may have your blessing.’ 19 God said to Abraham, ‘No, your wife Sarah will have a child. You must call him Isaac. I will make my covenant with him. It will be for all time. My covenant will be for him and all his descendants.’

17:19God tells Abraham that Sarah's child, Isaac, will live under God's covenant. Isaac will continue Abraham's family line. Ishmael is Hagar's child.
17:19‘Isaac’ means ‘he laughs’.

20 God said, ‘I have heard what you want for Ishmael. I will bless him. He will have many descendants. 12 rulers will come from his descendants. His descendants will be great people. 21 But I will make my covenant with Isaac. Isaac will be Sarah's child. He will be born before one year has passed.’

22 God had finished speaking to Abraham. So God left Abraham.

17:22Again, God tells Abraham that Isaac will have the covenant with God. But God will also bless Ishmael because Abraham has asked him to.
17:22But God's covenant is with Isaac because he will be Abraham and Sarah's son. This is what God had promised.

23 On that day, Abraham went to Ishmael. He also went to all the males born into his household. Also, he went to every male that he had bought with money. Abraham went to every male in his household. He circumcised them. He did this because God had told him to do it. 24 Abraham's circumcision happened when he was 99 years old. 25 Ishmael's circumcision happened when he was 13 years old. 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised on the same day. 27 Abraham circumcised every male living in his household. This included males bought with money. It also included foreign males living in Abraham's household. He circumcised them all on that day.