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No longer will your name be[a] Abram. Instead, your name will be Abraham[b] because I will make you[c] the father of a multitude of nations.

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  1. Genesis 17:5 tn Heb “will your name be called.”
  2. Genesis 17:5 sn 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 (ʾav hamon, “the father of a multitude,” which sounds like אַבְרָהָם, ʾavraham, “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.
  3. Genesis 17:5 tn The perfect verbal form is used here in a rhetorical manner to emphasize God’s intention.