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Genesis 17:3-5 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Abram bowed down with his face to the ground,[a] and God said to him,[b] “As for me,[c] this[d] is my covenant with you: You will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer will your name be[e] Abram. Instead, your name will be Abraham[f] because I will make you[g] the father of a multitude of nations.


  1. Genesis 17:3 tn Heb “And Abram fell on his face.” This expression probably means that Abram sank to his knees and put his forehead to the ground, although it is possible that he completely prostrated himself. In either case the posture indicates humility and reverence.
  2. Genesis 17:3 tn Heb “God spoke to him, saying.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  3. Genesis 17:4 tn Heb “I.”
  4. Genesis 17:4 tn Heb “is” (הִנֵּה, hinneh).
  5. Genesis 17:5 tn Heb “will your name be called.”
  6. 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.
  7. Genesis 17:5 tn The perfect verbal form is used here in a rhetorical manner to emphasize God’s intention.
New English Translation (NET)

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