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17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God appeared to him and told him, “I am the Almighty; obey me and live as you should. 2-4 I will prepare a contract between us, guaranteeing to make you into a mighty nation. In fact you shall be the father of not only one nation, but a multitude of nations!” Abram fell face downward in the dust as God talked with him.

“What’s more,” God told him, “I am changing your name. It is no longer ‘Abram’ (‘Exalted Father’), but ‘Abraham’ (‘Father of Nations’)—for that is what you will be. I have declared it. I will give you millions of descendants who will form many nations! Kings shall be among your descendants! 7-8 And I will continue this agreement between us generation after generation, forever, for it shall be between me and your children as well. It is a contract that I shall be your God and the God of your posterity. And I will give all this land of Canaan to you and them, forever. And I will be your God.

9-10 “Your part of the contract,” God told him, “is to obey its terms. You personally and all your posterity have this continual responsibility: that every male among you shall be circumcised; 11 the foreskin of his penis shall be cut off. This will be the proof that you and they accept this covenant. 12 Every male shall be circumcised on the eighth day after birth. This applies to every foreign-born slave as well as to everyone born in your household. This is a permanent part of this contract, and it applies to all your posterity. 13 All must be circumcised. Your bodies will thus be marked as participants in my everlasting covenant. 14 Anyone who refuses these terms shall be cut off from his people; for he has violated my contract.”

15 Then God added, “Regarding Sarai your wife—her name is no longer ‘Sarai’ but ‘Sarah’ (‘Princess’). 16 And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and make her the mother of nations! Many kings shall be among your posterity.”

17 Then Abraham threw himself down in worship before the Lord, but inside he was laughing in disbelief![a] “Me, be a father?” he said in amusement. “Me—100 years old? And Sarah, to have a baby at 90?”

18 And Abraham said to God, “Yes, do bless Ishmael!”

19 “No,” God replied, “that isn’t what I said. Sarah shall bear you a son; and you are to name him Isaac (‘Laughter’), and I will sign my covenant with him forever, and with his descendants. 20 As for Ishmael, all right, I will bless him also, just as you have asked me to. I will cause him to multiply and become a great nation. Twelve princes shall be among his posterity. 21 But my contract is with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah next year at about this time.”

22 That ended the conversation and God left. 23 Then, that very day, Abraham took Ishmael his son and every other male—born in his household or bought from outside—and cut off their foreskins, just as God had told him to. 24-27 Abraham was ninety-nine years old at that time, and Ishmael was thirteen. Both were circumcised the same day, along with all the other men and boys of the household, whether born there or bought as slaves.


  1. Genesis 17:17 inside he was laughing in disbelief, implied.

The Covenant of Circumcision

17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old,(A) the Lord appeared to him(B) and said, “I am God Almighty[a];(C) walk before me faithfully and be blameless.(D) Then I will make my covenant between me and you(E) and will greatly increase your numbers.”(F)

Abram fell facedown,(G) and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you:(H) You will be the father of many nations.(I) No longer will you be called Abram[b]; your name will be Abraham,[c](J) for I have made you a father of many nations.(K) I will make you very fruitful;(L) I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.(M) I will establish my covenant(N) as an everlasting covenant(O) between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God(P) and the God of your descendants after you.(Q) The whole land of Canaan,(R) where you now reside as a foreigner,(S) I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you;(T) and I will be their God.(U)

Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant,(V) you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.(W) 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.(X) 11 You are to undergo circumcision,(Y) and it will be the sign of the covenant(Z) between me and you. 12 For the generations to come(AA) every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised,(AB) including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised.(AC) My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.(AD) 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised(AE) in the flesh, will be cut off from his people;(AF) he has broken my covenant.(AG)

15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai(AH) your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.(AI) 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her.(AJ) I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations;(AK) kings of peoples will come from her.”

17 Abraham fell facedown;(AL) he laughed(AM) and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?(AN) Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”(AO) 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael(AP) might live under your blessing!”(AQ)

19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son,(AR) and you will call him Isaac.[d](AS) I will establish my covenant with him(AT) as an everlasting covenant(AU) for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers.(AV) He will be the father of twelve rulers,(AW) and I will make him into a great nation.(AX) 21 But my covenant(AY) I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you(AZ) by this time next year.”(BA) 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.(BB)

23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household(BC) or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.(BD) 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old(BE) when he was circumcised,(BF) 25 and his son Ishmael(BG) was thirteen; 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day. 27 And every male in Abraham’s household(BH), including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.


  1. Genesis 17:1 Hebrew El-Shaddai
  2. Genesis 17:5 Abram means exalted father.
  3. Genesis 17:5 Abraham probably means father of many.
  4. Genesis 17:19 Isaac means he laughs.

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