Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Genesis 17- The Promise of the Seed


1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, “I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect.

It is not impossible to be perfect. We do all make mistakes, but God looks at the heart, not the outside. If our heart is perfect, we are perfect.

Though a little green apple is immature, it can still be a perfect apple.

2 “And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.”

3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,

4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

God will multiply Abram both financially and with many children. Some people God calls to have physical wealth and some He doesn’t. Abram needed worldly wealth in order to achieve what God had called him to do. Though Abram was already a rich man at this point, God promises to bless him more, beginning with a child.

5 “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

Abram means “Exalted Father.”

Abraham means “Father of a Multitude.”

Not only are today’s Jews descended from Abraham, but so are most of the people in the Middle East as well as people all over the world due to intermarriage.

6 “And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.

7 “And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

Paul says in Galatians 3:16, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many; but as of one, ‘And to thy seed,’ which is Christ.”

The covenant which was established forever- the Everlasting Covenant- was a three party covenant: God, Abraham, and Christ. It was not with all the physical descendants of Abraham, but with Jesus.

8 “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Israel possessed the land of Canaan under Abraham’s part of the covenant.

Those who follow Jesus will possess not just Canaan, but the entire planet in the Time After Time.

9 And God said unto Abraham, “Thou shalt keep My covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

10 “This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

Abraham’s part of the covenant was to perform the ritual of circumcision.

Christ’s follower’s part of the covenant is to perform the ritual of baptism.

Now, a child was fully born and quite alive (eight days old) when he was circumcised. Today’s believer is fully saved, fully alive in Christ, BEFORE he is baptized. Baptism is not part of the salvation process, but something done afterward as a sign of our covenant with God.

11 “And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt Me and you.

12 “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

13 “He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

Imagine being an adult slave bought by Abraham after this. “You are going to do what to me?!”

14 “And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant.

There are many today who no longer circumcise their sons. The argument is that we are no longer required by scripture to perform this ritual (which is true- see Acts 15, and the entire book of Galatians), and that there is no medical reason to continue. While we certainly have no religious reason whatsoever to circumcise (that ritual was replaced with baptism), I question the other.

Studies are beginning to show that those who are circumcised have lower rates of penile cancer, infections, thrush, Phimosis (too tight of a foreskin), and STDs. Their partners also have lower rates of cervical cancer and infections.

But even if our scientists had not yet found a reason, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one. I find the entire requirement odd. Why not cut off a piece of the earlobe? It is much more visible, serves no purpose whatsoever, and can be done to both boys and girls. It seems to me this would accomplish the goal of setting the Israelites aside from others much better and, since sex is not dirty or automatically a sin, and what enters our ears is potentially very damaging, it could easily represent the putting away of the flesh just as well.

Or let’s tattoo the hand with the name of God. They knew how to tattoo then (and anyway, God could have told them if they didn’t), and the hands are involved in 80% of all sins. Wouldn’t that remind them not to sin?

The only thing I can figure is that we have not yet discovered all the medical reasons for circumcision and God knows things we don’t. I trust that He had a reason to pick circumcision as the symbol for membership in His people besides the obvious spiritual one.

Why did God create the foreskin in the first place? It is possible that in the pre-Fall (pre-clothes) days of planet earth that piece of skin protected that very delicate part of the body from damage from bushes and what not. That is the purpose it appears to serve with animals still. Since we wear clothes now, we don’t need that protection, so the balance is that the foreskin now causes more harm than good.

At eight days old a child has the highest level of blood clotting factors he will ever have and the lowest level of pain receptors. God designed the child to be ready for this minor surgery at just this time.

15 And God said unto Abraham, “As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.

Sarai means “dominative.”

Sarah means “Princess.”

16 “And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.

Now God words His promise very clearly. It won’t just be Abraham who will have many and important descendants, but Sarah also. She is eighty-nine years old at this time.

17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?”

This is not unbelief, but amazement that God will perform such a miracle.

18 And Abraham said unto God, “O that Ishmael might live before thee!”

Abraham loved his son, Ishmael. He wanted him to be special to God too.

19 And God said, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

Isaac means “Laughter.” What a neat name for a child!

God is assuring Abraham that He intends for the inheritance of The Promise to pass through Sarah’s child. This inheritance is the Messianic linage and the Scriptures.

If the book of Genesis was written by a number of people starting with Adam, then someone has to be made keeper of these special documents until the printing press is invented and they can be put into the hands of all the people.

Many believe Shem himself gave Abraham these documents to care for. This was a heavy responsibility. Along with the responsibility comes the blessings of God’s special protection and favor.

Salvation, however, is up to every individual to choose, no matter what his genealogy. No one was ever saved just because they were a Jew. It takes faith in God. After Moses and before the Cross, this faith was displayed by keeping the Law. Before Moses and After the Cross it is displayed by a life of righteousness and following God’s leading.

20 “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

God answered Abraham’s prayer concerning Ishmael by promising he would have twelve sons and would become a mighty force in the world. The Bible records these son’s names and “The Ishmaelites” show up here and there in scripture. Mohamed was a direct descendant of Ishmael in the seventh century AD. Today, the faith he founded (Islam) is the biggest in the world. It has been a major force in history for well over 1000 years.

21 “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.”

God holds to the plan that it will be Sarah’s son who will hold the promise of the lineage of the Christ and God’s special protection.

22 And He left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.

This was quite a job to do on the spur of the moment. Remember that Abraham had over 300 fighting men plus servants too old and too young to fight! I would assume some of those servants helped him.

24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.

25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.

So this was year 2107AH (1939BC).

26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.

27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.

Abraham was careful to follow his part of this covenant to the letter.