Genesis 17:5

Genesis 17:5

Neither shall thy name be any more called Abram
Which signifies an "high father", which name he bore for many years before he was the father of anyone:

but thy name shall be Abraham:
with all addition of the letter (h) inserted into it, and makes the last syllable two, "raham": which word in the Arabic language, as Hottinger F7 observes, signifies "numerous" {h}; so that with this addition his name Abraham may be interpreted, the father of a numerous offspring; and with this agrees the reason of it, as follows:

for a father of many nations have I made thee;
not that he was so already in fact, but in the purpose and promise of God, ( Romans 4:17 ) ; Abraham has not only been the father of many nations, in a literal sense, as before observed, but in a mystical sense, of the whole world; that is, of all in it that believe, whether Jews or Gentiles; and so the Rabbins F9 interpret it: at first, they say, he was the father of Aram, and therefore his name was called Abram, but now he is the father of the whole world, and therefore called Abraham; and so Maimonides F11 himself says, quoting this passage,

``behold he is the father of the whole world, who are gathered under the wings of the Shechinah.''


FOOTNOTES:

F7 Smegma Oriental. p. 88.
F8 , "numerus", "copiosus", Golius, col. 1055, 1056. Castel. col. 3537.
F9 In Massechet Biccurim, apud Galat. in Arcan. Cathol. Ver. l. 5, 13. & 9, 12. in Maimon. in Misn. ib. c. 1. sect. 4.
F11 Hilchot Biccurim, c. 4. sect. 3.