Genesis 17:1-14

The Covenant of Circumcision

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[a] ; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,
4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.
5 No longer will you be called Abram[b] ; your name will be Abraham,[c] for I have made you a father of many nations.
6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
8 The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.
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.
11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.
12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, 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. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.
14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Genesis 17:1 in Other Translations

KJV
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.
ESV
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,
NLT
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.
MSG
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, "I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt!
CSB
1 When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, "I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be devout.

Genesis 17:1-14 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 17

This chapter treats of a covenant made with Abram, sometimes called the covenant of circumcision, the time when God appeared to him, and promised to make it, and did, Ge 17:1-3; the particulars of it, both with respect to himself, whose name was now changed, and to his posterity, Ge 17:4-8; the token of it, circumcision, the time of its performance, and the persons obliged to it, Ge 17:9-14; the change of Sarai's name, and a promise made that she should have a son, to the great surprise of Abraham, Ge 17:15-17; a prayer of his for Ishmael, and the answer to it, with a confirmation of Sarah's having a son, whose name should be called Isaac, and the establishment of the covenant with him, Ge 17:18-22; and the chapter is closed with an account of the circumcision of Abraham, and all his family of the male sort, agreeably to the command of God, Ge 17:23-27.

Genesis 17:1-14 In-Context

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty ; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,
4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.
5 No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
8 The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.
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.
11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.
12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, 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. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.
14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.
16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”
18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

Cross References 35

  • 1. S Genesis 12:4
  • 2. S Genesis 12:7
  • 3. Genesis 28:3; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 43:14; Genesis 48:3; Genesis 49:25; Exodus 6:3; Ruth 1:20; Job 5:17; Job 6:4,14; Job 22:21; Job 33:19; Job 36:16; Isaiah 13:6; Joel 1:15; Micah 6:9
  • 4. S Genesis 5:22; Genesis 20:5; Deuteronomy 18:13; 1 Kings 3:6; 1 Kings 9:4; Job 1:1; Psalms 15:2; Psalms 18:23; Psalms 78:72; Psalms 101:2
  • 5. S Genesis 15:18; S Genesis 22:16-18
  • 6. S Genesis 12:2
  • 7. ver 17; Genesis 18:2; Genesis 19:1; Genesis 33:3; Exodus 18:7; Numbers 14:5; Joshua 5:14; Joshua 7:6; Judges 13:20; Ezekiel 1:28; Ezekiel 3:23
  • 8. S Genesis 15:18
  • 9. ver 16; S Genesis 12:2; Genesis 25:23; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 48:19
  • 10. ver 15; Genesis 32:28; Genesis 35:10; Genesis 37:3,13; Genesis 43:6; Genesis 46:2; 1 Kings 18:31; 2 Kings 17:34; 1 Chronicles 1:34; Nehemiah 9:7; Isaiah 48:1; S John 1:42
  • 11. Romans 4:17*
  • 12. Genesis 1:28; Genesis 22:17; Genesis 26:22; Genesis 28:3; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 41:52; Genesis 47:27; Genesis 48:4; Genesis 49:22; Leviticus 26:9; Deuteronomy 7:13
  • 13. ver 16,19; Genesis 18:10; Genesis 21:1; Genesis 36:31; Isaiah 51:2; Matthew 1:6
  • 14. S Genesis 15:18; Leviticus 26:9,15
  • 15. S Genesis 6:18
  • 16. S Hebrews 13:20
  • 17. S Genesis 9:16
  • 18. Exodus 6:7; Exodus 20:2; Exodus 29:45,46; Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 18:2; Leviticus 22:33; Leviticus 25:38; Leviticus 26:12,45; Numbers 15:41; Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 7:6,21; Deuteronomy 29:13; 2 Samuel 7:24; Jeremiah 14:9; Revelation 21:7
  • 19. Romans 9:8; Galatians 3:16
  • 20. S Genesis 10:19; Psalms 105:9,11
  • 21. Genesis 23:4; Genesis 28:4; Genesis 35:27; Genesis 37:1; Exodus 6:4; 1 Chronicles 29:15
  • 22. S Genesis 12:7; S Genesis 15:7
  • 23. S ver 7; Jeremiah 31:1
  • 24. Genesis 22:18; Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 5:2
  • 25. Genesis 18:19
  • 26. ver 23; Genesis 21:4; Leviticus 12:3; Jos 5:2,5,7; John 7:22; Acts 7:8; Romans 4:11
  • 27. Exodus 12:48; Deuteronomy 10:16
  • 28. S Genesis 9:12; Romans 4:11
  • 29. S Genesis 9:12
  • 30. Genesis 21:4; Leviticus 12:3; Joshua 5:2; S Luke 1:59; Luke 2:21
  • 31. Exodus 12:44,48
  • 32. S Genesis 9:16
  • 33. ver 23
  • 34. Exodus 4:24-26; Exodus 12:15,19; Exodus 30:33; Leviticus 7:20,25; Leviticus 17:4; Leviticus 18:29; Leviticus 19:8; Leviticus 20:17; Numbers 9:13; Numbers 15:30; Numbers 19:13; Deuteronomy 17:12; Joshua 5:2-8; Job 38:15; Psalms 37:28
  • 35. Ezekiel 44:7

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Hebrew "El-Shaddai"
  • [b]. "Abram" means "exalted father."
  • [c]. "Abraham" probably means "father of many."
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.