|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:1-6 The covenant was to be accomplished in due time. The promised Seed was Christ, and Christians in him. And all who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abram, being partakers of the same covenant blessings. In token of this covenant his name was changed from Abram, a high father, to Abraham, the father of a multitude. All that the Christian world enjoys, it is indebted for to Abraham and his Seed.
Verse 3. - And Abram fell on his face - in reverential awe and worship (vide Ver. 17; cf. Genesis 24:52; Numbers 16:22; Mark 14:35). Other attitudes of devotion are mentioned (1 Kings 8:54; Mark 4:25; 1 Timothy 2:8). And God - Elohim, the third name for the Deity within the compass of as many verses, thus indicating identity of being - talked with him, saying -
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Abram fell on his face,.... At the sight of so glorious a Person that appeared to him, and in reverence of his majesty, and as sensible of his unworthiness of such a visit, and of having such favours bestowed upon him; and not because he was not as yet circumcised, as the Targum of Jonathan expresses it; and so other Jewish (f) writers observe, that before he was circumcised he fell, when God spoke to him, but afterwards he sat and stood, Genesis 18:1; but it may be observed, that not only uncircumcised persons, as Balaam, Numbers 22:31, in whom Jarchi instances, but circumcised ones, as Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:28, Joshua, Joshua 5:14, and others, have fallen on their faces at a divine appearance:
and God talked with him; after he was raised up, and was strengthened and encouraged to stand up before God, and hear what he had to say to him; for after this we read of his falling on his face again, Genesis 17:17; which shows that he had been erect, after he first fell on his face: saying; as follows.
(f) Jarchi in loc. Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 29.)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. Abram fell on his face—the attitude of profoundest reverence assumed by Eastern people. It consists in the prostrate body resting on the hands and knees, with the face bent till the forehead touches the ground. It is an expression of conscious humility and profound reverence.
Genesis 17:3 Parallel Commentaries
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