Genesis 17:1
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be you perfect.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XVII.

CONFIRMATION OF THE COVENANT BY THE SACRAMENT OF CIRCUMCISION.

(1) Abram was ninety years old and nine.—Thirteen years, therefore, had passed by since the birth of Ishmael, who doubtless during this time had grown very dear to the childless old man, as we gather from the wish expressed in Genesis 17:18.

I am the Almighty God.—Heb., El shaddai. The word is Archaic, but there is no doubt that it means strong so as to overpower. Besides its use in Genesis we find it employed as the name of Deity by Balaam (Numbers 24:4; Numbers 24:16); by Naomi (Ruth 1:20); and in the Book of Job, where it occurs thirty-one times. We may thus regard it as one of the more general worldwide titles of the Most High” (Speaker’s Commentary). In Exodus 6:3 it is said, with evident reference to this place, that El shaddai was the name of God revealed to the patriarchs, but that He was not known to them by His name Jehovah. Here, nevertheless, in a passage said by commentators to be Elohistic, we read that “Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said to him I am El shaddai.” But the very gist of the passage is the identification of Jehovah and El shaddai, and the great object of the manifest care with which Moses distinguishes the Divine names seems to be to show, that though Jehovah became the special name of Elohim in His covenant relation to Israel after the Exodus, yet that the name was one old and primeval (Genesis 4:26), and that the God of revelation, under various titles, was ever one and the same. And so is it now, though we, by following a Jewish superstition, have well-nigh forfeited the use of the name Jehovah, so greatly prized of old (Genesis 4:1).

Walk before me.—The same verb as that used of Enoch (Genesis 5:22), and of Noah (Genesis 6:9), but the preposition before implies less closeness than with. On the other hand, Noah was described as “perfect among his contemporaries” (ibid.), while Abram is required still to strive after this integrity (see Note on Genesis 6:9).

Genesis

WITH, BEFORE, AFTER

WAITING FAITH REWARDED AND STRENGTHENED BY NEW REVELATIONS

Genesis 17:1 - Genesis 17:9
.

Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He was ninety-nine when God appeared to him, as recorded in this chapter. There had been three divine communications in these twenty-five years-one at Bethel on entering the land, one after the hiving off of Lot, and one after the battle with the Eastern kings. The last-named vision had taken place before Ishmael’s birth, and therefore more than thirteen years prior to the date of the lesson.

We are apt to think of Abraham’s life as being crowded with supernatural revelations. We forget the foreshortening necessary in so brief a sketch of so long a career, which brings distant points close together. Revelations were really but thinly sown in Abram’s life. For something over thirteen years he had been left to walk by faith, and, no doubt, had felt the pressure of things seen, silently pushing the unseen out of his life.

Especially would this be the case as Ishmael grew up, and his father’s heart began to cling to him. The promise was beginning to grow dimmer, as years passed without the birth of the promised heir. As Genesis 17:18 of this chapter shows, Abram’s thoughts were turning to Ishmael as a possible substitute. His wavering confidence was steadied and quickened by this new revelation. We, too, are often tempted to think that, in the highest matters, ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,’ and to wish that God would be content with our Ishmaels, which satisfy us, and would not withdraw us from possessed good, to make us live by hope of good unseen. We need to reflect on this vision when we are thus tempted.

1. Note the revelation of God’s character, and of our consequent duty, which preceded the repetition of the covenant. ‘I am the Almighty God.’ The aspect of the divine nature, made prominent in each revelation of Himself, stands in close connection with the circumstances or mental state of the recipient. So when God appeared to Abram after the slaughter of the kings, He revealed Himself as ‘thy Shield’ with reference to the danger of renewed attack from the formidable powers which He had bearded and beaten. In the present case the stress is laid on God’s omnipotence, which points to doubts whispering in Abram’s heart, by reason of God’s delay in fulfilling His word, and of his own advancing years and failing strength. Paul brings out the meaning of the revelation when he glorifies the faith which it kindled anew in Abram, ‘being fully assured that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform’ {Romans 4:21}. Whenever our ‘faith has fallen asleep’ and we are ready to let go our hold of God’s ideal and settle down on the low levels of the actual, or to be somewhat ashamed of our aspirations after what seems so slow of realisation, or to elevate prudent calculations of probability above the daring enthusiasms of Christian hope, the ancient word, that breathed itself into Abram’s hushed heart, should speak new vigour into ours. ‘I am the Almighty God-take My power into all thy calculations, and reckon certainties with it for the chief factor. The one impossibility is that any word of Mine should fail. The one imprudence is to doubt My word.’

What follows in regard to our duty from that revelation? ‘Walk before Me, and be thou perfect.’ Enoch walked with God; that is, his whole active life was passed in communion with Him. The idea conveyed by ‘walking before God’ is not precisely the same. It is rather that of an active life, spent in continual consciousness of being ‘naked and opened before the eyes of Him to whom we have to give account.’ That thrilling consciousness will not paralyse nor terrify, if we feel that we are not only ‘ever in the great Task-Master’s eye,’ but that God’s omniscience is all-knowing love, and is brought closer to our hearts and clothed in gracious tenderness in Christ whose ‘eyes were as a flame of fire,’ but whose love is more ardent still, who knows us altogether, and pities and loves as perfectly as He knows.

What sort of life will spring from the double realisation of God’s almightiness, and of our being ever before Him? ‘Be thou perfect.’ Nothing short of immaculate conformity with His will can satisfy His gaze. His desire for us should be our aim and desire for ourselves. The standard of aspiration and effort cannot be lowered to meet weakness. This is nobility of life-to aim at the unattainable, and to be ever approximating towards our aim. It is more blessed to be smitten with the longing to win the unwon than to stagnate in ignoble contentment with partial attainments. Better to climb, with faces turned upwards to the inaccessible peak, than to lie at ease in the fat valleys! It is the salt of life to have our aims set fixedly towards ideal perfection, and to say, ‘I count not myself to have apprehended: but . . .I press toward the mark.’ Toward that mark is better than to any lower. Our moral perfection is, as it were, the reflection in humanity of the divine almightiness.

The wide landscape may be mirrored in an inch of glass. Infinity may be, in some manner, presented in miniature in finite natures. Our power cannot represent God’s omnipotence, but our moral perfection may, especially since that omnipotence is pledged to make us perfect if we will walk before Him.

2. Note the sign of the renewed covenant. Compliance with these injunctions is clearly laid down as the human condition of the divine fulfilment of it. ‘Be thou perfect’ comes first; ‘My covenant is with thee’ follows. There was contingency recognised from the beginning. If Israel broke the covenant, God was not unfaithful if He should not adhere to it. But the present point is that a new confirmation is given before the terms are repeated. The main purpose, then, of this revelation, did not lie in that repetition, but in the seal given to Abram by the change of name.

Another sign was also given, which had a wider reference. The change of name was God’s seal to His part. Circumcision was the seal of the other party, by which Abram, his family, and afterwards the nation, took on themselves the obligations of the compact.

The name bestowed is taken to mean ‘Father of a Multitude.’ It was the condensation into a word, of the divine promise. What a trial of Abram’s faith it was to bid him take a name which would sound in men’s ears liker irony than promise! He, close on a hundred years old, with but one child, who was known not to be the heir, to be called the father of many! How often Canaanites and his own household would smile as they used it! What a piece of senile presumption it would seem to them! How often Abram himself would be tempted to think his new name a farce rather than a sign! But he took it humbly from God, and he wore it, whether it brought ridicule from others or assurance in his own heart. It takes some courage for any of us to call ourselves by names which rest on God’s promise and seem to have little vindication in present facts. The world is fond of laughing at ‘saints,’ but Christians should familiarise themselves with the lofty designations which God gives His children, and see in them not only a summons to life corresponding, but a pledge and prophecy of the final possession of all which these imply. God calls ‘things that are not, as though they were’; and it is wisdom, faith, and humility-not presumption-which accepts the names as omens of what shall one day be.

The substance of the covenant is mainly identical with previous revelations. The land is to belong to Abram’s seed. That seed is to be very numerous. But there is new emphasis placed on God’s relation to Abram’s descendants. God promises to be ‘a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee,’ and, again, ‘I will be their God’ {Genesis 17:7 - Genesis 17:8}. That article of the old covenant is repeated in the new {Jeremiah 31:33}, with the addition, ‘And they shall be My people,’ which is really involved in it. We do not read later more spiritual ideas into the words, when we find in them here, at the very beginning of Hebrew monotheism, an insight into the deep truth of the reciprocal possession of God by us, and of us by God. What a glimpse into the depths of that divine heart is given, when we see that we are His possession, precious to Him above all the riches of earth and the magnificences of heaven! What a lesson as to the inmost blessedness of religion, when we learn that it takes God for its very own, and is rich in possessing Him, whatever else may be owned or lacking!

To possess God is only possible on condition of yielding ourselves to Him. When we give ourselves up, in heart, mind, and will, to be His, He is ours. When we cease to be our own, we get God for ours. The self-centred man is poor; he neither owns himself nor anything besides, in any deep sense. When we lose ourselves in God, we find ourselves, and being content to have nothing, and not even to be our own masters or owners, we possess ourselves more truly than ever, and have God for our portion, and in Him ‘all things are ours.’Genesis 17:1. And when Abram was ninety-nine years old — Full thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael. So long the promise of Isaac was deferred; 1st, Perhaps to correct Abram’s over-hasty marrying of Hagar. 2d, That Abram and Sarai being so far stricken in age, God’s power in this matter might be the more magnified. The Lord appeared unto Abram — In some visible display of his glory. And said, I am the almighty God — By this name he chose to make himself known to Abram, Isaac, and Jacob, rather than by his name Jehovah, Exodus 6:3, and Genesis 35:11. And they called him by this name. It is the name of God that is mostly used throughout the book of Job, at least thirty times in the discourses of that book, in which Jehovah is used but once. After Moses, Jehovah is more frequently used, and this very rarely. I am El-shaddai. It speaks the almighty power of God, either, 1st, As an avenger, from שׁדד, he destroyed, or laid waste; a title, as some think, taken from the destruction of the old world: Or, 2d, As a benefactor, שׁfor אשׁד, who, and די, it sufficeth. Our old English translation reads it here, very significantly. I am God all-sufficient. The God with whom we have to do is self-sufficient; he hath every thing, and he needs not any thing. And he is enough to us, if we be in covenant with him; we have all in him, and we have enough in him; enough to satisfy our most enlarged desires; enough to supply the defect of every thing else, and to secure us happiness for our immortal souls. But the covenant is mutual; walk before me, and be thou perfect — That is, upright and sincere. To walk before God is to set him always before us, and to think, and speak, and act in every thing as those that are always under his eye. It is to have a constant regard to his word as our rule, and to his glory as our end, in all our actions. It is to be spiritual in all the duties of religious worship, and, wholly devoted to him in all holy conversation. We must remember that this upright walking with God is the condition of our interest in his all- sufficiency. If we neglect him or dissemble with him, we forfeit the benefit of our relation to him.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.The covenant in its spiritual aspect. "The Lord," the Author of existence and performance. "God Almighty," El Shaddai. "El," the Lasting, Eternal, Absolute. "Shaddai," the Irresistible, Unchangeable, Destructive Isaiah 13:6; Joel 1:15. This term indicates on the one hand his judicial, punitive power, and points to his holiness; and on the other hand, his alterative, reconstructive power, and points to his providence. The complex name, therefore, describes God as the Holy Spirit, who works in the development of things, especially in the punishment and eradication of sin and its works, and in the regeneration and defense of holiness. It refers to potence, and potence combined with promise affords ground for faith.

Walk before me and be perfect. - In the institution of the covenant we had "fear not" - an encouragement to the daunted or the doubting. In its confirmation we have a command, a rule of life, prescribed. This is in keeping with the circumstances of Abraham. For, first, he has now faith in the Lord, which is the fruit of the new man in him prevailing over the old, and is therefore competent to obey; and, next, the Lord in whom he believes is God Almighty, the all-efficient Spirit, who worketh both to will and to do in the destroying of sin and building up of holiness. "Walk" - act in the most comprehensive sense of the term; "before me," and not behind, as one conscious of doing what is, not displeasing, but pleasing to me; "and be perfect," not sincere merely, unless in the primitive sense of duty, but complete, upright, holy, not only in walk, which is provided for in the previous clause, but in heart, the spring of action.

CHAPTER 17

Ge 17:1-27. Renewal of the Covenant.

1. Abram … ninety years old and nine—thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael [Ge 16:16]. During that interval he had enjoyed the comforts of communion with God but had been favored with no special revelation as formerly, probably on account of his hasty and blameable marriage with Hagar.

the Lord appeared—some visible manifestation of the divine presence, probably the Shekinah or radiant glory of overpowering effulgence.

I am the Almighty God—the name by which He made Himself known to the patriarchs (Ex 6:3), designed to convey the sense of "all-sufficient" (Ps 16:5, 6; 73:25).

walk … and … perfect—upright, or sincere (Ps 51:6) in heart, speech, and behavior.God renews his covenant with Abram, Genesis 17:1-4. His name in token thereof changed, Genesis 17:5. Kings shall be born of him, Genesis 17:6. The covenant established with his seed, Genesis 17:7. The promise of Canaan to him and his seed repeated, Genesis 17:8. Circumcision instituted, Genesis 17:9,10. The part to be circumcised, Genesis 17:11. The time and persons, Genesis 17:12,13. The punishment on neglecters of it, Genesis 17:14. Sarai’s named changed, Genesis 17:15. A son by her promised, Genesis 17:16. Abraham’s surprise, Genesis 17:17. His prayer for Ishmael, Genesis 17:18. The promise of a son by Sarah confirmed; his name, Genesis 17:19. Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael answered, Genesis 17:20, but the covenant established in Isaac, Genesis 17:21. Abraham is circumcised; as is also Ishmael, and all his house, Genesis 17:23-27.

I am the Almighty God, who can do all that I have promised, or shall promise to time, and whatsoever pleaseth me; and therefore do thou firmly believe all my words.

Walk before me as becomes one in the presence of thy Lord, and Judge, and Rewarder, being careful to please and obey me in all things, and depending upon me for thy well-doing and well-being. See the same phrase, Genesis 48:15 1 Kings 8:25 Psalm 116:9. And be thou perfect, i.e. sincere, universal, and constant in my belief of my promises, and obedience to my commands. See Genesis 6:9.

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine,.... Which was thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael last mentioned; so many years more it was before be is expressly told he should have a son by Sarai, or had the promise of Isaac, which was for the trial of his faith; and his age is here observed, that the power of God might be more manifest in fulfilling his promise, and giving him a son by Sarai:

the Lord appeared to Abram; in a visible manner, in an human form very probably, even the Logos, the Word and Son of God: it seems as if the Lord had not appeared to him since the birth of Ishmael, until this time; and if so, it may be thought to be a correction of him for listening to the voice of his wife in marrying Hagar, without asking counsel of God:

and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; as the Word of God is, as appears by his creation of all things, his in sustaining of them, his government of the church, his redemption of it, and preservation of his people safe to glory, see Revelation 1:8; and this epithet is very appropriate here, when the Lord was about to give out a promise of a son to Abram and Sarai, so much stricken in years. Some render it "all sufficient" (c), as Jehovah is, sufficient in and of himself, and for himself, and stands in no need of any, or of anything from another; and has a sufficiency for others, both in a way of providence and grace:

walk before me: not as though Abram had not so walked, or had discontinued his walk before God, but that he would go on to walk by faith in a dependence on him for everything he wanted, both with respect to things temporal and spiritual; and to walk in all his commandments and ordinances, that he either had given, or should give him; and all this as in his presence, and under his watchful eye, that sees and observes all things, and before whom all things are naked and open, as all are to the essential Word of God, Hebrews 4:12,

and be thou perfect: upright and sincere in acts of faith, and in duties of religion, and go on to perfection; which though a sinless one is not attainable in this life, is desirable, and is to be had in Christ, though not in ourselves: but here it chiefly denotes an holy and unblamable life and conversation, which though not entirely free from sin, yet without any notorious ones, which bring dishonour to God, and disgrace upon a man's character and profession, see Genesis 6:9. This respects not perfection in his body or flesh, as the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it, through circumcision, by which the Jews (d) fancy Abram became perfect, but was not till circumcised.

(c) "Deus sufficiens", Cocceius; so Jarchi and Ainsworth. (d) Jarchi in loc. Pirke Eliezer, c. 29. Misn. Nedarim, c. 13. sect. 11.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. ninety years old and nine] There has been an interval of 13 years since the birth of Ishmael in Genesis 16:16.

the Lord] “Jehovah,” used here in P, probably, for the special purpose of connecting the covenant of Abram with Him whose full name was revealed to Moses, Exodus 6:3. Or, as not infrequently must have happened, one sacred name has been substituted for another by editor or copyist.

Elsewhere in this chapter (Genesis 17:3; Genesis 17:7-9; Genesis 17:18-19; Genesis 17:22-23) Elohim occurs, as usual in P’s narrative.

I am God Almighty] Heb. Êl Shaddai. Notice the opening formula, “I am,” used in this manifestation. Cf. Genesis 35:11.

The name Êl Shaddai is that by which, according to Exodus 6:3 (P), God “appeared” in the patriarchal age, and before the revelation to Moses of the name Jehovah (JHVH=Jahveh). This title Êl Shaddai occurs in Genesis 28:3, Genesis 35:11, Genesis 43:14, Genesis 48:3 (cf. Genesis 49:25; Numbers 24:4; Numbers 24:16). Shaddai alone occurs frequently (31 times) in the Book of Job; in prose it is usually found with Êl = “God Almighty.”

The derivation of the word Shaddai has hitherto baffled enquiry. (1) The old Rabbinic explanation, that it consisted of two combined words (sh-, and dai) meaning “one who is All-sufficient,” is quite impossible; but it accounts for the rendering of Aquila and Symmachus ὁ ἱκανός. (2) It has been derived from a root (shdd) meaning “to destroy,” which may be illustrated from Isaiah 13:6, Joel 1:15. (3) Another suggestion connects it with shêdim = “demons”; see note on Genesis 14:3. (4) Others conjecture a derivation giving it the meaning of “the storm God.” (5) LXX renders, in Pent., by ὁ θεός μου, Vulg. “omnipotens.” The word is an ancient epithet of unknown origin, whose general meaning is that of irresistible power.

For Êl with Shaddai, see note on Genesis 14:18.

English readers will recollect the use of the name “Shaddai” in John Bunyan’s Holy War.

The word appears in the compound proper names “Zurishaddai” (Numbers 1:6; Numbers 2:12), “Ammishaddai” (Numbers 2:25).

walk before me] For this word “walk,” see Genesis 5:22; Genesis 5:24; Genesis 6:9. Here it is the “walk,” not “with,” but “in the presence of.” The idea is that of the progress in personal life and conduct in the continual realization of God’s presence. In P there is no supposition of any code of law before the time of Moses. The rite of circumcision, whose observance is commanded in this chapter, the prohibition against eating blood given in chap. Genesis 9:4, and the implied recognition of the Sabbath (Genesis 2:1), are the only external observances of the patriarchal age recognized in P. Here the command, “walk before me,” is simply that of living a good life in the sight of God. This is “to be well pleasing in his sight”: hence LXX renders εὐαρέστει.

The substance of the command is expressed in Genesis 18:19, “keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgement”; Deuteronomy 10:12, “to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God”; Micah 6:8, “to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

be thou perfect] See note on Genesis 6:9. Cf. Job 1:1; Job 1:8; Luke 1:6.Verse 1. - And when Abram was ninety years old and nine - consequently an interval of thirteen years had elapsed since the birth of Ishmael; the long delay on the part of God being probably designed as chastisement for Abram's second nuptials (Calvin), and at least corresponding with Abram's undue haste (Lange) - the Lord appeared to Abram - lest he should regard Ishmael's birth as a complete fulfillment of the promise (Menochius), and be satisfied with Hagar's child as the expected seed (Calvin) - and said to him, I am the Almighty God - El Shaddai, found six times in Genesis and thirty-one times in Job, composed of El, God, and Shaddai; not a nomen compositum (from שֶׁ = אֲשֶׁר and דַּי) signifying qui sufficiens est (Aquinas, Symmachus, Theodoret, Saadias, Maimonides, Calvin), but either a pluralis excellentiae., from the singular שַׁר, powerful - root ךשׁדַד, to be strong (Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Wordsworth), or a singular from the same root with the substantive termination יַ, as in הַגַּי, the festal, יְשִׁישַׁי, the old man, סִינַי, the thorn-grown (Keil, Oehler, Lange); descriptive of God as revealing himself violently in his might, hence correctly rendered παντοκράτωρ by the LXX. in Job (Oehler); distinguishing Jehovah, the God of salvation, from Elohim, the God who creates nature so that it is and supports it that it may stand, as "the God who compels nature to do what is contrary to itself, and subdues it to bow and minister to grace" (Delitzsch); characterizing Jehovah the covenant God, "as possessing the power to realize his promises, even when the order of nature presented no prospect of their fulfillment, and the powers of nature were insufficient to secure it" (Keil); perhaps, like Elohim and Adonai, one of the world-wide titles of the Most High since it was known to Balaam (Numbers 24:4, 16), and is constantly used in Job ('Speaker's Commentary'). Said in Exodus 6:2, 3 to have been the name by which God was known to the patriarchs, it is regarded by the partitionists as characteristic of the Elohist (Tuch, Blcek, Colenso, Davidson, Ewald), and accordingly to that writer the present chapter is assigned, and the Jehovah of this verse expiated as an alteration of the original Elohist's narrative; but the πρῶτον ψεῦδος of this criticism lurks in the identification of El-Shaddai with Elohim, whereas it is not Elohim, but Jehovah, who reveals himself as E1 Shaddai not alone in the Pentateuch, but in the historical and prophetical books as well (cf. Ruth 1:20, 21; vide Keil's Introduction, pt. § 2; div. 1. § 25). Walk before me. Literally, set thyself to walk, as inch. 13:17, in my presence, as if conscious of my inspection and solicitous of my approval; not behind me, as if sensible of shortcomings, and desirous to elude observation. The phrase intimates a less exalted piety than the corresponding phrase used of Enoch (5. 24) and Noah (Genesis 6:9). And be thou perfect. Tamim, ἄμεμπτοις (LXX.), used of Noah in Genesis 6:9, and rendered τέλειος (LXX.), while perhaps retrospectively glancing at Abram's sin in marrying Hagar, indicates that absolute standard of moral attainment, viz., completeness of being in respect of purity, which the supreme Lawgiver sets before his intelligent creatures (cf. Matthew 5:8). Hagar no doubt intended to escape to Egypt by a road used from time immemorial, that ran from Hebron past Beersheba, "by the way of Shur." - Shur, the present Jifar, is the name given to the north-western portion of the desert of Arabia (cf. Exodus 15:22). There the angel of the Lord found her by a well, and directed her to return to her mistress, and submit to her; at the same time he promised her the birth of a son, and an innumerable multiplication of her descendants. As the fruit of her womb was the seed of Abram, she was to return to his house and there bear him a son, who, though not the seed promised by God, would be honoured for Abram's sake with the blessing of an innumerable posterity. For this reason also Jehovah appeared to her in the form of the Angel of Jehovah. הרה is adj. verb. as in Genesis 38:24, etc.: "thou art with child and wilt bear;" ילדתּ for ילדת (Genesis 17:19) is found again in Judges 13:5, Judges 13:7. This son she was to call Ishmael ("God hears"), "for Jehovah hath hearkened to thy distress." עני afflictionem sine dubio vocat, quam Hagar afflictionem sentiebat esse, nempe conditionem servitem et quod castigata esset a Sara (Luther). It was Jehovah, not Elohim, who had heard, although the latter name was most naturally suggested as the explanation of Ishmael, because the hearing, i.e., the multiplication of Ishmael's descendants, was the result of the covenant grace of Jehovah. Moreover, in contrast with the oppression which has had endured and still would endure, she received the promise that her son would endure no such oppression. "He will be a wild ass of a man." The figure of a פּרא, onager, that wild and untameable animal, roaming at its will in the desert, of which so highly poetic a description is given in Job 39:5-8, depicts most aptly "the Bedouin's boundless love of freedom as he rides about in the desert, spear in hand, upon his camel or his horse, hardy, frugal, revelling in the varied beauty of nature, and despising town life in every form;" and the words, "his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him," describe most truly the incessant state of feud, in which the Ishmaelites live with one another or with their neighbours. "He will dwell before the face of all his brethren." פּני על denotes, it is true, to the east of (cf. Genesis 25:18), and this meaning is to be retained here; but the geographical notice of the dwelling-place of the Ishmaelites hardly exhausts the force of the expression, which also indicated that Ishmael would maintain an independent standing before (in the presence of) all the descendants of Abraham. History has confirmed this promise. The Ishmaelites have continued to this day in free and undiminished possession of the extensive peninsula between the Euphrates, the Straits of Suez, and the Red Sea, from which they have overspread both Northern Africa and Southern Asia.
Links
Genesis 17:1 Interlinear
Genesis 17:1 Parallel Texts


Genesis 17:1 NIV
Genesis 17:1 NLT
Genesis 17:1 ESV
Genesis 17:1 NASB
Genesis 17:1 KJV

Genesis 17:1 Bible Apps
Genesis 17:1 Parallel
Genesis 17:1 Biblia Paralela
Genesis 17:1 Chinese Bible
Genesis 17:1 French Bible
Genesis 17:1 German Bible

Bible Hub






Genesis 16:16
Top of Page
Top of Page