Genesis 17:13
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.
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(13) He that is born in thy house . . . —Two things follow from this wide extension of the rite of circumcision: the first, that all members of Abram’s household, being thus sharers in the covenant, were also numbered as belonging to the nations that sprang from him. We have seen that even in early days his followers must have numbered six or seven hundred men (Genesis 14:14), and they were growing in multitude all the rest of his life, and during the lifetime of Isaac. They were then divided between Esau and Jacob at Isaac’s death (Genesis 35:27; Genesis 36:6-7), but the diminution in the number of Jacob’s family thus caused must have been compensated by those whom he gathered for himself in Mesopotamia (Genesis 30:43). All his household went down with him into Egypt, as part of his taf, translated “little ones” in Genesis 46:5, but really signifying the whole body of dependents, men, women, and children. Placed there in the fruitful Delta, they would be counted as members of that tribe to the chief of which they belonged, and would swell the numbers of the vast host which left Egypt (Exodus 12:37). The second point is, that as all who were circumcised were regarded as Israelites, so also circumcision was confined to the Israelites. It was not ‘a catholic ordinance, intended, like baptism, for all people and all times. Nor was it primarily a religious institution. The bought slave was circumcised first, and instructed afterwards. No profession of faith was required, but he was admitted to the privilege in right of his master. The reason of this was that it was an admission into the Jewish nation first, and by consequence only into the church. It is one of the many points which distinguish slavery, as practised among the Jews, from the degrading form of it which existed in modem times, that from the days of Abram onwards the slave by being circumcised was proclaimed to be one of the same race and nation as his master, and thereby entitled to share in his national and religious privileges.

17:7-14 The covenant of grace is from everlasting in the counsels of it, and to everlasting in the consequences of it. The token of the covenant was circumcision. It is here said to be the covenant which Abraham and his seed must keep. Those who will have the Lord to be to them a God, must resolve to be to him a people. Not only Abraham and Isaac, and his posterity by Isaac, were to be circumcised, but also Ishmael and the bond-servants. It sealed not only the covenant of the land of Canaan to Isaac's posterity, but of heaven, through Christ, to the whole church of God. The outward sign is for the visible church; the inward seal of the Spirit is peculiar to those whom God knows to be believers, and he alone can know them. The religious observance of this institution was required, under a very severe penalty. It is dangerous to make light of Divine institutions, and to live in the neglect of them. The covenant in question was one that involved great blessings for the world in all future ages. Even the blessedness of Abraham himself, and all the rewards conferred upon him, were for Christ's sake. Abraham was justified, as we have seen, not by his own righteousness, but by faith in the promised Messiah.The time of circumcision is the eighth day. Seven is the number of perfection. Seven days are therefore regarded as a type of perfectage and individuality. At this stage, accordingly, the sign of sanctification is made on the child, betokening the consecration of the heart to God, when its rational powers have come into noticeable activity. To be "cut off from his people" is to be excluded from any part in the covenant, and treated simply as a Gentile or alien, some of whom seem to have dwelt among the Israelites. It was sometimes accompanied with the sentence of death Exodus 31:14; and this shows that it did not of itself imply such a doom. Excommunication, however, for the omission of circumcision, would be extremely rare, as no parent would intentionally neglect the sacred interest of his child. Yet the omission of this rite has not been unprecedented, as the children of Israel did not generally circumcise their children in the wilderness Joshua 5:5.10. Every man child among you shall be circumcised—This was the sign in the Old Testament Church as baptism is in the New, and hence the covenant is called "covenant of circumcision" (Ac 7:8; Ro 4:11). The terms of the covenant were these: on the one hand Abraham and his seed were to observe the right of circumcision; and on the other, God promised, in the event of such observance, to give them Canaan for a perpetual possession, to be a God to him and his posterity, and that in him and his seed all nations should be blessed. So it was, and is properly in regard of the thing signified to all true believers; and for the sign, it is so called because it was to endure through all generations till the coming of the Messias; the word olam, here and elsewhere rendered everlasting, or for ever, being oft used to express not only simple eternity, but any long continuance, for many ages, yea, sometimes for a man’s life. See Exodus 21:6 Deu 15:17 1 Kings 9:3.

He that is born in thine house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised,.... Or "in circumcising shall be circumcised" (l), shall certainly be circumcised; this is repeated to denote the necessity of it, and what care should be taken that this be done, because there was to be no uncircumcised male among them, Genesis 17:10; nor any conversation and communion to be had among them, especially in a religious way.

And my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant; circumcision was to be seen in their flesh, and no methods were to be taken to draw over the foreskin again, but it was to continue as long as they lived; and so in their posterity, in all succeeding ages, as a sign of the covenant and promise which should remain until the Messiah's coming.

(l) "circumcidendo circumcidetur", Pagninus, Montanus &c.

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.
Verse 13. - He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised. Literally, circumcised, must be circumcised, he that is born, &c., the niph. inf. abe. with the finite verb occupying the place of emphasis at the beginning of the sentence (vide Gesenius, 'Grammar,' § 131). And my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. Genesis 17:13On the part of Abraham (ואתּה thou, the antithesis to אני, as for me, Genesis 17:4) God required that he and his descendants in all generations should keep the covenant, and that as a sign he should circumcise himself and every male in his house. המּול Niph. of מוּל, and נמלתּם perf. Niph. for נמלּתם, from מלל equals מוּל. As the sign of the covenant, circumcision is called in Genesis 17:13, "the covenant in the flesh," so far as the nature of the covenant was manifested in the flesh. It was to be extended not only to the seed, the lineal descendants of Abraham, but to all the males in his house, even to every foreign slave not belonging to the seed of Abram, whether born in the house or acquired (i.e., bought) with money, and to the "son of eight days," i.e., the male child eight days old; with the threat that the uncircumcised should be exterminated from his people, because by neglecting circumcision he had broken the covenant with God. The form of speech ההיא הנּפשׁ נכרתה, by which many of the laws are enforced (cf. Exodus 12:15, Exodus 12:19; Leviticus 7:20-21, Leviticus 7:25, etc.), denotes not rejection from the nation, or banishment, but death, whether by a direct judgment from God, an untimely death at the hand of God, or by the punishment of death inflicted by the congregation or the magistrates, and that whether יוּמת מות is added, as in Exodus 31:14, etc., or not. This is very evident from Leviticus 17:9-10, where the extermination to be effected by the authorities is distinguished from that to be executed by God Himself (see my biblische Archologie ii. 153, 1). In this sense we sometimes find, in the place of the earlier expression "from his people," i.e., his nation, such expressions as "from among his people" (Leviticus 17:4, Leviticus 17:10; Numbers 15:30), "from Israel" (Exodus 12:15; Numbers 19:13), "from the congregation of Israel" (Exodus 12:19); and instead of "that soul," in Leviticus 17:4, Leviticus 17:9 (cf. Exodus 30:33, Exodus 30:38), we find "that man."
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