Genesis 17:19
And God said, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed; and you shall call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
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(19) Indeed.—In the Hebrew this word comes first, and is intended to remove all doubt or desire for any other turn of affairs. It should be rendered, “And God said, For a certainty Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son.”

Thou shalt call his name Isaac.—That is, he laughs. The name was to be a perpetual memorial that Isaac’s birth was naturally such an impossibility as to excite ridicule.

17:15-22 Here is the promise made to Abraham of a son by Sarai, in whom the promise made to him should be fulfilled. The assurance of this promise was the change of Sarai's name into Sarah. Sarai signifies my princess, as if her honour were confined to one family only; Sarah signifies a princess. The more favours God confers upon us, the more low we should be in our own eyes. Abraham showed great joy; he laughed, it was a laughter of delight, not of distrust. Now it was that Abraham rejoiced to see Christ's day; now he saw it and was glad, Joh 8:56. Abraham, dreading lest Ishmael should be abandoned and forsaken of God, put up a petition on his behalf. God gives us leave in prayer to be particular in making known our requests. Whatever is our care and fear, should be spread before God in prayer. It is the duty of parents to pray for their children, and the great thing we should desire is, that they may be kept in covenant with Him, and may have grace to walk before him in uprightness. Common blessings are secured to Ishmael. Outward good things are often given to those children of godly parents who are born after the flesh, for their parents' sake. Covenant blessings are reserved for Isaac, and appropriated to him.Abraham seems up to this time to have regarded Ishmael as the promised seed. Hence, a feeling of anxiety instantly penetrates his breast. It finds utterance in the prayer, "Oh that Ishmael might live before thee." He asks "life" for his beloved son - that is, a share in the divine favor; and that "before God" - that is, a life of holiness and communion with God. But God asseverates his purpose of giving him a son by Sarah. This son is to be called Isaac - he that laughs or he shall laugh, in reference to the various emotions of surprise and delight with which his parents regarded his birth. Abram's prayer for Ishmael, however, is not unanswered. He is to be fruitful, beget twelve princes, and become a great nation. But Isaac is to be the heir of promise. At the present season next year he is to be born. The communication being completed, "God went" up from Abram.19, 20. The blessings of the covenant are reserved for Isaac, but common blessings were abundantly promised to Ishmael; and though the visible Church did not descend from his family, yet personally he might, and it is to be hoped did, enjoy its benefits. Isaac signifies laughter, not from Sarah’s laughter, which as yet had not happened, but from Abraham’s past laughter, Genesis 17:17, and future joy in his son. And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed,.... This is repeated for the confirmation of it, and thus expressed to remove all doubt about it, if any there were, that hung upon Abraham's mind; as well as to let him know that the promise of a son by Sarah was not to be superseded by his prayer for Ishmael, for whom he might have a greater flow of natural affection than for his unborn son, in whom his seed should be called:

and thou shall call his name Isaac; which signifies "laughter"; and which name was given him from the laughter of Abraham at the promise of him, and not from the laughter of Sarah, which as yet was not; wherefore Josephus (p) is wrong when he suggests, that Isaac had this name from Sarah's laughing at God's saying, that she should bear a son: though his birth was matter of laughter and joy to both, as it was to all good people that heard of it, Genesis 21:8. So Polyhistor (q) from Melo, an Heathen writer, speaking of Abraham, says, that of his married or lawful wife one son was born to him, whose name in Greek is "Gelos", that is, laughter. Isaac is one of those the Jews (r) observe had his name given him before he was born; see Gill on Genesis 16:11,

and I will establish my covenant with him, for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him; the covenant of circumcision just made with Abraham, the promise of the land of Canaan to him and his posterity, and of the Messiah that should spring from him, until whose coming this covenant would continue, and therefore called everlasting.

(p) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 12. sect. 2.((q) Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 19. p. 421. (r) Pirke Eliezer, c. 32. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 2. 1.

And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an {g} everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

(g) The everlasting covenant is made with the children of the Spirit. A temporary promise is made with the children of the flesh, as was promised to Ishmael.

19. Sarah thy wife] God’s answer in this verse is made to the utterance of Abraham’s heart (Genesis 17:17), and not of his lips (Genesis 17:18).

thou shalt call his name Isaac] R.V. marg. “From the Heb. word meaning to laugh.” See Genesis 21:3. The name Isaac is here, and in 18 and 21, associated with “laughter.” The word “he laughed,” used in Genesis 17:17, has the same root letters (ṣḥq) as the name “Isaac.” The name “laughter” will thus commemorate the involuntary doubt of Abraham (Genesis 17:17) to which St Paul refers (Romans 4:19), “without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.”

Note that the father is commanded to give the name; see note on Genesis 5:3 (P).Verse 19. - And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac. "Laughter," or "he laughs (the third person future (yitsak) being frequently employed in personal designations; cf. Jacob, Jair, Jabin, &c.), with obvious reference to Abraham's laughter (vide Ver. 17). Cf. on naming before birth Genesis 16:11. And I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. On 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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