19 Jan. Genesis 17:1-16

19 Jan. God gives Abram a new name to signify a new agreement

"When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, 'I am God Almighty. Obey me and do what is right. I will make an agreement between us, and I will make you the ancestor of many people.'"

"Then Abram bowed face down on the ground. God said to him, 'I am making my agreement with you: I will make you the father of many nations. I am changing your name from Abram [meaning 'exalted father'] to Abraham [meaning 'father of a multitude'] because I am making you a father of many nations. I will give you many descendants. New nations will be born from you, and kings will come from you.'"

"And I will make an agreement between me and you and all your descendants from now on: I will be your God and the God of all your descendants. You live in the land of Canaan now as a stranger, but I will give you and your descendants all this land for ever. And I will be the God of your descendants."

"Then God said to Abraham, 'You and your descendants must keep this agreement from now on. This is my agreement with you and all your descendants, which you must obey: every male among you must be circumcised. Cut away your foreskin to show that you are prepared to follow the agreement between me and you. From now on when a baby boy is eight days old, you will circumcise him..."

"God said to Abraham, 'I will change the name of Sarai (meaning 'princess'), your wife, to Sarah (meaning 'my princess' i.e. God's princess). I will bless her and give her a son, and you will be the father. She will be the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will come from her.'"

          (Genesis 17:1-16)



God renewed his covenant with Abram at Hebron by giving him a new name. Names have great significance in the Bible, and the giving of a new name not only marked a significant step in someone's life, but often indicated the new role that the person had taken on.

So God changed the name of 'Abram' (meaning ‘the father is exalted’) to 'Abraham' (meaning ‘father of many’) as he would become “the father of many nations” (Genesis 17:3). This promise was to be an everlasting covenant agreement between God and Abraham’s descendants.

At this point, circumcision was introduced as a sign of this new covenant agreement. God was to be the God of Abraham's descendants, and in return, Abraham and his descendants were to cut away their foreskin as a permanent mark "to show that you are prepared to follow the agreement between me and you." (Genesis 17:11)

And as Abraham was to take on a new role, so too was his wife. So she also received a new name from God. Abraham's wife, Sarai, was to be called Sarah (meaning 'my princess') as "Kings of nations will come from her" and she would become “the mother of many nations” (Genesis 17:16), even though she was already ninety years old.

The photo shows Hebron in 1839 - a painting by David Roberts in 'The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, and Nubia' (in the US Library of Congress).

You can read more @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/23-the-journeys-of-adam-enoch-noah-abraham/the-birth-of-ishmael/

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