Genesis 17



1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,

4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations.

5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee.

6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.

7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.

8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

9 And God said unto Abraham, And as for thee, thou shalt keep my covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their generations.

10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised.

11 And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt me and you.

12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner that is not of thy seed.

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.

14 And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.

16 And I will bless her, and moreover I will give thee a son of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be [a mother of] nations; kings of peoples shall be of her.

17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

18 And Abraham said unto God, Oh that Ishmael might live before thee!

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

20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.

22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.

24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.

25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.

26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.

27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house, and those bought with money of a foreigner, were circumcised with him.


Exploring the Meaning of Genesis 17      

Napsal(a) Emanuel Swedenborg

Here are some excerpts from Swedenborg's "Arcana Coelestia" that help explain the inner meaning of this chapter:

AC 1985. The subject here treated of is the union of the Lord’s Divine Essence with the Human Essence, and of the Human Essence with the Divine Essence; and also the conjunction of the Lord, through the Human Essence, with the human race.

AC 1986. Jehovah was manifested to the Lord in His Human (verse 1). Foretelling the union (verses 2, 3); namely, of the Divine with the Human, and of the Human with the Divine (verses 4, 5). And that all good and truth is from Him (verse 6). The conjunction of the Divine with the human race would thus be effected through Him (verse 7). And the heavenly kingdom would be His, which He would give to those who should have faith in Him (verses 8, 9). But man must first remove his loves and their foul cupidities, and so be purified; this is what was represented and is signified by circumcision (verses 10, 11). Thus conjunction would be effected, both with those who are within the church, and with those who are without it (verse 12).

[2] Purification must by all means precede; otherwise there is no conjunction, but condemnation; and yet after all the conjunction cannot take place except in man‘s impurity (verses 13, 14). The union of the Human Essence with the Divine Essence, or of truth with good, is foretold (verses 15 to 17). Also conjunction with those who are in the truths of faith, namely, as with those who are of the celestial church, so with those who are of the spiritual church (verses 18, 19). And that the latter also would be imbued with the goods of faith (verse 20). In conclusion, these things will be effected through the union in the Lord of the Human Essence with the Divine Essence (verse 21). The end of the prediction (verse 22). It was so to be done, and it was so done (verses 23 to 27).

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