Genesis 17 Chapter Commentary: God Changed Abram’s Name to Abraham

In this chapter, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. At the age of 90, God appeared to Abram and promised to double his household. As the Lord spoke, Abram listened while kneeling before him. God commanded Abraham in return to circumcise every male kid in his household and to refer to his wife as Sarah rather than Sarai.

After hearing God’s words, Abraham found it difficult to accept that his wife would give birth to a son when she was 90 years old. In response, God said that although he would bless Ishmael for Abraham’s sake, his inheritance would go to the son that Sarah would conceive.

As they spoke about their covenant, God instructed Abraham to circumcise all male children eight days after birth. Males who were not circumcised, according to him, would be expelled from his nation for breaking his covenant with God. Abraham had himself circumcised as well as performing the procedure on every man in his home that day.

What’s the Main Point?

Genesis 17 is the renewal and expansion of the covenant that God made with Abram, including the promise of a son and the establishment of circumcision as a sign of the covenant.

What Can We Learn from This Chapter?

Genesis 17 emphasizes God’s commitment to Abraham by keeping his promises. God promised to make Abraham and Sarah the parents of numerous countries despite their advanced age and sterility. God eventually delivered on this promise by providing them with a son named Isaac.

In our relationship with God, obedience is crucial. Abraham, despite it being painful and challenging, obeyed God’s command to circumcise himself and his household. This tells us that obeying God’s rules, even how challenging they may be, is an essential component of our relationship with him.

When God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many countries, it was probably beyond anything Abraham could have envisioned.

God’s plans frequently go above and beyond what we anticipate. However, God’s designs frequently go above and beyond what we could ask for or imagine. This teaches us to have faith in God’s purposes for our life, even when they appear to be unattainable or unfathomable.

God’s covenant with us is a personal and ongoing relationship.

In Genesis 17, God established his covenant with Abraham and his descendants, promising to be their God and to bless them. This covenant was not just a legal agreement, but a personal and ongoing relationship between God and his people. In the same way, God’s covenant with us is a personal and ongoing relationship, built on his grace, love, and faithfulness.


God our Father, thank you for your faithfulness to your promises, as seen in the story of Abraham and Isaac. Help us to trust in you and be obedient to your commands, even when it is difficult. Bless us and our loved ones, and remind us that we are part of your covenant family. We pray all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Featured image attribution:

Bible primer, Old Testament, for use in the primary department of Sunday schools by Hult, Adolf, 1869-1943 Augustana synod. (from old catalog). This image is in the public domain. Cropped from original.