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Abraham's Seed & God's Promise - Genesis 15-17 Read in Sequence - Abraham's Name & Covenant

Updated on May 24, 2019

Abraham And Sarah Circumnavigated Cana'an


Ishmael's Birth And The Covenant Of Circumcision Is Made

Continuing from the first instalment, this translation is primarily from the Masoretic Torah but is supplemented with variant readings from the Samaritan and Dead Sea Scroll Torah sources, and one verse from the Qur'an. Round brackets are for words which may be read in other ways according to vowelisation or other nuances, or textual variants in other portions, or explanatory purposes. Square brackets indicate an interpolation.

...(24) And Hargar bore to Ab-raam a son. And Ab-raam called [the] name of his son, whom Hargar bore, Yishmael (Ishmael). (25) And Ab-raam was [many decades] old when Hargar bore Yishmael to Ab-raam. (26) Ab-raam was then a son of [many] years, and Yehovah appeared to Ab-raam and said to him, “I [am] El-Shaddai. Walk before Me and be complete. (27) And I will set my covenant between Me, and between you, then I will greatly increase you; abundantly therein, abundantly.”

(28) And Ab-raam fell on his face.

Then God solemnified-a-word with him, saying, (29) “I behold; My Covenant with thee. And you shall be a father to a multitude of goyim. (30) And never again shall your name be called Ab-raam, and your name shall be Abraham, for I have appointed thee a father-of a hamone of nations. (31) And I will make you greatly, greatly fruitful, and I give to thee nations, and kings shall come-forth from you. (32) And I will cause My Covenant to arise between Me, and between you, and between your seed, extending through their generations: an indefinite covenant. To be as a god to thee, and to your seed hereafter.”

(33) And He said to him, “I, YHWH, that instigated your departure from Ur-Kasdiy(mah) to give to you this region to possess. (34) And I will give to thee, and to thy seed hereafter, [the] region of your nomadic lodgings: all of Cana'an's land unto an indefinite inheritance. And I will be as a god unto them.”

(35) And when his Adonay tested (proved) Abraham with words, and he fulfilled them, He said, “For the genus of humanity, The One to make you an imaman (guide), verily [it is]: I.”

He said, “And, from my seed?”

He said, “Those erring-as-doers-of-wrong attain not My Covenant.”

(36) And he said, “Adonay, YHWH, howbeit I may know that I shall take possession of her?”

(37) And God said to Abraham, “You, moreover, you shall guard My Covenant, you, and your seed hereafter, unto their generations. (38) This [is] My Covenant, which you shall guard, between Me, and between thee, and between your seed after you: Every male unto thee shall-be-cut-around. (39) And you shall-be-cut-around [the] flesh-of your foreskin. And it will be unto a covenantal 'signature' between Me, and between thee. (40) And a son-of eight days shall be circumcised unto you(pl.), every male throughout your generations. He-brought-forth-in-the house, and-else silver-purchased from all son[s] of a foreigner; he who is not of thy seed. (41) Circumcise the circumcisee(s), he brought forth, and else thy silver purchased, and she shall come to be My Covenant, in your flesh, to covenant evermore. (42) And an uncircumcised male who has not been circumcised [in] his foreskin flesh(, on the eighth day,) shall even be cut off, that soul from [his] tribal nation: he shattered My Covenant.”

(43) And He said to him, “Fetch to me a heifer; three, and a she-goat; three, and a ram; three, and a dove, and a fledgling chick.”

(44) So he acquired all these to himself, and cut them (well,) (in between,) and set each part toward the other, but he did not cut the bird(s). (45) And the carrion birds descended upon the carcasses, but Abraham shooed them away. (46) Even as the Sun came to be passing in, an altered state of sleep fell upon Abraham. And behold, a dread of elevated darkness fell on him.

(47) And (it was) said to Abraham, “Know, know-this-well: your seed is to be foreign in a land not of their own. And in servitude, and in dire affliction to them; four hundred years! (48) However, that nation whom they shall serve, I (am) [to] judge. And this being so, they shall exit thereafter with great possessions. (49) And you will reach your fathers in spiritual peace, buried in a respectable old age.

(50) Moreover, in the fourth generation, they shall return here. Indeed, incomplete [is the] depravity of the Amorie to date.”

(51) And it came to be as the Sun came in, and it was dense with darkness, then behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed through these portions.

(52) In that day, YHWH cut a covenant with Abraham, saying, “To your seed I have given this land from Egypt's river to the great river, Euphrates. (53) The Qeynie, and the Qeynizee, and the Qadmonie, (54) and the Chittie, and the Peri-zee, and the Rephaim, (55) and the Amorie, and the Cana'anee, and the Girgashiee, and the Ibbiee, and the Yebusiee.”

(56) And, unto speaking with him, He finished. And a divine being ascended above Abraham. (57) And Abraham fetched his son, Yishmael, and all that were brought forth of his house, and all who were purchased by his silver, every male among [the] (plain) men of Abraham's house. And he circumcised their foreskin flesh in that day, one in which God had that reciprocal word. (58) And Abraham was a son of a ninety-ninth year in circumcising his foreskin flesh. (59) And his son Yishmael was a son of [eight days] in circumcising his foreskin flesh. (60) Abraham was circumcised, in this same day, his son Yishmael too, (61) and all lesser men of his house, and those purchased in silver from a foreigner were circumcised with him.

Sources & purports.

(24) Gen.16:15, (25) Gen.16:16, (26) Gen.17:1, (27) Gen.17:2, (28) Gen.17:3, (29) Gen.17:4, (30) Gen.17:5, (31) Gen.17:6, (32) Gen.17:7, (33) Gen.15:7, (34) Gen.17:8, (35) Surah2:124, (36) Gen.15:8, (37) Gen.17:9, (38) Gen.17:10, (39) Gen.17:11, (40) Gen.17:12, (41) Mas./Sam. Gen.17:13, (42) Mas./Sam. Gen.17:14, (43) Gen.15:9, (44) Mas./Sam. Gen.15:10, (45) Gen.15:11, (46) Gen.15:12, (47) Mas./Sam. Gen.15:13, (48) Gen.15:14, (49) Gen.15:15, (50) Gen.15:16, (51) Gen.15:17, (52) Gen.15:18, (53) Gen.15:19, (54) Gen.15:20, (55) DSS/Sam. Gen.15:21, (56) Gen.17:22, (57) Gen.17:23, (58) Gen.17:24, (59) Gen.17:25, (60) Gen.17:26, (61) Gen.17:27.

Gen.16:16-17:1: A discrepancy of age contrasts these two adjacent verses, tentatively suggesting a significance to that thirteen years, and that period is also for a bar-mitzvah. Alternatively there is no mystical connection and this is simply a case of two independent sources with certain error in one.

Gen.17:1: El-Shaddai, a name of uncertain derivation. The letters may be read as God-Giver-Of-Needs, or perhaps, He Whose-Name-Is-Yet-To-Be-Revealed; let this suffice for now. Nehemia Gordon has suggested that the term actually means Spirit (Gen.5:22, John4:24, cf. Matt.19:17a/Mark10:18/Luke18:19).

Gen.17:5 Ab-raam (elevated father/Aramean), your name shall be Abraham (father, Aramean, acrostic from multitude-of nations).

Surah2:124: Abraham was made an 'imam', moreover a singular nation of faith (Ummah), holy to God (Surah16:120, 123).

Mas./Sam. Gen.17:14: Covenant shattered (Ex.32:19, Thomas53).

Gen.15:9-10: The livestock offerings may possibly represent three covenants; those of Abraham, Mohammad, and Yeshua, hence the covenants had to be cut, otherwise they are simply cut in three. The dove may represent the covenant unto Noah, the fledgling dove for Yeshua ben Miriam, and these are not physically suited to being divided since their proportions are already minor. An alternative explanation, by the rabbis, links the beasts (Dan.8:20-21) to surrounding nations (cf. Ps.22:12), and the dove to the Israelites (Song2:14). Other translations give differing interpretations of this verse, whether fattened, three years of age, or three animals. This is a highly ambiguous verse, but Jeremiah, critically, records a single calf (Jer.34:18-19). Rashi links the animals to the future prospect of the types used in the Mosaic ordinances.

Gen.15:13: Abraham was spoken to in a dream according to the Samaritan tradition, so I have rendered it thus to alert the reader that something is meant to be read differently here (Benyamin Tsedaka et al, The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah, First English Translation Compared With The Masoretic Version, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A., 2013, p.33).

Gen.15:17: Flaming torch that passed through (Zech.3:2, 12:6).

Gen.15:18: Rashi's commentary here speaks of a principle vital to understanding certain aspects of the scriptural narratives. ...the Euphrates River: since it is associated with the Land of Israel, He calls it great, even though it is the last of the four rivers going forth from Eden, as it is said (Gen.2:14); And the fourth river, that [is] Euphrates. A common proverb states: A king's servant is a king; associate with a ruler, and the people will bow down to you (from Sifrei Devarim 6).

Mas./Sam. Gen.15:21: Nations within Israel destined for destruction (cf. Ex.23:23, 28, 33:2).

Gen.17:22: Rashi identifies this euphemism with Shekinah. Clearly this last sentence differs to encounters with angels, and implies a divine presence.

Gen.17:24-27: According to alterations from the original Abrahamic scrolls, the Torah accounts are stating that Yishmael received circumcision on his bar mitzvah. This is not possible, according to his mother's separation in his infancy (Gen.21:9-14a). When you add Abraham's age from v.24 to Yishmael's age in v.25, which appears to be their logic, then the number is ninety-nine, and seems agreeable to the chronology of most other verses.

Abraham's Seed & God's Promise

© 2019 theomajor


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