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Genesis 17:17-18

Context

17:17 Then Abraham bowed down with his face to the ground and laughed 1  as he said to himself, 2  “Can 3  a son be born to a man who is a hundred years old? 4  Can Sarah 5  bear a child at the age of ninety?” 6  17:18 Abraham said to God, “O that 7  Ishmael might live before you!” 8 

1 sn Laughed. The Hebrew verb used here provides the basis for the naming of Isaac: “And he laughed” is וַיִּצְחָק (vayyitskhaq); the name “Isaac” is יִצְחָק (yitskhaq), “he laughs.” Abraham’s (and Sarah’s, see 18:12) laughter signals disbelief, but when the boy is born, the laughter signals surprise and joy.

2 tn Heb “And he fell on his face and laughed and said in his heart.”

3 tn The imperfect verbal form here carries a potential nuance, as it expresses the disbelief of Abraham.

4 tn Heb “to the son of a hundred years.”

5 sn It is important to note that even though Abraham staggers at the announcement of the birth of a son, finding it almost too incredible, he nonetheless calls his wife Sarah, the new name given to remind him of the promise of God (v. 15).

6 tn Heb “the daughter of ninety years.”

7 tn The wish is introduced with the Hebrew particle לוּ (lu), “O that.”

8 tn Or “live with your blessing.”



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