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Genesis 17:8-10

Context
17:8 I will give the whole land of Canaan – the land where you are now residing 1  – to you and your descendants after you as a permanent 2  possession. I will be their God.”

17:9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep 3  the covenantal requirement 4  I am imposing on you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 17:10 This is my requirement that you and your descendants after you must keep: 5  Every male among you must be circumcised. 6 

1 tn The verbal root is גּוּר (gur, “to sojourn, to reside temporarily,” i.e., as a resident alien). It is the land in which Abram resides, but does not yet possess as his very own.

2 tn Or “as an eternal.”

3 tn The imperfect tense could be translated “you shall keep” as a binding command; but the obligatory nuance (“must”) captures the binding sense better.

4 tn Heb “my covenant.” The Hebrew word בְּרִית (bÿrit) can refer to (1) the agreement itself between two parties (see v. 7), (2) the promise made by one party to another (see vv. 2-3, 7), (3) an obligation placed by one party on another, or (4) a reminder of the agreement. In vv. 9-10 the word refers to a covenantal obligation which God gives to Abraham and his descendants.

5 tn Heb “This is my covenant that you must keep between me and you and your descendants after you.”

6 sn For a discussion of male circumcision as the sign of the covenant in this passage see M. V. Fox, “The Sign of the Covenant: Circumcision in the Light of the Priestly ‘ot Etiologies,” RB 81 (1974): 557-96.



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