9:9 “Look! I now confirm 1 my covenant with you and your descendants after you 2 9:10 and with every living creature that is with you, including the birds, the domestic animals, and every living creature of the earth with you, all those that came out of the ark with you – every living creature of the earth. 3 9:11 I confirm 4 my covenant with you: Never again will all living things 5 be wiped out 6 by the waters of a flood; 7 never again will a flood destroy the earth.”
9:12 And God said, “This is the guarantee 8 of the covenant I am making 9 with you 10 and every living creature with you, a covenant 11 for all subsequent 12 generations: 9:13 I will place 13 my rainbow 14 in the clouds, and it will become 15 a guarantee of the covenant between me and the earth. 9:14 Whenever 16 I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 9:15 then I will remember my covenant with you 17 and with all living creatures of all kinds. 18 Never again will the waters become a flood and destroy 19 all living things. 20 9:16 When the rainbow is in the clouds, I will notice it and remember 21 the perpetual covenant between God and all living creatures of all kinds that are on the earth.”
“Go out 25 from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household
to the land that I will show you. 26
and I will make your name great, 29
so that you will exemplify divine blessing. 30
but the one who treats you lightly 32 I must curse,
and all the families of the earth will bless one another 33 by your name.”
17:7 I will confirm 34 my covenant as a perpetual 35 covenant between me and you. It will extend to your descendants after you throughout their generations. I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 36
1 tn Heb “I, look, I confirm.” The particle הִנְנִי (hinni) used with the participle מֵקִים (meqim) gives the sense of immediacy or imminence, as if to say, “Look! I am now confirming.”
3 tn The verbal repetition is apparently for emphasis.
4 tn The verb וַהֲקִמֹתִי (vahaqimoti) is a perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive and should be translated with the English present tense, just as the participle at the beginning of the speech was (v. 9). Another option is to translate both forms with the English future tense (“I will confirm”).
5 tn Heb “all flesh.”
6 tn Heb “cut off.”
7 tn Heb “and all flesh will not be cut off again by the waters of the flood.”
8 tn Heb “sign.”
9 sn On the making of covenants in Genesis, see W. F. Albright, “The Hebrew Expression for ‘Making a Covenant’ in Pre-Israelite Documents,” BASOR 121 (1951): 21-22.
10 tn Heb “between me and between you.”
11 tn The words “a covenant” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
12 tn The Hebrew term עוֹלָם (’olam) means “ever, forever, lasting, perpetual.” The covenant would extend to subsequent generations.
13 tn The translation assumes that the perfect verbal form is used rhetorically, emphasizing the certainty of the action. Other translation options include “I have placed” (present perfect; cf. NIV, NRSV) and “I place” (instantaneous perfect; cf. NEB).
14 sn The Hebrew word קֶשֶׁת (qeshet) normally refers to a warrior’s bow. Some understand this to mean that God the warrior hangs up his battle bow at the end of the flood, indicating he is now at peace with humankind, but others question the legitimacy of this proposal. See C. Westermann, Genesis, 1:473, and G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:196.
15 tn The perfect verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive here has the same aspectual function as the preceding perfect of certitude.
16 tn The temporal indicator (וְהָיָה, vÿhayah, conjunction + the perfect verb form), often translated “it will be,” anticipates a future development.
17 tn Heb “which [is] between me and between you.”
18 tn Heb “all flesh.”
19 tn Heb “to destroy.”
20 tn Heb “all flesh.”
21 tn The translation assumes that the infinitive לִזְכֹּר (lizkor, “to remember”) here expresses the result of seeing the rainbow. Another option is to understand it as indicating purpose, in which case it could be translated, “I will look at it so that I may remember.”
22 tn Heb “all flesh.”
23 sn The
24 tn The call of Abram begins with an imperative לֶךְ־לְךָ (lekh-lÿkha, “go out”) followed by three cohortatives (v. 2a) indicating purpose or consequence (“that I may” or “then I will”). If Abram leaves, then God will do these three things. The second imperative (v. 2b, literally “and be a blessing”) is subordinated to the preceding cohortatives and indicates God’s ultimate purpose in calling and blessing Abram. On the syntactical structure of vv. 1-2 see R. B. Chisholm, “Evidence from Genesis,” A Case for Premillennialism, 37. For a similar sequence of volitive forms see Gen 45:18.
sn It would be hard to overestimate the value of this call and this divine plan for the theology of the Bible. Here begins God’s plan to bring redemption to the world. The promises to Abram will be turned into a covenant in Gen 15 and 22 (here it is a call with conditional promises) and will then lead through the Bible to the work of the Messiah.
25 tn The initial command is the direct imperative (לֶךְ, lekh) from the verb הָלַךְ (halakh). It is followed by the lamed preposition with a pronominal suffix (לְךָ, lÿkha) emphasizing the subject of the imperative: “you leave.”
26 sn To the land that I will show you. The call of Abram illustrates the leading of the
27 tn The three first person verbs in v. 2a should be classified as cohortatives. The first two have pronominal suffixes, so the form itself does not indicate a cohortative. The third verb form is clearly cohortative.
28 sn I will bless you. The blessing of creation is now carried forward to the patriarch. In the garden God blessed Adam and Eve; in that blessing he gave them (1) a fruitful place, (2) endowed them with fertility to multiply, and (3) made them rulers over creation. That was all ruined at the fall. Now God begins to build his covenant people; in Gen 12-22 he promises to give Abram (1) a land flowing with milk and honey, (2) a great nation without number, and (3) kingship.
29 tn Or “I will make you famous.”
30 tn Heb “and be a blessing.” The verb form הְיֵה (hÿyeh) is the Qal imperative of the verb הָיָה (hayah). The vav (ו) with the imperative after the cohortatives indicates purpose or consequence. What does it mean for Abram to “be a blessing”? Will he be a channel or source of blessing for others, or a prime example of divine blessing? A similar statement occurs in Zech 8:13, where God assures his people, “You will be a blessing,” in contrast to the past when they “were a curse.” Certainly “curse” here does not refer to Israel being a source of a curse, but rather to the fact that they became a curse-word or byword among the nations, who regarded them as the epitome of an accursed people (see 2 Kgs 22:19; Jer 42:18; 44:8, 12, 22). Therefore the statement “be a blessing” seems to refer to Israel being transformed into a prime example of a blessed people, whose name will be used in blessing formulae, rather than in curses. If the statement “be a blessing” is understood in the same way in Gen 12:2, then it means that God would so bless Abram that other nations would hear of his fame and hold him up as a paradigm of divine blessing in their blessing formulae.
31 tn The Piel cohortative has as its object a Piel participle, masculine plural. Since the
32 tn In this part of God’s statement there are two significant changes that often go unnoticed. First, the parallel and contrasting participle מְקַלֶּלְךָ (mÿqallelkha) is now singular and not plural. All the versions and a few Masoretic
33 tn Theoretically the Niphal can be translated either as passive or reflexive/reciprocal. (The Niphal of “bless” is only used in formulations of the Abrahamic covenant. See Gen 12:2; 18:18; 28:14.) Traditionally the verb is taken as passive here, as if Abram were going to be a channel or source of blessing. But in later formulations of the Abrahamic covenant (see Gen 22:18; 26:4) the Hitpael replaces this Niphal form, suggesting a translation “will bless [i.e., “pronounce blessings on”] themselves [or “one another”].” The Hitpael of “bless” is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2. Gen 12:2 predicts that Abram will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae. For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11.
34 tn The verb קוּם (qum, “to arise, to stand up”) in the Hiphil verbal stem means “to confirm, to give effect to, to carry out” (i.e., a covenant or oath; see BDB 878-79 s.v. קוּם).
35 tn Or “as an eternal.”
36 tn Heb “to be to you for God and to your descendants after you.”