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Genesis 17:4-5

Context
17:4 “As for me, 1  this 2  is my covenant with you: You will be the father of a multitude of nations. 17:5 No longer will your name be 3  Abram. Instead, your name will be Abraham 4  because I will make you 5  the father of a multitude of nations.

Genesis 17:16

Context
17:16 I will bless her and will give you a son through her. I will bless her and she will become a mother of nations. 6  Kings of countries 7  will come from her!”

Genesis 17:20

Context
17:20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you. 8  I will indeed bless him, make him fruitful, and give him a multitude of descendants. 9  He will become the father of twelve princes; 10  I will make him into a great nation.

1 tn Heb “I.”

2 tn Heb “is” (הִנֵּה, hinneh).

3 tn Heb “will your name be called.”

4 sn Your name will be Abraham. The renaming of Abram was a sign of confirmation to the patriarch. Every time the name was used it would be a reminder of God’s promise. “Abram” means “exalted father,” probably referring to Abram’s father Terah. The name looks to the past; Abram came from noble lineage. The name “Abraham” is a dialectical variant of the name Abram. But its significance is in the wordplay with אַב־הֲמוֹן (’av-hamon, “the father of a multitude,” which sounds like אַבְרָהָם, ’avraham, “Abraham”). The new name would be a reminder of God’s intention to make Abraham the father of a multitude. For a general discussion of renaming, see O. Eissfeldt, “Renaming in the Old Testament,” Words and Meanings, 70-83.

5 tn The perfect verbal form is used here in a rhetorical manner to emphasize God’s intention.

6 tn Heb “she will become nations.”

7 tn Heb “peoples.”

8 sn The Hebrew verb translated “I have heard you” forms a wordplay with the name Ishmael, which means “God hears.” See the note on the name “Ishmael” in 16:11.

9 tn Heb “And I will multiply him exceedingly, exceedingly.” The repetition is emphatic.

10 tn For a discussion of the Hebrew word translated “princes,” see E. A. Speiser, “Background and Function of the Biblical Nasi’,” CBQ 25 (1963): 111-17.



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