Genesis 22:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 22:17, NIV: "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,"

Genesis 22:17, ESV: "I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,"

Genesis 22:17, KJV: "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;"

Genesis 22:17, NASB: "indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand, which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies."

Genesis 22:17, NLT: "I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies."

Genesis 22:17, CSB: "I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the city gates of their enemies."

What does Genesis 22:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Abraham has just passed an incredibly difficult test of his trust in God: being asked to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac (Genesis 22:1–2). Abraham's willingness to obey is based on his prior experiences, which have always shown that God will be proven righteous in the end. Even when human perspectives fall short, God knows what He is doing. In the end, God intervenes and provides an animal sacrifice (Genesis 22:11–13), once again justifying Abraham's faith.

In the previous verse, the Lord declared that He had sworn "by Himself" to do for Abraham what is listed in this and the following verse. In essence, God is confirming and emphasizing that He will do for Abraham what He has promised several times before. Here though, the promises are delivered with greater force and specificity. The Lord says, "I will surely bless you" or "I will really bless you." God has been blessing Abraham all along, but the promise is underlined with the word "surely" this time. There can be no doubt about God's blessing of Abraham.

The Lord also promises to multiply Abraham offspring as the stars of heaven, something He had promised before as Abraham looked at the night sky in Genesis 15:5. For the first time, though, the Lord adds that Abraham's offspring will be as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore. That's a lot of descendants!

In addition, the Lord swears that Abraham's descendants will conquer their enemies. Put poetically, they will possess the gates of enemy cities. This is a more specific way of pointing to the day would Israel would conquer her enemies while taking possession of the promised land of Canaan.

The following verse includes one more promise the Lord swears "by Himself" to do for Abraham.