What does Genesis 17:16 mean?
ESV: I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
NIV: I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.'
NASB: I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.'
CSB: I will bless her; indeed, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will produce nations; kings of peoples will come from her."
NLT: And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.'
KJV: And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
Verse Commentary:
In the previous verse, God told Abraham that He was changing Sarai's name to Sarah. Earlier, God had renamed Abram as Abraham, indicating that Abraham would become the father of nations. Now God reveals that Sarah's name change is related to her own destiny as the "mother of nations." From her, as well, will come future kings.

This is the first time the text reveals that Sarah is the one through whom God will keep His covenant promise to make Abraham into a great nation. In chapter 16, Sarah and Abraham seem to have decided that the opportunity for her to birth children to him had passed. Instead, she would have a child with him through her slave Hagar. That boy, Ishmael, is now 13 years old.

God reveals that Sarah will, in fact, give birth to a son of her own with Abraham, a notion Abraham and Sarah had completely abandoned. This assumption was so strong in Abraham's mind that he will literally fall down laughing at the suggestion that Sarah will be known as the mother of nations, as seen in the next verse.
Verse Context:
Genesis 17:15–27 describes God's surprising revelation to the newly renamed, 99-year-old Abraham: His presumably barren, 89-year-old wife, Sarai, now to be named Sarah, would bear him a son within a year. Ishmael, now 13, would still be abundantly blessed, but this new son, Isaac, would be the one through whom God would keep His covenant promises. As soon as God left, Abraham immediately set about obeying God's command to circumcise himself and every male in his household as a sign of the covenant with the Lord.
Chapter Summary:
God appears to Abram once more in Genesis 17, but this instance is very different from prior meetings. God reconfirms His promises to make Abram a father of nations and to give to him and his descendants the land of Canaan. This time, though, God changes Abram's name to Abraham and gives him a requirement to circumcise himself and every male in his household forever. He also changes Sarai's name to Sarah. God announces that Abraham and Sarah will have a son, after all. His 13-year old son Ishmael will be blessed, but this new son, Isaac, to be born within the year, will be the one to whom God's covenant promises will pass.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 17 records the details of God's appearance to Abram, now 99. Thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael to Sarah's servant Hagar, God arrives to change Abram's name to Abraham, to confirm the covenant promises, and to command Abraham. He is to circumcise every male in his household as a sign of the covenant. Then the big news: within a year, Abraham's wife—now renamed Sarah—would bear Abraham a son. This long-awaited son would be the one through whom God would keep all of His promises to Abraham.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 4/17/2024 10:23:58 PM
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