What does Genesis 17:21 mean?
ESV: But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year."
NIV: But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year."
NASB: But I will establish My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.'
CSB: But I will confirm my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year."
NLT: But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.'
KJV: But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
NKJV: But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.”
Verse Commentary:
Here, God concludes His revelations to the newly renamed Abraham for this encounter. Unlike earlier visits from God with their grand unconditional promises and few details, God's words to Abraham, now 99 years old, have been overwhelmingly specific.

In addition to changing Abraham's name, God has commanded Abraham to walk before him and to be blameless. He has commanded Abraham to circumcise himself and all the males in his household. God has also changed Sarai's name to Sarah, revealing that she will bear a son and that son will be the one to whom God's covenant promises will pass. Ishmael, now 13, will be greatly blessed, but his will not be the covenant people of God.

Finally, in this verse, God reveals for the first time a timeline for his promises. By this time next year, a boy named Isaac will be born to Abraham and Sarah.

One can only imagine how much Abraham's head must have been spinning.
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.
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