What does Genesis 17:24 mean?
ESV: Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
NIV: Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised,
NASB: Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
CSB: Abraham was ninety-nine years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised,
NLT: Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised,
KJV: And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
Verse Commentary:
This verse repeats again that Abraham was 99 years old on the day God appeared to him and he was circumcised. Perhaps he was the oldest man ever to be circumcised, at least at that time. God's plan for future generations of Abraham's offspring was to use this ritual as a sign of the covenant with God, to be performed when they were eight days old (Genesis 17:12).

Circumcision is removing the foreskin from the penis. This symbolically represents many aspects of our relationship to God. It requires setting aside, or removing, a naturally-born part, just as our sinful desires need to be set aside in favor of following God. The area affected is more or less circular, which is a common symbol of eternity and constancy; this covenant was meant to be a permanent practice by Israel. It also represents the eternal and unchanging nature of God. Likewise, this ritual affects the organ of reproduction, signifying the passing of truth from generation to generation. In fact, circumcision creates a ring around the point through which passes the man's contribution to reproduction.

Circumcision is not required for believers in Christ, even though it is still part of God's unchanging covenant with the nation of Israel. In fact, in the New Testament era, the term "circumcision" will become shorthand for those who think their good deeds can earn them salvation (Galatians 5:1–6).
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 4/18/2024 12:48:51 AM
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