What does Genesis 17:27 mean?
ESV: And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
NIV: And every male in Abraham's household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.
NASB: And all the men of his household, those who were born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
CSB: And all the men of his household--whether born in his household or purchased from a foreigner--were circumcised with him.
NLT: along with all the other men and boys of the household, whether they were born there or bought as servants. All were circumcised with him.
KJV: And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.
Verse Commentary:
This final verse of Genesis 17 repeats once more, for emphasis, that Abraham obeyed God's command completely. Every single male in his household, including those born in the household and those purchased as slaves, was circumcised right along with Abraham and Ishmael on the very day God had given that instruction. We're not told what Abraham felt about all God had revealed to him, but Abraham's full and unhesitating obedience reveals his full faith in the Lord.

One reason for this repeated emphasis might be the very nature of the command: to circumcise every male, which meant cutting off the foreskin of the penis. The natural reaction one might expect, at least from most men, is a desire to wait. "Hang on, let's think about this first.". Instead, Abraham's pointed obedience to God the very same day demonstrates how seriously he took his relationship with God.

How many men were in Abraham's household? We can't know for sure, but it likely included hundreds or more. Abraham was extremely wealthy. Years earlier, when Lot had been captured by foreign invaders, Abraham was able to raise an army of 318 trained men "born in his household" to go on the rescue mission. We must imagine that the household consisted of many more men at that time, and even more born and acquired since then.

That makes for a significant number of circumcisions in a single day with very little warning to all those men. Abraham exercised his authority and overcame whatever resistance or objections may have been raised in order to fully obey the Lord.
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 12:31:32 AM
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