What does Genesis 22:17 mean?
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,
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,
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.
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.
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.
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;
NKJV: blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
Verse Commentary:
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 when 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.
Verse Context:
Genesis 22:1–19 takes place over the course of a few days, when Isaac is perhaps a teenager. God commands Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son as a burnt offering. Abraham sets out to obey without hesitation, acting in complete trust that God, somehow, will make all things right. Abraham stops the sacrifice only when the Lord intervenes. For his deep trust and obedience, the Lord renews and emphasizes His blessing on Abraham and his offspring, as well as promising to bless all nations through Abraham's descendants.
Chapter Summary:
In a test of Abraham's faith and obedience, God commands Abraham to do a terrible thing: kill and offer his son Isaac, whom he loves, as a burnt offering. Abraham sets out to obey without hesitation, having finally learned to trust God's goodness over his own misunderstandings. Instead of allowing the boy to be sacrificed, the Lord calls out to Abraham moments before he kills Isaac, laying bound on an altar. Because of Abraham's obedience, God renews and emphasizes His promises of blessing, multiplied offspring, and victory over future enemies.
Chapter Context:
In the previous chapter, the long-promised Isaac was finally born to Sarah and Abraham, while Abraham's other beloved son, Ishmael, was sent away to be cared for by God apart from them. Now God tests Abraham's faith and obedience by commanding him to offer his precious son Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham sets out to obey without hesitation, stopping only when the Lord cries out to him. For Abraham's obedience, God renews and emphasizes the blessing on him and his offspring. This marks the beginning of the end of Abraham's story, as the book of Genesis transitions to focus on Isaac and his descendants.
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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