Exegetical and Hermeneutical Commentary of Genesis 17:19 – Bible Commentary

And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, with his seed of him after him.

19. sarah thy wife ]God’s answer in this verse is made to the utterance of Abraham’s heart ( Genesis 17:17), and not of his lips ( Genesis 17:18).

thou shalt call his name Isaac ]VR marg. “From the Hebrew. word meaning to laugh.” see Genesis 21:3. The name Isaac is here, and in 18 and 21, associated with “laughter.” The word “he laughed,” used in Genesis 17:17has the same root letters ( what) as the name “Isaac.” The name “laughter” will thus commemorate the involuntary doubt of Abraham ( Genesis 17:17) to which St Paul refers (Romans 4:19), “without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.”

Note that the father is commanded to give the name; see note on Genesis 5:3 (P).

Source: The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Isaac signifies laughter, not from Sarahs laughter, which as yet had not happened, but from Abrahams past laughter, Genesis 17:17and future joy in his son.

Source: English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

19, 20. The blessings of the covenant are reserved for Isaac, but common blessings were abundantly promised to Ishmael; and though the visible Church did not descend from his family from him, yet personally he might, and it is to be hoped he did, enjoy its benefits from him.

Source: Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed,…. This is repeated for the confirmation of it, and thus expressed to remove all doubt about it, if any there were, that hung upon Abraham’s mind; as well as to let him know that the promise of a son by Sarah was not to be superseded by his prayer for Ishmael, for whom he might have a greater flow of natural affection than for his unborn son, in whom his seed should be called:

and thou shall call his name Isaac; which means “laughter”; and which name was given him from the laughter of Abraham at the promise of him, and not from the laughter of Sarah, which as yet was not; wherefore Josephus p is wrong when he suggests, that Isaac had this name from Sarah’s laughing at God’s saying, that she should bear a son: though his birth was matter of laughter and joy to both, as it was to all good people that heard of Item, Ge 21:8. So Polyhistor q from Melo, a Heathen writer, speaking of Abraham, says, that of his married or lawful wife of him one son was born to him, whose name in Greek is “Gelos”, that is, laughter. Isaac is one of those the Jews r observe had his name given him before he was born, :

and I will establish my covenant with him, for an everlasting covenant, with his seed after him; the covenant of circumcision just made with Abraham, the promise of the land of Canaan to him and his posterity of him, and of the Messiah that should spring from him, until whose coming this covenant would continue, and therefore called everlasting.

p Antique l. 1 C. 12. sect. 2. q Apud Euseb. Gospel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 19. p. 421. r Pirke Eliezer, c. 32. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. twenty-one.

Source: John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

19. Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed Some take the adverb אבל ( abal,) to mean ‘Truly.’ Others, however, more rightly suppose it to be used for increasing the force of the expression. For God rouses the slumbering mind of his servant from him; as if he would say, ‘The sight of one favor prevents thee from raising thyself higher; and thus it happens that thou dost confine thy thoughts within too narrow limits. Now, therefore, enlarge thy mind, to receive also what I promise concerning Sarah. For the door of hope ought to be sufficiently open to admit the word in its full magnitude.’

And I will establish my covenant with him He limits the spiritual covenant to one family, in order that Abraham may hence learn to hope for the blessing before promised; for since he had framed for himself a false hope, not founded on the word of God, it was necessary that this false hope should first be dislodged from his heart, in order that he might now the more fully rely upon the heavenly oracles, and might fix the anchor of his faith, which before had wavered in a fallacious imagination, on the firm truth of God. He calls the covenant everlasting, in the sense which we have previously explained. He then declares that it shall not be bound to one person only, but shall be common to his whole race of him, that it may, by continual succession, descend to his posterity of him. Yet it may seem absurd, that God should command Ishmael, whom he deprives of his grace from him, to be circumcised. I answer; although the Lord constitutes Isaac the firstborn and the head, from whom he intends the covenant of salvation to flow, he still does not entirely exclude Ishmael, but rather, in adopting the whole family of Abraham, joins Ishmael to his brother Isaac as an inferior member, until Ishmael cut himself off from his father’s house, and his brother’s society. Therefore his circumcision of him was not useless, until he apostatized from the covenant: for although it was not deposited with him, he might, however, participate in it, with his brother of him Isaac. In short, the Lord intends nothing else, by these words, than that Isaac should be the legitimate heir of the promised blessing.

Source: Calvin’s Complete Commentary

(19) Indeed.In the Hebrew this word comes first, and is intended to remove all doubt or desire for any other turn of affairs. It should be rendered, And God said, For a certainty Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son.

Thou shalt call his name Isaac.That is, I laugh. The name was to be a perpetual memorial that Isaacs birth was naturally such an impossibility as to excite ridicule.

Source: Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

19. Call his name Isaac Which means, he shall laugh . A memorial of Abraham’s joyful emotion and wonder here recorded.

Source: Whedon’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 17:19. Thou shalt call his name Isaac In remembrance of the laughter, both of the father and mother, Genesis 17:17 chap. Genesis 18:12.

Source: Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed of him after him.

How condescending are the repetitions of promises! Hebrews 6:18 . The-name of Isaac, means laughter: Romans 9:8 .

Source: Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Gen 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, with his seed of him after him.

See 19. I will establish my covenant with him. ]This was a far greater favor than that bestowed on Ishmael in the next verse, “Twelve princes shall he beget.” Nothing so ennobleth as Christ, graces, being in the covenant, &c. Isa 19:25 “Assyria” is “the work of” God’s “hands of him,” but “Israel” his “inheritance of him.”

Source: John Trapp’s Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

and. Samaritan Pentateuch, Targum of Onkelos, The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel, Septuagint, Syriac read this “and” in the text.

Source: Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Sarah: Gen 17:21, Gen 18:10-14, Gen 21:2, Gen 21:3, Gen 21:6, 2Ki 4:16, 2Ki 4:17, Luk 1:13-20, Rom 9:6 -9, Gal 4:28-31

Isaac: Yitzchak, which we change into Isaac, means laughter; in allusion to Abraham’s laughing, Gen 17:17. By this Abraham did not express his unbelief or weakness of faith, but his joy at the prospect of the fulfillment of so glorious a promise; and to this our Lord evidently alludes, John 8:56.

Reciprocal: Gen 9:16 – everlasting Gen 16:11 – shalt Gen 21:1 – Sarah as Gen 21:10 – Cast out Gen 21:12 – in Isaac Gen 22:2 – Take Gen 25:11 – after 1Ch 1: 28 – Isaac Mat 1:21 – she Luk 1:55 – General Act 3:25 – the covenant Gal 3:17 – the covenant Heb 11:18 – That

Source: The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an {g} everlasting covenant, with his seed of him after him.

(g) The everlasting covenant is made with the children of the Spirit. A temporary promise is made with the children of the flesh, as was promised to Ishmael.

Source: Geneva Bible Notes

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