Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Genesis 17

For some background on circumcision and completeness see this article. It is a total coincidence that this excellent explanation of Rabbinic thinking has appeared (via Jim Davila) as I start this chapter. Take it as a gift.

The dialogue with Abram is of course in both singular (v 2), a thee and thou mode of speech we no longer use, and plural (v 11).

I have given in and allowed made/make to be used for נתן, as here twice in the first five verses. Why the usage is this way, I do not know. We will read it fast and not think. If I had used assign, or even give, we would stop and think.

Genesis 17 Fn Min Max Syll
וַיְהִ֣י אַבְרָ֔ם בֶּן־תִּשְׁעִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וְתֵ֣שַׁע שָׁנִ֑ים
וַיֵּרָ֨א יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־אַבְרָ֗ם וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלָיו֙ אֲנִי־אֵ֣ל שַׁדַּ֔י הִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ לְפָנַ֖י וֶהְיֵ֥ה תָמִֽים
1 And Abram was a child of ninety nine years.
And Yahweh appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the One, the Sufficient. Walk in my presence and become complete.
3e 4C 14
28
וְאֶתְּנָ֥ה בְרִיתִ֖י בֵּינִ֣י וּבֵינֶ֑ךָ
וְאַרְבֶּ֥ה אוֹתְךָ֖ בִּמְאֹ֥ד מְאֹֽד
2 And I will make my covenant between me and you,
and will multiply you very much.
3e 4B 12
9
וַיִּפֹּ֥ל אַבְרָ֖ם עַל־פָּנָ֑יו
וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אִתּ֛וֹ אֱלֹהִ֖ים לֵאמֹֽר
3 And Abram fell to his face,
and God spoke to him and said,
3d 4A 8
10
אֲנִ֕י הִנֵּ֥ה בְרִיתִ֖י אִתָּ֑ךְ
וְהָיִ֕יתָ לְאַ֖ב הֲמ֥וֹן גּוֹיִֽם
4 I, behold, my covenant is with you,
and you will be a father of a tumult of nations.
3e 4A 9
10
וְלֹא־יִקָּרֵ֥א ע֛וֹד אֶת־שִׁמְךָ֖ אַבְרָ֑ם
וְהָיָ֤ה שִׁמְךָ֙ אַבְרָהָ֔ם כִּ֛י אַב־הֲמ֥וֹן גּוֹיִ֖ם נְתַתִּֽיךָ
5 And no longer will your name be called Abram,
but your name will be Abraham, for a father of a tumult of nations I have made you.
3d 4C 10
18
וְהִפְרֵתִ֤י אֹֽתְךָ֙ בִּמְאֹ֣ד מְאֹ֔ד וּנְתַתִּ֖יךָ לְגוֹיִ֑ם
וּמְלָכִ֖ים מִמְּךָ֥ יֵצֵֽאוּ
6 I will make you fruitful, very much, and I will give you to the nations,
and sovereigns from you will go out.
3e 4C 17
8
וַהֲקִמֹתִ֨י אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֜י בֵּינִ֣י וּבֵינֶ֗ךָ וּבֵ֨ין זַרְעֲךָ֧ אַחֲרֶ֛יךָ לְדֹרֹתָ֖ם לִבְרִ֣ית עוֹלָ֑ם
לִהְי֤וֹת לְךָ֙ לֵֽאלֹהִ֔ים וּֽלְזַרְעֲךָ֖ אַחֲרֶֽיךָ
7 And I will place my covenant between me and you, and your seed after you for their generations, for a covenant evermore,
to be your God, and to your seed after you.
3c 4C 32
15
וְנָתַתִּ֣י לְ֠ךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ֨ אַחֲרֶ֜יךָ אֵ֣ת ׀ אֶ֣רֶץ מְגֻרֶ֗יךָ אֵ֚ת כָּל־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן לַאֲחֻזַּ֖ת עוֹלָ֑ם
וְהָיִ֥יתִי לָהֶ֖ם לֵאלֹהִֽים
8 And I will give to you and to your seed after you the land where you are a guest, all the land of Canaan, to hold fast evermore,
and I will be their God.
3e 4C 34
9
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֔ם וְאַתָּ֖ה אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֣י תִשְׁמֹ֑ר
אַתָּ֛ה וְזַרְעֲךָ֥ אַֽחֲרֶ֖יךָ לְדֹרֹתָֽם
9 And God said to Abraham, And you, you will keep my covenant,
you and your seed after you for their generations.
3d 4C 19
14
זֹ֣את בְּרִיתִ֞י אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּשְׁמְר֗וּ בֵּינִי֙ וּבֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וּבֵ֥ין זַרְעֲךָ֖ אַחֲרֶ֑יךָ
הִמּ֥וֹל לָכֶ֖ם כָּל־זָכָֽר
10 B This is my covenant that you will keep between me and you and your seed after you,
for you, every male will be circumcised.
3e 4B 24
7
וּנְמַלְתֶּ֕ם אֵ֖ת בְּשַׂ֣ר עָרְלַתְכֶ֑ם
וְהָיָה֙ לְא֣וֹת בְּרִ֔ית בֵּינִ֖י וּבֵינֵיכֶֽם
11 And you will circumcise the flesh of your foreskin,
and it will be for a sign of the covenant between me and you.
3e 4B 9
13
וּבֶן־שְׁמֹנַ֣ת יָמִ֗ים יִמּ֥וֹל לָכֶ֛ם כָּל־זָכָ֖ר לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶ֑ם
יְלִ֣יד בָּ֔יִת וּמִקְנַת־כֶּ֙סֶף֙ מִכֹּ֣ל בֶּן־נֵכָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹ֥א מִֽזַּרְעֲךָ֖ הֽוּא
12 And a son of eight days will be circumcised for you, every male for your generations,
born of the house or purchased with silver from every child of a foreigner who is not from your seed.
3d 4B 19
22
הִמּ֧וֹל ׀ יִמּ֛וֹל יְלִ֥יד בֵּֽיתְךָ֖ וּמִקְנַ֣ת כַּסְפֶּ֑ךָ
וְהָיְתָ֧ה בְרִיתִ֛י בִּבְשַׂרְכֶ֖ם לִבְרִ֥ית עוֹלָֽם
13 He will be circumcised, circumcised, who is born of your house or purchased with your silver,
and my covenant will be in your flesh for a covenant evermore.
3c 4B 14
13
וְעָרֵ֣ל ׀ זָכָ֗ר אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־יִמּוֹל֙ אֶת־בְּשַׂ֣ר עָרְלָת֔וֹ וְנִכְרְתָ֛ה הַנֶּ֥פֶשׁ הַהִ֖וא מֵעַמֶּ֑יהָ
אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֖י הֵפַֽר
14 And a fore-skinned male whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that very self will be cut off from his people,
My covenant he has thwarted.
3d 4C 28
6
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֔ם שָׂרַ֣י אִשְׁתְּךָ֔ לֹא־תִקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמָ֖הּ שָׂרָ֑י
כִּ֥י שָׂרָ֖ה שְׁמָֽהּ
15 And said God to Abraham, Sarai your wife you will not call her name, Sarai,
for Sarah will be her name.
3e 4C 23
5
וּבֵרַכְתִּ֣י אֹתָ֔הּ וְגַ֨ם נָתַ֧תִּי מִמֶּ֛נָּה לְךָ֖ בֵּ֑ן
וּבֵֽרַכְתִּ֙יהָ֙ וְהָֽיְתָ֣ה לְגוֹיִ֔ם מַלְכֵ֥י עַמִּ֖ים מִמֶּ֥נָּה יִהְיֽוּ
16 And I will bless her and moreover I will give from her for you a son,
and I will bless her, and she will be, of the nations. Sovereigns of peoples from her will be.
3c 4B 17
20
וַיִּפֹּ֧ל אַבְרָהָ֛ם עַל־פָּנָ֖יו וַיִּצְחָ֑ק
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר בְּלִבּ֗וֹ הַלְּבֶ֤ן מֵאָֽה־שָׁנָה֙ יִוָּלֵ֔ד וְאִ֨ם־שָׂרָ֔ה הֲבַת־תִּשְׁעִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה תֵּלֵֽד
17 And Abraham fell on his face and made sport,
and said in his heart, a son of a hundred years will beget, as if Sarah, a daughter of ninety years will give birth.
3c 4C 12
27
וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אַבְרָהָ֖ם אֶל־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים
ל֥וּ יִשְׁמָעֵ֖אל יִחְיֶ֥ה לְפָנֶֽיךָ
18 Then Abraham said to this God,
If only Yishmaeil would live before you.
3e 4A 11
11
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים אֲבָל֙ שָׂרָ֣ה אִשְׁתְּךָ֗ יֹלֶ֤דֶת לְךָ֙ בֵּ֔ן וְקָרָ֥אתָ אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ יִצְחָ֑ק
וַהֲקִמֹתִ֨י אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֥י אִתּ֛וֹ לִבְרִ֥ית עוֹלָ֖ם לְזַרְע֥וֹ אַחֲרָֽיו
19 And God said, lamentably, Sarah your wife will give birth to a son for you, and you will call his name Yitschaq,
and I will place my covenant with him for a covenant evermore for his seed after him.
3d 4C 28
21
וּֽלְיִשְׁמָעֵ֘אל שְׁמַעְתִּיךָ֒ הִנֵּ֣ה ׀ בֵּרַ֣כְתִּי אֹת֗וֹ וְהִפְרֵיתִ֥י אֹת֛וֹ וְהִרְבֵּיתִ֥י אֹת֖וֹ בִּמְאֹ֣ד מְאֹ֑ד
שְׁנֵים־עָשָׂ֤ר נְשִׂיאִם֙ יוֹלִ֔יד וּנְתַתִּ֖יו לְג֥וֹי גָּדֽוֹל
20 And for Yishmaeil, I have heard you, behold, I have blessed him, and I will make him fruitful and increase him very much.
Twelve principals he will beget, and I will make him a great nation.
3d 4C 32
17
וְאֶת־בְּרִיתִ֖י אָקִ֣ים אֶת־יִצְחָ֑ק
אֲשֶׁר֩ תֵּלֵ֨ד לְךָ֤ שָׂרָה֙ לַמּוֹעֵ֣ד הַזֶּ֔ה בַּשָּׁנָ֖ה הָאַחֶֽרֶת
21 But my covenant I will raise up with Yitschaq to whom Sarah will give birth for you at this appointed time in the following year. 3e 4C 10
20
וַיְכַ֖ל לְדַבֵּ֣ר אִתּ֑וֹ
וַיַּ֣עַל אֱלֹהִ֔ים מֵעַ֖ל אַבְרָהָֽם
22 And he finished speaking with him,
and God went up from Abraham.
3e 4B 7
11
וַיִּקַּ֨ח אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֶת־יִשְׁמָעֵ֣אל בְּנ֗וֹ וְאֵ֨ת כָּל־יְלִידֵ֤י בֵיתוֹ֙ וְאֵת֙ כָּל־מִקְנַ֣ת כַּסְפּ֔וֹ כָּל־זָכָ֕ר בְּאַנְשֵׁ֖י בֵּ֣ית אַבְרָהָ֑ם
וַיָּ֜מָל אֶת־בְּשַׂ֣ר עָרְלָתָ֗ם בְּעֶ֙צֶם֙ הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר דִּבֶּ֥ר אִתּ֖וֹ אֱלֹהִֽים
23 And Abraham took Yishmaeil his son, and all the successors of his house, and all purchased by his money, every male among the persons of the house of Abraham,
and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins in this selfsame day as God had spoken to him.
3d 4C 38
26
וְאַ֨בְרָהָ֔ם בֶּן־תִּשְׁעִ֥ים וָתֵ֖שַׁע שָׁנָ֑ה
בְּהִמֹּל֖וֹ בְּשַׂ֥ר עָרְלָתֽוֹ
24 And Abraham was a child of ninety nine years,
when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised.
3e 4A 12
9
וְיִשְׁמָעֵ֣אל בְּנ֔וֹ בֶּן־שְׁלֹ֥שׁ עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה שָׁנָ֑ה
בְּהִ֨מֹּל֔וֹ אֵ֖ת בְּשַׂ֥ר עָרְלָתֽוֹ
25 And Yishmaeil his son was a child of thirteen years,
when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised.
3e 4B 14
10
בְּעֶ֙צֶם֙ הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה נִמּ֖וֹל אַבְרָהָ֑ם
וְיִשְׁמָעֵ֖אל בְּנֽוֹ
26 In this selfsame day Abraham was circumcised,
and Yishmaeil his son.
3e 4B 12
7
וְכָל־אַנְשֵׁ֤י בֵיתוֹ֙ יְלִ֣יד בָּ֔יִת וּמִקְנַת־כֶּ֖סֶף מֵאֵ֣ת בֶּן־נֵכָ֑ר
נִמֹּ֖לוּ אִתּֽוֹ
27 And all the men of his house, born of the house or purchased with silver from the child of a foreigner,
were circumcised with him.
3e 4C 20
5
For an exploration of the imagery of circumcision and its importance in both the New and Old Testaments, I could have referred you to my novel from the first century. But it is 'out of print'. I am gradually revising it. In it, my mohel, the aged Samuel, has this speech:
Circumcision is a visible seal of the covenant. A letter sealed is only to be opened by the one to whom it is addressed. When the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit at the announcement of the Gospel, we saw that letters not sealed by circumcision were being opened. They knew in their bodies the life of the one who rose from the dead.
I may not reissue the novel until I have read the New Testament in Hebrew. So maybe never. Circumcision has a long set of behavioural implications. Violence is not a part of them. Any earthling, male or female, needs a 'stronger power' to manage powerful self-centered forces. My anti-hero, Gaius says this just before he is executed, "The invisible Temple Builder in one action has replaced the violence of all cults." Gaius, Paul's host in Corinth, also notes of Abraham,
"In this act, Abraham is a priest, offering his own life in a figure, responding to the gift of righteousness by faith which he received before he was circumcised."
Anyway, story or not, circumcision as a sign of the covenant prefigures the death of Christ. Its application is spelled out in Colossians 2:11. This is too terse a metaphor for most moderns.