Sunday, January 7, 2018

Genesis 17: Don't even think about neglecting covenant

Central passage:
Gen 17:9-14 (NRSV)
9 God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old, including the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring. 13 Both the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money must be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Covenant is in fact something Abraham must keep―beginning with the sign of circumcision. It is not ethnocentric. It is family-centric. Slaves obey it too which gives slaves full human dignity. To add a point on it, slaves are included in the Abrahamic covenant with the divine. We shall see that the definition of "family" eventually expands to include anybody who enters into the Abrahamic covenant (Isaiah 56:3-8; Galatians 3:23-29; Ephesians 3:1-6; Romans 8:29). The sign of circumcision is retired (Jeremiah 3:15-16; 4:4; Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Romans 2:28-29; Colossians 2:11-14).

The point is not that there will be consequences out of a violated covenant; although there are certainly consequences. Particularly, the benefits of covenant will no longer be active and there will be danger of experiencing the fate of the Canaanites (Genesis 15:16). The land holding will not be perpetual (Genesis 17:8).

The point here is that the people who enter into the covenant must not even think of neglecting this covenant.
posted from Bloggeroid

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