This chapter is about circumcision. It’s the start of a Jewish & Muslim tradition that has spanned generations & centuries. It’s even bled into the Christian community. There’s even a sect of Judaism that sucks the blood when the circumcision takes place. Yeah, I know. I hope you enjoy the read.
Abram was 99 years old, God appeared to him (I’ve always wondered why God appeared to Abram & Abram wasn’t blinded or something. Like Moses only got to see God’s butt because God told him that he’d go blind if he saw God in his full glory.) & said, “I’m El-Shaddai (God Almighty). Walk before me & be blameless. I’ll confirm my covenant/contract between myself & you & your descendants.” Abram fell facedown. God told Abram that his name is changing to Abraham (which means father of many) because he’s gonna be a father of many nations. God told him that kings would come from him. And if you think about it, it’s true. King David, King Solomon, & even Jesus (one of his name is King of Kings). Genealogically, Jesus is related to Abraham.
God then tells Abraham that every male has to be circumcised & that circumcision is a sign of the covenant/contract between God & Abraham (& descendants). And for the generations to come, every male will be circumcised when they’re 8 days old. This includes anybody born in your household & “bought with money from a foreigner.” God says, “My covenant/contract in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.” And if you don’t get circumcised they’ll be shunned, pretty much.
Then God told Abraham that Sarai is getting a name change too. And that Sarah is gonna have a son too. Abraham fell facedown & laughed. He said to himself, “Yeah, right! Sarah’s gonna have a baby at 90 years old! Ha, ha! Right.” Abraham says to God, “If only Ishmael could live under this blessing your giving my descendants!” (It’s good to see that even in then, parents were concerned about their child. See, Abraham was a good dad. Even if, later down the road he tries to sacrifice Isaac.) God tells Abraham that Sarah will have a son & you’re gonna name this kid Isaac (which means he laughs because Abraham (& Sarah) laughs). God then makes sure to tell Abraham that Ishmael is under the same promise/covenant that the rest of his descendants are under. The rules apply to him as well. Ishmael becomes the father of 12 rulers & made him into a great nation (a.k.a. The Islamic nation). So Ishmael became the Islamic tribes of Abraham. Like the 12 tribes of Israel, only much earlier than Israel. God was like “Even though Ishmael is gonna be a great nation, my covenant will be with Isaac & his lineage with your wife Sarah.” (At least God respects Abraham’s marriage, I guess.)
On the very day that God tells Abraham about this whole circumcision deal, Abraham takes Ishmael & everybody up in his house (“or bought with money”), plus all the 8 day old male kids, had them all circumcised. Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised! (I feel bad for that old man. That couldn’t have felt good. And I wonder how that conversation went down because this was the 1st time that circumcision was done. Like “You’re gonna do what to where with what!”) Ishmael was 13 years old when he was circumcised. Abraham & Ishamel were circumcised on the same day.
By the way, Muslims totally are in on the circumcision deal. You can thank Ishmael for that. (Not in a bad way.) I’m sure that being Abraham’s son that he follow or adhere to his father’s religious views. Later on in the bible & historically, circumcision separated the Jewish (Hebrew) & Islamic communities from the rest of the world. No other group of people was doing circumcision at this time in history. There are some cases in Ancient Greece that Jews who wanted to participate in the gladiator deal sometimes had a painful (& sometimes harmful) surgery that reattached the foreskin. The foreskin would be made of some kind of animal skin.