“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.”
King James Version (KJV)
17:10 The token of the covenant, is circumcision, for the sake of which the covenant is itself called the covenant of circumcision, #Acts 7:8|. It is here said to be the covenant which Abraham and his seed must keep, as a copy or counterpart, it is called a sign and seal, #Rom 4:11|, for it was. A confirmation to Abraham and his seed of those promises which were God's part of the covenant, assuring them that, in due time, Canaan should be theirs: and the continuance of this ordinance, after Canaan was theirs, intimates, that that promise looked farther, to another Canaan. An obligation upon Abraham and his seed to that duty which was their part of the covenant, not only to the duty of accepting the covenants and putting away the corruption of the flesh, which were primarily signified by circumcision, but in general to the observation of all God's commands. They who will have God to be to them a God, must consent to be to him a people. Now, 1. Circumcision was a bloody ordinance, for all things by the law were purged with blood, #Heb 9:22|. See #Exo 24:8|. But the blood of Christ being shed, all bloody ordinances are now abolished. Circumcision therefore gives way to baptism. 2. It was peculiar to the males, though the women also were included in the covenant. 3. Christ having not yet offered himself for us, God would have man to enter into covenant, by the offering of some part of his own body, and no part could be better spared. 4. The ordinance was to be administered to children when they were eight days old, that they might gather some strength to be able to undergo the pain of it. 5. The children of the strangers were to be circumcised, which looked favourable upon the Gentiles, who should, in due time be brought into the family of Abraham, by faith. Here is, (1.) The promise made to Abraham of a son by Sarai, that son in whom the promise made to him should be fulfilled, that he should be the father of many nations, for she also shall be a mother of nations, and kings of people shall be of her, #Ge 17:16|. Note, God reveals the purposes of his good - will to his people by degrees. God had told Abraham long before, that he should have a son, but never 'till now that he should have a son by Sarai. The blessing of the Lord makes fruitful, and adds no sorrow with it; no such sorrow as was in Hagar's case. I will bless her, with the blessing of fruitfulness, and then thou shalt have a son of her. Civil government and order is a great blessing to the church. It is promised not only that people, but kings of people should be of her; not a headless rout, but a well modelled, well governed society.