When Abram was nearly a hundred years old, God appeared and said, “I’m God Almighty. Walk before me and be perfect. I’ll make my promise between us, and I’ll make you abundant.”
Abram fell on his face.
God continued, “Here’s the promise: I’m making you the father of many nations. Your name is hereby changed to Abraham, “Father of Nations.” Even kings will come from you. This promise is established forever through your generations. I’ll give you and your offspring this foreign land, that is, all of Canaan forever, and I will be their God.”
Abraham remained prostrate on the ground with his forehead down in the dirt.
“As for you and your side of the promise,” God said, “you and every male among you, through every generation, will cut off their foreskin. This is the way of the promise. When each baby boy is eight days old, including slaves born in your house or any other male purchased with money, they will be circumcised. Why? For the promise to be irrevocable, it must cut into the flesh. Anyone who has not had his foreskin cut off will himself be cut off from your people, because he will have broken the promise.”
Abraham remained still and silent before God.
“As for Sarai,” God continued, “she is now Sarah, and she will give you a son. I will bless her, and from her womb will come nations and kings.”
Abraham couldn’t contain a sudden fit of laughter. He muttered under his breath, “We’re too old to have children, and my wife is barren.” He lifted his head. “Bring Ishmael into the blessing.”
God answered, “Sarah will bear you a son next year, and you’ll call him Isaac. Through him my eternal promise will be secured, not with Ishmael. As for Ismael, I will bless him for your sake and give him a large family. He will be a great nation, the father of twelve kings.”
When God ascended, Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and all the male slaves born or purchased in his house, and he cut off their foreskins. Then he had someone cut his own foreskin.
Ishmael was thirteen years old when his foreskin was cut off.
Inspiration: Genesis 17