Tremper Longman III & Raymond B. Dillard
An Introduction to the Old Testament
Theologically speaking, the centerpiece of this middle section of Genesis is the Abrahamic covenant. Here God promises Abraham descendants lands and finally assures him that he will be a blessing to the nations. The Old Testament acknowledges that these promises are fulfilled in part within its own time frame as Isaac is born and from him descends the Israelite nation, as Israel itself occupies Palestine, and as individuals from the nations (Rahab, Naaman, Nebuchadnezzar) turn to Israel’s God. All of the promises of God, however, including those to Abraham “are ‘Yes’ in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20), and Christians are now considered “Abraham’s offspring” (Rom. 9:8).
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, "I am God Almighty;" walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous." Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God."