Ver. 1. Walk, &c. by assiduous meditation and advancement in virtue. This apparition was to inform Abram, that the promised seed should be born of Sarai. H.
Ver. 4. I am unchangeable, and faithful to my promises, the only God. D.
--- Nations. Jews, Saracens or Arabs, Idumeans, and, by faith, of all nations who shall believe in Christ, the King of kings. C.
--- The true Church will never then be reduced to a few unknown believers, as the Donatists and Protestants assert. W.
Ver. 5. Abraham. Abram, in the Hebrew, signifies a high father; but Abraham, the father of the multitude: Sarai signifies my Lady, but Sara absolutely Lady. Ch.
--- God thus receives them, as it were, into his own family. C.
Ver. 7. Perpetual; that shall last as long as they remain obedient. M. v. 9.
Ver. 11. You shall, either by yourselves, or by the ministry of others, with respect to infants. That part of the body was chosen, because the effects of sin first appeared there; and because a part of the Hebrews' creed was, that Christ should be born of the family of Abraham.
--- A sign that Abraham had agreed to the covenant with God, and to be a memorial of his faith and justice, Rom. iv. 2.; to distinguish also the faithful from infidels; to purge away original sin in male children, eight days old; and to be a figure of baptism. M. T.
--- God always appoints some sign of his covenants, as Jesus Christ instituted the holy sacrament of his body and blood, under exterior appearances, to assure us of his new alliance with Christians. C.
--- The sacraments of the old law caused grace, only by means of faith in the Redeemer, of which they were signs. S. Aug. de Nupt. ii. c. ult. In this sense, the holy fathers assert, that circumcision remitted original sin to those who could receive it; though some think, it was only a bare sign or distinctive mark of the Jews. C.
--- It is far beneath our baptism, which is more easy, general and efficacious; as the Christian sacraments are not like those of Moses, weak and needy elements. Gal. iv. 9. S. Aug. ep. 158, ad Jan. Ps. 73, &c. W.
Ver. 12. Days, when he will be able to bear the pain without danger. This might be deferred for a just reason, as it was in the desert. Jos. v. 6. In this case people might be saved, as younger children and all females might, by the application of the remedies used in the law of nature, sacrifice, the faith of parents, &c. M.
--- Of your stock, and, being arrived at years of discretion, is desirous of enjoying your privileges. Some think, that slaves had no choice left; but servants, and people who had a mind to live in the country, were not bound to submit to this rite against their will. It is even more probable, that none were under this obligation, except Abraham and his posterity by Isaac. His other children adopted it in part, but not with the exactitude of the Jews. C.
Ver. 14. Circumcised. Sept. adds, "on the eighth day," with the Sam. and many Latin copies. C.
--- Destroyed, &c. lose the privileges of the Hebrews, or be put to death, when he grows up and does not supply this defect. S. Aug. reading on the eighth day, concluded that as a child of that age, could not, with reason, be put to death for an offense, in which he could have no share, the destruction here threatened is that of the soul, for transgression, in Adam, the original covenant, and dying in that state unclean, must be excluded from heaven, as people are now who die unbaptized. This difficult passage may, however, be explained as if the threat regarded the negligent parents. "He who shall not circumcise...shall be destroyed." Syr. or, as the Heb. may be rendered, "the male that doth not," &c.; in which case, he becomes guilty of a transgression, when he is arrived at the years sufficient to understand his duty, and does not fulfil it. W.
Ver. 15. Sara, princess of all the nations of the faithful, not simply of one family. M.
Ver. 16. Bless, and enable her to have a son, who shall also have many children.
--- Whom. This is referred to Sara, in Heb. and Chal.; but to Isaac, in the Syriac. The blessing, at any rate, reverts to the mother; who was a figure of the blessed Virgin, and of the Church; both persecuted with their children; both, in the end, triumphant. Gal. iv. 23. C.
Ver. 17. Laughed for joy and admiration at such unexpected news. "He rejoiced," says the Chal.: the faith of Abraham is never called into question. Rom. iv. 19.
Ver. 18. Before thee, under thy protection, and in a virtuous manner. M.
--- He seems to be satisfied, though Go should not bless him with any more children, provided this one may live worthy of God. H.
Ver. 19. Isaac, "laughter," alluding to the exultation of Abraham, more than to the laughter of Sara, which deserved some reprehension. G. xxi. 6.
Ver. 20. Nation of Arabs, who are still divided into twelve tribes. See G. xxv. 13. C.
Ver. 23. His house. All wee kept in such good order by their master, that none was found unwilling to submit, if indeed it was left to their choice. H.
--- Abraham loses no time in complying with God's commands. M.
Ver. 25. Full thirteen, or beginning his fourteenth year, at which age the Arabs and Mahometans still generally circumcise; but without any order from God. C.