Lectionary Year B
March 16, 2003
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

Step II: Disposition

A. Genre

(JFC) Verses 1, 2, 4 and 5 are poetry. They seem to want to convey some imagery of mystery, quoting God, etc. The other verses look like they are narrating an almost historical event in pedantic prose, although they, too recount God's speaking and Abram's reacting. This account tells of God's addressing Abraham, telling him of the covenant with Him made and that his and his wife's names are changed as they are becoming parents of nations from which kings will gravitate to them. It is a noticeably major transformation, for the language tells in very definite and repeated terms what differences are about to occur. The covenant is repeatedly described as are the parties with whom it is made by God, undeniably. The generations of offspring are also repeatedly referred to.

B. Personal Interaction

(JFC) We have to wonder, first, why verses 8-14 are omitted from this lection and what they say. Then we question why so many items in these verses seem to be repeated. Next, it seems unclear what the differing names mean. And, then, too, where is the doubting of Abraham that he might father a child and/or Sarah shall conceive and bear a child at their age(s)?

C. Organization

(JFC) The items repeated repeatedly include the covenant in verses 2, 4 and 7, the many nations in verses 2, 4, 6 and 7 and the names changing in verses 5 and 15.

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