When Abram is 99 years old, and Sarai is 89, God appears to Abram and once again promises him many descendants to inherit the land. He tells Abram that from now on, he will be known as Abraham, meaning father of many nations, and his wife’s name will change to Sarah (which means princess, but is not defined by the text).
God instructs Abraham to circumcise himself and all male members of his household. From this point forward, all males born into Abraham’s family will be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth. He promises that with these changes, he and Sarah will have a son.
Incredulous, Abraham expresses the hope that Ishmael would walk in God’s ways, but God insists it is from Sarah, whose son will be called Isaac, that God’s promise to Abraham’s descendants will be fulfilled.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
Why do you think God changes Abraham and Sarah’s names?