New Defender's Study Bible Notes
17:1 Almighty God. This is the first of some forty-eight occurrences in the Old Testament of this distinctive name of God (Hebrew El Shaddai).
17:2 my covenant. God used the term “covenant” (Hebrew berith) no less than thirteen times in Genesis 17. Although He gives instructions and commandments here to Abram, they are not given as conditions of God’s covenant; His promises again were unconditional. Three times (Genesis 17:7,13,19) God calls it an “everlasting” covenant, and He promised again the land to Abram’s seed as an “everlasting” possession (Genesis 17:8). His name was changed from Abram (“exalted father”) to Abraham (“father of a multitude”). Not only would he be the father of multitudes of physical descendants (Jews, Arabs, etc.), but the spiritual father of all them that believe in the true God as He is.
17:11 token. As the rainbow encircling the whole earth was a token of God’s covenant with all men (Genesis 9:17), so circumcision, encircling the channel by which the human seed is preserved and transmitted, especially the promised Seed in the line of Abraham, is the token of God’s covenant with His chosen nation. It was not a sign to be seen of all men, as was the rainbow, but a sign to be seen only by a man’s parents and his wife, reminding them of their faith commitment to the God of Abraham, and His promise to them.
17:16 bless her. Sarah (with a new name meaning “princess”) was blessed first by a miracle (probably at the time of Genesis 18:14) that rejuvenated her body, enabling her to have a son long after it seemed biologically possible. As Isaac became a type of Christ, so she became a type of Mary, and is considered to be a spiritual mother of believers as Abraham was their spiritual father (note I Peter 3:6; Hebrews 11:11-12).