The Covenant Between God and Abraham


Genesis 15:18

"In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates."


The above quote refers to a rather large chunk of land!

It has also been a bitterly disputed chunk of land. Throughout human history, countless lives have been lost in the pursuit of it. Whose is it?

Jews and Christians, who rarely agree about anything, are very much in agreement about one thing: Arabs have no place in Israel! In spite of the obvious historical fact of continuous occupation of the above-mentioned land by Palestinian Arab Muslims (and their pre-Muhammadan predecessors) -- at least since the days of the Assyrian conquest of Israel around 700 BC -- the Jews and Christians have concluded that Israel is spiritually "theirs". Sure, Arabs can live there, but they have no spiritual claim to the land.

As the Jews and Christians correctly point out, Muslims trace their descent from Ishmael. Didn't God "give" the land to the descendants of his brother Isaac? And isn't Isaac "them"?

Setting aside the racial questions which arise from the fact that the ancestors of many of today's Jews, especially the Ashkenazi Jews, were probably converts to Judaism in the Middle Ages, we need to ask ourselves whether the Bible really contains an exclusive covenant with Isaac in the first place.

And I can tell you already, the answer is "maybe". Or "maybe not". Let's look directly at the relevant passage. Those of you who haven't read the 17th Chapter of Genesis ought to read the whole thing. It's short, and it's reproduced here:


Genesis Chapter 17


1. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

2. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
3. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
4. As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
5. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
6. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
7. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
8. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
9. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
10. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee: Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
11. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
12. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
13. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
15. And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
16. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
17. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
18. And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
19. And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
20. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
21. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
22. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
23. And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
24. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
25. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
26. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
27. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.




I must direct your attention to verse 10 above, where God says "this is my covenant ... every man child among you shall be circumcised". In verse 23 we learn that Ishmael, who was 13 years old at that time (ouch!) was immediately circumcised. Therefore, the Bible says -- in plain Hebrew -- that God has a covenant with Ishmael.

Isaac was not yet born!

Now, one can split hairs and attempt to argue that there's "more than one covenant", i.e., that there exists a "covenant of circumcision", a "covenant of land", a "covenant of dietary laws", etc., etc. Then one can claim that Ishmael was granted the right to have flesh cut away from the tip of his penis at the age of 13, but that he was given no land! Talk about a "raw deal"!

But wait a minute. A complication enters into the picture in verse 21. Here, God says "But my covenant will I establish with Isaac".

That word "But..." disturbs me. It has an exclusive ring to it, does it not? Maybe the land does belong to the descendants of Isaac exclusively. If so, then every Muslim is, at best, a guest, and at worst, an out-and-out invader.

Furthermore, the territorial boundaries given at the head of this page ("from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates...") are repeated by Moses centuries later, and are taken deadly seriously by Orthodox Jews, not to mention Evangelical Christians. Now, there are tens of millions of Arab Muslims living in this area today. What's to become of them?

How about a neutron bomb? That will only kill the people, sparing the buildings.

Morally unacceptable? Then what? I think you can see that it would be very desirable to find a Biblically-acceptable formula to mediate the territorial dispute. Forget about neutron bombs.

Therefore, it would be expedient, to say the least, to find evidence that Muslims have a territorial claim in the Promised Land, so that Jews and Christians don't have to feel obligated to kill them -- because, I can tell you right now -- they're not moving!

Let's also not forget that they may kill us first. Remember the old saying, "when you go out to seek revenge, dig two graves"? Likewise, in the matter of land-grab as well, the outcome cannot be guaranteed to be the way you want it to be. UNLESS, that is, God Himself really did predetermine the outcome.

Did He?

The only way to be sure is to look at the original Biblical text, which means to read it in Hebrew. The vast majority of Jews and Christians, who are non-Hebrew-reading, derive their information about Genesis 17 from translations. We have already seen, in other parts of this Web Site, that the translators lie like hell. You can't count on a Jewish or Christian translator to tell the truth about Ishmael, when the translator's father taught him that Ishmael was a deadly enemy.

So, without further ado, here's Genesis 17:21 in Hebrew:



Those of you who don't read Hebrew, be aware that Hebrew is read in the direction opposite English, namely right-to-left. There are five word here. Let's start by transliterating them into the English alphabet:


V'et b'risee a-keem et Yitzchak


(The ch sound is the guttural, like the clearing of the throat, not found in the English language).

Now, let's put these five words into a table for easy reference:












(Direct object marker)

"my covenant"

"I will establish"

(Direct object marker)



Now bear with me, and let us start not with the 1st, but with the 2nd word. The 2nd word, "b'risee", means "my covenant".

The 3rd word, "a-keem", means "I will raise up" or "I will establish".

The 5th word, "Yitzchak", is the correct English spelling of the real Hebrew name we Americans (mistakenly) pronounce "Isaac".

The 1st and 4th words, "et", are essentially the same (the 1st has the "V" prefix, which we shall be getting to shortly).

Now "et" is what is called, in Hebrew, the "direct object marker", and it is not literally translated into English. It indicates to the reader what word receives the action of the verb. The only verb in the sentence is word #3, "a-keem" ("I will establish"). So, both "b'risee" ("my covenant") and "Yitzchak" ("Isaac") are the direct objects of God's "establishment".

Put it all together and you get something very much like:


"But my covenant will I establish with Isaac"...


Notice, however, that the word "But..." doesn't appear in our Table. Where does it come from?

It comes from that first letter "V-". It is a prefix, consisting of a single Hebrew letter. The letter, in modern Hebrew, is called "vav", and it's written "  " (note that this is the first Hebrew letter -- on the right -- in the all-Hebrew translation above).

The Hebrew prefix "V-" (vav) is defined by Langenscheidt's Hebrew Dictionary as a conjunction, meaning "and, and therefore, also, then, yet".

I trust none of you Hebrew-speakers will take serious issue with me when I allege that the usual meaning of "V-" is the first one above, "and". In Hebrew elementary school, when "V-" is first introduced to beginning Hebrew students, they are taught that it means "and".

How does that affect our convenant? A lot! There's nothing exclusive at all about the above verse, if we employ "and" instead of "but". If we translate "V-" as "and", we get:


(V'et b'risee a-keem et Yitzchak) =

"And my covenant will I establish with Isaac"...


... which has a vastly different meaning than:


"But my covenant will I establish with Isaac"...


The former translation says that there is a covenant -- perhaps even of land! -- with Ishmael, AND there is also such a covenant with Isaac.

The latter translation says that there is a covenant -- of some poorly-defined sort -- with Ishmael, BUT the "real" covenant -- especially that part involving the land -- is exclusively with Isaac!

Langenscheidt's dictionary does not include "but" as a definition of "  " ("V-"), however, in the Bible, "V-" is in fact often rendered "but" by the English translators. However, the contexts in which this is done are unlikely to be contexts in which a life-threateningly important exclusivity is being established.

For the critically-exclusive "but", Hebrew has other words. First of all, there's "aval", which in Hebrew is spelled

 ... which means "but, yet". If the Bible had said "Aval et b'risee a-keem et Yitzchak", then the correct English translation of the verse would be as King James' agents reported, namely

 "But my covenant will I establish with Isaac"...

... in the totally exclusive sense of the word "but". That would mean that Ishmael is decidedly "out"!

There's an even stronger exclusive expression in Hebrew, when one wants to really draw a line. It's transliterated " kee  eim ", and it looks like this in Hebrew:

Among other definitions -- all exclusive -- " kee  eim ", in English, means "but" and "nay but". If Genesis 17:21 had been written with " kee  eim ", then the correct sense of the translation might have been something like this:

20. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him ...(etc.) ... and I will make him a great nation (only, however, in "Arab" territory, not in Israel). Shall I physically bar his descendants from the Holy Land of Israel?
21. Nay ... (they will be permitted to dwell there physically on a day-by-day basis, only without "divine" property rights) ... but my covenant (i.e., territorial covenant) will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.


If the Bible actually had said that, then I would go down myself with a pitchfork and (try to) drive Ishmael out -- not because I have anything against Ishmael, but because I have something for God.

But the Bible doesn't say that! It says


20. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
21. And my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.


We may conclude that the existence of a covenant between God and Isaac is an established fact, and that the existence of a covenant between God and Ishmael is also an established fact. Whether these two covenants are exactly the same, is surely not for me to say. But God's promise will be fulfilled through the children of Abraham, and both Isaac and Ishmael are children of Abraham.

Moreover, the covenant is specifically said to be in the flesh, namely circumcision, and both were circumcised immediately that the opportunity arose to do so. Ishmael was circumcised at 13, because that was his age when God established his covenant with Abraham, and Isaac was circumcised at 8 days, because after Ishmael, all male children were to be circumcised thusly, in their infancy.

It is fitting and proper that Jews and Christians should be in Israel at this time. But anyone who says that Muslim Arabs have no part is seriously mistaken. Such a person reminds me of the person, described by Buddha, who makes the mistake of magnifying and attempting to gratify all his worldly desires, with no thought of the hereafter. Buddha likens such a one to a man who carries a torch into the wind. One only winds up being burned.


All Right! Whose Is It?


At the top of this Web Page we opened this discussion with the above question. I believe that there is already an answer.

All those who recognize the obvious fact that God has revealed Himself to the nine nations I listed elsewhere in this Web Site, already "own" the land from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Those who desire to share their goods, services, and their whole world in general with these others, are already in Greater Israel, spiritually speaking. For Israel, while surely being a physically entity, is nevertheless a physical entity which springs from the Spirit.

I declare myself, today, to be a citizen of Greater Israel, and vow to live in it under God's Laws.

There is no need for one to physically move there until one is called upon to do that.

There is certainly no need to "drive" anyone else out!

You don't need a "permit", or "passport", or "visa", or an international bank "mark" of any beast, to live in this Greater Israel. All you have to do is believe.

You don't need the "approval" of today's corrupt Israeli government, or today's even more corrupt American government. You don't need "permission" from any Mufti, Ayatollah or Sheik.

Nor do you don't need a special dispensation from any for-profit Rabbi, Priest or Minister.

I would suggest to you, however, that you need to believe in the Golden Rule. I have taught, elsewhere in this Web Site, that the proper interpretation of the Golden Rule in our time is that you provide your goods and services free of charge to all who dwell with you in this spiritual Greater Israel. We dwell there now in spirit only, but later some of us shall dwell there in the flesh.

We shall travel from Cairo to Baghdad without a "passport", and no one will harm us, because we shall harm no one else.

If all this offends you, well, there's always that World Banking Dictatorship. Who knows? Maybe you'll get "lucky" and wind up being among the 1-2% who remain wealthy and free, while everyone else roasts.

All the people I mentioned above believe that they're going to BUY Israel with all their "MONEY". Then they'll destroy all their "enemies" by military force.

What nonsense.