I wonder of Abram was “hard ears” or if some things just need to be said one more time, every time.

In one of the islands where I’ve lived, people use the expression “hard ears” to suggest that you’re hard of hearing, i.e., disobedient and have to be told the same thing over and over again. It is children, not grown men, who are called “hard ears.”

Maybe it wasn’t about “hard ears” at all; but it was time for the “real deal”- signing the covenant. Circumcision was to be the sign of the covenant by which the father (Abram) would become the Father of many nations (Abraham). Every male, slave or free, born into his household was to be circumcised on the eight day.

Even before Abraham’s son Ishmael (restored by God’s angel from their run-away experience to his father’s household) is circumcised, there is the promise of another son to be born to Sarai. Still, this sounds unbelievable since Sarai is advanced in age. But I guess that by now, the man has learnt that it is more rewarding to have faith in God than to argue over God’s plans. He just seeks the assurance that his son Ishmael will be blessed. And God promises him just that. Here we encounter the promise of Ishmael’s twelve princes before we hear about the twelve tribes of Israel. But that should not surprise us, because for now, Ishmael is the only biological son that Abraham has.

Round the corners of the world I turn,
More and more about the world I learn.
All the new things that I see
You’ll be looking at along with me.

 You are older than the world can be,
You are younger than the life in me.
Ever old and ever new,
Keep me travelling along with you.

And it’s from the old I travel to the new,
Keep me travelling along with you.

Sydney B. Carter, 1915-2004

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