The Abrahamic Covenant
1After these events, the word of the Lord came#1Sm 15:10; 2Sm 7:4; 1Kg 6:11; Is 38:4; Jr 1:2 to Abram in a vision:
Do not be afraid,#Gn 26:24; Is 41:10; Jr 30:10; Lk 1:13,30 Abram.
I am your shield;#Dt 33:29; 2Sm 22:3,31; Ps 3:3; 7:10
your reward will be very great.
2But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” #15:2 Hb obscure 3Abram continued, “Look, you have given me no offspring, so a slave born in#15:3 Lit a son of my house will be my heir.”
4Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body#15:4 Lit loins will be your heir.” 5He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.”#Gn 22:17; 26:4; Ex 32:13; Dt 1:10; 10:22; 1Ch 27:23; Rm 4:18; Heb 11:12
6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.#Rm 4:3,9,22; Gl 3:6; Jms 2:23
7He also said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”#Gn 11:31; 12:1; Neh 9:7–8; Ac 7:2–4
8But he said, “Lord God, how can I know#Jdg 6:17; 2Kg 20:8; Ps 86:17; Is 7:11–13; Lk 1:18 that I will possess it?”
9He said to him, “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
10So he brought all these to him, cut them in half, and laid the pieces opposite each other, but he did not cut the birds#Lv 1:17 in half. 11Birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. 12As the sun was setting, a deep sleep#Gn 2:21 came over Abram, and suddenly great terror and darkness descended on him.
13Then the Lord said to Abram,#Ac 7:6–7 “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be resident aliens#Ex 22:21; 23:9 for four hundred years#Ex 12:40; Gl 3:17 in a land that does not belong to them and will be enslaved and oppressed.#15:13 Lit will serve them and they will oppress them 14However, I will judge the nation they serve,#Ex 6:6; 7:4; 12:12 and afterward they will go out with many possessions.#Ex 3:22 15But you will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age.#Gn 25:8; 47:30 16In the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”#15:16 Lit Amorites is not yet complete#Lv 18:24–28; Dn 8:23; Mt 23:32; 1Th 2:16
17When the sun had set and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the divided animals. 18On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “I give this land to your offspring,#Gn 12:7; 13:15; 17:8; 24:7; 26:4; Nm 34:2; Dt 34:4; Jos 21:43; Neh 9:8; Ac 7:5 from the Brook of Egypt#Ex 23:31; Nm 34:1–15; Dt 1:7–8; 2Kg 24:7 to the great river, the Euphrates River: 19the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hethites, Perizzites, Rephaim, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”
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God’s Agreement With Abram
1After all these things happened, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. God said, “Abram, don’t be afraid. I will defend you and give you a great reward.”
2But Abram said, “Lord GOD, there is nothing you can give me that will make me happy, because I have no son. My slave Eliezer from Damascus will get everything I own after I die.” 3Abram said, “You have given me no son, so a slave born in my house will get everything I have.”
4Then the Lord spoke to Abram and said, “That slave will not be the one to get what you have. You will have a son who will get everything you own.”
5Then God led Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky. See the many stars. There are so many you cannot count them. Your family will be like that.”
6Abram believed the Lord, and because of this faith the Lord accepted him as one who has done what is right. 7He said to Abram, “I am the Lord who led you from Ur of Babylonia.#15:7 Ur of Babylonia Literally, “Ur of the Chaldeans.” A city in southern Babylonia. I did this so that I could give you this land. You will own this land.”
8But Abram said, “Lord GOD, how can I be sure that I will get this land?”
9God said to Abram, “We will make an agreement. Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.”
10Abram brought all these to God. Abram killed these animals and cut each of them into two pieces. Then he laid each half across from the other half. He did not cut the birds into two pieces. 11Later, large birds flew down to eat the animals, but Abram chased them away.
12The sun began to go down and Abram got very sleepy. While he was asleep, a very terrible darkness came over him. 13Then the Lord said to Abram, “You should know this: Your descendants will live in a country that is not their own. They will be strangers there. The people there will make them slaves and be cruel to them for 400 years. 14But then I will punish the nation that made them slaves. Your people will leave that land, and they will take many good things with them.
15“You yourself will live to be very old. You will die in peace and will be buried with your family. 16After four generations your people will come to this land again and defeat the Amorites. That will happen in the future because the Amorites are not yet guilty enough to lose their land.”
17After the sun went down, it got very dark. The dead animals were still on the ground, each animal cut into two pieces. Then a smoking firepot#15:17 firepot A clay pot in which burning coals were placed to be used for starting new fires. and a flaming torch passed between the halves of the dead animals.#15:17 passed between … animals This showed that God “signed” or “sealed” the agreement he made with Abram. People showed that they were sincere in making an agreement by walking between the parts of animals that had been cut into pieces and saying something like, “May this same thing happen to me if I don’t keep the agreement.”
18So on that day the Lord made a promise and an agreement with Abram. He said, “I will give this land to your descendants. I will give them the land between the River of Egypt#15:18 River of Egypt That is, the stream called “Wadi El-Arish.” and the great river Euphrates. 19This is the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”
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