The Lord's covenant with Abram
1After this, the Lord spoke to Abram in a dream. God said, ‘Do not be afraid Abram. I will keep you safe. I myself will give you many good gifts.’
2But Abram said, ‘Almighty Lord, there is one gift that I want. I still have no children. When I die, Eliezer of Damascus will receive everything that I have. 3Because you have not given me any children, understand this: Everything that I have will one day belong to a servant in my house.’ #15:3 Eliezer of Damascus was Abram's servant. Abram did not have any children. When Abram died, there was no son to continue the family.
4The Lord gave Abram this message: ‘No! Eliezer will not be the one who receives your things. You will have your own son. He will be the one who receives everything that you have.’
5The Lord took Abram outside. He said to Abram, ‘Look up at the sky. Count the stars. They are too many for you to count!’ Then God said, ‘That is how many descendants you will have.’
6Abram believed the Lord. As a result, the Lord accepted Abram as right with him.
7The Lord also said to Abram, ‘I am the Lord. I brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to bring you to this land. I am giving it to you. It will belong to you.’ 8But Abram said, ‘Almighty Lord, how can I be sure that this land will belong to me?’
9The Lord said to Abram, ‘Bring a young cow, a goat and a male sheep to offer them to me. Each animal must be three years old. Also bring a dove and a young pigeon.’
10Abram brought the three animals and the two birds to offer to God. Abram cut each animal in two pieces. He put the halves opposite each other. But he did not cut the birds in two pieces. 11Some birds flew down to eat the animals' dead bodies. But Abram sent them away.
12When the sun was going down, Abram started to sleep. Suddenly he became very afraid because it was dark all around him. 13Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘Be sure of this: Your descendants will live in a foreign country. They will be strangers there. People will do bad things to them and they will become slaves. This will continue for 400 years. 14But I will punish the people of that country who give them trouble. After this, your descendants will leave that country. They will take many valuable things with them. 15But as for you, Abram, you will have a long life. When you die, you will have peace in your mind. 16After four generations, your descendants will come back here to Canaan. At that time, I will punish the Amorites because they do very bad things. But the time has not yet arrived that I will punish them.’ #15:16 The Amorites lived in Canaan. They did not worship the Lord God. They worshipped false gods. They killed children and gave them as sacrifices to these gods. God told Abram that when his descendants returned to Canaan, he would punish the Amorites at that time.
17Then the sun went down and it became dark. Abram saw a pot that had coals in it. The coals were burning and making smoke. There was also a branch that burned with bright fire. These passed between the halves of the animals that Abram had cut in two pieces. #15:17 The fire showed that God was passing between the halves of the animals. This showed that he was making a covenant with Abram.
18On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abram. The Lord promised, ‘I give this land to your descendants. The land starts from the river of Egypt and continues as far as the River Euphrates. 19These people live in the land: Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’ #15:21 These are the people who lived in the land of Canaan that God was giving to Abram and his descendants. Abram's descendants would win against these people. Then they would take the land for themselves to live in, because God had given it to them.
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God's Covenant with Abram
1After this, Abram had a vision and heard the LORD say to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I will shield you from danger and give you a great reward.”
2But Abram answered, “Sovereign LORD, what good will your reward do me, since I have no children? My only heir is Eliezer of Damascus.#15.2 My… Damascus; Hebrew unclear. 3You have given me no children, and one of my slaves will inherit my property.”
4Then he heard the LORD speaking to him again: “This slave Eliezer will not inherit your property; your own son will be your heir.” 5#Rom 4.18; Heb 11.12The LORD took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and try to count the stars; you will have as many descendants as that.”
6 # Rom 4.3; Gal 3.6; Jas 2.23 Abram put his trust in the LORD, and because of this the LORD was pleased with him and accepted him.
7Then the LORD said to him, “I am the LORD, who led you out of Ur in Babylonia, to give you this land as your own.”
8But Abram asked, “Sovereign LORD, how can I know that it will be mine?”
9He answered, “Bring me a cow, a goat, and a ram, each of them three years old, and a dove and a pigeon.” 10Abram brought the animals to God, cut them in half, and placed the halves opposite each other in two rows; but he did not cut up the birds. 11Vultures came down on the bodies, but Abram drove them off.
12 # Job 4.13, 14 When the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and fear and terror came over him. 13#Ex 1.1–14; Acts 7.6The LORD said to him, “Your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land; they will be slaves there and will be treated cruelly for 400 years. 14#Ex 12.40–41; Acts 7.7But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and when they leave that foreign land, they will take great wealth with them. 15You yourself will live to a ripe old age, die in peace, and be buried. 16It will be four generations before your descendants come back here, because I will not drive out the Amorites until they become so wicked that they must be punished.”
17When the sun had set and it was dark, a smoking fire-pot and a flaming torch suddenly appeared and passed between the pieces of the animals. 18#Acts 7.5Then and there the LORD made a covenant with Abram. He said, “I promise to give your descendants all this land from the border of Egypt to the River Euphrates, 19including the lands of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
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Good News Bible with Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha. Scripture taken from the Good News Bible (r) (Today's English Version Second Edition, UK/British Edition). Copyright © 1992 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.