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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Yahweh’s Covenant with Abram
1After these things the word of Yahweh came#Literally “was” to Abram in a vision, saying: “Do not be afraid, Abram; I am your shield, and your reward shall be very great.” 2Then#Or “And” Abram said, “O Yahweh, my Lord, what will you give me? I continue to be#Literally “I am going” childless, and my heir#Literally “the son of the inheritance of my house” is Eliezer of Damascus.” 3And Abram said, “Look, you have not given me a descendant, and here, a member of my household#Literally “a son of my house” is my heir.”#Literally “inheriting me” 4And behold, the word of Yahweh came to him saying, “This person will not be your heir,#Literally “inherit you” but your own son will be your heir.”#Literally “he who goes out from your body, he will inherit you” 5And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward the heavens and count the stars if you are able to count them.” And he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6And he believed in Yahweh, and he reckoned it to him as righteousness. 7And he said to him, “I am Yahweh, who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give this land to you, to possess it.” 8And he said, “O Yahweh God, how shall I know that I will possess it?” 9And he said to him, “Take for me a three-year-old heifer, and a three-year-old female goat, and a three-year-old ram, and a turtledove and a young pigeon.” 10And he took for him all these and cut them in pieces down the middle. And he put each piece opposite the other,#Literally “its companion” but the birds he did not cut. 11And the birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. 12And it happened that, as the sun went down,#Literally “to go” then a deep sleep fell upon Abram and, behold, a great terrifying darkness fell upon him. 13And he said to Abram, “You must surely know#Literally “knowing you must know” that your descendants shall be as aliens in a land not their own.#Literally “not to them” And they shall serve them#Some nation hostile to Abram’s descendants (Egypt in later history) and they#Some nation hostile to Abram’s descendants (Egypt in later history) shall oppress them four hundred years. 14And also that the nation which they#That is, Abram’s descendants serve I will judge. Then#Or “And” afterward they shall go out with great possessions. 15And as for you, you shall go to your ancestors#Or “fathers” in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16And the fourth generation shall return here, for the guilt of the Amorites is not yet complete.”#Literally “is not complete up to now” 17And after the sun had gone down and it was dusk, behold, a smoking firepot and a flaming torch passed between those half pieces. 18On that day Yahweh made#Literally “cut” a covenant with Abram saying, “To your offspring I will give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates river, 19the land 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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