The Lord's promises to Abram
1Later the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision, “Abram, don't be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly.”
2But Abram answered, “LORD All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own.#15.2 And…own: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. 3You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything.”
4The LORD replied, “No, he won't! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his.” 5Then the LORD took Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars. That's how many descendants you will have.”#Ro 4.18; He 11.12. 6Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD was pleased with him.#Ro 4.3; Ga 3.6; Jas 2.23.
The LORD makes another promise to Abram
7The LORD said to Abram, “I brought you here from Ur in Chaldea, and I gave you this land.”
8Abram asked, “LORD God, how can I know the land will be mine?”
9Then the LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.”
10Abram obeyed the LORD. Then he cut#15.10 cut: In Hebrew “cut” sounds something like “agreement”. What follows shows that the LORD is making an agreement with Abram. the animals in half and laid the two halves of each animal opposite each other on the ground. But he did not cut the doves and pigeons in half. 11And when birds came down to eat the animals, Abram chased them away.
12As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and everything became dark and frightening.#Job 4.13,14. 13-15Then the LORD said:#Ex 1.1-14; Ac 7.6.#Ex 12.40,41; Ac 7.7.
Abram, you will live to an old age and die in peace.
But I solemnly promise that your descendants will live as foreigners in a land that doesn't belong to them. They will be forced into slavery and abused for four hundred years. But I will terribly punish the nation that enslaves them, and they will leave with many possessions.
16Four generations later,#15.16 Four generations later: This may refer to the “four hundred years” of verses 13-15. your descendants will return here and take this land, because only then will the people who live here#15.16 people who live here: The Hebrew text has “Amorites”, a name sometimes used of the people who lived in Palestine before the Israelites. be so sinful that they deserve to be punished.
17Some time after sunset, when it was very dark, a smoking cooking pot#15.17 smoking cooking pot: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. The smoke and fire represent the presence of the LORD. and a flaming fire went between the two halves of each animal. 18At that time the LORD made an agreement with Abram and told him:#Ac 7.5.
I will give your descendants the land east of the River Shihor#15.18 River Shihor: See Joshua 13.2-7. on the border of Egypt as far as the River Euphrates. 19They will possess the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaites, 21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
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God Makes a Covenant With Abram
1Some time later, Abram had a vision. The Lord said to him,
“Abram, do not be afraid.
I am like a shield to you.
I am your very great reward.”
2But Abram said, “Lord and King, what can you give me? I still don’t have any children. My servant Eliezer comes from Damascus. When I die, he will get everything I own.” 3Abram continued, “You haven’t given me any children. So this servant of mine will get everything I own.”
4Then a message from the Lord came to Abram. The Lord said, “When you die, what you have will not go to this man. You will have a son of your own. He will get everything you have.” 5The Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky. Count the stars, if you can.” Then he said to him, “That’s how many children will be born into your family.”
6Abram believed the Lord. The Lord was pleased with Abram because he believed. So Abram’s faith made him right with the Lord.
7He also said to Abram, “I am the Lord. I brought you out of Ur in the land of Babylon. I will give you this land to have as your very own.”
8But Abram said, “Lord and King, how can I know I will have this land as my own?”
9So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a young cow, a goat and a ram. Each must be three years old. Bring a dove and a young pigeon along with them.”
10Abram brought all of them to the Lord. Abram cut them in two and placed the halves opposite each other. But he didn’t cut the birds in half. 11Then large birds came down to eat the dead bodies of the animals and birds. But Abram chased the large birds away.
12As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep. A thick and scary darkness covered him. 13Then the Lord said to him, “You can be sure of what I am about to tell you. For 400 years, your family who comes after you will be strangers in another country. They will become slaves there and will be treated badly. 14But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves. After that, they will leave with many possessions. 15But you will die in peace. You will join the members of your family who have already died. And you will be buried when you are very old. 16Your children’s grandchildren will come back here. That’s because the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached the point where I must punish them.”
17The sun set and it became dark. Then a burning torch and a pot filled with smoking coals appeared. They passed between the pieces of the animals that had been cut in two. 18On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram. He said, “I am giving this land to your family who comes after you. It reaches from the River of Egypt to the great Euphrates River. 19It includes the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites and Rephaites. 21The Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites also live there.”
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