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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The Lord’s covenant with Abram
1After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
‘Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,#15:1 Or sovereign
your very great reward.#15:1 Or shield; / your reward will be very great’
2But Abram said, ‘Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit#15:2 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain. my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?’ 3And Abram said, ‘You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.’
4Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.’ 5He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring#15:5 Or seed be.’
6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
7He also said to him, ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.’
8But Abram said, ‘Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I shall gain possession of it?’
9So the Lord said to him, ‘Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.’
10Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and ill-treated there. 14But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions. 15You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.’
17When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi#15:18 Or river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates – 19the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’
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