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 promised to give Abram a son
1Later on, after Abram saved Lot, Abram had a dream, and God talked to him in that dream. God said, “Abram, don’t be frightened, I will always keep you safe, so that nobody can ever hurt you, and I am going to give you lots of good things.”
2-3But Abram said, “Yes, God, you are very powerful. But look, I’ve got no son, so it doesn’t matter what you give me. You haven’t given me the one thing I really want. You haven’t given me any kids. So when I die, one of my work-men will get all my things. His name is Eliyezer. He is from Damascus.”
4Then Abram heard God talk to him again. God said, “I tell you, that work-man will not get all your things after you die. I am going to give you a son, and he will get all your things after you die.”
5Then God took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and try to count all those stars. There are a lot of stars. You can’t count them all. Well, you will have a son, and later on lots of people will be born into his family, and later on they will be a real big family. And just like nobody can count the stars, nobody will be able to count all your family.”#Romans 4:18; Hebrews 11:12
6And Abram believed what God said, so God was really happy with him, and told him, “You believe me, so now I’m saying you are properly good, like you never did anything wrong.”#Romans 4:3, 9, 22; Galatians 3:6; Hebrews 11:11; James 2:23
God did a ceremony to make Abram sure about his promises
7Then God said to Abram, “I am your God. I am the one that brought you out of your home country, from the town called Ur, in Chaldia country. And I am going to give you this country here. It will be yours. You will own all this country.”
8Abram said, “I know you are very powerful, God, but how can I be really sure that I will get all this country?”
9So God said to Abram, “Bring me a cow that hasn’t had a baby, and a female goat, and a male sheep. All those animals have to be 3 years old. And I want you to bring me 2 different sorts of pigeons too.”
10Then Abram did what God told him. He killed those animals and birds, and he cut the animals in half. He put the halves of each animal on the ground in 2 lines facing each other. But he didn’t cut the birds in half. 11Then some hawks flew down and tried to eat the animals, but Abram chased them away.
12While the sun was going down, Abram went to sleep. It was a strong deep sleep. Then Abram had something like a dream. It was really dark for him, and he felt really frightened.#Job 4:13-14 13-15God said to Abram, “I want you to know for sure what will happen after you get really old. You don’t have to worry about anything. You see, you will live to be a very old man, and then, when you are dying, you will feel good inside, and your family will bury you right here, in this country. But I have to tell you something. After you die, your family will leave this country and move to another country that belongs to other people. Your family will live in that country, and later on, the other people in that country will make your family like prisoners, and your family will have to work very hard for them. Those people will do really bad things to your family for 400 years. After that, I will save your family from that hard time, and I will punish those people for doing bad things to your family. Then your family will leave that country, and they will take a lot of animals and things with them. They will be really rich.#Exodus 1:1-14; Acts 7:6 16And I will bring your family back here to this country. You see, the Amor tribe that are here in this country now, they do really bad things, and they are getting worse and worse. But I will not punish them yet. I will punish them later, after your grand-kids grow up and have grand-kids. Then I will do payback to the mob in this country for the bad things that they do. I will take their country from them, and I will give it to your family.” That’s what God told Abram.
17After the sun went down and it was dark, Abram saw a bucket full of fire, with smoke coming out of it, and he saw a burning stick with it. That bucket and stick moved along between the halves of those animals that Abram killed. 18-21That’s how God showed Abram that he was really going to do everything that he promised. God said to him again, “I am going to give your family all this country, from the river in Egypt in the south, right up to the big river called Euphrates in the north.
These are the tribes in this country now,
– the Ken tribe,
– the Keniz tribe,
– the Kadmon tribe,
– the Heth tribe,
– the Periz tribe,
– the Refa tribe,
– the Amor tribe,
– the Canaan tribe,
– the Girgash tribe,
– the Jebus tribe.
I will take this country away from all those tribes, and I will give it to your family.” God promised that to Abram.#Acts 7:5
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