The LORD’s Fourth Promise to Abram
1Later the Lord spoke his word to Abram in a vision. He said,
“Abram, don’t be afraid.
I am your shield.
Your reward will be very great.” #15:1 Or “I am your shield, your very great reward.”
2Abram asked, “Almighty Lord, what will you give me? Since I’m going to die without children, Eliezer of Damascus will inherit my household. 3You have given me no children, so this member of my household will be my heir.”
4Suddenly, the Lord spoke his word to Abram again. He said, “This man will not be your heir. Your own son will be your heir.” 5He took Abram outside and said, “Now look up at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He also said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 6Then Abram believed the Lord, and that faith was regarded as the basis of Abram’s approval by the Lord. 7Then the Lord said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land so that you will take possession of it.”
8Abram asked, “Almighty Lord, how can I be certain that I will take possession of it?”
9He answered Abram, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a mourning dove, and a pigeon.” 10So Abram brought all these animals to him. He cut each of them in half and laid each half opposite the other. However, he did not cut the birds in half.
11When birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12As the sun was just about to set, a deep sleep—a dreadful, deep darkness—came over Abram.
13God said to Abram, “You can know for sure that your descendants will live in a land that is not their own, where they will be slaves, and they will be oppressed for 400 years. 14But I will punish the nation they serve, and after that they will come out with many possessions. 15But you will die in peace and be buried at a very old age. 16In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, because the sin of the Amorites will not have run its course until then.”
17The sun had gone down, and it was dark. Suddenly a smoking oven and a flaming torch passed between the animal pieces. 18At that time the Lord made a promise #15:18 Or “covenant.” to Abram. He said, “I will give this land to your descendants. This is the land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates. 19It is the 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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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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