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God’s covenant with Abram

15 After these events, the Lord’s word came to Abram in a vision, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your protector.[a] Your reward will be very great.”

But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you possibly give me, since I still have no children? The head of my household is Eliezer, a man from Damascus.”[b] He continued, “Since you haven’t given me any children, the head of my household will be my heir.”

The Lord’s word came immediately to him, “This man will not be your heir. Your heir will definitely be your very own biological child.” Then he brought Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you think you can count them.” He continued, “This is how many children you will have.” Abram trusted the Lord, and the Lord recognized Abram’s high moral character.

He said to Abram, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.”

But Abram said, “Lord God, how do I know that I will actually possess it?”

He said, “Bring me a three-year-old female calf, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.” 10 He took all of these animals, split them in half, and laid the halves facing each other, but he didn’t split the birds. 11 When vultures swooped down on the carcasses, Abram waved them off. 12 After the sun set, Abram slept deeply. A terrifying and deep darkness settled over him.

13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Have no doubt that your descendants will live as immigrants in a land that isn’t their own, where they will be oppressed slaves for four hundred years. 14 But after I punish the nation they serve, they will leave it with great wealth. 15 As for you, you will join your ancestors in peace and be buried after a good long life. 16 The fourth generation will return here since the Amorites’ wrongdoing won’t have reached its peak until then.”

17 After the sun had set and darkness had deepened, a smoking vessel with a fiery flame passed between the split-open animals. 18 That day the Lord cut a covenant with Abram: “To your descendants I give this land, from Egypt’s river to the great Euphrates, 19 together with the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 15:1 Or shield or benefactor
  2. Genesis 15:2 Heb uncertain

The Lord’s Covenant With Abram

15 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram(A) in a vision:(B)

“Do not be afraid,(C) Abram.
    I am your shield,[a](D)
    your very great reward.[b](E)

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord,(F) what can you give me since I remain childless(G) and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?(H) And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant(I) in my household(J) will be my heir.”

Then 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.(K) He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars(L)—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”(M)

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.(N)

He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out(O) of Ur of the Chaldeans(P) to give you this land to take possession of it.”(Q)

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord,(R) how can I know(S) that I will gain possession of it?”(T)

So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer,(U) a goat and a ram, each three years old,(V) along with a dove and a young pigeon.(W)

10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other;(X) the birds, however, he did not cut in half.(Y) 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses,(Z) but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep,(AA) and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years(AB) your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved(AC) and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out(AD) with great possessions.(AE) 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors(AF) in peace and be buried at a good old age.(AG) 16 In the fourth generation(AH) your descendants will come back here,(AI) for the sin of the Amorites(AJ) has not yet reached its full measure.”

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch(AK) appeared and passed between the pieces.(AL) 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram(AM) and said, “To your descendants I give this land,(AN) from the Wadi[e] of Egypt(AO) to the great river, the Euphrates(AP) 19 the land of the Kenites,(AQ) Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites,(AR) Perizzites,(AS) Rephaites,(AT) 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”(AU)

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 15:1 Or sovereign
  2. Genesis 15:1 Or shield; / your reward will be very great
  3. Genesis 15:2 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  4. Genesis 15:5 Or seed
  5. Genesis 15:18 Or river

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