passed between these pieces. As other ancient Near Eastern texts and Jer. 34:18 indicate, by passing between the torn animals (signifying the punishment due those who break the covenant) God invokes a self-maledictory oath or curse upon Himself should He fail to keep His covenant. Because He can swear by no higher authority, God swears by Himself to keep the covenantal terms. See 22:16, 17; Heb. 6:13 note.