15 Later the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision, “Abram, don’t be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly.”
2 But 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.[a]3 You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything.”
4 The Lord replied, “No, he won’t! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his.” 5 Then 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.” 6 Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord was pleased with him.
The Lord Makes Another Promise to Abram
7 The Lord said to Abram, “I brought you here from Ur in Chaldea, and I gave you this land.”
8 Abram asked, “Lord God, how can I know the land will be mine?”
9 Then 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.”
10 Abram obeyed the Lord. Then he cut[b] 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. 11 And when birds came down to eat the animals, Abram chased them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and everything became dark and frightening. 13-15 Then the Lord said:
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.
16 Four generations later,[c] your descendants will return here and take this land, because only then will the people who live here[d] be so sinful that they deserve to be punished.
17 Sometime after sunset, when it was very dark, a smoking cooking pot[e] and a flaming fire went between the two halves of each animal. 18 At that time the Lord made an agreement with Abram and told him:
I will give your descendants the land east of the Shihor River[f] on the border of Egypt as far as the Euphrates River.
15.2And. . . own: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
15.10cut: In Hebrew “cut” sounds something like “agreement.” What follows shows that the Lord is making an agreement with Abram.
15.16Four generations later: This may refer to the “four hundred years” of verses 13-15.
15.16people who live here: The Hebrew text has “Amorites,” a name sometimes used of the people who lived in Palestine before the Israelites.
15.17smoking cooking pot: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. The smoke and fire represent the presence of the Lord.
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