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God’s Covenant with Abram

15 After these things happened, the Lord spoke his word to Abram in a vision: “Abram, don’t be afraid. I will ·defend [L be a shield to] you, and ·I will give you a great reward [L your reward will be great].”

But Abram said, “Lord God [C Hebrew Adonai Yahweh; combination of covenant name YHWH (2:4) with common Hebrew word for “sir,” “lord,” or “master”], what can you give me? I ·have no son [am childless], so my ·slave [servant] Eliezer from Damascus [C a major city in Syria] will ·get everything I own after I die [be my heir; C a household servant would take care of a childless couple in their old age and in turn inherit their possessions].” Abram said, “Look, you have given me no son, so a slave born in my house will ·inherit everything I have [be my heir].”

Then the Lord spoke his word to Abram: “He will not be the one to inherit what you have. You will have a son of your own who will inherit what you have.”

Then God led Abram outside and said, “Look at the ·sky [heavens]. There are so many stars you cannot count them. Your ·descendants [L seed] also will be too many to count.”

Abram ·believed [put his trust/faith in] the Lord. And the Lord ·accepted Abram’s faith, and that faith made him right with God [T counted/credited it as righteousness; Rom. 4:3, 9, 22; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23].

God said to Abram, “I am the Lord who led you out of Ur of ·Babylonia [L the Chaldeans] so that I could give you this land ·to own [L as a possession; 12:1–3].”

But Abram said, “Lord God, how can I ·be sure [L know] that I will ·own this land [possess/inherit it]?”

·The Lord [L He] said to Abram, “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ·male sheep [ram], a ·dove [turtledove], and a young pigeon.”

10 Abram brought them all to God. Then Abram ·killed the animals and cut each of them into two pieces [L split them down the middle], laying each half opposite the other half. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 Later, ·large birds [or birds of prey] flew down to eat the ·animals [L carcasses], but Abram chased them away [C perhaps representing later enemies of Israel].

12 As the sun was ·going down [setting], Abram fell into a deep sleep. While he was asleep, a very ·terrible [or frightening] darkness came. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “You can be sure that your ·descendants [L seed] will be ·strangers [sojourners; wanderers; resident aliens] in a land they don’t own. The people there will make them slaves and ·be cruel to [oppress] them for four hundred years. 14 But I will ·punish [judge] the nation ·where they are slaves [L which they serve]. Then your ·descendants [L seed] will leave that land, taking great ·wealth [possessions] with them. 15 And you, Abram, will ·die [L go to your fathers/ancestors] in peace and will be buried at an old age. 16 ·After your great-great-grandchildren are born [L After the fourth generation], ·your people [L they] will come ·to this land [L here] again. It will take that long, because ·I am not yet going to punish the Amorites for their evil behavior [T the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete; C Amorites is one name for the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Canaan].”

17 After the sun went down, it was very dark. Suddenly a smoking firepot and a blazing torch [C fire and smoke often represent God] passed between the ·halves of the dead animals [L pieces; C a self-curse ritual; by passing between the pieces of the sacrifice, one vowed to keep an agreement or suffer the same fate as the animals]. 18 So on that day the Lord ·made an agreement [L cut a covenant/treaty; 6:18] with Abram and said, “I will give to your ·descendants [L seed] the land between the river of Egypt and the great river Euphrates. 19 This is the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites [C the name of peoples who lived in pre-Israelite Canaan].”