Genesis 15-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
The Abrahamic Covenant
15 After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
Do not be afraid, Abram.
2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what can You give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”[a] 3 Abram continued, “Look, You have given me no offspring, so a slave born in[b] my house will be my heir.”
4 Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body[c] will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.”
6 Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.
7 He also said to him, “I am Yahweh who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”
8 But he said, “Lord God, how can I know that I will possess it?”
9 He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
10 So he brought all these to Him, split them down the middle, and laid the pieces opposite each other, but he did not cut up the birds. 11 Birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. 12 As the sun was setting, a deep sleep fell on Abram, and suddenly great terror and darkness descended on him.
13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be foreigners in a land that does not belong to them; they will be enslaved and oppressed[d] 400 years. 14 However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions. 15 But you will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a ripe old age. 16 In the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”[e]
17 When the sun had set and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the divided animals. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “I give this land to your offspring, from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River:[f] 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaim, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”
Hagar and Ishmael
16 Abram’s wife Sarai had not borne any children for him, but she owned an Egyptian slave named Hagar. 2 Sarai said to Abram, “Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.” And Abram agreed to what Sarai said.[g] 3 So Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife for him. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan 10 years. 4 He slept with[h] Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she realized that she was pregnant, she treated her mistress with contempt. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for my suffering![i] I put my slave in your arms,[j] and ever since she saw that she was pregnant, she has treated me with contempt. May the Lord judge between me and you.”
6 Abram replied to Sarai, “Here, your slave is in your hands; do whatever you want with her.” Then Sarai mistreated her so much that she ran away from her.
7 The Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 He said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”
She replied, “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai.”
9 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “You must go back to your mistress and submit to her mistreatment.”[k] 10 The Angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.”
11 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her:
You have conceived and will have a son.
13 So she called the Lord who spoke to her: The God Who Sees,[n] for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the One who sees me?”[o] 14 That is why she named the spring, “A Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.”[p] It is located between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son Hagar had. 16 Abram was 86 years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.
17 When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be blameless. 2 I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.”
3 Then Abram fell facedown and God spoke with him: 4 “As for Me, My covenant is with you: you will become the father of many nations.[q] 5 Your name will no longer be Abram,[r] but your name will be Abraham,[s] for I will make you the father of many nations. 6 I will make you extremely fruitful and will make nations and kings come from you. 7 I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your future offspring throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you. 8 And to you and your future offspring I will give the land where you are residing—all the land of Canaan—as an eternal possession, and I will be their God.”
9 God also said to Abraham, “As for you, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations are to keep My covenant. 10 This is My covenant, which you are to keep, between Me and you and your offspring after you: Every one of your males must be circumcised. 11 You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskin to serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and you.[t] 12 Throughout your generations, every male among you at eight days old is to be circumcised. This includes a slave born in your house and one purchased with money from any foreigner. The one who is not your offspring, 13 a slave born in your house, as well as one purchased with money, must be circumcised. My covenant will be marked in your flesh as an everlasting covenant. 14 If any male is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that man will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
15 God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai, for Sarah[u] will be her name. 16 I will bless her; indeed, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will produce nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
17 Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?” 18 So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael were acceptable to You!”[v]
19 But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac.[w] I will confirm My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his future offspring. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will certainly bless him; I will make him fruitful and will multiply him greatly. He will father 12 tribal leaders, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will confirm My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.” 22 When He finished talking with him, God withdrew[x] from Abraham.
23 Then Abraham took his son Ishmael and all the slaves born in his house or purchased with his money—every male among the members of Abraham’s household—and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskin on that very day, just as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was 99 years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was 13 years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised. 26 On that same day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his household—both slaves born in his house and those purchased with money from a foreigner—were circumcised with him.
Abraham’s Three Visitors
18 Then the Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting in the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day. 2 He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed to the ground. 3 Then he said, “My lord,[y] if I have found favor in your sight, please do not go on past your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves.[z] This is why you have passed your servant’s way. Later, you can continue on.”
“Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.”
6 So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Knead three measures[aa] of fine flour and make bread.”[ab] 7 Meanwhile, Abraham ran to the herd and got a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man, who hurried to prepare it. 8 Then Abraham took curds[ac] and milk, and the calf that he had prepared, and set them before the men. He served[ad] them as they ate under the tree.
9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he answered.
10 The Lord said, “I will certainly come back to you in about a year’s time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.
11 Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years.[ae] Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.[af] 12 So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?”
13 But the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”
15 Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid.
But He replied, “No, you did laugh.”
Abraham’s Plea for Sodom
16 The men got up from there and looked out over Sodom, and Abraham was walking with them to see them off. 17 Then the Lord said, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? 18 Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen[ag] him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. This is how the Lord will fulfill to Abraham what He promised him.” 20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. 21 I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to Me. If not, I will find out.”
22 The men turned from there and went toward Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[ah] 23 Abraham stepped forward and said, “Will You really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are 50 righteous people in the city? Will You really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the 50 righteous people who are in it? 25 You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won’t the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”
26 The Lord said, “If I find 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham answered, “Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord—even though I am dust and ashes— 28 suppose the 50 righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”
He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find 45 there.”
29 Then he spoke to Him again, “Suppose 40 are found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it on account of 40.”
30 Then he said, “Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak further. Suppose 30 are found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find 30 there.”
31 Then he said, “Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord, suppose 20 are found there?”
He replied, “I will not destroy it on account of 20.”
32 Then he said, “Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. Suppose 10 are found there?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it on account of 10.” 33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, He departed, and Abraham returned to his place.
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
19 The two angels entered Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting at Sodom’s gate. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them. He bowed with his face to the ground 2 and said, “My lords, turn aside to your servant’s house, wash your feet, and spend the night. Then you can get up early and go on your way.”
“No,” they said. “We would rather spend the night in the square.” 3 But he urged them so strongly that they followed him and went into his house. He prepared a feast and baked unleavened bread for them, and they ate.
4 Before they went to bed, the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old, the whole population, surrounded the house. 5 They called out to Lot and said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so we can have sex with them!”
6 Lot went out to them at the entrance and shut the door behind him. 7 He said, “Don’t do this evil, my brothers. 8 Look, I’ve got two daughters who haven’t had sexual relations with a man. I’ll bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want[ai] to them. However, don’t do anything to these men, because they have come under the protection of my roof.”
9 “Get out of the way!” they said, adding, “This one came here as a foreigner, but he’s acting like a judge! Now we’ll do more harm to you than to them.” They put pressure on Lot and came up to break down the door. 10 But the angels[aj] reached out, brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 They struck the men who were at the entrance of the house, both young and old, with a blinding light so that they were unable to find the entrance.
12 Then the angels[ak] said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here: a son-in-law, your sons and daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of this place, 13 for we are about to destroy this place because the outcry against its people is so great before the Lord, that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were going to marry[al] his daughters. “Get up,” he said. “Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 At daybreak the angels urged Lot on: “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment[am] of the city.” 16 But he hesitated. Because of the Lord’s compassion for him, the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters. Then they brought him out and left him outside the city.
17 As soon as the angels got them outside, one of them[an] said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop anywhere on the plain! Run to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”
18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords[ao]—please. 19 Your servant has indeed found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness by saving my life. But I can’t run to the mountains; the disaster will overtake me, and I will die. 20 Look, this town is close enough for me to run to. It is a small place. Please let me go there—it’s only a small place, isn’t it?—so that I can survive.”
21 And he said to him, “All right,[ap] I’ll grant your request[aq] about this matter too and will not demolish the town you mentioned. 22 Hurry up! Run there, for I cannot do anything until you get there.” Therefore the name of the city is Zoar.[ar]
23 The sun had risen over the land when Lot reached Zoar. 24 Then out of the sky the Lord rained burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord. 25 He demolished these cities, the entire plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and whatever grew on the ground. 26 But his wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.
27 Early in the morning Abraham went to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of the plain, and he saw that smoke was going up from the land like the smoke of a furnace. 29 So it was, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, He remembered Abraham and brought Lot out of the middle of the upheaval when He demolished the cities where Lot had lived.
The Origin of Moab and Ammon
30 Lot departed from Zoar and lived in the mountains along with his two daughters, because he was afraid to live in Zoar. Instead, he and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 Then the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man in the land to sleep with us as is the custom of all the land. 32 Come, let’s get our father to drink wine so that we can sleep with him and preserve our father’s line.” 33 So they got their father to drink wine that night, and the firstborn came and slept with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she got up.
34 The next day the firstborn said to the younger, “Look, I slept with my father last night. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight so you can go sleep with him and we can preserve our father’s line.” 35 That night they again got their father to drink wine, and the younger went and slept with him; he did not know when she lay down or when she got up.
36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn gave birth to a son and named him Moab.[as] He is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger also gave birth to a son, and she named him Ben-ammi.[at] He is the father of the Ammonites of today.
Sarah Rescued from Abimelech
20 From there Abraham traveled to the region of the Negev and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he lived in Gerar, 2 Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar had Sarah brought to him.
3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, for she is a married woman.”[au]
4 Now Abimelech had not approached her, so he said, “Lord, would You destroy a nation even though it is innocent? 5 Didn’t he himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ I did this with a clear conscience[av] and clean[aw] hands.”
6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you did this with a clear conscience.[ax] I have also kept you from sinning against Me. Therefore I have not let you touch her. 7 Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, know that you will certainly die, you and all who are yours.”
8 Early in the morning Abimelech got up, called all his servants together, and personally[ay] told them all these things, and the men were terrified.
9 Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said to him, “What have you done to us? How did I sin against you that you have brought such enormous guilt on me and on my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” 10 Abimelech also said to Abraham, “What did you intend when you did this thing?”
11 Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘There is absolutely no fear of God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 So when God had me wander from my father’s house, I said to her: Show your loyalty to me wherever we go and say about me: ‘He’s my brother.’”
14 Then Abimelech took sheep and cattle and male and female slaves, gave them to Abraham, and returned his wife Sarah to him. 15 Abimelech said, “Look, my land is before you. Settle wherever you want.”[az] 16 And he said to Sarah, “Look, I am giving your brother 1,000 pieces of silver. It is a verification of your honor[ba] to all who are with you. You are fully vindicated.”
17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female slaves so that they could bear children, 18 for the Lord had completely closed all the wombs in Abimelech’s household on account of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
The Birth of Isaac
21 The Lord came to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him. 3 Abraham named his son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him. 5 Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6 Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me.”[bb] 7 She also said, “Who would have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne a son for him[bc] in his old age.”
Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away
8 The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham held a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son mocking[bd]—the one Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Drive out this slave with her son, for the son of this slave will not be a coheir with my son Isaac!”
11 Now this was a very difficult thing for[be] Abraham because of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be concerned[bf] about the boy and your slave. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her, because your offspring will be traced through Isaac. 13 But I will also make a nation of the slave’s son because he is your offspring.”
14 Early in the morning Abraham got up, took bread and a waterskin, put them on Hagar’s shoulders, and sent her and the boy away.[bg] She left and wandered in the Wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she left the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she said, “I can’t bear to watch the boy die!” So as she sat nearby, she[bh] wept loudly.
17 God heard the voice of the boy, and the[bi] angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy from the place where he is. 18 Get up, help the boy up, and support him, for I will make him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the waterskin and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy, and he grew; he settled in the wilderness and became an archer. 21 He settled in the Wilderness of Paran, and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
Abraham’s Covenant with Abimelech
22 At that time Abimelech, accompanied by Phicol the commander of his army, said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 Swear to me by God here and now, that you will not break an agreement with me or with my children and descendants. As I have been loyal to you, so you will be loyal to me and to the country where you are a foreign resident.”
24 And Abraham said, “I swear it.” 25 But Abraham complained to Abimelech because of the water well that Abimelech’s servants had seized.
26 Abimelech replied, “I don’t know who did this thing. You didn’t report anything to me, so I hadn’t heard about it until today.”
27 Abraham took sheep and cattle[bj] and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a covenant. 28 Abraham separated seven ewe lambs from the flock. 29 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “Why have you separated these seven ewe lambs?”
30 He replied, “You are to accept the seven ewe lambs from my hand so that this act[bk] will serve as my witness that I dug this well.” 31 Therefore that place was called Beer-sheba[bl] because it was there that the two of them swore an oath. 32 After they had made a covenant at Beer-sheba, Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, left and returned to the land of the Philistines.
33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and there he called on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God. 34 And Abraham lived as a foreigner in the land of the Philistines for many days.