This is what God said to him: ‘Your ·descendants [L seed] will be ·strangers [foreigners; resident aliens] in a ·land they don’t own [foreign land; land belonging to others; C Egypt]. The people there will make them slaves and will ·mistreat [oppress] them for four hundred years.
That was how he came to leave the land of the Chaldeans and settle in Haran. And it was from there after his father’s death that God moved him into this very land where you are living today. Yet God gave him no part of it as an inheritance, not a foot that he could call his own, and yet promised that it should eventually belong to him and his descendants—even though at the time he had no descendant at all. And this is the way in which God spoke to him: he told him that his descendants should live as strangers in a foreign land where they would become slaves and be ill-treated for four hundred years, ‘And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,’ said God: ‘and after that they shall come out and serve me in this place.’ “Further, he gave him the agreement of circumcision, so that when Abraham became the father of Isaac he circumcised him on the eighth day. “Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of the twelve patriarchs. Then the patriarchs in their jealousy of Joseph sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and saved him from all his troubles and gave him favour and wisdom in the eyes of Pharaoh the king of Egypt. Pharaoh made him governor of Egypt and put him in charge of his own entire household.
“So he left the country of the Chaldees and moved to Haran. After the death of his father, he immigrated to this country where you now live, but God gave him nothing, not so much as a foothold. He did promise to give the country to him and his son later on, even though Abraham had no son at the time. God let him know that his offspring would move to an alien country where they would be enslaved and brutalized for four hundred years. ‘But,’ God said, ‘I will step in and take care of those slaveholders and bring my people out so they can worship me in this place.’
"And Hashem spoke thus, that GER YIHIYEH ZAR’ACHA ("your seed will be strangers (aliens)") in another’s [i.e., foreign] land and them they will enslave and they will mistreat them ARBA ME’OT SHANAH ("four hundred years"). [Gn 15:13f; Ex 1:8 11; 12:40]
God said that Abraham’s descendants would first live in a foreign country as resident aliens, as refugees, for 400 years. During this time, they would be enslaved and treated horribly. But that would not be the end of the story.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV MacArthur Study Bible - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.