The LORD God’s covenant with Abram.
VERSE 1. After these things the LORD’s word came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
VERSE 2. Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will you give me, since I go childless, and he who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”
Lord. The Hebrew word is “Adonai.”
Eliezer of Damascus. This was Abram’s servant.
VERSE 3. Abram said, “Behold, you have given no children to me: and, behold, one born in my house is my heir.”
VERSE 4. Behold, the LORD’s word came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir, but he who will come out of your own body will be your heir.”
VERSE 5. The LORD brought him outside, and said, “Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He said to Abram, “So your offspring will be.”
So your offspring will be. The LORD God promised Abram a great lineage that would extend to the ends of the world.
It began with Abram and Sarai. Then it extended to their child. Over the course of generations, it had expanded to all corners of the world.
righteousness. Abram wasn’t “saved” by good works or by keeping the Old Testament Law, but by faith.
Abram’s righteousness was based on trusting the words of God. For his saving faith, Abram is often referred to as our father in faith:
Genesis 15:6. He believed in the LORD, who credited it to him for righteousness.
Romans 4:16. For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may be sure to all the offspring, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.
Galatians 3:6. Even as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.”
Hebrews 11:8. By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went.
VERSE 7. He said to Abram, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur-Kasdim, to give you this land to inherit it.”
how will I know. To understand the LORD God’s promise more fully, Abram needed to ask some questions.
His questions are not a rejection, but rather a request for more information.
VERSE 9. He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
VERSE 10. He brought him all these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each half opposite the other; but he didn’t divide the birds.
divided them in the middle. It was Abram who cut the animals in half.
VERSE 11. The birds of prey came down on the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.
VERSE 12. When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. Now terror and great darkness fell on him.
a deep sleep fell on Abram. It was a thick and dreadful darkness. It put Abram in a mystical state.
Something like this happens when we enter into contemplative prayer.
VERSE 13. He said to Abram, “Know for sure that your offspring will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years.
VERSE 14. I will also judge that nation, whom they will serve. Afterward they will come out with great wealth;
they will come out with great wealth. When the Hebrew people fled Egypt, the Egyptians freely gave them great wealth.
VERSE 15. but you will go to your fathers in peace. You will be buried at a good old age.
VERSE 16. In the fourth generation they will come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full.”
VERSE 17. It came to pass that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch. The LORD God enacted a contract with Abram. It was done in the way that contracts were enacted in those days.
In those days, to enact a major contract, the parties would cut animals in half, and walk between the halves of the animals.
Jeremiah describes this covenant ceremony:
Jeremiah 34:18. I will give the men who have transgressed my covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts:
The smoking furnace and a flaming torch might presage the pillar of smoke and pillar of fire that led the Hebrews in their journey across the desert. It was a visible manifestation of the presence of God.
VERSE 18. In that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “I have given this land to your offspring, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:
the LORD made a covenant with Abram. That is, כָּרַת (“cut”) a covenant, referring to cutting the animals in half.
In our day, we have a similar expression. When accountants write a check, they say they “cut” a check.
However, our expression probably stems from the early days of checks, when one needed to use a knife to “cut” a check out of a tablet of checks.
VERSE 19. the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,
VERSE 20. the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,
VERSE 21. the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.