The Cutting of the Covenant
15:1 After these things the word of the Lord> came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield1 and the one who will reward you in great abundance.”2
15:2 But Abram said, “O sovereign Lord>,3 what will you give me since4 I continue to be5 childless, and my heir6 is7 Eliezer of Damascus?”8
15:3 Abram added,9 “Since10 you have not given me a descendant, then look, one born in my house will be my heir!”11
15:4 But look,12 the word of the Lord> came to him: “This man13 will not be your heir,14 but instead15 a son16 who comes from your own body will be17 your heir.”18
15:5 The Lord>19 took him outside and said, “Gaze into the sky and count the stars – if you are able to count them!” Then he said to him, “So will your descendants be.”
15:6 Abram believed20 the Lord>, and the Lord>21 considered his response of faith22 as proof of genuine loyalty.23
15:7 The Lord> said24 to him, “I am the Lord>25 who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans26 to give you this land to possess.”
15:8 But27 Abram28 said, “O sovereign Lord>,29 by what30 can I know that I am to possess it?”
15:9 The Lord>31 said to him, “Take for me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
15:10 So Abram32 took all these for him and then cut them in two33 and placed each half opposite the other,34 but he did not cut the birds in half.
15:11 When birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
15:12 When the sun went down, Abram fell sound asleep,35 and great terror overwhelmed him.36
15:13 Then the Lord> said to Abram, “Know for certain37 that your descendants will be strangers38 in a foreign country.39 They will be enslaved and oppressed40 for four hundred years.
15:14 But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve.41 Afterward they will come out with many possessions.
15:15 But as for you,42 you will go to your ancestors43 in peace and be buried at a good old age.44
15:16 In the fourth generation45 your descendants46 will return here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit.”47
15:17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking firepot with a flaming torch48 passed between the animal parts.49
15:18 That day the Lord> made a covenant50 with Abram: “To your descendants I give51 this land, from the river of Egypt52 to the great river, the Euphrates River –
15:19 the land53 of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
15:20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,
15:21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”54