The Lord’s covenant with Abram
1After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
‘Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,#15:1 Or sovereign
your very great reward.#15:1 Or shield; / your reward will be very great’
2But Abram said, ‘Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit#15:2 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain. my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?’ 3And Abram said, ‘You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.’
4Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.’ 5He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring#15:5 Or seed be.’
6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
7He also said to him, ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.’
8But Abram said, ‘Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I shall gain possession of it?’
9So the Lord said to him, ‘Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.’
10Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and ill-treated there. 14But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions. 15You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.’
17When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi#15:18 Or river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates – 19the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’