1After all this had happened, God spoke to Abram in a vision, telling him, “Don't be afraid, Abram! I am your protector, and your truly great reward!”
2But Abram replied, “Lord God, what good is whatever you give me? I don't have any children, and the heir to all that I have is Eliezer of Damascus.”#15:2. It was the practice of the time for childless couples to appoint their most trusted servant as their heir. 3Abram went on to complain, “Look! You haven't given me any children, so a servant from my household has to be my heir!”
4But then the Lord told him, “This man won't be your heir. Your heir will be your very own son.”
5The Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up at the sky. See if you can count the stars! That's how many descendants you will have!”
6Abram trusted what the Lord said, and so the Lord counted Abram as being in a right relationship with him.
7The Lord also told him, “I am the Lord, who led you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land for you to own.”
8“But Lord God, how can I be certain that I will own it?” Abram asked.
9The Lord told him, “Bring me a cow, a goat, and a ram, all of them three years old, together with a dove and a young pigeon.” 10So Abram took and killed the three animals. Then he cut them in half, and placed each half opposite the other. However, he didn't cut the birds in half. 11When vultures flew down on the carcasses, Abram frightened them off.
12As the sun went down, a deep sleep came over Abram, and at the same time a dense and terrifying darkness fell on him. 13The Lord explained to Abram, “You can be absolutely sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be slaves and mistreated for 400 years. 14However, I will punish the nation that makes them slaves, and later on they will leave, taking many valuable possessions with them. 15But as for you, you will die in peace and be buried, having lived a good long life. 16Four generations later your descendants will come back here to live, because right now the sins of the Amorites have not reached their full extent.”
17After the sun set and it grew dark, suddenly a smoking furnace and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the halves of the animal carcasses. 18This is how the Lord made an agreement with Abram that day and promised him, “I'm giving this land to your descendants. It extends from the Wadi of Egypt#15:18. “Wadi of Egypt”: Not the Nile, but what is known as the Wadi Arish today. See Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4, Joshua 15:47. to the great Euphrates River, 19and includes the territory of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”