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Genesis 15

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Chapter 15
The Lord's covenant with Abram
1After this, the Lord spoke to Abram in a dream. God said, ‘Do not be afraid Abram. I will keep you safe. I myself will give you many good gifts.’
2But Abram said, ‘Lord God, there is one gift that I want. I still have no children. When I die, Eliezer of Damascus will receive everything that I have. 3Because you have not given me any children, understand this: Everything that I have will one day belong to a servant in my house.’ #15:3 Eliezer of Damascus was Abram's servant. Abram did not have any children. When Abram died, there was no son to continue the family.
4The Lord gave Abram this message: ‘No! Eliezer will not be the one who receives your things. You will have your own son. He will be the one who receives everything that you have.’
5The Lord took Abram outside. He said to Abram, ‘Look up at the sky. Count the stars. They are too many for you to count!’ Then God said, ‘That is how many descendants you will have.’
6Abram believed the Lord. As a result, the Lord accepted Abram as right with him.
7The Lord also said to Abram, ‘I am the Lord. I brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to bring you to this land. I am giving it to you. It will belong to you.’ 8But Abram said, ‘My Lord God, how can I be sure that this land will belong to me?’
9The Lord said to Abram, ‘Bring a young cow, a goat and a male sheep to offer them to me. Each animal must be 3 years old. Also bring a dove and a young pigeon.’
10Abram brought the 3 animals and the 2 birds to offer to God. Abram cut each animal in 2 pieces. He put the halves opposite each other. But he did not cut the birds in 2 pieces. 11Some birds flew down to eat the animals' dead bodies. But Abram sent them away.
12When the sun was going down, Abram started to sleep. Suddenly he became very afraid because it was dark everywhere. 13Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘Be sure of this: Your descendants will live in a country which is not their own. They will be strangers there. People will do bad things to them and they will become slaves. This will continue for 400 years. 14But I will punish the people of that country who give them trouble. After this, your descendants will leave that country. They will take many valuable things with them. 15But as for you, Abram, you will have a long life. When you die, you will have peace in your mind. 16After 4 generations, your descendants will come back here to Canaan. At that time I will punish the Amorites because they do very bad things. But the time has not yet arrived that I will punish them.’ #15:16 The Amorites lived in Canaan. They did not worship the Lord God. They worshipped false gods. They killed children as sacrifices to these gods. God told Abram that when his descendants returned to Canaan, he would punish the Amorites at that time. Then the land of Canaan would belong to Abram's descendants.
17Then the sun went down and it became dark. Abram saw a pot that had coals in it. The coals were burning and making smoke. There was also a branch that burned with bright fire. These passed between the halves of the animals that Abram had cut in 2 pieces. #15:17 The fire shows that God is passing between the halves of the animals. This shows that he is making a covenant with Abram.
18On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abram. The Lord promised, ‘I give this land to your descendants. The land starts from the river of Egypt and continues as far as the River Euphrates. 19These people live in the land: Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’ #15:21 These are the people who live in the land of Canaan that God is giving to Abram and his descendants. Abram's descendants will come and they will win against these people. Then they will take the land for themselves to live in, because God has given it to them.
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God’s Agreement With Abram
1After all these things happened, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. God said, “Abram, don’t be afraid. I will defend you and give you a great reward.”
2But Abram said, “Lord GOD, there is nothing you can give me that will make me happy, because I have no son. My slave Eliezer from Damascus will get everything I own after I die.” 3Abram said, “You have given me no son, so a slave born in my house will get everything I have.”
4Then the Lord spoke to Abram and said, “That slave will not be the one to get what you have. You will have a son who will get everything you own.”
5Then God led Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky. See the many stars. There are so many you cannot count them. Your family will be like that.”
6Abram believed the Lord, and because of this faith the Lord accepted him as one who has done what is right. 7He said to Abram, “I am the Lord who led you from Ur of Babylonia.#15:7 Ur of Babylonia Literally, “Ur of the Chaldeans.” A city in southern Babylonia. I did this so that I could give you this land. You will own this land.”
8But Abram said, “Lord GOD, how can I be sure that I will get this land?”
9God said to Abram, “We will make an agreement. Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.”
10Abram brought all these to God. Abram killed these animals and cut each of them into two pieces. Then he laid each half across from the other half. He did not cut the birds into two pieces. 11Later, large birds flew down to eat the animals, but Abram chased them away.
12The sun began to go down and Abram got very sleepy. While he was asleep, a very terrible darkness came over him. 13Then the Lord said to Abram, “You should know this: Your descendants will live in a country that is not their own. They will be strangers there. The people there will make them slaves and be cruel to them for 400 years. 14But then I will punish the nation that made them slaves. Your people will leave that land, and they will take many good things with them.
15“You yourself will live to be very old. You will die in peace and will be buried with your family. 16After four generations your people will come to this land again and defeat the Amorites. That will happen in the future because the Amorites are not yet guilty enough to lose their land.”
17After the sun went down, it got very dark. The dead animals were still on the ground, each animal cut into two pieces. Then a smoking firepot#15:17 firepot A clay pot in which burning coals were placed to be used for starting new fires. and a flaming torch passed between the halves of the dead animals.#15:17 passed between … animals This showed that God “signed” or “sealed” the agreement he made with Abram. People showed that they were sincere in making an agreement by walking between the parts of animals that had been cut into pieces and saying something like, “May this same thing happen to me if I don’t keep the agreement.”
18So on that day the Lord made a promise and an agreement with Abram. He said, “I will give this land to your descendants. I will give them the land between the River of Egypt#15:18 River of Egypt That is, the stream called “Wadi El-Arish.” and the great river Euphrates. 19This is the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”