The LORD’s Fourth Promise to Abram
1Later the Lord spoke his word to Abram in a vision. He said,
“Abram, don’t be afraid.
I am your shield.
Your reward will be very great.” #15:1 Or “I am your shield, your very great reward.”
2Abram asked, “Almighty Lord, what will you give me? Since I’m going to die without children, Eliezer of Damascus will inherit my household. 3You have given me no children, so this member of my household will be my heir.”
4Suddenly, the Lord spoke his word to Abram again. He said, “This man will not be your heir. Your own son will be your heir.” 5He took Abram outside and said, “Now look up at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He also said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 6Then Abram believed the Lord, and that faith was regarded as the basis of Abram’s approval by the Lord. 7Then the Lord said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land so that you will take possession of it.”
8Abram asked, “Almighty Lord, how can I be certain that I will take possession of it?”
9He answered Abram, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a mourning dove, and a pigeon.” 10So Abram brought all these animals to him. He cut each of them in half and laid each half opposite the other. However, he did not cut the birds in half.
11When birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12As the sun was just about to set, a deep sleep—a dreadful, deep darkness—came over Abram.
13God said to Abram, “You can know for sure that your descendants will live in a land that is not their own, where they will be slaves, and they will be oppressed for 400 years. 14But I will punish the nation they serve, and after that they will come out with many possessions. 15But you will die in peace and be buried at a very old age. 16In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, because the sin of the Amorites will not have run its course until then.”
17The sun had gone down, and it was dark. Suddenly a smoking oven and a flaming torch passed between the animal pieces. 18At that time the Lord made a promise #15:18 Or “covenant.” to Abram. He said, “I will give this land to your descendants. This is the land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates. 19It is the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”