Genesis 15: Promises of Offspring and Land

Telescope-006Hebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Abram is promised offspring as well as the land. As a sign of the covenant, Yahweh sends fire between the animal parts laid out by Abram.

II. Photo

Yahweh shows Abram the night sky: “He brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.'” (v. 5)

III. Select Verses

3-5: And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the LORD came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

13-14, 16:  Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your ancestors in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

17: When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.

18: On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,

IV. Outline

1-6. Promise of offspring

    1a. Yahweh reveals himself to Abram in a vision

    1b. Yahweh is Abram's shield

    2-3. Abram's complaint: the lack of an heir

    4-5. Yahweh promises Abram offspring as numerous as the stars

    6. Abraham believes Yahweh

7-21. Yahweh's sign that Abram will inherit the land

    7. Yahweh promises the land

    8. Abram asks for a sign

    9. Yahweh asks for a cow, a goat, a ram, a tutledove, and a pigeon

    10. Abram cuts the animals in half, save for the birds

    11. Abram drives away the birds of prey

    12. Abram falls asleep

    13-14. Abram's children will be foreign slaves for 400 years before leaving with wealth

    15. Abram will die peacefully in old age

    16. His descendants will return after four generations

    17. Flames passed between the animal parts at night

    18-21. Summary statement: Abram will inherit the land from Egypt to the Euphrates


V. Comment

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VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

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