New International Version

Genesis 15:1-21

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 inherit15:2 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 offspring15:5 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 will 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 mistreated there. 14But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward 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 firepot 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 Wadi15:18 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.”

New International Reader's Version

Genesis 15:1-21

God Makes a Covenant With Abram

1Some time later, Abram had a vision. The Lord said to him,

“Abram, do not be afraid.

I am like a shield to you.

I am your very great reward.”

2But Abram said, “Lord and King, what can you give me? I still don’t have any children. My servant Eliezer comes from Damascus. When I die, he will get everything I own.” 3Abram continued, “You haven’t given me any children. So this servant of mine will get everything I own.”

4Then a message from the Lord came to Abram. The Lord said, “When you die, what you have will not go to this man. You will have a son of your own. He will get everything you have.” 5The Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky. Count the stars, if you can.” Then he said to him, “That’s how many children will be born into your family.”

6Abram believed the Lord. The Lord was pleased with Abram because he believed. So Abram’s faith made him right with the Lord.

7He also said to Abram, “I am the Lord. I brought you out of Ur in the land of Babylon. I will give you this land to have as your very own.”

8But Abram said, “Lord and King, how can I know I will have this land as my own?”

9So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a young cow, a goat and a ram. Each must be three years old. Bring a dove and a young pigeon along with them.”

10Abram brought all of them to the Lord. Abram cut them in two and placed the halves opposite each other. But he didn’t cut the birds in half. 11Then large birds came down to eat the dead bodies of the animals and birds. But Abram chased the large birds away.

12As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep. A thick and scary darkness covered him. 13Then the Lord said to him, “You can be sure of what I am about to tell you. For 400 years, your family who comes after you will be strangers in another country. They will become slaves there and will be treated badly. 14But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves. After that, they will leave with many possessions. 15But you will die in peace. You will join the members of your family who have already died. And you will be buried when you are very old. 16Your children’s grandchildren will come back here. That’s because the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached the point where I must punish them.”

17The sun set and it became dark. Then a burning torch and a pot filled with smoking coals appeared. They passed between the pieces of the animals that had been cut in two. 18On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram. He said, “I am giving this land to your family who comes after you. It reaches from the River of Egypt to the great Euphrates River. 19It includes the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites and Rephaites. 21The Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites also live there.”