New International Version

Genesis 15

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,[a]
    your very great reward.[b]

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then 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.” He 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 offspring[d] be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

He 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.”

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

So 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.”

10 Abram 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. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then 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. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[e] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 15:1 Or sovereign
  2. Genesis 15:1 Or shield; / your reward will be very great
  3. Genesis 15:2 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  4. Genesis 15:5 Or seed
  5. Genesis 15:18 Or river

New International Reader's Version

Genesis 15

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.”

But 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.” Abram continued, “You haven’t given me any children. So this servant of mine will get everything I own.”

Then 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.” The 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.”

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

He 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.”

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

So 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.”

10 Abram 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. 11 Then large birds came down to eat the dead bodies of the animals and birds. But Abram chased the large birds away.

12 As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep. A thick and scary darkness covered him. 13 Then 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. 14 But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves. After that, they will leave with many possessions. 15 But 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. 16 Your 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.”

17 The 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. 18 On 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. 19 It includes the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites and Rephaites. 21 The Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites also live there.”