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The Cutting of the Covenant

15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield1 and the one who will reward you in great abundance.”2

15:2 But Abram said, “O sovereign Lord,3 what will you give me since4 I continue to be5 childless, and my heir6 is7 Eliezer of Damascus?”8 15:3 Abram added,9 “Since10 you have not given me a descendant, then look, one born in my house will be my heir!”11

15:4 But look,12 the word of the Lord came to him: “This man13 will not be your heir,14 but instead15 a son16 who comes from your own body will be17 your heir.”18 15:5 The Lord19 took him outside and said, “Gaze into the sky and count the stars—if you are able to count them!” Then he said to him, “So will your descendants be.”

15:6 Abram believed20 the Lord, and the Lord21 considered his response of faith22 as proof of genuine loyalty.23

15:7 The Lord said24 to him, “I am the Lord25 who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans26 to give you this land to possess.” 15:8 But27 Abram28 said, “O sovereign Lord,29 by what30 can I know that I am to possess it?”

15:9 The Lord31 said to him, “Take for me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” 15:10 So Abram32 took all these for him and then cut them in two33 and placed each half opposite the other,34 but he did not cut the birds in half. 15:11 When birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

15:12 When the sun went down, Abram fell sound asleep,35 and great terror overwhelmed him.36 15:13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain37 that your descendants will be strangers38 in a foreign country.39 They will be enslaved and oppressed40 for four hundred years. 15:14 But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve.41 Afterward they will come out with many possessions. 15:15 But as for you,42 you will go to your ancestors43 in peace and be buried at a good old age.44 15:16 In the fourth generation45 your descendants46 will return here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit.”47

15:17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking firepot with a flaming torch48 passed between the animal parts.49 15:18 That day the Lord made a covenant50 with Abram: “To your descendants I give51 this land, from the river of Egypt52 to the great river, the Euphrates River—15:19 the land53 of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 15:20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 15:21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”54


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