The LORD's covenant with Abram
1 After this, Abram had a dream. The LORD spoke to Abram in this dream. God said, ‘Do not be afraid Abram. I will keep you safe. And I will give you many good things.’
2 But Abram said, ‘LORD, I have no children. I want you to give me a son. You have not given me a son. So Eliezer of Damascus will inherit everything that I have.’
15:2Inherit means to have someone's things when they die.
15:2Eliezer of Damascus was Abram's servant. Abram did not have any children. When Abram died, there was no son to continue the family.
15:2In the Old Testament, the oldest servant could have his master's things when his master died.
3 Abram said ‘You have not given me any children. So a servant in my house will inherit everything that I have.’ 4 Then the LORD said to him, ‘Eliezer will not inherit everything that you have. You will have your own son. He will inherit everything that you have.’ 5 Then God took Abram outside. God said, ‘Look up at the heavens. Count the stars. You cannot count them because there are too many.’ Then God said, ‘This is how many descendants you will have.’ 6 Abram believed the LORD. And God said that Abram was righteous. God said this because Abram believed.
7 God also said to Abram, ‘I am the LORD. I brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans. I did this to give you this land. It will be yours to take.’ 8 But Abram said, ‘My LORD, how will I know that I can take this land?’ 9 God said to Abram, ‘Bring me a young cow, a goat and a male sheep. Each animal must be 3 years old. Also bring a dove and a young pigeon.’
15:9A dove is a bird. A pigeon is a bird.
10 Abram brought all the animals and birds to God. Abram cut each one in half. He put the halves opposite each other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 Some other birds came. These birds liked to eat dead animals. But Abram sent them away.
12 The sun went down. Abram fell asleep. It was very dark. He felt afraid. 13 Then the LORD said to Abram, ‘Be sure of this. Your descendants will live in a country which is not their own. They will be strangers there. They will be slaves. People will do bad things to them. This will go on for 400 years. 14 But I will judge the people who made them slaves. After this, your descendants will leave that land. They will take many valuable things. 15 And yet, you will have a long life. You will have a long, good and quiet life. Then you will die very happy. 16 After 4 generations, your descendants will come back here. The Amorites sin against me. But I will not do anything against them. I will not do anything until the 4th generation (of your people).’
15:16One generation is how old a man is when his son is born. Two generations is how old the son is when he has a son.
15:16The Amorites did not worship the LORD God. They worshipped other gods. They sacrificed children to these gods.
17 The sun went down. It became dark. Abram saw a smoking pot of fire. He also saw a light made of fire. Both of these passed between the halves of the animals.
15:17The fire shows that God is present.
15:17In the Old Testament, people would walk between halves of animals. They did this to show that they made a covenant (promise). God is passing between the halves of the animals. This is to show that he is making a covenant (promise) with Abram.
18 On that day, the LORD made a covenant with Abram. The LORD said, ‘I give this land to your descendants. I give them the land from the river of Egypt to the River Euphrates. 19 This is the land where these people live: Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’
15:21The land that God is giving to Abram's descendants belongs to these people. Abram's descendants will beat these people. Then they will take the land.