Old Testament

Genesis 15
The Promise of an Heir
151After these events the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. He said, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
2Abram said, “Lord God[] what can you give me, since I remain childless, and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3Abram also said, “Look, you have given me no offspring, so a servant born in my house will be my heir.”
4Just then, the word of the Lord came to him. God said, “This man will not be your heir, but instead one who will come out of your own body will be your heir.” 5The Lord then brought him outside and said, “Now look toward the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He said to Abram, “This is what your descendants will be like.” 6Abram believed in[] the Lord, and the Lord credited it to him as righteousness. 7He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession.”
8He said, “Lord God, how will I know that I will possess it?”
9The Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10Abram gathered all of these, divided them in half, and laid the two halves across from each other, but he did not divide the birds in two. 11Birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. Then terrifying, deep darkness fell on him. 13The Lord said to Abram, “Know this! Your descendants will live as aliens in a land that is not theirs, and they will serve its people, who will afflict them for four hundred years. 14But I will surely judge the nation that they will serve. Afterward your descendants will come out with great wealth, 15but you will go to your fathers in peace. You will be buried at a good old age. 16In the fourth generation your descendants will come here again, because the guilt of the Amorites is not yet full.” 17Then when the sun had gone down and it was dark, suddenly a smoking oven and a flaming torch passed between the pieces. 18On that day the Lord made[] a covenant with Abram. He said, “To your descendants I have given this land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates. 19I will give you the territory of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaites, 21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”


  • 15:2 The translation follows the tradition of reading the Hebrew combination Adonai Yahweh (Lord Yahweh) as Lord God.
  • 15:6 Or trusted in or believed
  • 15:18 The Hebrew expression for make a covenant is literally cut a covenant. Perhaps this is a reflection of the cutting of the animals.