1And after these things, in the fourth year of this week, on the new moon of the third month, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a dream, saying, Do not be afraid, Abram: I am your defender, and your reward will indeed be great. 2And he said, Lord, Lord, what will you give me, for I have no children, and the son of Maseq, my slave-girl's son, Eliezer of Damascus, will be my heir: to me you have given no children. 3And he said to him, This man shall not be your heir, but your own son 1 Lit. ‘one that shall come out of your own bowels’. shall be your heir. 4And he took him outside and said to him, Look up to heaven and count the stars of heaven, if you can count them. 5And he looked up to heaven and surveyed the stars; and he said to him, So shall your descendants be. 6And he believed in the Lord; and it was counted to him as righteousness.
7And he said to him, I am the Lord that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you the land of the Canaanites 2 Alternative reading ‘land of Canaan’. as a possession for ever, and to be 3 Alternative reading ‘and I will be’. your God and your descendants' God after you. 8And he said, Lord, Lord, how shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9And he said to him, Bring me 4 Alternative reading ‘Take’. a heifer three years old, and a goat three years old, and a sheep three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a pigeon. 10And he took all these in the middle of the month, while he was living by the oak of Mamre, near Hebron. 11And he built an altar there and sacrificed all of them; and he poured their blood on the altar and cut each of them in two, and laid the pieces 5 Lit. ‘laid them’. out opposite each other; but the birds he did not cut in two. 12And birds of prey came down on the pieces; 6 The Eth. here, and in verses 17 and 19, literally means ‘the things spread out’. Charles conjectured corruption in the underlying Gk. and suggested two possibilities, either ‘pieces’ (as in the translation above) or ‘carcases’. In this connection it is worth noting that the Heb. text of Genesis has ‘carcases’ at xv. 11. (parallel to our verse 12) and ‘cut pieces’ at xv. 17 (parallel to our verse 17): to our verse 19 it has no parallel. and Abram drove them away, and would not allow the birds to touch them.
13And it came to pass, as the sun went down, a trance came over Abram; and lo, a horror of the darkness came upon him, and a voice said 7 Lit. ‘and it was said’. to Abram, Know for certain that your descendants will be aliens in a foreign land, and they will be reduced to slavery there and oppressed for four hundred years. 14But I will punish 8 Lit. ‘judge’. the nation that enslaves them, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions. 15You shall go to your fathers in peace and be buried in a good old age. 16And in the fourth generation they shall return here; for the Amorites will not be ripe for punishment till then.
17And he woke up from his sleep and got up: the sun had set; and there was a flame, and behold, a smoking brazier, and a flame of fire passed between the pieces. 18And on that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, To your descendants will I give this land, from the river of Egypt, to the great river, the river Euphrates – the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Perizzites, and the Rephaim, the Phakorites, 9 Alternative readings ‘Phakerites’ and ‘Phekarites’. They replace here the Hittites, included at Gen. xv. 20 . and the Hivites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. 19And that day passed, 10 Most MSS ‘And he passed’. and Abram offered the pieces and the birds and their cereal-offerings and their drink-offerings, and the fire consumed them. 20And on that day we made a covenant with Abram, just as we had covenanted with Noah in this month; and Abram renewed the festival and rule for himself for ever.
21And Abram rejoiced and told his wife Sarai everything; and he believed he was to be a father, 11 Lit. ‘that he would have seed’. although as yet she had borne him no children. 22And Sarai counselled her husband Abram and said to him, Take Hagar, my Egyptian maid: perhaps I can found a family for you through her. 23And Abram listened to what Sarai his wife told him, and he said, Do as you think best; and Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. 24And he lay with her, and she conceived and bore a son; and he called him Ishmael, in the fifth year of this week. And Abram was in his eighty-sixth year at the time.
1 Lit. ‘one that shall come out of your own bowels’.
2 Alternative reading ‘land of Canaan’.
3 Alternative reading ‘and I will be’.
4 Alternative reading ‘Take’.
5 Lit. ‘laid them’.
6 The Eth. here, and in verses 17 and 19, literally means ‘the things spread out’. Charles conjectured corruption in the underlying Gk. and suggested two possibilities, either ‘pieces’ (as in the translation above) or ‘carcases’. In this connection it is worth noting that the Heb. text of Genesis has ‘carcases’ at xv. 11. (parallel to our verse 12) and ‘cut pieces’ at xv. 17 (parallel to our verse 17): to our verse 19 it has no parallel.
7 Lit. ‘and it was said’.
8 Lit. ‘judge’.
10 Most MSS ‘And he passed’.
11 Lit. ‘that he would have seed’.