¶ After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision,
saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
.2 ¶ And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
.3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
.5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
- I am thy shield ... reward Instead of the things taken
in battle (preceding chapter) ge1421.
And instead of attributing the victory to his own strength ge1420.
2 - Childless Again the Lord came to Abram. He enlarges on the covenant. Abram expects that Eliezer might be his heir, but the Lord said, No. The promised one would be a from Abram's own body. Abram couldn't believe that he would have even one blood heir. The Lord pointed him to the uncountable stars. Estimates have been made of the stars visible with the naked eye, but we know today that the heavenly bodies in the universe are indeed without number.
2 - [Archaeology] The arrangement of a servant receiving the inheritance was a custom of the time. Archaeologists in the 1920s and '30s discovered clay tablets in the area of Nuzi (sp?), now Northern Iraq, which laid out this principle in the time of the patriarch. But it was not God's plan.
6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
- Righteousness This verse deserves special notice. It is
a key verse about righteousness by faith ro0403.
Also ro0420, ga0306,
Some believe that salvation in the time of the Old Testament was through obedience, but it was by grace through faith in the Messiah to come as seen in the sacrifical animals. Also ge0608. And Rev. 1406c-f.
Who is the Lord of the covenant? He is the only one who offers righteousness ac0412. He died in our place in order to provide our salvation. He also established the standard of righteousness ex2001.
¶ And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur
of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
.8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
.10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
.12 ¶ And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
- Promise of the land From whom would he inherit it? and
what may we infer from this? he1108.
8 - Whereby? Lack of faith. See on lu0118.
9 - Walking between This was a covenant ceremony of the times sealing the promise. If a party broke the covenant he would be as the divided animals. Here God Himself walked between them v17. Compare je3418 where the ritual is explained.
10 - Divided them Division of the animals meant their death which could not be restored. Perhaps the concept was that the bond between the two parties was as important as their own lives. The birds in the next verse would represent death re1917.
12 - Horror of darkness Apparently Abram felt the separation from God which the righteous will feel during the time of Jacob's trouble, and which Christ faced for us in a more complete sense.
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger
in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict
them four hundred years;
14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
.16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
- Strange land The time in Egypt was foreseen.
15 - Go to thy fathers Where were these "fathers"? Not in heaven. See ps11517 and compare ge2508.
16 - Fourth generation ... again Another fundamental biblical principle is seen in this verse: People often think that God was harsh in dealing with the Canaanites. Amor was a grandson of Canaan who descended from Ham. (ch. 10). The sin of his descendants must have been especially significant. Abraham brought the light of the true God to these people, but they rejected it. Grace lingered for 400 years. God acts when nations have passed the point of repentance.
¶ And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark,
behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those
.18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
.19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
- Covenant ... given this land Again the covenant. Abram
believed and it was counted to him as righteousness, by faith. This point
is for us. We have the firm promise of eternal life, but we do not yet
possess the land. And, more importantly, we have the promise of salvation.
Abram had his part to fulfill ge1701.
Fulfilled to Solomon 1ki0421.
19 - Kenites [and others] The tribes of Canaan were to be given into the hand of Abram's descendants.
20 - Hittites See north edge of map.