The Obedience of Abram
12:1 Now the Lord said 1 to Abram, 2
“Go out 3 from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household
to the land that I will show you. 4
12:2 Then I will make you 5 into a great nation, and I will bless you, 6
and I will make your name great, 7
so that you will exemplify divine blessing. 8
12:3 I will bless those who bless you, 9
but the one who treats you lightly 10 I must curse,
and all the families of the earth will bless one another 11 by your name.”
12:4 So Abram left, 12 just as the Lord had told him to do, 13 and Lot went with him. (Now 14 Abram was 75 years old 15 when he departed from Haran.) 12:5 And Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew 16 Lot, and all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired 17 in Haran, and they left for 18 the land of Canaan. They entered the land of Canaan.
12:6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the oak tree 19 of Moreh 20 at Shechem. 21 (At that time the Canaanites were in the land.) 22 12:7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants 23 I will give this land.” So Abram 24 built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
12:8 Then he moved from there to the hill country east of Bethel 25 and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and worshiped the Lord. 26 12:9 Abram continually journeyed by stages 27 down to the Negev. 28
The Promised Blessing Jeopardized
12:10 There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt 29 to stay for a while 30 because the famine was severe. 31 12:11 As he approached 32 Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, 33 I know that you are a beautiful woman. 34 12:12 When the Egyptians see you they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will keep you alive. 35 12:13 So tell them 36 you are my sister 37 so that it may go well 38 for me because of you and my life will be spared 39 on account of you.”
12:14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 12:15 When Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. So Abram’s wife 40 was taken 41 into the household of Pharaoh, 42 12:16 and he did treat Abram well 43 on account of her. Abram received 44 sheep and cattle, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
12:17 But the Lord struck Pharaoh and his household with severe diseases 45 because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 12:18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram and said, “What is this 46 you have done to me? Why didn’t you tell me that she was your wife? 12:19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her 47 to be my wife? 48 Here is your wife! 49 Take her and go!” 50 12:20 Pharaoh gave his men orders about Abram, 51 and so they expelled him, along with his wife and all his possessions.
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 shield 1 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 since 4 I continue to be 5 childless, and my heir 6 is 7 Eliezer of Damascus?” 8 15:3 Abram added, 9 “Since 10 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 man 13 will not be your heir, 14 but instead 15 a son 16 who comes from your own body will be 17 your heir.” 18 15:5 The Lord 19 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 believed 20 the Lord, and the Lord 21 considered his response of faith 22 as proof of genuine loyalty. 23
15:7 The Lord said 24 to him, “I am the Lord 25 who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans 26 to give you this land to possess.” 15:8 But 27 Abram 28 said, “O sovereign Lord, 29 by what 30 can I know that I am to possess it?”
15:9 The Lord 31 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 Abram 32 took all these for him and then cut them in two 33 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 certain 37 that your descendants will be strangers 38 in a foreign country. 39 They will be enslaved and oppressed 40 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 ancestors 43 in peace and be buried at a good old age. 44 15:16 In the fourth generation 45 your descendants 46 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 torch 48 passed between the animal parts. 49 15:18 That day the Lord made a covenant 50 with Abram: “To your descendants I give 51 this land, from the river of Egypt 52 to the great river, the Euphrates River – 15:19 the land 53 of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 15:20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 15:21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.” 54