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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Genesis 15

 

 

Verses 1-21

God Makes A Covenant With Abraham - The underlying theme of Genesis 12-50 is the establishment of the nation of Israel through the divine foreknowledge of God the Father. Therefore, each story in this section of the book of Genesis supports this theme. In Genesis 15:1-21 God makes Abraham a promise to give him the land of Canaan and to multiply his descendants. In order to verify His promise to Abraham, he cut a covenant with him.

We find a reference to this event in the book of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 9:7-8, "Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:"

Note a similar covenant in Jeremiah 34:18.

Jeremiah 34:18-19, "And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf;"

Supporting the idea that God cut a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15:1-21 by dividing the sacrificial animals in half and passing between them, we have a recorded account of a famous African missionary named Alexander Mackay making a blood covenant with a native king in a similar fashion. The tribal leader and the white missionary each took hold of the legs of a goat, while a servant of the king cut the goat in half, thus sealing a covenant between the two so that the missionary could travel freely in the king's territory. Otherwise, the African tribe would have viewed any future visits by these missionaries as intrusions.

"After staying a few days and talking with the king on many matters, Mackay told him that he must now leave. The king would not hear of him leaving without first making "blood brotherhood" with him; and as Mackay knew how valuable this bond was, he at once consented to become a brother of the black monarch. Accordingly, on a fixed day he went to the bazara, where the king was seated. A great crowd of natives were gathered round about, and in the midst of them a goat. Rising from his throne, the king took hold of the goat"s fore legs, and Mackay took hold of the hind ones. After one man had explained that the ceremony meant a seal of friendship, the executioner cut the goat in two with a sharp knife. This being done, all the natives lifted up their hands towards heaven and uttered wild yells, and this finished the ceremony. Mackay and King Lkonge were now blood brothers and fast friends for life. His departure was made the occasion for further demonstrations of friendship and goodwill. After the last good-bye was said, Mackay set sail for Kagei, where he arrived safely, having been absent nine days." 194]

194] C. T. Wilson, Alexander Mackay: Missionary Hero of Uganda (London: The Sunday School Union, 1893), 45.

Genesis 15:1 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.

Genesis 15:1 — "After these things" - Comments- Each time God spoke to Abraham, He guided him further along a spiritual journey of faith and trust in Him. The Lord has now brought him into the land of Canaan ( Genesis 12:1-20), given him an opportunity to entrust himself into the care of the Lord when separating from Lot ( Genesis 13:1-18), and demonstrated His power to deliver Abraham from his enemies ( Genesis 14:1-24). These events were a necessary part of Abraham's journey of growing in faith and trust in the Word of the Lord. "After these things," the Lord will give Abraham the promise of a son through his wife Sarah and He will cut a covenant with him, taking him towards a mature level of faith.

Genesis 15:1 — "the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying" - Word Study on "vision" - Gesenius and Strong say the Hebrew word מַחֲזֶהֶ (H 4236) means, "a vision." It is used four times in the Old Testament ( Genesis 15:1, Numbers 24:4; Numbers 24:16, Ezekiel 13:3). Strong says this Hebrew noun is derived from the verb חָזָה (H 2372), which means, "to gaze at, perceive, contemplate, to have a vision of." The Hebrew word for the office of the Old Testament "seer" is ( חֹזֶהֶ) (H 2374) is a derivative of the verb חָזָה (H 2372), and it is used 21times in the Old Testament, referring to the office of an Old Testament seer on 16 of these occasions.

Genesis 15:1, "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."

Numbers 24:4, "He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:"

Numbers 24:16, "He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:"

Ezekiel 13:7, "Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?"

Comments - The Scriptures record the fact that the Lord spoke to Abraham on two previous occasions in an audible manner ( Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 13:14-17). This third divine encounter comes to Abraham in the form of an open vision while he was fully awake, for he will also fall into a deep sleep at this time and the Lord will speak to him again ( Genesis 15:12-16). Abraham walked in the office of a prophet ( Genesis 20:7) because of the numerous divine encounters and prophetic words from the Lord.

Genesis 15:1 — "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" - Comments - The land of Canaan was a dangerous place to live, with warring city-states and instability round about. Abraham has now dwelt in the land of Canaan a number of years. He has come to know God as his Shield of protection and as his Reward through his experiences. Abraham knew that God was and will continue to be his protection. Abraham had left Ur of the Chaldees, a land of safety and economic development. He had moved by faith into an unstable "war zone" controlled by kings of city-states. Abraham had also become very wealthy, so that he knew God as his Reward.

Abraham has just given his first recorded tithe to Melchizedek king of Salem. While many people of the land were giving tribute to powerful rulers out of fear and compulsion, Abraham chose to give a portion unto God. In response, the Lord appeared to Abraham and assured him that He would protect him and prosper him in the midst of people who survived under tribute and fear. The tithe was such an effect way of worshipping the Lord that He included this principle in the Mosaic Law. Malachi 3:10-11 essentially gives the same promise of the Lord serving as a Shield and Reward to those who tithed when God promised to open the windows of heaven and to rebuke the devourer.

Malachi 3:10-11, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts."

Genesis 15:2 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?

Genesis 15:2 — "And Abram said, Lord GOD" - Comments - The first use of the Hebrew word אדני (Lord) in the Scriptures is in Genesis 15:2, and it is used seven times in the book of Genesis ( Genesis 15:2; Genesis 15:8; Genesis 18:3; Genesis 18:27; Genesis 18:30-32). Thus, the word is found only on the lips of Abraham. In addition, the Hebrew phrase אֲדֹנָי יֱהוִה (Lord God) occurs only two times in the book of Genesis ( Genesis 15:2; Genesis 15:8).

"what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless" - Comments - The Lord had already promised Abraham that he would bear seed and produce a great nation ( Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 13:14-17). Abraham is confronting the Lord with his condition of being childless after having been given this great promise from Him.

"and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus" - Word Study on "steward" - The two Hebrew words בֵּן (H 1121) and מֶשֶׁק (H 4943) are translated in the English as "steward" in Genesis 15:2. Gordon Wenham translates this phrase as "my heir is Eliezer of Damascus." 195]

195] Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD- Romans , vol 1, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comment on Genesis 15:2.

Genesis 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

Genesis 15:2-3Comments- A Comparison of Abraham's Decisions and The Code of Hammurabi - Amraphel, king of Shinar ( Genesis 14:1), is often identified as Hammurabi (1945-1902 B.C.), who was a contemporary of Abraham. 196] This is the famous King Hammurabi who wrote The Code of Hammurabi, which reveals to us today that a civilization existed in Abraham"s time that was highly organized, with civil laws, schools, an alphabet, a system of weights and measures, architecture, and irrigation. This Sumerian civilization ruled by King Hammurabi appears to reach its zenith during this period in history. His laws were used throughout the entire Middle Eastern region. However, it is important to note that many scholars believe there is no substantial evidence to associate Amraphel with Hammurabi, nor do they agree that he lived around the time of Abraham. 197]

196] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, Based on the Thru the Bible radio program, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c 1981), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Genesis 14:1-2.

197] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Chronology of the Old Testament."

We find many instances throughout the book of Genesis in which Abraham and his sons acted in accordance with The Code of Hammurabi before God gave the Mosaic Law to the nation of Israel. Song of Solomon , when Abraham decided to make Eliezer the heir of his substance, he may have based his decision upon the laws of Hammurabi. The law of adoption in The Code of Hammurabi made Eliezer Abram's heir ( Genesis 15:1-21).

"#191. If a Prayer of Manasseh , who had adopted a son and reared him, founded a household, and had children, wish to put this adopted son out, then this son shall not simply go his way. His adoptive father shall give him of his wealth one-third of a child"s portion, and then he may go. He shall not give him of the field, garden, and house." 198]

198] E. W. Bullinger, Appendix 15: Law Before Sinai, in The Companion Bible Being The Authorized Version of 1611With The Structures And Notes, Critical, Explanatory and Suggestive And With 198 Appendixes (London: Oxford University Press, c 1909-22), 22-3.

Genesis 15:4 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.

Genesis 15:4Comments- Genesis 15:4 implies that Eliezer was adopted by Abraham. In Genesis 12:2 God promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation. In Abraham"s reasoning, with not having a child, he chose to make Eliezer the heir of his possessions in place of a son. In Genesis 15:4 God becomes more specific with Abraham. This time, Abraham is told that the heir will be a son from his own bowels. Abraham responds to this promise with his own reasoning again. This time, Abraham has a child by Hagar, his handmaid, because Sarah was barren. God will come to Abraham thirteen years later and become more specific with this promise. In Genesis 17:19 God will tell Abraham that this heir will be a son from Sarah, his wife.

Genesis 12:2, "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:"

Genesis 17:19, "And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him."

Genesis 15:5 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.

Genesis 15:5 — "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven" - Comments - God is the Maker of the heavens, and the Maker of every star in the heavens. He called each star by name ( Psalm 147:4); therefore, He knows how many stars are in the heavens.

Psalm 147:4, "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names."

Genesis 15:5 — "and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them" - Comments- In Genesis 15:5 the Hebrews words "tell" and "number" "caphar" ( סָפַר) (H 5608) are the same word "caphar." Strong says this word means, "to count, recount, relate, to recount (something), to rehearse." Although many modern translations adopt the meaning of literally counting the number of the stars in the sky numerically for this verse, Peter Moses interprets this verse to read, "Look toward heaven and recount the story in sequence, if you are able to recount the story in sequence, So shall thy seed be." 199] (Peter Moses). This translation is within bounds of an accurate definition. With this definition of "caphar" we would understand that God is telling Abraham not to literally count the stars numerically, but rather, to recount the hidden story that may be found within the stars. This would lead us to conclude that the constellations and the signs of the "Zodiac," as we refer to them today, would have a Scriptural basis. God would be telling Abraham that within the constellations is the message of his Seed, which is Christ Jesus. As a result, many scholars interpret the twelve signs of the Zodiac as recounting for all of mankind the story of redemption through the sacrifice of Calvary. In addition, we do find that the Scriptures support the ancient belief that certain stars formed into constellations.

199] Peter Moses, The Heavens Declare the Glory of God: A Study of Biblical Astronomy (Perth, Australia: Evangelical Bible College of Western Australia, 2004) [on-line]; accessed 22May 2009; available from http://ebcwa 110mb.com/; Internet.

Isaiah 13:10, "For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine."

A number of these constellations are named in the Scriptures, such as Pleiades, Orion and Arcturus. Scholars believe that Mazzaroth is the ancient name for the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

Job 38:31-32, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?"

We know from Genesis 1:14 that the heavenly bodies were placed in the heavens to be used as signs, or message-bearers, to mankind.

Genesis 1:14, "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:"

This view that the constellations contained a hidden divine message is not new, but is strongly supported by ancient Jewish tradition. The Book of Jubilees says that God sent down angels from heaven, called Watchers, to teach the children of men the ways of righteousness. It goes on to say that these angels taught men to read the signs in the heavens, which implies the ancient "Zodiac."

"Mahalalel took unto him to wife Dinah, the daughter of Barakiel the daughter of his father"s brother, and she bare him a son in the third week in the sixth year, [A.M.] and he called his name Jared, for in his days the angels of the Lord descended on the earth, those who are named the Watchers, that they should instruct the children of men, and that they should do judgment and uprightness on the earth. And in the eleventh jubilee 512-18 A.M.] Jared took to himself a wife, and her name was Baraka, the daughter of Rasujal, a daughter of his father"s brother, in the fourth week of this jubilee, 522 A.M.] and she bare him a son in the fifth week, in the fourth year of the jubilee, and he called his name Enoch. And he was the first among men that are born on earth who learnt writing and knowledge and wisdom and who wrote down the signs of heaven according to the order of their months in a book, that men might know the seasons of the years according to the order of their separate months." (The Book of Jubilees 415-18)

"In the twenty-ninth jubilee, in the first week, 1373 A.M.] in the beginning thereof Arpachshad took to himself a wife and her name was Rasu"eja, the daughter of Susan, the daughter of Elam, and she bare him a son in the third year in this week, 1375 A.M.] and he called his name Kainam. And the son grew, and his father taught him writing, and he went to seek for himself a place where he might seize for himself a city. And he found a writing which former (generations) had carved on the rock, and he read what was thereon, and he transcribed it and sinned owing to it; for it contained the teaching of the Watchers in accordance with which they used to observe the omens of the sun and moon and stars in all the signs of heaven. And he wrote it down and said nothing regarding it;" (The Book of Jubilees 81-4)

Thus, the heavenly bodies are to be used as message-bearers.

Genesis 15:5 — "So shall thy seed be" - Comments- Note that in Genesis 15:5 the word "seed" is singular in the Hebrew text. Paul states this in Galatians 3:16, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."

If we follow the interpretation that God was telling Abraham that the story of redemption is written in the stars, then Genesis 15:5 would mean that God was not telling Abraham that his seeds would be numerous as the stars, but that the Seed of Christ could be recounted in the story of the constellations. However, if we refer to the verse in Romans 4:18 it clearly interprets Genesis 15:5 to be a promise that God would multiply Abraham's seed into a multitude.

Romans 4:18, "Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be."

Genesis 15:5Comments- Regarding the Interpretation of Numerical Counting- In man"s observation of heaven and earth, there is nothing that represents a countless number more clearly than the billions of stars in heaven. I wonder if this prophecy hints to the possibility that one day in our heavenly life, we will venture forth to explore and even populate the other parts of heaven. For we will then all be the seeds of Abraham. The promise will be fulfilled that every star that Abraham saw in the sky would be a place where one of his seed was living and multiplying.

Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Genesis 15:6Comments- There are many New Testament references to Genesis 15:6 ( Romans 4:3; Romans 4:9; Romans 4:22, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23).

Romans 4:3, "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."

Romans 4:9, "Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness."

Romans 4:22, "And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."

Galatians 3:6, "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

James 2:23, "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."

Genesis 15:6Comments- For examples of unbelief, see:

Genesis 2:16-17,"And the LORD God commanded the Prayer of Manasseh , saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Genesis 3:6, "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."

Genesis 15:8Comments- In Genesis 15:8 Abraham asks for confirmation that this land would be given to him. As an answer to this request, God is going to cut a covenant with Abraham using a supernatural event that will anchor his soul in God's promise to him.

Genesis 15:12 — "an horror of great darkness" - Comments- Note that Daniel had a similar experience of terror coming upon him ( Daniel 10:7).

Daniel 10:7, "And I, Daniel , alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves." (NKJV)

Genesis 15:13 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;

Genesis 15:13 — "four hundred years" - Comments- Genesis 15:13, along with Acts 7:6, says that the affliction of Abraham's seed will last four hundred years. However, Exodus 12:40-41 says that the days were exactly four hundred and thirty years. The four hundred years period may be approximate, or perhaps, the good king that knew Joseph gave the Israelites thirty years of peace, but he died and the next king began the four hundred years of affliction. Paul confirms the duration of four hundred and thirty years ( Galatians 3:17).

Acts 7:6, "And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years."

Exodus 12:40-41, "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt."

Galatians 3:17, "And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect."

Note other verses that imply that the next king immediately after the king that favored Joseph, began the affliction upon the Israelites:

Exodus 1:8, "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph."

Acts 7:18, "Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph."

Acts 7:6, "And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I Judges , said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place."

Genesis 15:13Comments- Joseph also prophesied of this event ( Genesis 50:25).

Genesis 50:25, "And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence."

Genesis 15:14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

Genesis 15:13-14Comments - Prophecy of Israel's Bondage in Egypt- Why would God send these seventy souls into Egypt? There are several possibilities. (1) Perhaps it would have been difficult for Israel and his twelve sons to grow into a mighty nation within the land of Canaan with its warring city states. There was no available land in this region and their nomadic life would not have made provision for a large group of people. Israel would have had to go to war and take possession of some of this land. God had said that the sins of the Canaanites had not yet come to completion so that He was still giving them an opportunity to repent and turn from their sins. In the land of Goshen in Egypt, the children of Israel were given the conditions to multiply into a great nation. (2) Perhaps Jacob's children would have intermarried with the Canaanites and embraced their religions. God knows all things and makes provision for His future plans.

Note the New Testament reference to Genesis 15:13-14 :

Acts 7:6-7, "And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I Judges , said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place."

Genesis 15:15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

Genesis 15:15"in peace... in a good old age" - Comments- God will bless Abraham spiritually, mentally, physically and financially. See Gary Everett's study notes on Proverbs 3:1-2, "My Song of Solomon , forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee."

Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

Genesis 15:16 — "But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again" - Comments- Scholars have always been challenged with how to reconcile the fact that four generations of individuals would cover a span of four hundred years.

Genesis 15:16"for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full" - Comments- The sin of the Amorites in Canaan was not yet time on God's timetable to destroy them ( Deuteronomy 8:14). One of their sins was witchcraft. Another was human sacrifice.

Deuteronomy 18:14, "For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do."

The Book of Jubilees tells us that the Amorites were the most wicked people on the face of the earth. This may be the reason God refers to them at this time among the many tribes of people who inhabited the land of Canaan.

"And the Lord destroyed them because of the evil of their deeds; for they were very malignant, and the Amorites dwelt in their stead, wicked and sinful, and there is no people to-day which has wrought to the full all their sins, and they have no longer length of life on the earth." (The Book of Jubilees 2911-12)

Genesis 15:17 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 pieces.

Genesis 15:17 — "behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp" - Word Study on "furnace" - BDB says the Hebrew word "furnace" ( תַּנּוּר) (H 8574) means, "a fire pot, furnace, stove, or oven" Strong says it comes from primitive root ( נִיר) (H 5216).

Comments- This same Hebrew word is used figuratively in Isaiah 31:9, "And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem."

"a burning lamp" - Comments- The phrase "a burning lamp" may be a reference to God's angels (see Exodus 3:2, Hebrews 1:7; Hebrews 12:29).

Exodus 3:2, "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed."

Hebrews 1:7, "And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire."

Hebrews 12:29, "For our God is a consuming fire."

Remember that it was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night that went with the children of Israel during their Exodus from Egypt ( Psalm 105:39).

Psalm 105:39, "He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night."

Genesis 15:17Comments- This was the first blood sacrifice covenant in the Bible. These animals were cut in halves, and arranged in order opposite one another. The covenant parties then passed between the halves indicating that they were irrevocably bound together in blood. The cutting in halves of the sacrifice spoke of the end of existing lives for the sake of establishing a new bond or covenant. The sacrificial nature of this bond was attested to by the shedding of lifeblood. In this passage, only God passed between the pieces, indicating that it was His covenant and He would assume responsibility for its administration.


Verses 18-21

The Land that God Promised to Abraham - The length and breadth of the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants is described Genesis 15:18-21. It extended from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in the East.

In this covenant, God promised to expel ten nations from this Promised Land. It is interesting to compare this list of ten nations to the list of seven nations that Moses gave to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 7:1 and to the list that Joshua gave to Israel in Joshua 3:10. We find some of these nations listed in Genesis 10:15-19 as the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham.

Deuteronomy 7:1, "When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;"

Joshua 3:10, "And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites."

Genesis 10:15-19, "And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha."

Genesis 15:18 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:

Genesis 15:18 — "In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram" - Word Study on "made a covenant" - The Hebrew phrase ( כָּרַת בְּרִית) literally phrase means, "to cut a covenant."

Comments- Evidently, the method of cutting a blood covenant in those days consisted of cutting the sacrificial animals in half and walking between them; for this is the method that the Lord used in Genesis 15:9-17 to make His divine covenant with Abraham.

Genesis 15:18"saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" - Comments- The Lord had given this land unto Abraham seed. Notice that this is the past tense. God calls things which are not as though they were ( Romans 4:17). God gave Abraham this land centuries before the children of Israel came in to possess it.

Romans 4:17, "(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were."

Genesis 15:18Comments- In possessing the Promised Land, the children of Israel were returning to the Garden of Eden in a figurative sense. Hence, the land is measured by rivers, as was the geographical location of the Garden of Eden was measured by four rivers. Note:

Genesis 2:11-14, "The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates."

Genesis 15:19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,

Genesis 15:20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,

Genesis 15:21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 15:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/genesis-15.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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