God encourages Abram, who complains for lack of an heir, 1-3. God promises him a son and a multiplying of his seed, 4, 5. Abram is justified by faith, 6. Canaan is promised again and confirmed by a sign and a vision, prophetic of the condition of his posterity until brought out of Egypt, 7-21.
1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not fear, Abram. I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward."
2 And Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 And Abram said, "Behold, you have given no seed to me, and behold, a domestic worker in my house is my heir." 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This shall not be your heir. But he who comes forth out of your own body shall be your heir." 5 And he brought him forth abroad and said, "Now look toward heaven and tell the stars, if you are able to number them." And he said to him, "Thus shall your seed be." 6 And he believed in the LORD, and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to inherit it." 8 And he said, "Lord GOD, by what shall I know that I shall inherit it?" 9 And he said to him, "Take me a heifer of three years old, a female goat of three years old, a ram of three years old, a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon." 10 And he took to him all these, divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another, but the birds he did not divide. 11 And when the birds came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and behold, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said to Abram, "Know certainly that your 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 which they shall serve, I will judge. And afterward they shall come out with great substance. 15 And you shall go to your fathers in peace. You shall be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full."
17 And it came to pass, that when the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
18 On that same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River, 19 The land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 The Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaims, 21 The Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."
Matthew Henry Commentary - Genesis, Chapter 15[➚]
[v.3] - "a domestic worker" - From the Latin word, vernaculus, which means domestic, or domestic worker. The Young's Literal Translation renders this text as, "and lo, a domestic doth heir me." A domestic worker is a hired servant who resides with the family, but in this case, the domestic worker was born in Abram's house, which put him in the position to be the potential heir. Originally written as, "and behold, one born in my house is my heir."
[v.5] - Quoted in Romans 4:18.
[v.6] - Quoted in Romans 4:3, 9, 22; Galatians 3:6; James 2:11.
[v.13a] - Quoted in Acts 7:6.
[v.13b] - Reference, Exodus 12:40; Galatians 3:17.
[v.18-19] - Reference, Joshua 21:43-45.