After these events, the LORD's word came to Abram in a vision, "Don't be afraid, Abram. I am your protector.a Your reward will be very great."
But Abram said, "LORD God, what can you possibly give me, since I still have no children? The head of my household is Eliezer, a man from Damascus."b3
He continued, "Since you haven't given me any children, the head of my household will be my heir."
The LORD's word came immediately to him, "This man will not be your heir. Your heir will definitely be your very own biological child."
Then he brought Abram outside and said, "Look up at the sky and count the stars if you think you can count them. He continued, "This is how many children you will have."
Abram trusted the LORD, and the LORD recognized Abram's high moral character.
He said to Abram, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession."
But Abram said, "LORD God, how do I know that I will actually possess it?"
He said, "Bring me a three-year-old female calf, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon."
He took all of these animals, split them in half, and laid the halves facing each other, but he didn't split the birds.
When vultures swooped down on the carcasses, Abram waved them off.
After the sun set, Abram slept deeply. A terrifying and deep darkness settled over him.
Then the LORD said to Abram, "Have no doubt that your descendants will live as immigrants in a land that isn't their own, where they will be oppressed slaves for four hundred years.
But after I punish the nation they serve, they will leave it with great wealth.
As for you, you will join your ancestors in peace and be buried after a good long life.
The fourth generation will return here since the Amorites' wrongdoing won't have reached its peak until then."
After the sun had set and darkness had deepened, a smoking vessel with a fiery flame passed between the split-open animals.
That day the LORD cut a covenant with Abram: "To your descendants I give this land, from Egypt's river to the great Euphrates,
together with the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,
the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,
the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."