In this chapter we have a solemn treaty between God and Abram,
- A general assurance of God's kindness and good - will to Abram, ver. 1.
- A particular declaration of the purposes of his love concerning him, in two things.
- That he would give him a numerous issue, ver. 2 - 7.
- That he would give him Canaan for an inheritance, ver. 7 - 16.
|15:1||After these things - ||15:3||Behold to me thou hast given no seed - Not only no son, but no seed. If he had had a daughter, from her the promised Messias might have come, who was to be the Seed of the Woman; but he had neither son nor daughter.||15:5||And he brought him forth - It seems, early in the morning, and said, look now toward heaven, and tell the stars: so shall thy seed be - ||15:6||And he believed in the Lord - That is, believed the truth of that promise which God had now made him, resting upon the power, and faithfulness of him that made it: see how the apostle magnifies this faith of Abram, and makes it a standing example, Romans 4:19 - 21.He was not weak in faith; he staggered not at the promise: he was strong in faith; he was fully persuaded. The Lord work such a faith in every one of us. And he counted it to him for righteousness - That is, upon the score of this he was accepted of God, and, by faith he obtained witness that he was righteous, Hebrews 11:4 . This is urged in the New Testament to prove, that we are justified by faith without the works of the law, Romans 4:3 ,Gal 3:6, for Abram was so justified, while he was yet uncircumcised. If Abram, that was so rich in good works, was not justified by them, but by his faith, much less can we. This faith, which was imputed to Abram for righteousness, had newly struggled with unbelief, Genesis 15:2 , and coming off, conqueror, it was thus crowned, thus honoured.||15:7||I am the lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees - Out of the fire of the Chaldees, so some: that is, from their idolatries; for the Chaldeans worshipped the fire. Or, from their persecutions.The Jewish writers have a tradition, that Abram was cast into a fiery furnace for refusing to worship idols, and was miraculously delivered.It is rather a place of that name. Thence God brought him by an effectual call, brought him by a gracious violence; snatched him as a brand out of the burning. Observe how God speaks of it as that which he gloried in.I am the Lord that brought thee out - He glories in it as an act both of power and grace. To give thee this land to inherit it - Not only to possess it, but to possess it as an inheritance, which is the surest title.The providence of God hath secret, but gracious designs in all its various dispensations: we cannot conceive the projects of providence, 'till the event shews what it was driving at.||15:8||Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? - This did not proceed from distrust of God's power or promise, but he desired this, ||15:9||Take me an heifer - Perhaps Abram expected some sign from heaven, but God gives him a sign upon a sacrifice. Those that would receive the assurances of God's favour, must attend instituted ordinances, and expect to meet with God in them. Observe, ||15:12||And when the sun was going down - About the time of the evening oblation. Early in the morning, while the stars were yet to be seen, God had given him orders concerning the sacrifices, Genesis 15:5 , and we may suppose it was at least his morning's work to prepare them, and set them in order; which when he had done, he abode by them praying and waiting 'till towards evening. A deep sleep fell upon Abram - Not a common sleep through weariness or carelessness, but a divine extasy, that being wholly taken off from things sensible, he might be wholly taken up with the contemplation of things spiritual. The doors of the body were locked up, that the soul might be private and retired, and might act the more freely. And lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him - This was designed to strike an awe upon the spirit of Abram, and topossess him with a holy reverence. Holy fear prepares the soul for holy joy; God humbles first, and then lifts up.||15:13||Thy seed shall be strangers - So they were in Canaan first, Psalms 105:11 ,12, and afterwards inEgypt: before they were lords of their own land, they were strangers in a strange land. The inconveniences of an unsettled state make a happy settlement the more welcome. Thus the heirs of heaven are first strangers on earth. And them they shall serve - So they did the Egyptians, 1:13 . See how that which was the doom of the Canaanites, Genesis 9:25 , proves the distress of Abram's seed: they are made to serve; but with this difference, the Canaanites serve under a curse, the Hebrews under a blessing.And they shall afflict them - See 1:11 . Those that are blessed and beloved of God are often afflicted by wicked men. This persecution began with mocking, when Ishmael the son of an Egyptian, persecuted Isaac, Genesis 21:9 , and it came at last to murder, the basest of murders, that of their new born children; so that more or less it continued 400 years.||15:14||That nation whom they shall serve, even the Egyptians, will I judge - This points at the plagues of Egypt, by which God not only constrained the Egyptians to release Israel, but punished them for all the hardships they had put upon them. The punishing of persecutors is the judging of them; it is a righteous thing with God, and a particular act of justice, to recompense tribulation to those that trouble his people. 3. The deliverance of Abram's seed out of Egypt.And afterwards shall they come out with great substance - Either after they have been afflicted 400 years, or, after the Egyptians are judged and plagued.||15:15||Thou shalt go to thy fathers - At death we go to our fathers, to all our fathers that are gone before us to the state of the dead, to our godly fathers that are gone before us to the state of the blessed.The former helps to take off the terror of death, the latter puts comfort into it. Thou shalt be buried in a good old age - Perhaps mention is made of his burial here, where the land of Canaan is promised him, because a burying - place was the first possession he had in it. Old age is a blessing, if it be a good old age: theirs may be called a good old age, ||15:16||They shall come hither again - Hither to the land of Canaan, wherein thou now art. The reason why they must not have the land of promise in possession till the fourth generation, is because the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. The righteous God has determined, that they shall not be cut off till they are arrived to such a pitch of wickedness; and therefore till it come to that, the seed of Abram must be kept out of possession.||15:17||When the sun was gone down the sign was given - The smoaking furnace signified the affliction of his seed in Egypt: they were there in the furnace of affliction, and labouring in the very fire.They were there in the smoke, their eyes darkened that they could not see to the end of their troubles. 2. The burning lamp speaks comfort in this affliction; and this Godshewed Abram at the same time with the smoaking furnace. The lamp notes direction in the smoke; God's word was their lamp, a light shining in a dark place. Perhaps too this burning lamp prefigured the pillar of a cloud and fire which led them out of Egypt. 3. The passing of these between the pieces was the confirming of thecovenant God now made with him. It is probable this furnace and lamp, which passed between the pieces, burned and consumed them, and so compleated the sacrifice, and testified God's acceptance of it, as of Gideon's, Judges 6:21 , Manoah's, Judges 13:19 ,20, and Solomon's, 2 Chronicles 7:1 . So it intimates, ||15:18||In that same day, the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land - He had said before, To thy seed will I give this land, but here he saith, I have given it; that is, |