Afterward the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great."
But Abram replied, "O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since I don't have a son, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth.
You have given me no children, so one of my servants will have to be my heir."
Then the LORD said to him, "No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own to inherit everything I am giving you."
Then the LORD brought Abram outside beneath the night sky and told him, "Look up into the heavens and count the stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that -- too many to count!"
And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD declared him righteous because of his faith.
Then the LORD told him, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land."
But Abram replied, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that you will give it to me?"
Then the LORD told him, "Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
Abram took all these and killed them. He cut each one down the middle and laid the halves side by side. He did not, however, divide the birds in half.
Some vultures came down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.
That evening, as the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep. He saw a terrifying vision of darkness and horror.
Then the LORD told Abram, "You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, and they will be oppressed as slaves for four hundred years.
But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth.
(But you will die in peace, at a ripe old age.)
After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, when the sin of the Amorites has run its course."
As the sun went down and it became dark, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses.
So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, "I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt a to the great Euphrates River --
the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,
Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)