Genesis 15:12

12 As the sun was going down, a 1deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him.

Genesis 15:12 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 15:12

And when the sun was going down
Just setting, descending below the hemisphere; or "about to enter" F13 into his chamber, as Piscator observes, from whence he went forth in the morning, as a strong man to run his race; which at sunset is finished according to human appearance, and the common apprehensions of men, who have thought it goes under the earth, or drops into the ocean, see ( Psalms 19:5 ) :

a deep sleep fell upon Abram:
through the great fatigue he had had the preceding day, in doing what is before related; or rather through a more than ordinary influence of God upon him, which bound up his senses, and cast him into an ecstasy or trance, when he had the following prophecy and vision, which more fully explained to him the emblem he had been conversant with; this was such a sleep as fell on Adam, ( Genesis 2:21 ) :

and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him;
or such darkness as was horrible and terrible, so it was represented to his mind in vision; which signified the great afflictions after expressed by darkness, that should come upon his children in Egypt and elsewhere: and so Jarchi says it refers to the distresses and darkness of their captivities in Egypt, and in other places. The Targumists observe, that Abram in this vision saw the four monarchies that should bring his children into bondage.


F13 (awbl vmvh yhyw) "et fuit sol ad intrandum", Montanus, Piscator.

Genesis 15:12 In-Context

10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half.
11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him.
13 Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.
14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

Cross References 1

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.