Genesis 15:17

17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.

Genesis 15:17 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 15:17

And it came to pass, when the sun went down
It was going down when the deep sleep fell on Abram, and now it was quite gone or set:

and it was dark;
which is not always the case as soon as the sun is set, there is a twilight for a while, and if a clear night the stars appear; but, as Aben Ezra observes, this was a dark and cloudy night; so it was a dark night, a time of great affliction and distress to the posterity of Abram, when their sun was set, or after the death of Joseph:

behold a smoking furnace;
or the likeness of one, as Aben Ezra notes; for all this was represented in a visionary way to Abram, and was an emblem of the great troubles and afflictions of the children of Israel in Egypt, called the iron furnace, ( Deuteronomy 4:20 ) , and may have respect to the furnaces in which they burnt the bricks they made, see ( Exodus 9:8 ) ; the Jewish paraphrases make this to be a representation of hell, which is prepared for the wicked in the world to come, as a furnace surrounded with sparks and flames of fire; and Jarchi says, it intimated to Abram, that the kingdoms would fall into hell:

and a burning lamp, that passed between those pieces;
or a lamp of fire {o}; an emblem of the Shechinah, or majesty of God, who afterwards appeared in a pillar of fire before the Israelites in the wilderness, after their deliverance out of Egypt, and when their salvation went forth as a lamp that burneth, of which this was a token: this burning lamp passed between the pieces of the heifer, goat, and ram, that Abram had divided in the midst, as was usually done when covenants were made, see ( Jeremiah 34:18 ) ; and here God made a covenant with Abram, as appears from ( Genesis 15:18 ) ; and, as a confirmation of it, passed between the pieces in a lamp of fire, showing that he was and would be the light and salvation of his people, Abram's seed, and an avenger of their enemies; only God passed between the pieces, not Abram, this covenant being as others God makes with men, only on one side; God, in covenanting with men, promises and gives something unto them, but men give nothing to him, but receive from him, as was the case between God and Abram: however, it is very probable, that this lamp of fire consumed the pieces, in like manner as fire from heaven used to fall upon and consume the sacrifices, in token of God's acceptance of them.


FOOTNOTES:

F15 (va dypl) "lampas ignis", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; so Vatablus, Schmidt.

Genesis 15:17 In-Context

15 As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.
16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."
17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,
19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,