Genesis 15:11

11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

Genesis 15:11 in Other Translations

KJV
11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
ESV
11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
NLT
11 Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.
MSG
11 Vultures swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram scared them off.
CSB
11 Birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

Genesis 15:11 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 15:11

And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses
Upon the birds, as Aben Ezra and Ben Melech interpret it, whose carcasses were whole; or rather upon the divided carcasses of the animals, and indeed on both: this is to be understood of birds of prey, as eagles, vultures, kites, crows and are an emblem of the Egyptians chiefly, and other enemies of Israel, who came upon them to devour them; so the Targum of Jonathan,

``and the idolatrous nations descended, who were like to an unclean fowl, to spoil the goods of the Israelites;''

and likewise the Targum of Jerusalem,

``this unclean fowl are the idolatrous kingdoms of the earth:''

Abram drove them away:
that they might not settle upon the carcasses, and devour them: the Septuagint version is, "Abram sat with them"; he sat by the carcasses and watched them, that no hurt came to them, and to take notice of them, and consider and learn what they were an emblem of. The Jews F12 also observe, that

``Abram sat and waved over them with his napkin or handkerchief, that the birds might not have power over them until the evening.''

This may respect not the merit of Abram, as the above Targums, by which his posterity were protected, and the designs of their enemies frustrated; but the effectual fervent prayer of Abram, his prayer of faith for them, in answer to which they were delivered out of the hands of the Egyptians, and other enemies, whom Abram foresaw they would be distressed with.


FOOTNOTES:

F12 Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 28)

Genesis 15:11 In-Context

9 So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.
11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.
13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Deuteronomy 28:26; Jeremiah 7:33