Suddenly, the LORD spoke his word to Abram again. He said, "This man will not be your heir. Your own son will be your heir."
He took Abram outside and said, "Now look up at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them." He also said to him, "That's how many descendants you will have!"
Then Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD regarded that faith to be his approval of Abram.
Then the LORD said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land so that you will take possession of it."
Abram asked, "Almighty LORD, how can I be certain that I will take possession of it?"
He answered Abram, "Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a mourning dove, and a pigeon."
So Abram brought all these animals to him. He cut each of them in half and laid each half opposite the other. However, he did not cut the birds in half.
When birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
As the sun was just about to set, a deep sleep--a dreadful, deep darkness--came over Abram.
God said to Abram, "You can know for sure that your descendants will live in a land that is not their own, where they will be slaves, and they will be oppressed for 400 years.
But I will punish the nation they serve, and after that they will come out with many possessions.