The Center for
Messianic Learning 

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Irrevocably Zionist
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

The First Book of Moses,
Commonly Called


~ 15 ~

Parashah Lech Lecha (continued)
(“Get Yourself Out,” Gen. 12:1-17:27)
(Small Roman numerals in the text indicate each 'aliyah.)

E. HaShem’s Covenant With Avram (15:1-21)

1. Avram’s Concern About an Heir (15:1-3)

After these events hwhy [YeHoVaH]’s word came to Avram in a vision: “Don’t be afraid, Avram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

But Avram replied, “Adonai ELOHIM,[GN] what can You give me, since I remain childless, and the heir of my estate is Eli'ezer of DammesekDamascus?” Avram continued, “Hinneh,[GN] You have given me no children, so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

2. HaShem Promises Avram Children (15:4-6)

Then hwhy [YeHoVaH]’s word came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body will be your heir.” Then hwhy [YeHoVaH] took him outside and said, “Now look now to the heavens and count the stars, if you are able.” Then He declared, “So your offspring will be.” Avram believed hwhy [YeHoVaH], and it was credited it to him as righteousness.[6]

3. Avram Asks for a Sign (15:7-8)

[vi] He said to Avram, “I am hwhy [YeHoVaH] Who brought you out of Ur-KasdimUr of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.”

He said, “Adonai ELOHIM, how will I know that I will possess it?”[8]

4. Preparation for the Covenant (15:9-11)

hwhy [YeHoVaH] said to him, “Bring Me a heifer, a female goat, amd a ram, each three years old, plus a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 So Avram brought Him all these, and split each of them down the middle, and laid the halves opposite each other; but he didn’t cut the birds. 11 The birds of prey came down onto the carcasses, but Avram drove them away.

5. Prediction of Slavery (15:12-16)

12 As the sun was setting, Avram fell into a deep sleep, and suddenly great terror and great darkness overwhelmed him. 13 Then hwhy [YeHoVaH] said to Avram, “Know for certain that your descendants will live as strangers in a land that is not their own; they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.[13] 14 But I will also judge the nation they will serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great wealth. 15 But you will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a ripe old age. 16 In the fourth generation they will come here again, for the iniquity of the EmoriAmorites is not yet complete.”

6. HaShem’s Land Covenant (15:17-21)

 17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking firepot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the halves [of the carcasses]. 18 On that day hwhy [YeHoVaH] made a covenant with Avram, saying, “I have given this land to your offspring, from Nehal Mitzrayimthe river of Egypt[18] to the great nahal,[18] the Nahal PeratEuphrates River[18]: 19 the land of the KeniKenites, the K’nizi, the KadmoniKadmonites, 20 the HittiHittites, the P'riziPerizzites, the Refa'imRephaim, 21 the EmoriAmorites, the CaananitesKena'ani, the GirgashiGirgashites, and the Y'vusiJebusites.”

Chapter 16


 6. Please note that the Torah does not say, “Avram believed in hwhy [YeHoVaH]….” Believing in God accounts for absolutely nothing! “You believe that God is one. Good for you! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.” (James 2:19).  Avram believed hwhy [YeHoVaH]; that is, Avram took Him at His word and trusted that He would do exactly as He had said. It is only that kind of absolute trust in HaShem and in His word that counts for righteousness. [RETURN]

 8. This was a request for further clarification, not an expression of doubt, “I believe You, but can you explain how that’s going to work?” [RETURN]

13. Did Israel go into Egyptian slavery because HaShem decreed it, or was He simply stating what He knew to be true? Be careful to not confuse HaShem’s foreknowledge with His decrees. [RETURN]

18. Hebrew נְהַר, nehal, river or stream; the same Hebrew word is used in all three cases. Some teach that the “nehal” of Egypt should be translated as “wadi,” a valley, ravine, or channel that is dry except in the rainy season, referring to Wadi El Arish. If that’s the case, then “Euphrates River” should also be translated as “Euphrates Wadi.” Thus, the “River of Egypt” should refer to the Nile.

“The traditional Jewish understanding of the term Naḥal Mizraim is that it refers to the Nile. This view is made explicit in the Jerusalem Targum, the Targum Jonathan, the Targum Neofiti and the Fragment Targums (where in all cases the term is translated Nilus) as well as in the commentaries of Rashi and Rabbi Yehuda Halevi. Rashi explicitly states in his commentary on Joshua 13:3: ‘From the Shihor: that is the Nile the same as Naḥal Mizraim.’” [Wikipedia, accessed 08/20/20] [RETURN]

Originally posted on Thursday, 20 August 2020

Page last updated on Monday, 18 January 2021 12:17 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return