Genesis 15

God Covenants with Abraham


The heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus (Genesis 15:2).

This is the first reference to Eliezer, although Damascus was mentioned in the previous chapter (Gen 14:15). It seems that since Eliezer was set to be Abram’s heir, Eliezer would have been serving Abram for a lengthy period of time. This is confirmed by the subsequent statement that Eliezer had been “born in my house” (Gen 15:3). This photochrom image of Damascus was taken in the 1890s.


He said to him, “I am Yahweh who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans” (Genesis 15:7).

Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition identifies Urfa/Sanliurfa (Edessa) as the birthplace of Abram. Sanliurfa sits along ancient routes midway between the crossing of the Euphrates at Zeugma and the crossing of the Tigris at Samosata. Pictured here is Melvid-i Halil Mosque, Abram’s traditional birthplace, in Sanliurfa.

Animal Sacrifice

He took all these and cut them in half and laid each half opposite the other (Genesis 15:10).

This Egyptian relief shows three cattle that have been trussed in preparation for sacrifice. It also depicts a number of tables or altars that have been piled with sacrifices, including cuts of meat. This relief was photographed at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Abraham's Tomb

As for you, you will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age (Genesis 15:15).

The structure in this photograph was built during the reign of King Herod in the 1st century BC. It was built over the traditional location of the tombs of the patriarchs. It has been modified since that time but the main structure that has pilasters (engaged columns) is original to the 1st century BC.

Ancient Ovens

There appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch that passed between these pieces (Genesis 15:17).

The word “oven” (Heb. tannur) refers to a container that held burning charcoal, used for cooking food or even heating a room. Such containers were sometimes portable, like the example shown here. The holes that pierce the sides of this container were intended to supply air to keep the coals burning. This ancient fire pot was photographed at the American University of Beirut Archaeology Museum.

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