The Meaning of Genesis 15:1 Explained

Genesis 15:1

KJV: After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

YLT: After these things hath the word of Jehovah been unto Abram in a vision, saying, 'Fear not, Abram, I am a shield to thee, thy reward is exceeding great.'

Darby: After these things the word of Jehovah came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram; I am thy shield, thy exceeding great reward.

ASV: After these things the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

What does Genesis 15:1 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Only in Genesis 15:1 and Genesis 22:1; Genesis 22:11 did God address Abram directly. Visions were one of the three primary methods of divine revelation in the Old Testament along with dreams and direct communications (cf. Numbers 12:6-8).
"By his bold intervention and rescue of Lot, Abram exposes himself to the endemic plague of that region-wars of retaliation. [1] 116 , 121 , 122."] This fear of retaliation is the primary reason for the divine oracle of151which could be translated: "Stop being afraid, Abram. I am a shield for you, your very great reward." Yahweh"s providential care for Abram is to be seen as preventing the Mesopotamian coalition from returning and settling the score." [2]
The promise of reward (Heb. shakar), coming just after Abram"s battle with the kings, resembles a royal grant to an officer for faithful military service. [3] God would compensate Abram for conducting this military campaign even though he had passed up a reward from the king of Sodom. The compensation in view consisted of land and descendants (cf. Psalm 127:3).

Context Summary

Genesis 15:1-21 - Abram's Vision Of The Future
Abram had good reason to fear the vengeance of the defeated kings; but the divine voice reassured him. For all of us there is need of a shield, because the world hates us; and for each God will be our compensation for every sacrifice we have made. Refuse to take even the shoe-latchets of Sodom, and God will be your exceeding great reward. The patriarch addressed God as Adonai Jehovah, which occurs only twice more in the Pentateuch. While he was pouring out the bitterness of his soul, the stars came out. Count these, said his Almighty Friend; and he believed. For the first time that mighty word occurs in Scripture, and the Apostle makes much of it. See Romans 4:9; Galatians 3:6. It was as good as done. Henceforth the patriarch reckoned on God's faithfulness. In olden times covenants were ratified by the parties passing between the pieces of the sacrifice. To give strong consolation, the Almighty confirmed His word with an oath. See Hebrews 6:18. But God must wait until the hour for interposition is fully come. [source]

Chapter Summary: Genesis 15

1  God encourages Abram, who asks for an heir
4  God promises him a son, and a multiplying of his seed
6  Abram is justified by faith
7  Canaan is promised again,
9  and confirmed by a sign, and a vision,
18  prophetic of the condition of his posterity till brought out of Egypt

What do the individual words in Genesis 15:1 mean?

After things these came the word of Yahweh to Abram in a vision saying not do be afraid Abram I [am] shield to you your reward great exceedingly
אַחַ֣ר ׀ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה הָיָ֤ה דְבַר־ יְהוָה֙ אֶל־ אַבְרָ֔ם בַּֽמַּחֲזֶ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר אַל־ תִּירָ֣א אַבְרָ֗ם אָנֹכִי֙ מָגֵ֣ן לָ֔ךְ שְׂכָרְךָ֖ הַרְבֵּ֥ה מְאֹֽד

אַחַ֣ר ׀  After 
Parse: Adverb
Root: אַחַר 
Sense: after the following part, behind (of place), hinder, afterwards (of time).
הַדְּבָרִ֣ים  things 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine plural
Root: דָּבָר  
Sense: speech, word, speaking, thing.
הָאֵ֗לֶּה  these 
Parse: Article, Pronoun, common plural
Root: אֵהֶל 
Sense: these.
הָיָ֤ה  came 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אֶהְיֶה 
Sense: to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out.
דְבַר־  the  word 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: דָּבָר  
Sense: speech, word, speaking, thing.
יְהוָה֙  of  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
אַבְרָ֔ם  Abram 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: אַבְרָם  
Sense: original name of Abraham.
בַּֽמַּחֲזֶ֖ה  in  a  vision 
Parse: Preposition-b, Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: מַחֲזֶה  
Sense: vision (in the ecstatic state).
לֵאמֹ֑ר  saying 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
תִּירָ֣א  do  be  afraid 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, second person masculine singular
Root: יָרֵא 
Sense: to fear, revere, be afraid.
אַבְרָ֗ם  Abram 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: אַבְרָם  
Sense: original name of Abraham.
אָנֹכִי֙  I  [am] 
Parse: Pronoun, first person common singular
Root: אָנׄכִי  
Sense: I (first pers.
מָגֵ֣ן  shield 
Parse: Noun, common singular
Root: מָגֵן 
Sense: shield, buckler.
לָ֔ךְ  to  you 
Parse: Preposition, second person feminine singular
שְׂכָרְךָ֖  your  reward 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, second person masculine singular
Root: שָׂכָר  
Sense: hire, wages.
הַרְבֵּ֥ה  great 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Infinitive absolute
Root: הַרְבָּה 
Sense: be or become great, be or become many, be or become much, be or become numerous.
מְאֹֽד  exceedingly 
Parse: Adverb
Root: מְאֹד  
Sense: exceedingly, much subst.