The Meaning of Genesis 15:18 Explained

Genesis 15:18

KJV: In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

YLT: In that day hath Jehovah made with Abram a covenant, saying, 'To thy seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Phrat,

Darby: On the same day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates;

ASV: In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

What does Genesis 15:18 Mean?

Study Notes

covenant
The Abrahamic Covenant as formed Genesis 12:1-4 and confirmed; Genesis 13:14-17 ; Genesis 15:1-7 ; Genesis 17:1-8 is in seven distinct parts:
(1) "I will make of thee a great nation." Fulfilled in a threefold way:
(a) In a natural posterity--"as the dust of the earth Genesis 13:16 ; John 8:37 , viz. the Hebrew people.
(b) In a spiritual posterity--"look now toward heaven. .. so shall thy seed be" John 8:39 ; Romans 4:16 ; Romans 4:17 ; Romans 9:7 ; Romans 9:8 ; Galatians 3:6 ; Galatians 3:7 ; Galatians 3:29 viz. all men of faith, whether Jew or Gentile.
(c) fulfilled also through Ishmael Genesis 17:18-20
(2) "I will bless thee." Fulfilled in two ways:
(a) temporally Genesis 13:14 ; Genesis 13:15 ; Genesis 13:17 ; Genesis 15:18 ; Genesis 24:34 ; Genesis 24:35 (b) spiritually; Genesis 15:6 ; John 8:56
(3) "And make thy name great." Abraham's is one of the universal names.
(4) "And thou shalt be a blessing" Galatians 3:13 ; Galatians 3:14
(5) "I will bless them that bless thee." In fulfilment closely related to the next clause.
(6) "And curse him that curseth thee." Wonderfully fulfilled in the history of the dispersion. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew--well with those who have protected him. The future will still more remarkably prove this principle Deuteronomy 30:7 ; Isaiah 14:1 ,; Joel 3:1-8 ; Micah 5:7-9 ; Haggai 2:22 ; Zechariah 14:1-3 ; Matthew 25:40 ; Matthew 25:45 .
(7) "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." This is the great evangelic promise fulfilled in Abraham's Seed, Christ Galatians 3:16 ; John 8:56-58 .
It brings into greater definiteness the promise of the Adamic Covenant concerning the Seed of the woman Genesis 3:15
NOTE.--The gift of the land is modified by prophecies of three dispossessions and restorations Genesis 15:13 ; Genesis 15:14 ; Genesis 15:16 ; Jeremiah 25:11 ; Jeremiah 25:12 ; Deuteronomy 28:62-65 ; Deuteronomy 30:1-3 . Two dispossessions and restorations have been accomplished. Israel is now in the third dispersion, from which she will be restored at the return of the Lord as King under the Davidic Covenant; Deuteronomy 30:3 ; Jeremiah 23:5-8 ; Ezekiel 37:21-25 ; Luke 1:30-33 ; Acts 15:14-17
See, for the other seven covenants:
EDENIC ADAMIC See Scofield " Genesis 3:15 " NOAHIC See Scofield " Genesis 9:1 " MOSAIC See Scofield " Exodus 19:25 " PALESTINIAN See Scofield " Deuteronomy 30:3 " DAVIDIC See Scofield " 2 Samuel 7:16 " NEW See Scofield " Hebrews 8:8 "
Be fruitful
The Edenic Covenant, the first of the eight great covenants of Scripture which condition life and salvation, and about which all Scripture crystallizes, has seven elements. The man and woman in Eden were responsible:
(1) To replenish the earth with a new order--man;
(2) to subdue the earth to human uses;
(3) to have dominion over the animal creation;
(4) to eat herbs and fruits;
(5) to till and keep the garden;
(6) to abstain from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil;
(7) the penalty--death. See, for the other seven covenants:
ADAMIC (See Scofield " Genesis 3:14 ")
NOAHIC (See Scofield " Genesis 9:1 ")
ABRAHAMIC (See Scofield " Genesis 15:18 ")
MOSAIC (See Scofield " Exodus 19:25 ")
PALESTINIAN (See Scofield " Deuteronomy 30:3 ")
DAVIDIC (See Scofield " 2 Samuel 7:16 ")
NEW (See Scofield " Hebrews 8:8 ")
DISPENSATION
A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. Seven such dispensations are distinguished in Scripture. (See Scofield " Genesis 1:28 ") , note 5.
And God blessed them
The First Dispensation: Innocency. Man was created in innocency, placed in a perfect environment, subjected to an absolutely simple test, and warned of the consequence of disobedience. The woman fell through pride; the man deliberately. 1 Timothy 2:14 God restored His sinning creatures, but the dispensation of innocency ended in the judgment of the Expulsion Genesis 3:24 See, for the other dispensations;
Conscience (See Scofield " Genesis 3:23 ")
Human Government (See Scofield " Genesis 8:21 ")
Promise (See Scofield " Genesis 12:1 ")
Law (See Scofield " Exodus 19:8 ")
Grace (See Scofield " John 1:17 ")
Kingdom (See Scofield " Ephesians 1:10 ")
Be fruitful
The Edenic Covenant, the first of the eight great covenants of Scripture which condition life and salvation, and about which all Scripture crystallizes, has seven elements. The man and woman in Eden were responsible:
(1) To replenish the earth with a new order--man;
(2) to subdue the earth to human uses;
(3) to have dominion over the animal creation;
(4) to eat herbs and fruits;
(5) to till and keep the garden;
(6) to abstain from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil;
(7) the penalty--death. See, for the other seven covenants:
ADAMIC (See Scofield " Genesis 3:14 ")
NOAHIC (See Scofield " Genesis 9:1 ")
ABRAHAMIC (See Scofield " Genesis 15:18 ")
MOSAIC (See Scofield " Exodus 19:25 ")
PALESTINIAN (See Scofield " Deuteronomy 30:3 ")
DAVIDIC (See Scofield " 2 Samuel 7:16 ")
NEW (See Scofield " Hebrews 8:8 ")
And God blessed them
The First Dispensation: Innocency. Man was created in innocency, placed in a perfect environment, subjected to an absolutely simple test, and warned of the consequence of disobedience. The woman fell through pride; the man deliberately. 1 Timothy 2:14 God restored His sinning creatures, but the dispensation of innocency ended in the judgment of the Expulsion Genesis 3:24 See, for the other dispensations;
Conscience (See Scofield " Genesis 3:23 ")
Human Government (See Scofield " Genesis 8:21 ")
Promise (See Scofield " Genesis 12:1 ")
Law (See Scofield " Exodus 19:8 ")
Grace (See Scofield " John 1:17 ")
Kingdom (See Scofield " Ephesians 1:10 ")
Be fruitful
The Edenic Covenant, the first of the eight great covenants of Scripture which condition life and salvation, and about which all Scripture crystallizes, has seven elements. The man and woman in Eden were responsible:
(1) To replenish the earth with a new order--man;
(2) to subdue the earth to human uses;
(3) to have dominion over the animal creation;
(4) to eat herbs and fruits;
(5) to till and keep the garden;
(6) to abstain from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil;
(7) the penalty--death. See, for the other seven covenants:
ADAMIC (See Scofield " Genesis 3:14 ")
NOAHIC (See Scofield " Genesis 9:1 ")
ABRAHAMIC (See Scofield " Genesis 15:18 ")
MOSAIC (See Scofield " Exodus 19:25 ")
PALESTINIAN (See Scofield " Deuteronomy 30:3 ")
DAVIDIC (See Scofield " 2 Samuel 7:16 ")
NEW (See Scofield " Hebrews 8:8 ")

Verse Meaning

This was the formal "cutting" of the Abrahamic Covenant. God now formalized His earlier promises ( Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 12:7) into a suzerainty treaty, similar to a royal land grant, since Abram now understood and believed what God had promised. God as king bound Himself to do something for His servant Abram. The fulfillment of the covenant did not depend on Abram"s obedience. It rested entirely on God"s faithfulness. [1]
". . . it is fitting that in many respects the account should foreshadow the making of the covenant at Sinai. The opening statement in Genesis 15:7 : "I am the LORD, who brought you up out of Ur of the Chaldeans," is virtually identical to the opening statement of the Sinai covenant in Exodus 20:2 : "I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt." The expression "Ur of the Chaldeans" refers back to Genesis 11:28; Genesis 11:31 and grounds the present covenant in a past act of divine salvation from "Babylon," just as Exodus 20:2 grounds the Sinai covenant in an act of divine salvation from Egypt. The coming of God"s presence in the awesome fire and darkness of Mount Sinai ( Exodus 19:18; Exodus 20:18; Deuteronomy 4:11) appears to be intentionally reflected in Abraham"s pyrotechnic vision ( Genesis 15:12; Genesis 15:17). In the Lord"s words to Abraham ( Genesis 15:13-16) the connection between Abraham"s covenant and the Sinai covenant is explicitly made by means of the reference to the four hundred years of bondage of Abraham"s seed and their subsequent "exodus" ("and after this they will go out," Genesis 15:14). Such considerations lead to the conclusion that the author intends to draw the reader"s attention to the events at Sinai in his depiction of the covenant with Abraham.
"If we ask why the author has sought to bring the picture of Sinai here, the answer lies in the purpose of the book. It is part of the overall strategy of the book to show that what God did at Sinai was part of a larger plan which had already been put into action with the patriarchs. Thus, the exodus and the Sinai covenant serve as reminders not only of God"s power and grace but also of God"s faithfulness. What he sets out to accomplish with his people, he will carry through to the end." [2]
Moses revealed the general geographical borders of the Promised Land here for the first time. Some scholars interpret the "river of Egypt" as the Nile.
"The argument is usually based on the fact that the Hebrew word nahar is consistently restricted to large rivers. However, the Hebrew is more frequently nahal (= Arabic wady) instead of the nahar of Genesis 15:18 which may have been influenced by the second nahar in the text. [3] In the Akkadian texts of Sargon II (716 B.C.) it appears as nahal musar." [4]
God later specified the Wadi El "Arish, "the geographical boundary between Canaan and Egypt," [5] as the exact border ( Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4; Joshua 15:47). That seems to be the river in view here too. The Euphrates River has never yet been Israel"s border. These borders appear to coincide with those of the Garden of Eden (cf. Genesis 2:10-14). Thus the Garden of Eden may have occupied the same general area as the Promised Land.
Some amillennialists take these boundaries as an ideal expressing great blessing and believe God never intended that Abram"s seed should extend this far geographically. [4] However such a conclusion is subjective and finds no support in the text.

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 15:18 mean?

On day that made Yahweh with Abram a covenant saying to your descendants I have given - land this from the river of Egypt to the river great the River Euphrates
בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא כָּרַ֧ת יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־ אַבְרָ֖ם בְּרִ֣ית לֵאמֹ֑ר לְזַרְעֲךָ֗ נָתַ֙תִּי֙ אֶת־ הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֔את מִנְּהַ֣ר מִצְרַ֔יִם עַד־ הַנָּהָ֥ר הַגָּדֹ֖ל נְהַר־ פְּרָֽת

בַּיּ֣וֹם  On  day 
Parse: Preposition-b, Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: יׄום 
Sense: day, time, year.
הַה֗וּא  that 
Parse: Article, Pronoun, third person masculine singular
Root: הוּא 
Sense: he, she, it.
כָּרַ֧ת  made 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person masculine singular
Root: כָּרַת  
Sense: to cut, cut off, cut down, cut off a body part, cut out, eliminate, kill, cut a covenant.
יְהוָ֛ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
אַבְרָ֖ם  Abram 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: אַבְרָם  
Sense: original name of Abraham.
בְּרִ֣ית  a  covenant 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: בְּרִית  
Sense: covenant, alliance, pledge.
לֵאמֹ֑ר  saying 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
לְזַרְעֲךָ֗  to  your  descendants 
Parse: Preposition-l, Noun, masculine singular construct, second person masculine singular
Root: זֶרַע  
Sense: seed, sowing, offspring.
נָתַ֙תִּי֙  I  have  given 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, first person common singular
Root: יָתַן 
Sense: to give, put, set.
אֶת־  - 
Parse: Direct object marker
Root: אֹות 
Sense: sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.
הָאָ֣רֶץ  land 
Parse: Article, Noun, feminine singular
Root: אֶרֶץ  
Sense: land, earth.
הַזֹּ֔את  this 
Parse: Article, Pronoun, feminine singular
Root: זׄאת  
Sense: this, this one, here, which, this … that, the one … the other, such.
מִנְּהַ֣ר  from  the  river 
Parse: Preposition-m, Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: נָהָר  
Sense: stream, river.
מִצְרַ֔יִם  of  Egypt 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: מִצְרַיִם  
Sense: a country at the northeastern section of Africa, adjacent to Palestine, and through which the Nile flows adj Egyptians = “double straits”.
הַנָּהָ֥ר  the  river 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: נָהָר  
Sense: stream, river.
הַגָּדֹ֖ל  great 
Parse: Article, Adjective, masculine singular
Root: גָּבֹול 
Sense: great.
נְהַר־  the  River 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: נָהָר  
Sense: stream, river.
פְּרָֽת  Euphrates 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: פְּרָת  
Sense: the largest and longest river of western Asia; rises from two chief sources in the Armenian mountains and flows into the Persian Gulf.