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Genesis 15:1

    Genesis 15:1 Translations

    King James Version (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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

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

    American Standard Version (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.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Have no fear, Abram: I will keep you safe, and great will be your reward.

    Webster's Revision

    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.

    World English Bible

    After these things the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Don't be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    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.

    Clarke's Commentary on Genesis 15:1

    The word of the Lord came unto Abram - This is the first place where God is represented as revealing himself by his word. Some learned men suppose that the דבר יהוה debar Yehovah, translated here word of the Lord, means the same with the λογος του Θεου of St. John, John 1:1, and, by the Chaldee paraphrases in the next clause, called מימרי meimeri, "my word," and in other places מימרא דיי meimera daiya, the word of Yeya, a contraction for Jehovah, which they appear always to consider as a person; and which they distinguish from פתגמא pithgama, which signifies merely a word spoken, or any part of speech. There have been various conjectures concerning the manner in which God revealed his will, not only to the patriarchs, but also to the prophets, evangelists, and apostles. It seems to have been done in different ways. 1. By a personal appearance of him who was afterwards incarnated for the salvation of mankind. 2. By an audible voice, sometimes accompanied with emblematical appearances. 3. By visions which took place either in the night in ordinary sleep, or when the persons were cast into a temporary trance by daylight, or when about their ordinary business, 4. By the ministry of angels appearing in human bodies, and performing certain miracles to accredit their mission. 5. By the powerful agency of the Spirit of God upon the mind, giving it a strong conception and supernatural persuasion of the truth of the things perceived by the understanding. We shall see all these exemplified in the course of the work. It was probably in the third sense that the revelation in the text was given; for it is said, God appeared to Abram in a vision, מחזה machazeh, from חזה chazah, to see, or according to others, to fix, fasten, settle; hence chozeh, a Seer, the person who sees Divine things, to whom alone they are revealed, on whose mind they are fastened, and in whose memory and judgment they are fixed and settled. Hence the vision which was mentally perceived, and, by the evidence to the soul of its Divine origin, fixed and settled in the mind.

    Fear not - The late Dr. Dodd has a good thought on this passage; "I would read, says he, "the second verse in a parenthesis, thus: For Abram Had said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, etc. Abram had said this in the fear of his heart, upon which the Lord vouchsafed to him this prophetical view, and this strong renovation of the covenant. In this light all follows very properly. Abram had said so and so in Genesis 15:2, upon which God appears and says, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. The patriarch then, Genesis 15:3, freely opens the anxious apprehension of his heart, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed, etc., upon which God proceeds to assure him of posterity."

    I am thy shield, etc. - Can it be supposed that Abram understood these words as promising him temporal advantages at all corresponding to the magnificence of these promises? If he did he was disappointed through the whole course of his life, for he never enjoyed such a state of worldly prosperity as could justify the strong language in the text. Shall we lose sight of Abram, and say that his posterity was intended, and Abram understood the promises as relating to them, and not to himself or immediately to his own family? Then the question recurs, Did the Israelites ever enjoy such a state of temporal affluence as seems to be intended by the above promise? To this every man acquainted with their history will, without hesitation, say, No. What then is intended? Just what the words state. God was Abram's portion, and he is the portion of every righteous soul; for to Abram, and the children of his faith, he gives not a portion in this life. Nothing, says Father Calmet, proves more invincibly the immortality of the soul, the truth of religion, and the eternity of another life, than to see that in this life the righteous seldom receive the reward of their virtue, and that in temporal things they are often less happy than the workers of iniquity.

    I am, says the Almighty, thy shield - thy constant covering and protector, and thy exceeding great reward, שכרך הרבה מאד sekarcha harbeh meod, "That superlatively multiplied reward of thine." It is not the Canaan I promise, but the salvation that is to come through the promised seed. Hence it was that Abram rejoiced to see his day. And hence the Chaldee Targum translates this place, My Word shall be thy strength, etc.

    Barnes' Notes on Genesis 15:1

    After these things, - - the victory, the blessing, and the self-denial recorded in the previous chapter. "The word of the Lord," manifesting himself by speech to his servant. "In the vision" the intelligent observer passes from the merely sensible to the supersensible sphere of reality. "Fear not, Abram." The patriarch had some reason to fear. The formidable allies had indeed been defeated, and the fruits of their marauding enterprise wrested from them. But they might resume their purpose, and return with an overwhelming force. And Abram was still a stranger in a foreign land, preoccupied by tribes of another race, who would combine against him as soon as they suspected him of being an intruder. But the Lord had stood by him and given him the victory, and now speaks to him in the language of encouragement. "I am thy shield, thy exceeding great reward." The word I is separately expressed, and, therefore, emphatic in the original.

    I, Jehovah (Yahweh), the Self-existent One, the Author of existence, the Performer of promise, the Manifester of myself to man, and not any creature however exalted. This was something beyond a seed, or a land, or any temporal thing. The Creator infinitely transcends the creature. The mind of Abram is here lifted up to the spiritual and the eternal. (1) thy shield. (2) thy exceeding great reward. Abram has two fears - the presence of evil, and the absence of good. Experience and conscience had begun to teach him that both of these were justly his doom. But Yahweh has chosen him, and here engages himself to stand between him and all harm, and himself to be to him all good. With such a shield from all evil, and such a source of all good, he need not be afraid. The Lord, we see, begins, as usual, with the immediate and the tangible; but he propounds a principle that reaches to the eternal and the spiritual. We have here the opening germ of the great doctrine of "the Lord our righteousness," redeeming us on the one hand from the sentence of death, and on the other to a title to eternal life.

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