Genesis 13:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 13:16, NIV: "I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted."

Genesis 13:16, ESV: "I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted."

Genesis 13:16, KJV: "And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered."

Genesis 13:16, NASB: "I will make your descendants as plentiful as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can count the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be counted."

Genesis 13:16, NLT: "And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted!"

Genesis 13:16, CSB: "I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust of the earth, then your offspring could be counted."

What does Genesis 13:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

God continues to reaffirm His promises to Abram and to expand on them. Not only will the Lord give Abram children and make of his offspring a great nation, God will make them so numerous as to be uncountable. Such a promise must have been both comforting and confusing to a childless man in his 70s.

Using a potent analogy, God describes the number of Abram's descendants as like the dust of the earth. This echoes the concept of man being formed from the dust of the earth, when God originally created Adam (Genesis 2:7). Here, however, the point is about how numerous these descendants will be. Interestingly, the comparison does not involve something like sand, which typically is "counted" by grains (Isaiah 48:19). Here, even the idea of how to "count" dust is mind-boggling. From both a physical and spiritual perspective, Abraham's children will number beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend (Romans 9:7–9; Galatians 3:7).