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Genesis 15:10

ESV And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half.
NIV Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.
NASB Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds.
CSB So he brought all these to him, cut them in half, and laid the pieces opposite each other, but he did not cut the birds in half.
NLT So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half.
KJV And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

What does Genesis 15:10 mean?

In response to Abram's request for reassurance that he and his offspring would possess the land as God had promised, the Lord told Abram to bring five specific animals before Him. Abram did so and now proceeds to cut the heifer, goat, and ram (all three years old) in half and to lay each half opposite the other. He did not cut the turtledove or pigeon in half.

The symbolic meaning of this bloody-but-purposeful covenant ritual will be clarified in the following verses. In part, this meaning involves a unity of those making the agreement. According to some interpreters, this ritual was also used as a way of demonstrating sincerity; by implying that those passing between the pieces were willing to be destroyed, as the animals were, if they broke their part of the agreement. The use of the animals also provides Abram with a symbolic picture of Israel's future struggles under the oppressive rule of Egypt.
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