Genesis 15:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 15:18, NIV: "On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, 'To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates--"

Genesis 15:18, ESV: "On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,"

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:"

Genesis 15:18, NASB: "On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, 'To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:"

Genesis 15:18, NLT: "So the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, 'I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River--"

Genesis 15:18, CSB: "On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "I give this land to your offspring, from the brook of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River:"

What does Genesis 15:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

With the covenant ritual between the Lord and Abram completed, God gets very specific about the boundaries of the land He is promising to Abram and his descendants.

Covenants between God and humans are significant, of course. Often they include conditions from God which, if met by the people involved, will result in God keeping His end of the agreement. This covenant is different. Sometimes referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant, this was an agreement in which all the conditions and promises were on God's side. For example, in the prior passage, God symbolically passes between the severed halves of the animals. This might have been a common ritual of that era, where both parties declared their obligations by walking through the middle of the carcasses. Notably, only God is shown to do this in the preceding verses—Abram's work is not part of this promise.

God was binding Himself to do as He promised no matter what Abram or Abram's descendants did or did not do. Put another way, this promise from God to the people of Israel to give them this land, was a unilateral covenant.

In defining this Promised Land, God begins at the southern border with the "river of Egypt," which many scholars identify as the Wadi el-Arish River, not the Nile. The northern border would be the great Euphrates River. The following verses will define the remaining areas of the land promised to Abram's offspring in terms of the people groups occupying those lands previously.