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Abrahamic Covenant. Chapters 12-50 of The Book of Genesis

The book of Genesis from chapters 12 to 50 talks about the covenant and promises that were made by God to Abraham. These promises are commonly referred to as Abrahamic covenant which generally is composed of three things: a land, a blessing, and a seed.

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The word covenant has extensively been mentioned over 280 times in the Old Testament. The word covenant has been used in the Bible to mean an agreement between two individuals, in the aforesaid context, it means between God and individuals, between a leader or king and his subjects or even between God and groups of people. Covenants involve promises, pledges, mutual agreements, treaties, compacts alliances as well as consequences of breaking the agreement.

There are two main types of covenants namely: unconditional and conditional. Those covenants that have conditions attached and are consequently forfeited when the conditions are violated by either party are called conditional covenants while unconditional covenants are arrangements whereby the failure of one party to adhere to the rules does not undermine the eventual fulfillment and blessing of the covenant. Covenants in the bible and particularly between God and Man are founded on God’s character of loving-kindness and Grace towards the sinful man.

Abraham’s covenant with Abimelech (Gen 21:25-33)

God made several unconditional covenants with Abraham; this meant that God’s covenant promises will be completely fulfilled irrespective of man’s failure or success to uphold whatever commandment or conditions contained in the covenant. In other words, fulfillment is dependent upon God and not man. This effectively means that Abraham’s failure to fulfill his obligations would not have negated the fulfillment of God’s promises to him.

The promises of God to Abraham can be divided into three major categories. They are individual, National and universal promises. Individual promises are seen where God makes a personal promise to Abraham that His name will be great and he himself will be a blessing. According to (Genesis 17:6) God promises Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation.

  • National promises: These are seen whereby God promises to Abraham that the nation that would be formed out of his descendants would be fruitful great and innumerable (Genesis 17:6)
  • Universal promise: This is a promise of a blessing from God to all nations and families son earth through Abraham. God declares that he will bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse him.

God’s promises to Abraham are widely distributed from chapters 12 to 50.

  • In chapters 12:1-3 God informs Abraham to leave his native country Ur one of the wealthiest city in Mesopotamia his relatives and father’s house and go to a land where he would be shown. God promises to bless and make Abraham famous in the new land whereby he will be a blessing to others. God promises to bless all those who blessed Abraham and curse those who cursed him and all families of the earth will be blessed through him.
  • In chapter 12:7 God appears to Abraham and promises to give the land He had shown him to his descendants. In chapter 13:14-17 After Abraham had separated with Lot God promised to give him every piece of land that he would set his foot on and also give his uncountable descendants. In chapter 15:6-7 God informs Abraham that his descendants will be enslaved and oppressed in a foreign land where they will be strangers but He promises him that He will punish the nation that enslaves them and his descendants will come out of the foreign land with great wealth.
  • In Chapter 17:1-6 God urges Abraham to live a blameless life and serve him faithfully. In addition, god promises to make Abraham a mighty nation and changes his name from Abram to Abraham.
  • In chapter 17:9-14 God informs Abraham of his continual responsibility of obeying the terms of the covenant which include the circumcision of all male persons as a sign of acceptance of the covenant.
  • In Chapter 17:19-21 God promises Abraham a son through his wife Sarah and he would be named Isaac and that Sarah would be a mother of all nations. God declares that he will confirm his everlasting covenant with Isaac and his descendants. God also promises to bless his son and cause him to multiply and become a great nation and among his descendants, there will be twelve princes.
  • In Chapter 18:17-20 God reaffirms his commitment to fulfilling His promises. He again declares that Abraham will indeed become a great and mighty nation and that all nations will be blessed through him.
  • God’s promise of giving Abraham a son is realized at exactly the time God had said. In Chapter 22:16-18 God tested Abraham’s dedication and faith in Him by asking him to offer his son as a sacrifice. Abraham obeyed but God offered him a ram to sacrifice instead. After this incident, God promises and actually swears in to bless Abraham richly and multiply his descendants into countless millions.
  • In Chapter 24:6-7 Abraham reminds himself of God’s promise of giving his descendants land. This happened when he was instructing the eldest servant of his house who ruled over all that he had.
  • In chapter 25:11 this happened during the death of Abraham. God poured rich blessings on Isaac just as he had promised.
  • In Chapter 25: 21 Isaac prays to the Lord to give Rebeckah a child because she was barren and God answers and she conceives. In verse 23, God tells Rebeckah that 2 Nations will be born out of her, one will be stronger than the other and the elder shall serve the younger. In Genesis 25: 24-27, indeed 2 Nations are born.
  • In Chapter 26: 2- 4 God appeared to Isaac and told him to go to Egypt and dwell in the land that God would give him. God told him to live there because he would bless him and his seed would be given land in all those countries. In Genesis 26:12 The Lord blessed Isaac as he had promised.
  • In Genesis 26: 24 God appeared to Isaac at night just after he had left to Beer – Sheba after solving the controversy of the wells. He encourages Isaac not to be afraid for he was with him. He promises to bless him and multiply his children for his father Abraham’s sake.
  • In Genesis 27: 28 – 29 Isaac blesses Jacob his son who had disguised himself as Esau. Esau was the one who rightfully deserved the blessings. He blessed him by telling him that people would serve him, nations would bow down to him and he would rule over his brother. This brings to pass God’s promise over Rebeckah, Isaac’s wife in Genesis 17: 19 – 21, that she shall give birth to two nations and one shall become a great nation.
  • In Genesis 28: 12 – 15 Jacob is on run – away from his brother Esau, at night he finds a place to sleep and dreams of a ladder. God stood above the ladder and promised to give him and his seed the land where he lay. He promises to multiply his seed as the dust of the earth and in his seed would all the families of the earth be blessed. God promises to be with him till the end of ages.
  • In Genesis 31: 1-3 Jacob wanted to flee from Laban, God spoke to him and told him to return to the land of his fathers and he would be with him.
  • In Genesis 32: 28 – 29, Jacob wrestled with God; it was a time when he was really afraid of his brother’s pursuit to kill. During this time he wrestled with God till he blessed him as he had promised him when he fled from Laban and also changed his name from Jacob to Israel.
  • In Genesis 35: 1 God called Jacob and told him to go to Bethel and live there and make an altar for God. When he left, Genesis verses 9 – 12, God appeared to Jacob and blesses him, He affirms that his name is no longer Jacob but Israel. He promises him and his children land and kingship over nations.
  • In Genesis 39: 2-5, 21 – 23, God keeps his promises to Jacob, he had promised to bless him and his seed. God remembers Joseph even in trying times and gives him favor in all that he does.
  • In Genesis 46: 1-5, Jacob offered a sacrifice to God when he heard that Joseph his son was alive, God then spoke to him and made him a promise in a vision at night that he shouldn’t fear for God would make him a great nation in Egypt.
  • Genesis 46: 30, 47 Jacob blesses Joseph’s children; Ephraim and Manasseh. They all live there in Egypt and God blesses them abundantly.
  • Genesis 49 Jacob blesses his sons as he prepares to die.
  • Genesis 50 Jacob dies and is buried. God blesses Joseph with all his family, he later dies at the age of a hundred and ten years have received the promises of God. He also lives a promise that God would take back the children of Israel to their father’s land.

The promises have been summarized and put in a chart format. In the chart, there are indications of chapters where the promises were made. One is supposed to look at the chapter and then refer to a bible to get more details of what transpired.

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Genesis Promises made.
Chapters 12:1-3 God promises to bless and make Abraham famous in the new land whereby he will be a blessing to others.
God promises to bless all those who blessed Abraham and curse those who cursed him and all families of the earth will be blessed through him.
Chapter 12:7 God promises to give the land He had shown Abraham to his descendants.
Chapter 13:14-17 God promised to give Abraham every piece of land that he would set his foot on and also give him uncountable descendants.
Chapters 15:1-16 God promises to give Abraham physical, genetic descendants as a National group.
He promises to give them a physical land in which to plant this nation.
God also promises Abraham that He will punish the nation that enslaves his descendants and his descendants will come out of the foreign land with great wealth.
God prophetically proclaims how he will prepare the Nation’s foundation.
Chapter 17:1-6 God promises to make Abraham a mighty nation and changes his name from Abram to Abraham.
God promises that Abraham’s seed as a nation would possess the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession.
Chapter 17:19-21 God promises Abraham a son through his wife Sarah who would be named Isaac and make Sarah the mother of all nations.
God declares that he will confirm his everlasting covenant with Isaac and his descendants. God also promises to bless his son and cause him to toss multiply and become a great nation and among his descendants, there will be twelve princes.
Chapter 18:17-20 God reaffirms his commitment to fulfilling His promises. He declares that Abraham will indeed become a great and mighty nation and that all nations will be blessed through him.
Chapter 22:16-18 God promises and actually swears in to bless Abraham richly and multiply his descendants into countless millions.
God also promises that Abraham’s seed as a nation would possess the gate of their enemies
Chapter 24:6-7 Abraham reminds himself of God’s promise of giving his descendants land.
Chapter 25: 11 God blesses Isaac as he had promised.
Chapter 25: 21-23 Isaac prays to the Lord to give Rebeckah a child because she was barren and God answers and she conceives. In verse 23, God tells Rebeckah that 2 Nations will be born out of her.
Genesis 25: 24,27 Indeed 2 Nations are born.
Chapter 26: 2- 4 God appears to Isaac tells him to go to Egypt and dwell in the land that God would give him. In Genesis 26:12 The Lord blessed Isaac as he had promised.
Genesis 26: 24 God appears to Isaac at night, encourages him and promises to bless him and multiply his children for his father Abraham’s sake.
Genesis 27:28, 29 Isaac blesses Jacob his son who had disguised himself as Esau. This brings to pass God’s promise over Rebeckah, Isaac’s wife in Genesis 17: 19 – 21, that she shall give birth to two nations.
Genesis 28:12,15 Jacob is on run – away from his brother Esau, God promises to multiply his seed and be with him till the end of ages.
Genesis 31: 1-3 Jacob wanted to flee from Laban, God spoke to him and told him to return to the land of his fathers and he would be with him.
Genesis 32:28,29 Jacob wrestled with God and changed his name from Jacob to Israel.
Genesis 35:1,9,12 God called Jacob and told him to go to Bethel and live there and make an altar for God. Affirms that his name is no longer Jacob but Israel and promises him and his children land and kingship over nations.
Gen39:2,5, 21-23 God keeps his promises to Jacob, he had promised to bless him and his seed. God remembers Joseph even in trying times and gives him favor in all that he does.
Genesis 46: 1-5 Jacob offered a sacrifice to God. God then spoke to him and made him a promise that he shouldn’t fear for God would make him a great nation in Egypt.
Genesis 46: 30,47 Jacob blesses Joseph’s children; Ephraim and Manasseh. God blesses them abundantly.
Genesis 49 Jacob blesses his sons as he prepares to die.
Genesis 50 Jacob dies and is buried. God blesses Joseph with all his family, dies at the age of a hundred and ten years have received the promises of God.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Abrahamic Covenant. Chapters 12-50 of The Book of Genesis." August 24, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/abrahamic-covenant-chapters-12-50-of-the-book-of-genesis/.

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