Q. In Genesis 15 – why did Abraham do the following:
15:10 but the birds divided he not.
15:11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
15:12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.
Why did all these happen?
A. Many people think the birds were not cut in two because of their size. Later, in Lev. 1:14-17 Moses instructed the priests not to split the birds in two while sacrificing them.
The birds of prey who landed on the carcasses were scavengers, unclean birds who would have defiled the ceremony. Abraham was immobilized during the ceremony so he could not take part. This symbolized that there was nothing Abraham needed to do to keep the covenant in force. The land grant was a unilateral act of God.
The 400 year delay accomplished three things. One it gave the Amorites the time to repent that God had apparently promised them, even though He knew they wouldn’t do it. Two it gave the Egyptians time to acquire the wealth they would hand over to the Israelites at the time of the Exodus, and three it gave the Israelites time to become a nation of over 1 million people, big enough to populate and defend the land God was promising Abraham.