Genesis 15 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Genesis 15 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

(15:8-9) "God ... said unto him, take me a heifer..."
God tells Abram to kill some animals for him.
Does God want animal sacrifices?
Yes, at this time animal sacrifices were still commanded. They were only abolished at Christ's death. See the other verses where the author of the SAB reads a contradiction such as Psalm 51:16.

9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

10 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.

11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.

12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

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;

(15:13) "They shall afflict them four hundred years."
How long was the Egyptian captivity?
This verse says that Abraham's seed would be a stranger in a land that wasn't theirs. Abraham didn't have seed until about sixteen years after. Abraham was 84 years old in this verse. Isaac was born when Abraham was 100, but wasn't acknowledged as his seed until Ishmael was cast out, when Abraham was 105.
Paul in Gal. 3:17 mentions the number of years from the first promise made to Abraham which we find in chapter 12:2 until the law was given to Moses, which is 430 years. This verse is a repetition of that promise and adds the affliction of Abraham's seed which started 21 years after this verse, when Abraham had seed, and his seed was acknowledged as the true heir.
Also, the author of the SAB shouldn't just join the word four hundred with captivity, but with being a stranger as well. In Ex. 12:40 the same thing happens: it does not just count the years in Egypt, but the entire sojourn from this promise made to Abraham from being a stranger in a land that wasn't theirs until their exit from Egypt. The years spent in Egypt proper were 215 years.
According to Ussher the first promise was made on Thursday, May 5, 1921 BC, this repetition is somewhere in 1912 BC.

14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

(15:16) "In the fourth generation they shall come hither again."
But, if we count Abraham, then their return occurred after seven generations: Abraham, Isaac (Gen.21:1-3), Jacob (Gen.25:19-26), Levi (Gen.35:22-23), Kohath (Ex.6:16), Amramn (Ex.6:18), and Moses (Ex.6:20).
This verse clearly talks about the 4th generation that “shall come hither again.“ So the count is from the generation that went up there obviously. So the author of the SAB should count the generations from the time of affliction and from those that went into that affliction. Moses was the fourth from Levi, exactly as foretold.

17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.

18 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:

(15:18) "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:"
God promises Abram's descendants the land of Canaan from the Nile to the Euphrates. But according to Acts 7:5 and Heb.11:13 God's promise to Abram was not fulfilled.
God's promises never fail. Acts 7:5 says that Abraham wasn't given the land, only the promise, and that the promise was to his seed, and his seed inherited the land. Similarly Heb. 11:13 talks about Abraham and Isaac, who received the promise, i.e. they believed it, but the promise was not that they should inherit the land, but their seed!
So I fail to see what kind of objection the author of the SAB makes here and fail to see any kind of logical argument.

19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,

20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,

21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.