Abram complains to God that he is childless and has no heir. God tells him, don’t worry, you shall have an heir of your own. Bring me a 3 year old cow, a 3 year old goat, a 3 year old ram and a turtledove and a pigeon. Abram does this and has a dream where he learns that his offspring will be slaves for 400 years, but don’t worry – it will all work out ok and I’ll give your offspring all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates.
In other words:
Abram has a dream where God promises to give him a huge empire, but that this will only happen after his offspring have been mistreated for 400 years.
The very specific nature of the offering God requests – 3 yr old sheep, goat and cow as well as two birds. (Genesis 15:9)
Least favorite bit:
I didn’t like the part of the dream where God tells Abram that his offspring are going to suffer, basically because “The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” This may have made sense to the people who were originally told this story – but honestly, I have no idea what the Amorites have to do with the children of Israel being forced to endure hardship in Egypt. (Genesis 15: 13, 16)
Moral Lesson Learned:
Things don’t always make sense (Genesis 15: 16)