Chapter 15 of Bereishit records the seminal covenant between God and the patriarch Abraham, when he and his descendants were promised the Land of Israel. This is the covenant that was later repeated to Isaac, Jacob, and much later on to Moses, and it forged the relationship between God and His chosen nation for eternity.
Despite its importance, however, the covenant is framed around a number of puzzling features that demand explanation. What prompted God to pronounce it at this exact moment? Why did God need to assure Abraham of His protection? Why mention Abraham’s merits? Why was Abraham concerned about his childlessness if he had previously been promised children? Why was the exile in Egypt required?
And there are many more questions that require understanding.
In the first of a four-part series, Rabbi Dunner explores this extraordinary episode using the Malbim commentary (authored by the nineteenth century bible commentator Rabbi Meir Leibush Weiser), who combines classical sources and ideas with an array of original interpretations, presenting a comprehensive understanding of the covenant and the events surrounding it.