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Abram said, “Lord Yahweh, what will you give me, since I go childless, and he who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” Bible

“what will you give me.” Abram was already wealthy, but even if he wasn’t, the feeling of the value of having a family in biblical times was so strong that Abram’s sentiment could have been (and likely was) expressed many times in the biblical period. If a man lived and died without children to enjoy and inherit the work of his years, he was considered cursed. Nothing was as valuable as a family. Abram would die having had eight sons. Ishmael, Isaac, and six by Keturah (Gen. 25:1-2).

“childless.” Abraham did not have any children yet, and at this point in Sarah’s life she was still barren, and therefore not naturally expected to have any children. Nevertheless, God had told Abram that he would have heirs (Gen. 12:2, 7; 13:16).

“Eliezer of Damascus.” Nothing is said of him other than what is in this verse (some assume that he is the chief servant mentioned in Gen. 24:2, and although that may be the case, there is no way to know for certain). This had led many scholars to think that the text has been corrupted or needs to be amended, but that would not have to be the case. Abraham was a powerful Bedouin sheik, with hundreds in his household (see commentary on Gen. 14:14), and he would have no doubt had powerful political and financial connections. It is likely that at that time, before Abram had children, he had made arrangements for this Eliezer to take over his household if he died. The fact that we know nothing else about Eliezer makes sense. He just comes up in a frank and intimate conversation between Abraham and God, and once Abraham had a male child he would no longer inherit the estate.


Commentary for: Genesis 15:2