Gen 15:17

Ben and Jo Crick ben.crick at
Thu Jan 17 17:06:07 EST 2002

On Wed 16 Jan 2002 (15:38:14), bhebrew at wrote:
> I'm looking for a more detailed description of the "smoking firepot with a
> blazing torch" (NIV) or  "smoking furnace, and a flaming torch" (JPS) that
> is spoken of here in Gen 15:17. Are they described as two different items
> in Hebrew? Was the torch fueling the smoking furnace? I know it seems like
> an odd question, but it's very difficult for me to picture in my mind.
> I'd like to get some idea of what Abraham was seeing. Any help would be
> great.

 Dear Eric,

 W:HiNNeH    TaNNuWR `a$aN   W:LaPPiYD 'e$....
 And behold, a smoking oven  and a fiery torch....

 As I understand it, this is a nomad's oven like an Indian Tandoor. A metal
 canister or box is preheated by lighting a bonfire inside it. Then the food
 is put in on the hot embers, and the canister or box is sealed. A Tandoor
 is a charcoal-fired clay oven still in use in North India and elsewhere.
 This smoking flashing oven represents the Very Presence of YHWH appearing to
 Abram in a vision. We may compare it with the pillar of fire and cloud at
 the Exodus. Fire and Smoke may indicate Revelation and Concealment of the
 Theophany. YHWH is present, but is concealed. Compare Ezekiel's vision of
 YHWH's mobile throne if you like: but Abram's tandoor is on a much smaller

 In Genesis 15 God is "Cutting a Covenant" with Abram. Abram does the
 "cutting", but God "passes between the pieces" in token that He, for His
 part, will certainly keep and perform His covenant promises. Abraham did
 not pass between the pieces. He was a sleeping spectator of the vision
 (verse 12). This Covenant is a unilaterally imposed covenant of Grace.

 See Jeremiah 34:18-20 where the Covenant sanction is clearly spelt out for
 bilateral covenants. The slaughter and bisection of the covenant-cutting
 sacrifices is referred to in the Covenant Formula, "The LORD do so to me and
 more also if I do not keep the Covenant" (Ruth 1:17; 1 Samuel 3:17; 14:44;
 25:22; 2 Samuel 3:35; 19:14; 1 Kings 2:23; 2 Kings 6:31). Even worshippers of
 the Baals used this formula in their oaths (1 Kings 19:2; 20:10).

 As I've been taught...
 Revd Ben Crick BA CF, and Mrs Joanna (Goodwin) Crick
 <ben.crick at>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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