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(KJV) Genesis 15:12

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; 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

In the above text God promises Abraham that his descendants will come back from captivity in the fourth generation.

If we start counting from Abraham who is given the promise Judah & his brothers are the fourth generation.

Judah & his brothers are not the ones that came out,but are the ones that actually went into Egypt.

So from whom is the fourth generation reckoned here?.

  • Would this answer your question ? – Lucian Dec 4 '17 at 5:43
  • @Lucian,i seem to get 225 years from entrance to exodus – collen ndhlovu Dec 4 '17 at 5:56
  • Israel was for four generations in Egypt, which are mentioned in the linked answer. – Lucian Dec 4 '17 at 10:29
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In the Old Testament the term generation can be taken as the period of time from a man's birth until the birth of his first offspring. (see TWOT - - Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

For Abraham this period of time would be 100 years; i.e. how old Abraham was at the time of the birth of Isaac.

Thus four generations (i.e. Abrahamic generations) would amount to 400 years. This is how Abraham would have viewed it as his life progressed. He would not have had any idea of the time span (generations) between later of his offspring.

That this is likely the proper understanding is that the time length of 400 years has already been introduced into the text back in verse 13 of Genesis chapter 15

It seems reasonably clear in the text that God was giving Abraham a clear word, which Abraham was intended to understand, of how long it would be until Abraham's seed would inherit the land promised to Abraham

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  • Abraham's first offspring was Ishmael, not Isaac. – Nigel J Jan 28 '18 at 7:05

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