And God commended his virtue, and said, Thou shalt not however lose
the rewards thou hast deserved to receive by such thy glorious actions.
He answered, And what advantage will it be to me to have such rewards,
when I have none to enjoy them after me? - for he was hitherto childless.
And God promised that he should have a son, and that his posterity should
be very numerous; insomuch that their number should be like the stars.
When he heard that, he offered a sacrifice to God, as he commanded him.
The manner of the sacrifice was this : - He took an heifer of three years
old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram in like manner of three
years old, and a turtle-dove, and a pigeon 1
and as he was enjoined, he divided the three former, but the birds he did
not divide. After which, before he built his altar, where the birds of
prey flew about, as desirous of blood, a Divine voice came to him, declaring
that their neighbors would be grievous to his posterity, when they should
be in Egypt
, for four hundred years; 2
during which time they should be afflicted, but afterwards should overcome
their enemies, should conquer the Canaanites in war, and possess themselves
of their land, and of their cities.