“And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Gen 15:6
“Believed” is in Hebrew, aman, Strong’s H539, a three- letter root of the aleph or ox head, + the mem or water, + the nun or seed. The ox head represents strength or leadership; the water can represent any liquid. Ancient people used to put animal hides in a pot of boiling water, and skim off the thick substance that formed at the surface. This “strong water” was used as glue (and is still the basis of glue production today).
So the verb form of the root means to bind, the noun form means glue. The addition of the nun tells the story of a bond that continues (because seed means the continuation of the family, both in a biological and agricultural sense.) The Hebrew language defines the abstract concept of belief concretely, as ideas or truths that stick with us continually.
Abram believed in the LORD, i.e., he and those in his household were of the few (the only?) who believed that YHVH was the Creator of heaven and earth, the one true God or Elohiym, while the rest of the earth believed in paganism; and he believed the LORD – he believed the LORD’s words were true, even if he had yet to see it fulfilled. The idea and truth of God was bound to him continually.
For further study: In Gen 16:13 we are introduced to another name of God, You- Are- the- God- Who- Sees. Each name or title of God we encounter in Scripture reveals additional information about His nature and character! Use the resources listed below to help find the names and titles of God, and their meaning, that we have encountered so far in Genesis. Add to your growing list as we come across them in the Scriptures.
“A covenant is instituted through a sacrifice of a choice, fatted animal which is cut in two and the parties of the covenant pass through the pieces. If one party fails to meet the agreements of the covenant, then the other may do the same to them.” – Jeff Benner, Ancient Hebrew Lexicon, pg. 74
It is that the blood of the covenant may be avenged in the blood of the covenant breaker, that makes the blood covenant of the ancient world binding and unbreakable. This is why God cutting a blood covenant with Abram gave him the surety that he was asking for in Gen 15:8.
God’s covenant with Abram is a special kind of blood covenant (a royal grant covenant), for Abram did not have an obligation in the covenant other than belief (Gen 15:6). The obligations of the covenant were all on God’s side. God is again teaching us about Messiah, in whose blood the renewed covenant was cut, in which the obligations of the covenant is all of Him and His work, while our part is to put our trust in Him.