1.  Usage of the Phrase “Three Years old” in Scripture

God had told Abraham to sacrifice a three year old heifer, she goat and ram.  Shalash (H 8027) is the Hebrew word rendered for the phrase ‘three years old.”  Its meaning is rendered as follows:

  • Divide the land into 3 parts (Deut 19: 3)
  • Three days (1 Sam 20: 19)
  • The 3rd time (1 Kings 18: 24)
  • A threefold cord (Ecc 4 :12)
  • Three stories (Ezekiel 42: 6)

2. We can see that God deals in TRIADS.

The  following triads are revealed in the context of  Genesis 15: 9:

  1. Abraham’ s 3 sins – breaking his oath that he would have a child with Sarah to carry on the Covenant with God;  breaking God’s Law by marrying a second wife in order to “provide” God with a child to carry on the Covenant and having a child with her
  2. God therefore had to chasten Abraham, but still provided for and blessed Ishmael although rejecting him as heir to His Covenant.
  3. Abraham began to pay the price for his sin as he witnessed the conflict between Hagar and Sarah, Hagar running off; God’s rejection of Ishmael as heir and his grief at the eventual loss of his son (Gen 21:  10-13).
  4. This is why God had to later “kill” Isaac “after these things” in Genesis 21 to test Abraham’s obedience to His Word. This time, every detail was spelt out in black and white to avoid  errors. Abraham obeyed although he had no other heir to fall back on, showing that he was now totally surrendered to God.
  5. 3 animals on the altar represented  the sin offering for Abraham. He will cleanse and forgive our sins
  6. Three animals cover the sins of 3 generations from Abraham to Jacob.  Isaac obeyed God and had 1 wife, but  Jacob the third generation disobeyed and had 4 wives.  The wives introduced the young children to their conflicts, jealousies, anger, hatred and these formed the root of the sins in the Jewish nation (Gen 49). We need to pay attention to the third generation in family trees, because, like Jacob and Esau, third generation children often go astray from the foundation truths of the family.  This is true especially when the second generation (the parents) produce undesirable values and behaviors in children by exhibiting flawed relationships and child rearing practices displayed by Isaac and Rebekah.
  7. My observation is that 1st generation parents, church organizations and members etc exhibit similar struggles seen in Abraham. We really love and obey God but doubt because we do not fully understand His Ways or His Word. All we have to do is ONE CRITICAL THING – ASK QUESTIONS TO CLARIFY WHAT GOD IS SAYING. DON’T  SECOND GUESS AND ASSUME THAT WE ARE RIGHT IN INTERPRETATION.
  8. Three days point prophetically to Jesus’ 3 day underworld war against the vultures of hell on our behalf.
  9. The threefold cord represents Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the ones on whom God depended to establish and carry on the Covenant with Him. Non Jews have been grafted into this Covenant through Christ.
  10. Three stories represent the house of  salvation by faith – Abraham is the first floor; Isaac the second floor and Jacob the third.
  11. We can be encouraged that God is faithful and will keep Promises. Continue to believe His Word.