The Torah says:

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְאַבְרָ֗ם יָדֹ֨עַ תֵּדַ֜ע כִּי־גֵ֣ר ׀ יִהְיֶ֣ה זַרְעֲךָ֗ בְּאֶ֙רֶץ֙ לֹ֣א לָהֶ֔ם וַעֲבָד֖וּם וְעִנּ֣וּ אֹתָ֑ם אַרְבַּ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת שָׁנָֽה׃ וְגַ֧ם אֶת־הַגּ֛וֹי אֲשֶׁ֥ר יַעֲבֹ֖דוּ דָּ֣ן אָנֹ֑כִי וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵ֥ן יֵצְא֖וּ בִּרְכֻ֥שׁ גָּדֽוֹל׃

And [God] said to Abram, “Know with certainty that your descendants will be be strangers in a land not theirs, and they shall be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years; but I will execute judgment on the nation they shall serve, and in the end they shall go free with great wealth. [Genesis 15:13-14]

Why did Abraham need to know that? In what way was that prophecy intended to change his behavior and path forward? Did it? Usually prophecies are to warn people to change their ways and do the right thing, or reassure them about the future when spirits are down, but here?

  • G-d revealed the suffering that would befall some of Avraham’s offspring when they failed to live up to their obligations Sforno, ad loc..
    – Shmuel
    Jan 18 at 17:35
  • This doesn't explain why Abraham needed this level of specificity. Jan 18 at 17:38
  • See judaism.stackexchange.com/a/139470/34188 with the linked article, if that's true then what happened in mitzrayim was necessary for Avrahams progeny to be able to retain the land which is responsive to moral/immoral actions (see Devarim 11) which one can read as Avraham's request in Bereishis 15:8
    – Nahum
    Jan 18 at 17:43


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