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Genesis 18

18
The Three Visitors
1Later, the Lord again appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When Abraham saw them, he ran from his tent to meet them. He bowed facedown on the ground before them 3and said, “Sir, if you think well of me, please stay awhile with me, your servant. 4I will bring some water so all of you can wash your feet. You may rest under the tree, 5and I will get some bread for you so you can regain your strength. Then you may continue your journey.”
The three men said, “That is fine. Do as you said.”
6Abraham hurried to the tent where Sarah was and said to her, “Hurry, prepare twenty quarts of fine flour, and make it into loaves of bread.” 7Then Abraham ran to his herd and took one of his best calves. He gave it to a servant, who hurried to kill it and to prepare it for food. 8Abraham gave the three men the calf that had been cooked and milk curds and milk. While they ate, he stood under the tree near them.
9The men asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
“There, in the tent,” said Abraham.
10Then the Lord said, “I will certainly return to you about this time a year from now. At that time your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent which was behind him. 11Abraham and Sarah were very old. Since Sarah was past the age when women normally have children, 12she laughed to herself, “My husband and I are too old to have a baby.”
13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘I am too old to have a baby’? 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! I will return to you at the right time a year from now, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I didn’t laugh.”
But the Lord said, “No. You did laugh.”
16Then the men got up to leave and started out toward Sodom. Abraham walked along with them a short time to send them on their way.
Abraham’s Bargain with God
17The Lord said, “Should I tell Abraham what I am going to do now? 18Abraham’s children will certainly become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19I have chosen him so he would command his children and his descendants to live the way the Lord wants them to, to live right and be fair. Then I, the Lord, will give Abraham what I promised him.”
20Then the Lord said, “I have heard many complaints against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. They are very evil. 21I will go down and see if they are as bad as I have heard. If not, I will know.”
22So the men turned and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood there before the Lord. 23Then Abraham approached him and asked, “Do you plan to destroy the good people along with the evil ones? 24What if there are fifty good people in that city? Will you still destroy it? Surely you will save the city for the fifty good people living there. 25Surely you will not destroy the good people along with the evil ones; then they would be treated the same. You are the judge of all the earth. Won’t you do what is right?”
26The Lord said, “If I find fifty good people in the city of Sodom, I will save the whole city because of them.”
27Then Abraham said, “Though I am only dust and ashes, I have been brave to speak to the Lord. 28What if there are only forty-five good people in the city? Will you destroy the whole city for the lack of five good people?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty-five there, I will not destroy the city.”
29Again Abraham said to him, “If you find only forty good people there, will you destroy the city?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty, I will not destroy it.”
30Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me ask you this. If you find only thirty good people in the city, will you destroy it?”
He said, “If I find thirty good people there, I will not destroy the city.”
31Then Abraham said, “I have been brave to speak to the Lord. But what if there are twenty good people in the city?”
He answered, “If I find twenty there, I will not destroy the city.”
32Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me bother you this one last time. What if you find ten there?”
He said, “If I find ten there, I will not destroy it.”
33When the Lord finished speaking to Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
18
1The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent as the day became really hot. 2He looked up and all of a sudden he saw three men standing there. As soon as he saw them, he ran over to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3He said, “Sir,#18:3. It seems Abraham was addressing just one of them, perhaps seeing him as their leader. if you please, don't continue your journey without spending some time here with me, your servant. 4Let me have some water brought so you can wash your feet and rest under the tree. 5Also let me bring some food so you can get your strength back before you go on your way, now that you've come to visit me here.”
“That would be fine,” they answered. “Please do as you've suggested.”
6Abraham hurried back to the tent and told Sarah, “Quick! Make some bread using three large measures#18:6. “Large measures”: literally “seahs,” variously estimated as 20 quarts or 44 pounds. of the best flour. Knead the dough and bake the bread.” 7Then Abraham ran to the cattle herd and chose a good, young calf and gave it to his servant who quickly killed and cooked it. 8Then he took some yogurt, milk, and the cooked meat, and placed the food in front of them. He stood nearby under a tree while they ate.
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“Over there, inside the tent,” he replied.
10Then one said, “I promise you that I will come back to visit you about this time next year, and your wife Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was listening, hiding just inside the entrance to the tent behind him.
11Abraham and Sarah were old, getting on in years. Sarah was well past the age of having children. 12Sarah was laughing inside, saying to herself, “Now that I'm old and worn out, how would I experience pleasure? My husband is old too!”
13The Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and ask, ‘How could it possibly be true that I'll have a child now I'm so old?’ 14Is anything too difficult for the Lord to do? I will come back next year when I said I would, in the spring, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah denied it because she was afraid, claiming, “I didn't laugh.”
“Yes, you did laugh,” the Lord replied.
16Then the men left. They looked down on Sodom#18:16. Clearly they could see Sodom in the valley below from their viewpoint higher up. and headed in that direction. Abraham accompanied them part of the way.
17Then the Lord said, “Should I keep from Abraham what I'm going to do? 18Abraham will definitely become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19I've chosen him so that he will teach his sons and their families to follow the way of the Lord by doing what is right and good, so that I, the Lord, can do for Abraham what I promised.”
20Then the Lord said, “There are many complaints made against Sodom and Gomorrah because they sin so blatantly. 21I ‘m going to see if these complaints that have reached me are completely true. I'll know if they're not.”
22The two men turned and went towards Sodom, but the Lord stayed there with Abraham.
23Abraham came to him and asked: “Are you really going to wipe out the good people along with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty good people in the town? Are you still going to wipe it out despite the fifty good people there? 25No, you can't do something like that! You can't kill the good with the wicked, otherwise you would be treating the good and the wicked in the same way. You can't do that! Isn't the Judge of all the earth going to do the right thing?”
26“If I find fifty good people in Sodom, I'll spare the whole town because of them,” the Lord replied.
27“Since I've started, let me go on speaking to my Lord, even though I'm nothing but dust and ashes,” Abraham continued. 28“What if there are forty-five good people, just five less? Are you still going to wipe out the whole town just because there are five fewer people?”
“I won't destroy it if I find forty-five,” the Lord replied.
29Abraham spoke up again and he asked the Lord, “What if only forty can be found?”
“I won't do it for the sake of the forty,” the Lord replied.
30“My Lord, please don't get angry with me,” Abraham went on. “Let me ask this—what if only thirty were found?”
“I won't do it if I find thirty,” the Lord replied.
31“I admit I've been very bold to speak to my Lord like this,” Abraham said. “What if only twenty are found there?”
“I won't do it for the sake of the twenty,” the Lord replied.
32“Please don't get angry with me, my Lord,” Abraham said. “Just let me ask one more thing. What if only ten are found there?”
“I won't destroy it for the sake of the ten,” the Lord replied.
33The Lord left once he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham went home.