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B'resheet (Gen) 18

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Parashah 4: Vayera (He appeared) 18:1–22:24
1Adonai appeared to Avraham by the oaks of Mamre as he sat at the entrance to the tent during the heat of the day. 2He raised his eyes and looked, and there in front of him stood three men. On seeing them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, prostrated himself on the ground, 3and said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, please don’t leave your servant. 4Please let me send for some water, so that you can wash your feet; then rest under the tree, 5and I will bring a piece of bread. Now that you have come to your servant, refresh yourselves before going on.” “Very well,” they replied, “do what you have said.”
6Avraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, three measures of the best flour! Knead it and make cakes.” 7Avraham ran to the herd, took a good, tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8Then he took curds, milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it all before the men; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate. 9They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He said, “There, in the tent.” 10He said, “I will certainly return to you around this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Sarah heard him from the entrance of the tent, behind him. 11Avraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years; Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “I am old, and so is my lord; am I to have pleasure again?” 13Adonai said to Avraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and ask, ‘Am I really going to bear a child when I am so old?’ 14Is anything too hard for Adonai? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son.” (ii) 15Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t either laugh,” because she was afraid. He said, “Not so — you did laugh.”
16The men set out from there and looked over toward S’dom, and Avraham went with them to see them on their way. 17Adonai said, “Should I hide from Avraham what I am about to do, 18inasmuch as Avraham is sure to become a great and strong nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed by him? 19For I have made myself known to him, so that he will give orders to his children and to his household after him to keep the way of Adonai and to do what is right and just, so that Adonai may bring about for Avraham what he has promised him.”
20Adonai said, “The outcry against S’dom and ‘Amora is so great and their sin so serious 21that I will now go down and see whether their deeds warrant the outcry that has reached me; if not, I will know.” 22The men turned away from there and went toward S’dom, but Avraham remained standing before Adonai. 23Avraham approached and said, “Will you actually sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Maybe there are fifty righteous people in the city; will you actually sweep the place away, and not forgive it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are there? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing — to kill the righteous along with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Shouldn’t the judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26Adonai said, “If I find in S’dom fifty who are righteous, then I will forgive the whole place for their sake.”
27Avraham answered, “Here now, I, who am but dust and ashes, have taken it upon myself to speak to adonai. 28What if there are five less than fifty righteous?” He said, “I won’t destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
29He spoke to him yet again: “What if forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of the forty I won’t do it.”
30He said, “I hope adonai won’t be angry if I speak. What if thirty are found there?” He said, “I won’t do it if I find thirty there.”
31He said, “Here now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to adonai. What if twenty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of the twenty I won’t destroy it.”
32He said, “I hope adonai won’t be angry if I speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He said, “For the sake of the ten I won’t destroy it.” 33Adonai went on his way as soon as he had finished speaking to Avraham, and Avraham returned to his place.
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The LORD’s Sixth Promise to Abraham
1The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oak trees belonging to Mamre as he was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2Abraham looked up, and suddenly he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran to meet them, and he bowed with his face touching the ground.
3“Please, sir,” Abraham said, “stop by to visit me for a while. 4Why don’t we let someone bring a little water? After you wash your feet, you can stretch out and rest under the tree. 5Let me bring some bread so that you can regain your strength. After that you can leave, since this is why you stopped by to visit me.”
They answered, “That’s fine. Do as you say.”
6So Abraham hurried into the tent to find Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three measures of flour, knead it, and make bread.”
7Then Abraham ran to the herd and took one of his best calves. He gave it to his servant, who prepared it quickly. 8Abraham took cheese and milk, as well as the meat, and set these in front of them. Then he stood by them under the tree as they ate.
9They asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He answered, “Over there, in the tent.”
10The Lord said, “I promise I’ll come back to you next year at this time, and your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah happened to be listening at the entrance of the tent, which was behind him. 11Abraham and Sarah were old. Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12And so Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “Now that I’ve become old, will I enjoy myself again? What’s more, my husband is old!”
13The Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Can I really have a child now that I’m old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will come back to you next year at this time, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Because she was afraid, Sarah denied that she had laughed.
But the Lord said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
The LORD Tells Abraham about His Plan
16Then the men got up to leave. As Abraham was walking with them to see them off, they looked toward Sodom. 17The Lord said, “I shouldn’t hide what I am going to do from Abraham. 18After all, Abraham is going to become a great and mighty nation and through him all the nations of the earth will be blessed. 19I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his family after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. In this way I, the Lord, will do what I have promised Abraham.”
20The Lord also said, “Sodom and Gomorrah have many complaints against them, and their sin is very serious. 21I must go down and see whether these complaints are true. If not, I will know it.”
22From there the men turned and went on toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing in front of the Lord. 23Abraham came closer and asked, “Are you really going to sweep away the innocent with the guilty? 24What if there are 50 innocent people in the city? Are you really going to sweep them away? Won’t you spare that place for the sake of the 50 innocent people who are in it? 25It would be unthinkable for you to do such a thing, to treat the innocent and the guilty alike and to kill the innocent with the guilty. That would be unthinkable! Won’t the judge of the whole earth do what is fair?”
26The Lord said, “If I find 50 innocent people inside the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27Abraham asked, “Consider now, if I may be so bold as to ask you, although I’m ⌞only⌟ dust and ashes, 28what if there are 45 innocent people? Will you destroy the whole city because of 5 fewer people?”
The Lord answered, “I will not destroy it if I find 45 there.”
29Abraham asked him again, “What if 40 are found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of the 40 I will not do it.”
30“Please don’t be angry if I speak again,” Abraham said. “What if 30 are found there?”
He answered, “If I find 30 there, I will not do it.”
31“Look now, if I may be so bold as to ask you,” Abraham said. “What if 20 are found there?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the 20.”
32“Please don’t be angry if I speak only one more time,” Abraham said. “What if 10 are found there?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the 10.” 33When the Lord finished speaking to Abraham, he left. Abraham returned home.