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B'resheet (Gen) 18

18
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.
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.