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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.
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The Three Visitors
1Later, the Lord again appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre. At that time Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent. It was 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. 3Abraham 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. 5I 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. He said to her, “Hurry, prepare 20 quarts of fine flour. Make it into loaves of bread.” 7Then Abraham ran to his cattle. He took one of his best calves and gave it to a servant. The servant hurried to kill the calf and to prepare it for food. 8Abraham gave the three men the calf that had been cooked. He also gave them milk curds and milk. While the three men 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. Sarah was past the age when women normally have children. 12So she 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. I did this so they would live right and be fair. Then I, the Lord, will give Abraham what I promised him.”
20Then the Lord said, “I have heard many things against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. They are very evil. 21So I will go down and see if they are as bad as I have heard.”
22So the men turned and went toward Sodom. But Abraham stood there before the Lord. 23Then Abraham approached the Lord. Abraham asked, “Lord, do you plan to destroy the good persons along with the evil persons? 24What if there are 50 good people in that city? Will you still destroy it? Surely you will save the city for the 50 good people living there. 25Surely you will not destroy the good people along with the evil people. Then the good people and the evil people would be treated the same. You are the judge of all the earth. Won’t you do what is right?”
26Then the Lord said, “If I find 50 good people in the city of Sodom, I will save the whole city because of them.”
27Then Abraham said, “I am only dust and ashes. Yet I have been brave to speak to the Lord. 28What if there are only 45 good people in the city? Will you destroy the whole city for the lack of 5 good people?”
The Lord said, “If I find 45 good people there, I will not destroy the city.”
29Again Abraham said to the Lord, “If you find only 40 good people there, will you destroy the city?”
The Lord said, “If I find 40 good people, I will not destroy the city.”
30Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me. Let me ask you this. If you find only 30 good people in the city, will you destroy it?”
The Lord said, “If I find 30 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 20 good people in the city?”
The Lord answered, “If I find 20 good people there, I will not destroy the city.”
32Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me. Let me bother you this one last time. What if you find 10 good people there?”
The Lord said, “If I find 10 good people there, I will not destroy it.”
33When the Lord finished speaking to Abraham, he left. And Abraham returned home.