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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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A Son Is Promised to Sarah
1The Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground.
3“My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. 4Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. 5And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.”
“All right,” they said. “Do as you have said.”
6So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get three large measures#18:6 Hebrew 3 seahs, about half a bushel or 22 liters. of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.” 7Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a tender calf and gave it to his servant, who quickly prepared it. 8When the food was ready, Abraham took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them in the shade of the trees.
9“Where is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked.
“She’s inside the tent,” Abraham replied.
10Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!”
Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. 11Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. 12So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?”
13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.”
But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.”
Abraham Intercedes for Sodom
16Then the men got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As they left, Abraham went with them to send them on their way.
17“Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. 18“For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.”
20So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”
22The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”
26And the Lord replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.”
27Then Abraham spoke again. “Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes. 28Suppose there are only forty-five righteous people rather than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”
And the Lord said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five righteous people there.”
29Then Abraham pressed his request further. “Suppose there are only forty?”
And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the forty.”
30“Please don’t be angry, my Lord,” Abraham pleaded. “Let me speak—suppose only thirty righteous people are found?”
And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it if I find thirty.”
31Then Abraham said, “Since I have dared to speak to the Lord, let me continue—suppose there are only twenty?”
And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
32Finally, Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found there?”
And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
33When the Lord had finished his conversation with Abraham, he went on his way, and Abraham returned to his tent.