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Bereshis 18

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1And Hashem appeared unto him in the terebinth trees of Mamre; and he sat in the entrance of the ohel (tent) in the heat of the day; 2And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, hinei, Shloshah Anashim (Three Men, [Yeshayah 6:3]) stood by him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the entrance of the ohel, and prostrated himself on the ground, 3And said, Adonoi [Hashem, see v.13], if now I have found chen (favor) in Thy sight, pass not on by, please, from Thy servant; 4Let a little water, please, be brought, and wash Thy feet, and rest under haetz (the tree); 5And I will bring a morsel of bread, and refresh Ye Your hearts; after that Ye shall pass on; because for this purpose are Ye come to Your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6And Avraham hastened into the ohel unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly shlosh measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes. 7And Avraham ran unto the herd, and brought a calf tender and tov, and gave it unto a servant; and he hasted to prepare it. 8And he took curds, and cholov (milk), and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under haetz, and they did eat. 9And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Hinei, in the ohel. 10And He said, I will certainly return unto thee at this time next year; and, hinei, Sarah thy wife shall have ben (son). And Sarah heard it in the entrance of the ohel, which was behind him. 11Now Avraham and Sarah were zekenim (old ones) and well stricken in age; and [in childbearing] it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12Therefore Sarah laughed [titzchak, sounds like Yitzchak] within herself, saying, After I am grown old shall I have pleasure, adoni being old also? 13And Hashem said unto Avraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I which am old of a surety bear a child? 14Is any thing too hard for Hashem? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, in due season, and Sarah shall have ben (son). 15Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And He said, Oh yes but thou didst laugh. 16And the Anashim rose up from thence, and peered toward S'dom; and Avraham went with them to send them on the way. 17And Hashem said, Shall I hide from Avraham that thing which I do; 18Seeing that Avraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and kol goyei ha'aretz (all the nations of the earth) shall be blessed in him? 19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall be shomer over the Derech Hashem, to do tzedakah and mishpat; that Hashem may bring upon Avraham that which He hath spoken [promised] of him. 20And Hashem said, Because the outcry of S'dom and Amora is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the crying out [for punishment] of it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will have da'as. 22And the Men turned their faces from thence, and went toward S'dom; but Avraham stood yet before Hashem. 23And Avraham drew near, and said, Wilt Thou also destroy the tzaddik with the rasha? 24Suppose there be fifty tzaddikim within the city; wilt Thou also destroy and not nasa (spare [take away and bear the guilt of, Yeshayah 53:12]) the place lema'an (for the sake of) the fifty tzaddikim that are therein? [IK 3:18] 25That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the tzaddik with the rasha; and that the tzaddik should be as the rasha, that be far from Thee: Shall not HaShofet Kol Ha'Aretz (the Judge of All the Earth) do mishpat (right)? 26And Hashem said, If I find in S'dom fifty tzaddikim within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27And Avraham answered and said, Hinei now, I, which am but aphar and ashes, have taken upon me to speak unto Hashem; 28Suppose there shall lack five of the fifty tzaddikim; wilt Thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And He said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29And he spoke unto Him yet again, and said, Suppose there shall be forty found there. And He said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30And he said unto Him, Oh let not Hashem be angry, and I will speak; suppose there shall thirty be found there. And He said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31And he said, Hinei now, I have taken upon me to speak unto Hashem: suppose there shall be twenty found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32And he said, Oh let not Hashem be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: suppose asarah (ten, i.e., a minyan) shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for the sake of haasarah (the ten). 33And Hashem went His way, as soon as He had left communing with Avraham; and Avraham returned unto his makom.
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Abraham’s Visitors. 1#Chapters 18 and 19 combined form a continuous narrative, concluding the story of Abraham and his nephew Lot that began in 13:2–18. The mysterious men visit Abraham in Mamre to promise him and Sarah a child the following year (18:1–15) and then visit Lot in Sodom to investigate and then to punish the corrupt city (19:1–29). Between the two visits, Abraham questions God about the justice of punishing Sodom (18:16–33). At the end of the destruction of Sodom, there is a short narrative about Lot as the ancestor of Moab and the Ammonites (19:30–38). The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oak of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot. 2Looking up, he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground,#Heb 13:1–2. 3he said: “Sir,#Abraham addresses the leader of the group, whom he does not yet recognize as the Lord; in the next two verses he speaks to all three men. The other two are later (Gn 19:1) identified as angels. The shifting numbers and identification of the visitors are a narrative way of expressing the mysterious presence of God. if it please you, do not go on past your servant. 4Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest under the tree. 5Now that you have come to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.” “Very well,” they replied, “do as you have said.”
6Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick, three measures#Three measures: Hebrew seah; three seahs equal one ephah, about half a bushel. of bran flour! Knead it and make bread.” 7He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice calf, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it. 8Then he got some curds#Curds: a type of soft cheese or yogurt. and milk, as well as the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them, waiting on them under the tree while they ate.
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There in the tent,” he replied. 10One of them#One of them: i.e., the Lord. said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son.” Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him.#Gn 17:19; 21:1; 2 Kgs 4:16; Rom 9:9. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years, and Sarah had stopped having her menstrual periods.#Gn 17:17; Rom 4:19; Heb 11:11–12. 12So Sarah laughed#Sarah laughed: a play on the verb “laugh,” which prefigures the name of Isaac; see note on 17:17. to herself and said, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, am I still to have sexual pleasure?” 13But the Lord said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really bear a child, old as I am?’ 14Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do? At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son.”#Mt 19:26; Mk 10:27; Lk 1:37; 18:27; Rom 4:21. 15Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But he said, “Yes, you did.”
Abraham Intercedes for Sodom. 16With Abraham walking with them to see them on their way, the men set out from there and looked down toward Sodom. 17The Lord considered: Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18now that he is to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him?#Lk 1:55. 19Indeed, I have singled him out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord may put into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him. 20#Gn 19:13; Is 3:9; Lk 17:28; Jude 7. So the Lord said: The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave,#The immorality of the cities was already hinted at in 13:13, when Lot made his choice to live there. The “outcry” comes from the victims of the injustice and violence rampant in the city, which will shortly be illustrated in the treatment of the visitors. The outcry of the Hebrews under the harsh treatment of Pharaoh (Ex 3:7) came up to God who reacts in anger at mistreatment of the poor (cf. Ex 22:21–23; Is 5:7). Sodom and Gomorrah became types of sinful cities in biblical literature. Is 1:9–10; 3:9 sees their sin as lack of social justice, Ez 16:46–51, as disregard for the poor, and Jer 23:14, as general immorality. In the Genesis story, the sin is violation of the sacred duty of hospitality by the threatened rape of Lot’s guests. 21that I must go down to see whether or not their actions are as bad as the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.
22As the men turned and walked on toward Sodom, Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23Then Abraham drew near and said: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there were fifty righteous people in the city; would you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Should not the judge of all the world do what is just?”#Dt 32:4; Jb 8:3, 20; Wis 12:15. 26The Lord replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake. 27Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am only dust and ashes!#Sir 10:9; 17:27. 28What if there are five less than fifty righteous people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” I will not destroy it, he answered, if I find forty-five there. 29But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it for the sake of the forty. 30Then he said, “Do not let my Lord be angry if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it if I can find thirty there. 31Abraham went on, “Since I have thus presumed to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” I will not destroy it, he answered, for the sake of the twenty. 32But he persisted: “Please, do not let my Lord be angry if I speak up this last time. What if ten are found there?” For the sake of the ten, he replied, I will not destroy it.#Jer 5:1; Ez 22:30.
33The Lord departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned home.