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Genesis 18

18
Chapter 18
God promises a son to Abraham
1The Lord appeared to Abraham near the special oak trees of Mamre. It was the hot time of day and Abraham was sitting by the door of his tent. 2Abraham looked up and he saw three men. He ran in a hurry to meet them. He bent down to the ground to respect them. #18:2 This was a visit from the Lord God himself, but Abraham did not know that until later in their meeting.
3Abraham said, ‘Please sir, stop here and let me serve you. That would make me very happy. 4Let us bring some water so that you can all wash your feet. Then you can rest under this tree. 5Let me also bring some food for you to eat. Now that you have come to my home, you should rest and become strong again. Then you will be ready to continue with your journey.’ The men replied, ‘That is good. Please do what you have said.’
6Abraham went quickly to the tent. He said to Sarah, ‘Be quick! Get plenty of good flour and make bread with it.’ 7Then Abraham ran to his cows. He chose a very nice young cow. He gave it to his servant. The servant quickly prepared it for the men to eat. 8Then Abraham also brought some cream and some milk, as well as the meat from the cow. He put all the food in front of the men. While they ate it, Abraham stood near them, under a tree.
9Then the men asked Abraham ‘Where is Sarah, your wife?’ Abraham replied, ‘She is there in the tent.’
10Then one of the men said, ‘I will certainly return to you at about this time next year. At that time Sarah, your wife, will have a son!’
Sarah was listening to all this. She was at the door of the tent, near to where they were talking. 11Abraham and Sarah were now very old. Sarah was past the age when she could give birth to a child. 12So Sarah laughed to herself. She thought, ‘I have become old and weak. My husband is also old. I will never have a baby and be happy like that.’
13Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh like that? She said, “I am too old to have a child.” 14But surely, nothing is too difficult for the Lord to do. At this time next year, I will return to you and Sarah will have a son.’
15Then Sarah was afraid. So she told a lie. She said, ‘I did not laugh.’ But the Lord said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’
God decides to punish the people in Sodom
16Then Abraham's visitors started to leave. They looked down in the valley towards Sodom. Abraham was walking with them to say ‘goodbye’ to them. 17Then the Lord said to himself, ‘I should tell Abraham what I am going to do. 18Abraham's descendants will become a great nation of people. They will be very powerful. Through him, I will bless all the nations of the earth. #18:18 See Genesis 12:2-3. 19I have chosen him so that he will teach my message to his children and their families. He will teach them to do what is right and what is fair. Then I, the Lord, will do for Abraham everything that I have promised to him.’
20So the Lord said to Abraham, ‘I have heard how bad the people in Sodom and Gomorrah are. Everybody says that their sins are very bad. 21So I must go down there to see if it is really true. I will see if those people are as bad as everybody says they are. Then I will know what is true.’
22The other two men then turned away and they went towards Sodom. But Abraham stayed there to talk with the Lord.
23Then Abraham went near to the Lord and he asked, ‘Will you destroy the good people as well as the bad people? 24There might be 50 people in the city who live in a good way. Will you still destroy the whole city? Or will you leave it there, because there are 50 good people in it? 25Will you kill them all, the good people and the bad people? Surely you would not do anything like that! You would not punish good people in the same way as bad people. You are the great judge of everyone on the earth. You will surely do what is right!’
26The Lord replied, ‘If I see that there are 50 good people in the city of Sodom, I will not destroy that place. Because of those 50 good people, I will leave the city there.’
27Then Abraham spoke again. He said, ‘I have been brave enough to speak to the Lord. I know that I am nothing more than dust and ashes. #18:27 Abraham is saying that he is not important enough to argue with the Lord God. He is only a human that God himself has made. 28But let me ask you this. What will you do if there are 45 good people in the city? Will you destroy the city, because there are only 5 fewer good people there?’ The Lord replied, ‘If I see that there are 45 good people in the city, I will not destroy it.’
29Abraham spoke to God again. He said, ‘What will you do if only 40 good people are there?’ The Lord said, ‘Because of 40 good people, I will not destroy the city.’
30Then Abraham said, ‘Please do not be angry, Lord. Let me speak again. What will you do if there are only 30 good people there?’ The Lord answered, ‘I will not destroy the city if I find 30 good people there.’
31Abraham said, ‘I have been brave to speak to you, Lord. What will you do if only 20 good people are there?’ The Lord said, ‘Because of 20 good people, I will not destroy the city.’
32After all that, Abraham said, ‘Please do not be angry, Lord. Let me speak just one more time. If there are only 10 good people there, what will you do?’ The Lord replied, ‘Because of 10 good people, I will not destroy the city.’ #18:32 Abraham's nephew, Lot, is living in Sodom. Abraham does not want God to kill Lot and his family. That is why Abraham asks God not to kill everyone in the city.
33The Lord had finished speaking with Abraham. So he continued on his journey. Abraham returned home.
18
Birth of Isaac Promised
1Now the Lord appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees of Mamre [in Hebron], while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. 2When he raised his eyes and looked up, behold, three men were standing [a little distance] from him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed down [with his face] to the ground, 3and Abraham said, “My #At some point during this encounter, Abraham understood that one of the three men was actually God appearing as a man (or as an angel; cf note 16:7), and he addressed Him as such in v 14. Verse 13 confirms that it was the Lord who spoke to him. The other two men were angels.lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass by your servant [without stopping to visit]. 4Please let a little water be brought [by one of my servants] and [you may] wash your feet, and recline and rest comfortably under the tree. 5And I will bring a piece of bread to refresh and sustain #Lit your heart.you; after that you may go on, since you have come to your servant.” And they replied, “Do as you have said.” 6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, get ready three #Heb seim, plural of seah; since one seah equals about nine quarts, this was a large quantity. However, Abraham was asking Sarah to make cakes of bread which actually could be baked quickly because they were similar to pizza dough, that is, large, round, and flat. Together with the other food that Abraham provided (vv 7, 8), his promise of “a piece of bread” in v 5 was greatly understated, and the generous meal reflected the respect that he held for his special visitors.measures of fine meal, knead it and bake cakes.” 7Abraham also ran to the herd and brought a calf, tender and choice, and he gave it to the servant [to butcher], and he hurried to prepare it. 8Then he took #Or sour milk, or perhaps butter. It may have served as a kind of condiment for the bread.curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before the men; and he stood beside them under the tree while they ate.
9Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10He said, “I will surely return to you at this #Lit when the time revives.#Lit when the time revives. Some regard this as a reference to springtime. Others think it means “the time when the life is ready.”time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in years; she was past [the age of] childbearing. 12So Sarah laughed to herself [when she heard the Lords words], saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord (husband) being also old?” 13And the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh [to herself], saying, ‘Shall I really give birth [to a child] when I am so old?’ 14Is anything too difficult or too wonderful for the #The divine Hebrew name YHWH (Yahweh), usually represented by “Lord,” occurs more than 5,000 times in the Bible.Lord? At the appointed time, when the season [for her delivery] comes, I will return to you and Sarah will have a son.” 15Then Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh”; because she was afraid. And He (the Lord) said, “No, but you did laugh.”
16Then the men got up from there, and looked toward Sodom; and Abraham walked with them to send them on the way. 17The Lord said, “Shall I keep secret from Abraham [My friend and servant] what I am going to do, 18since Abraham #Lit will surely.is destined to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him? 19For I have known (chosen, acknowledged) him [as My own], so that he may teach and command his children and [the sons of] his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is righteous and just, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has promised him.” 20And the Lord said, “The outcry [of the sin] of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. 21I will go down now, and see whether they have acted [as vilely and wickedly] as the outcry which has come to Me [indicates]; and if not, I will know.”
22Now the [two] men (angelic beings) turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23Abraham approached [the Lord] and said, “Will You really sweep away the righteous (those who do right) with the wicked (those who do evil)? 24Suppose there are fifty righteous [people] within the city; will You really sweep it away and not spare it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25Far be it from You to do #Lit according to this word.such a thing—to strike the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right [by executing just and righteous judgment]?” 26So the Lord said, “If I find within the city of Sodom fifty righteous [people], then I will spare the entire place for their sake.” 27Abraham answered, “Now behold, I who am but dust [in origin] and ashes have decided to speak to the Lord. 28If five of the fifty righteous are lacking, will You destroy the entire city for lack of five?” And He said, “If I find [at least] forty-five [righteous people] there, I will not destroy it.” 29Abraham spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose [only] forty are found there.” And He said, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty [who are righteous].” 30Then Abraham said [to Him], “Oh, may the Lord not be angry, and I will speak; suppose thirty [righteous people] are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31And he said, “Now behold, I have decided to speak to the Lord [again]. Suppose [only] twenty [righteous people] are found there?” And the Lord said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.” 32Then Abraham said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry [with me], and I will speak only this once; suppose ten [righteous people] are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.” 33As soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his own place.