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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
Isaac’s birth announced
1The LORD appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he sat at the entrance of his tent in the day’s heat. 2He looked up and suddenly saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them, he ran from his tent entrance to greet them and bowed deeply. 3He said, “Sirs, if you would be so kind, don’t just pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought so you may wash your feet and refresh yourselves under the tree. 5Let me offer you a little bread so you will feel stronger, and after that you may leave your servant and go on your way—since you have visited your servant.”
They responded, “Fine. Do just as you have said.”
6So Abraham hurried to Sarah at his tent and said, “Hurry! Knead three seahs#18.6 One seah is seven and a half quarts. of the finest flour and make some baked goods!” 7Abraham ran to the cattle, took a healthy young calf, and gave it to a young servant, who prepared it quickly. 8Then Abraham took butter, milk, and the calf that had been prepared, put the food in front of them, and stood under the tree near them as they ate.
9They said to him, “Where’s your wife Sarah?”
And he said, “Right here in the tent.”
10Then one of the men said, “I will definitely return to you about this time next year. Then your wife Sarah will have a son!”
Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were both very old. Sarah was no longer menstruating. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, I’m no longer able to have children and my husband’s old.
13The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Me give birth? At my age?’ 14Is anything too difficult for the LORD? When I return to you about this time next year, Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah lied and said, “I didn’t laugh,” because she was frightened.
But he said, “No, you laughed.”
Abraham pleads for Sodom
16The men got up from there and went over to look down on Sodom. Abraham was walking along with them to send them off 17when the LORD said, “Will I keep from Abraham what I’m about to do? 18Abraham will certainly become a great populous nation, and all the earth’s nations will be blessed because of him. 19I have formed a relationship with him so that he will instruct his children and his household after him. And they will keep to the LORD’s path, being moral and just so that the LORD can do for Abraham everything he said he would.” 20Then the LORD said, “The cries of injustice from Sodom and Gomorrah are countless, and their sin is very serious! 21I will go down now to examine the cries of injustice that have reached me. Have they really done all this? If not, I want to know.”
22The men turned away and walked toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing in front of the LORD.#18.22 Some ancient manuscripts read but the LORD remained standing in front of Abraham. 23Abraham approached and said, “Will you really sweep away the innocent#18.23 Or righteous with the guilty?#18.23 Or wicked 24What if there are fifty innocent people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not save the place for the sake of the fifty innocent people in it? 25It’s not like you to do this, killing the innocent with the guilty as if there were no difference. It’s not like you! Will the judge of all the earth not act justly?”
26The LORD said, “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will save it because of them.”
27Abraham responded, “Since I’ve already decided to speak with my Lord, even though I’m just soil and ash, 28what if there are five fewer innocent people than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city over just five?”
The LORD said, “If I find forty-five there, I won’t destroy it.”
29Once again Abraham spoke, “What if forty are there?”
The LORD said, “For the sake of forty, I will do nothing.”
30He said, “Don’t be angry with me, my Lord, but let me speak. What if thirty are there?”
The LORD said, “I won’t do it if I find thirty there.”
31Abraham said, “Since I’ve already decided to speak with my Lord, what if twenty are there?”
The LORD said, “I won’t do it, for the sake of twenty.”
32Abraham said, “Don’t be angry with me, my Lord, but let me speak just once more. What if there are ten?”
And the LORD said, “I will not destroy it because of those ten.” 33When the LORD finished speaking with Abraham, he left; but Abraham stayed there in that place.