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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
1The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent as the day became really hot. 2He looked up and all of a sudden he saw three men standing there. As soon as he saw them, he ran over to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3He said, “Sir,#18:3. It seems Abraham was addressing just one of them, perhaps seeing him as their leader. if you please, don't continue your journey without spending some time here with me, your servant. 4Let me have some water brought so you can wash your feet and rest under the tree. 5Also let me bring some food so you can get your strength back before you go on your way, now that you've come to visit me here.”
“That would be fine,” they answered. “Please do as you've suggested.”
6Abraham hurried back to the tent and told Sarah, “Quick! Make some bread using three large measures#18:6. “Large measures”: literally “seahs,” variously estimated as 20 quarts or 44 pounds. of the best flour. Knead the dough and bake the bread.” 7Then Abraham ran to the cattle herd and chose a good, young calf and gave it to his servant who quickly killed and cooked it. 8Then he took some yogurt, milk, and the cooked meat, and placed the food in front of them. He stood nearby under a tree while they ate.
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“Over there, inside the tent,” he replied.
10Then one said, “I promise you that I will come back to visit you about this time next year, and your wife Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was listening, hiding just inside the entrance to the tent behind him.
11Abraham and Sarah were old, getting on in years. Sarah was well past the age of having children. 12Sarah was laughing inside, saying to herself, “Now that I'm old and worn out, how would I experience pleasure? My husband is old too!”
13The Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and ask, ‘How could it possibly be true that I'll have a child now I'm so old?’ 14Is anything too difficult for the Lord to do? I will come back next year when I said I would, in the spring, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah denied it because she was afraid, claiming, “I didn't laugh.”
“Yes, you did laugh,” the Lord replied.
16Then the men left. They looked down on Sodom#18:16. Clearly they could see Sodom in the valley below from their viewpoint higher up. and headed in that direction. Abraham accompanied them part of the way.
17Then the Lord said, “Should I keep from Abraham what I'm going to do? 18Abraham will definitely become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19I've chosen him so that he will teach his sons and their families to follow the way of the Lord by doing what is right and good, so that I, the Lord, can do for Abraham what I promised.”
20Then the Lord said, “There are many complaints made against Sodom and Gomorrah because they sin so blatantly. 21I ‘m going to see if these complaints that have reached me are completely true. I'll know if they're not.”
22The two men turned and went towards Sodom, but the Lord stayed there with Abraham.
23Abraham came to him and asked: “Are you really going to wipe out the good people along with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty good people in the town? Are you still going to wipe it out despite the fifty good people there? 25No, you can't do something like that! You can't kill the good with the wicked, otherwise you would be treating the good and the wicked in the same way. You can't do that! Isn't the Judge of all the earth going to do the right thing?”
26“If I find fifty good people in Sodom, I'll spare the whole town because of them,” the Lord replied.
27“Since I've started, let me go on speaking to my Lord, even though I'm nothing but dust and ashes,” Abraham continued. 28“What if there are forty-five good people, just five less? Are you still going to wipe out the whole town just because there are five fewer people?”
“I won't destroy it if I find forty-five,” the Lord replied.
29Abraham spoke up again and he asked the Lord, “What if only forty can be found?”
“I won't do it for the sake of the forty,” the Lord replied.
30“My Lord, please don't get angry with me,” Abraham went on. “Let me ask this—what if only thirty were found?”
“I won't do it if I find thirty,” the Lord replied.
31“I admit I've been very bold to speak to my Lord like this,” Abraham said. “What if only twenty are found there?”
“I won't do it for the sake of the twenty,” the Lord replied.
32“Please don't get angry with me, my Lord,” Abraham said. “Just let me ask one more thing. What if only ten are found there?”
“I won't destroy it for the sake of the ten,” the Lord replied.
33The Lord left once he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham went home.