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Genesis 18

18
The Lord Promises Abraham a Son
1One hot summer afternoon while Abraham was sitting by the entrance to his tent near the sacred trees of Mamre, the Lord appeared to him. 2#He 13.2. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. He quickly ran to meet them, bowed with his face to the ground, 3and said, “Please come to my home where I can serve you. 4I'll have some water brought, so you can wash your feet, then you can rest under a tree. 5Let me get you some food to give you strength before you leave. I would be honored to serve you.”
“Thank you very much,” they answered. “We accept your offer.”
6Abraham went quickly to his tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get a large sack of flour and make some bread.” 7After saying this, he rushed off to his herd of cattle and picked out one of the best calves, which his servant quickly prepared. 8He then served his guests some yogurt and milk together with the meat.
While they were eating, he stood near them under the tree, 9and they asked, “Where's your wife Sarah?”
“She is right there in the tent,” Abraham answered.
10 # Ro 9.9. One of the guests was the Lord, and he said, “I'll come back about this time next year, and when I do, Sarah will already have a son.”
Sarah was behind Abraham, listening at the entrance to the tent. 11Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah was well past the age for having children. 12#1 P 3.6. So she laughed and said to herself, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, will I really know such happiness?”#18.12 know such happiness: Either the joy of making love or the joy of having children.
13The Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Does she doubt that she can have a child in her old age? 14#Lk 1.37. I am the Lord! There is nothing too difficult for me. I'll come back next year at the time I promised, and Sarah will already have a son.”
15Sarah was so frightened that she lied and said, “I didn't laugh.”
“Yes, you did!” he answered.
Abraham Prays for Sodom
16When the three men got ready to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked part of the way with them.
17The Lord said to himself, “I should tell Abraham what I am going to do, 18since his family will become a great and powerful nation that will be a blessing to all the other nations on earth.#18.18 that will be … on earth: Or “and all other nations on earth will ask me to bless them as I have blessed his family.” 19I have chosen him to teach his family to obey me forever and to do what is right and fair. If they do, I will give Abraham many descendants, just as I promised.”
20The Lord said, “Abraham, I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are doing all kinds of evil things. 21Now I am going down to see for myself if those people really are that bad. If they aren't, I would like to know.”
22The men turned and started toward Sodom. But the Lord stayed with Abraham. 23And Abraham asked him, “Lord, when you destroy the evil people, are you also going to destroy those who are good? 24Wouldn't you spare the city if there are only 50 good people in it? 25You surely wouldn't let them be killed when you destroy the evil ones. You are the judge of all the earth, and you do what is right.”
26The Lord replied, “If I find 50 good people in Sodom, I will save the city to keep them from being killed.”
27Abraham answered, “I am nothing more than the dust of the earth. Please forgive me, Lord, for daring to speak to you like this. 28But suppose there are only 45 good people in Sodom. Would you still wipe out the whole city?”
“If I find 45 good people,” the Lord replied, “I won't destroy the city.”
29“Suppose there are just 40 good people?” Abraham asked.
“Even for them,” the Lord replied, “I won't destroy the city.”
30Abraham said, “Please don't be angry, Lord, if I ask you what you will do if there are only 30 good people in the city.”
“If I find 30,” the Lord replied, “I still won't destroy it.”
31Then Abraham said, “I don't have any right to ask you, Lord, but what would you do if you find only 20?”
“Because of them, I won't destroy the city,” was the Lord's answer.
32Finally, Abraham said, “Please don't get angry, Lord, if I speak just once more. Suppose you find only 10 good people there.”
“For the sake of 10 good people,” the Lord told him, “I still won't destroy the city.”
33After speaking with Abraham, the Lord left, and Abraham went back home.
18
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.