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Genesis 18

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.
18
The Three Visitors
1The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,#18:3 Or eyes, Lord do not pass your servant by. 4Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs#18:6 That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
7Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he said.
10Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Abraham Pleads for Sodom
16When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.#18:18 Or will use his name in blessings (see 48:20) 19For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
20Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
22The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.#18:22 Masoretic Text; an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition but the Lord remained standing before Abraham 23Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare#18:24 Or forgive; also in verse 26 the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
29Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
30Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
32Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
33When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.