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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.
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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.