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Genesis 18

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1 Then the Lord appeared to him, in the steep valley of Mamre, when he was sitting at the door of his tent, in the very heat of the day.
2 And when he had lifted up his eyes, there appeared to him three men, standing near him. When he had seen them, he ran to meet them from the door of his tent, and he reverenced them on the ground.
3 And he said: "If I, O lord, have found grace in your eyes, do not pass by your servant.
4 But I will bring a little water, and you may wash your feet and rest under the tree.
5 And I will set out a meal of bread, so that you may strengthen your heart; after this you will pass on. It is for this reason that you have turned aside to your servant." And they said, "Do as you have spoken."
6 Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and he said to her, "Quickly, mix together three measures of the finest wheat flour and make loaves baked under the ashes."
7 In truth, he himself ran to the herd, and he took a calf from there, very tender and very good, and he gave it to a servant, who hurried and boiled it.
8 Likewise, he took butter and milk, and the calf which he had boiled, and he placed it before them. Yet truly, he himself stood near them under the tree.
9 And when they had eaten, they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" He answered, "Behold, she is in the tent."
10 And he said to him, "When returning, I will come to you at this time, with life as a companion, and your wife Sarah will have a son." Hearing this, Sarah laughed behind the door of the tent.
11 Now they were both old, and in an advanced state of life, and it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
12 And she laughed secretly, saying, "After I have grown old, and my lord is elderly, shall I give myself to the work of delight?"
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham: "Why did Sarah laugh, saying: 'How can I, an old woman, actually give birth?'
14 Is anything difficult for God? According to the announcement, he will return to you at this same time, with life as a companion, and Sarah will have a son."
15 Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh." For she was terribly afraid. But the Lord said, "It is not so; for you did laugh."
16 Therefore, when the men had risen up from there, they directed their eyes against Sodom. And Abraham traveled with them, leading them.
17 And the Lord said: "How could I hide what I am about to do from Abraham,
18 since he will become a great and very robust nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?
19 For I know that he will instruct his sons, and his household after him, to keep to the way of the Lord, and to act with judgment and justice, so that, for the sake of Abraham, the Lord may bring about all the things that he has spoken to him."
20 And so the Lord said, "The outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah has been multiplied, and their sin has become exceedingly grievous.
21 I will descend and see whether they have fulfilled the work of the outcry that has reached me, or whether it is not so, in order that I may know."
22 And they turned themselves from there, and they went toward Sodom. Yet in truth, Abraham still stood in the sight of the Lord.
23 And as they drew near, he said: "Will you destroy the just with the impious?
24 If there were fifty of the just in the city, will they perish with the rest? And will you not spare that place for the sake of fifty of the just, if they were in it?
25 Far be it from you to do this thing, and to kill the just with the impious, and for the just to be treated like the impious. No, this is not like you. You judge all the earth; you would never make such a judgment."
26 And the Lord said to him, "If I find in Sodom fifty of the just in the midst of the city, I will release the entire place because of them."
27 And Abraham responded by saying: "Since now I have begun, I will speak to my Lord, though I am dust and ashes.
28 What if there were five less than fifty of the just? Would you, despite the forty-five, eliminate the entire city?" And he said, "I will not eliminate it, if I find forty-five there."
29 And again he said to him, "But if forty were found there, what would you do?" He said, "I will not strike, for the sake of the forty."
30 "I ask you," he said, "not to be angry, Lord, if I speak. What if thirty were found there?" He responded, "I will not act, if I find thirty there."
31 "Since now I have begun," he said, "I will speak to my Lord. What if twenty were found there?" He said, "I will not put to death, for the sake of the twenty."
32 "I beg you," he said, "not to be angry, Lord, if I speak yet once more. What if ten were found there?" And he said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten."
33 And the Lord departed, after he had ceased speaking to Abraham, who then returned to his place.
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The Three Visitors
1Later, the Lord again appeared to Abraham near the oak trees of Mamre. It was the hottest part of the day, and Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent. 2He looked up and saw three men standing in front of him. When he saw the men, he ran to them and bowed before them. 3Abraham said, “Sirs,#18:3 Sirs This Hebrew word can mean “sirs” or “Lord.” This might show that these were not ordinary men. please stay a while with me, your servant. 4I will bring some water to wash your feet. You can rest under the trees. 5I will get some food for you, and you can eat as much as you want. Then you can continue your journey.”
The three men said, “Do as you wish.”
6Abraham hurried to the tent. He said to Sarah, “Quickly, prepare enough flour for three loaves of bread.” 7Then Abraham ran to his cattle. He took his best young calf and gave it to the servant there. He told the servant to quickly kill the calf and prepare it for food. 8Abraham brought the meat and some milk and cheese and set them down in front of the three men. Then he stood near the men, ready to serve them while they sat under the tree and ate.
9Then the men said to Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
Abraham said, “She is there, in the tent.”
10Then one of them said, “I will come again in the spring. At that time your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was listening in the tent and heard these things. 11Abraham and Sarah were very old. Sarah was past the right age for women to have children. 12So she laughed to herself and said, “I am old, and my husband is old. I am too old to have a baby.”
13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Sarah laughed and said she was too old to have a baby. 14But is anything too hard for the Lord? I will come again in the spring, just as I said I would, and your wife Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah said, “I didn’t laugh!” (She said this because she was afraid.)
Then the Lord said, “No, I know that is not true. You did laugh!”
16Then the men got up to leave. They looked toward Sodom and began walking in that direction. Abraham walked with them to send them on their way.
Abraham’s Bargain With God
17The Lord said to himself, “Should I tell Abraham what I am going to do now? 18Abraham will become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on earth will be blessed because of him. 19I have made a special agreement with him. I did this so that he would command his children and his descendants to live the way the Lord wants them to. I did this so that they would live right and be fair. Then I, the Lord, can give him what I promised.”
20Then the Lord said, “I have heard many times that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are very evil. 21I will go and see if they are as bad as I have heard. Then I will know for sure.”
22So the men turned and started walking toward Sodom while Abraham stood there before the Lord. 23Then Abraham approached him and asked, “Will you destroy the good people while you are destroying those who are evil? 24What if there are fifty good people in that city? Will you still destroy it? Surely you will save the city for the fifty good people living there. 25Surely you would not destroy the city. You would not destroy fifty good people to kill those who are evil. If that happened, those who are good would be the same as those who are evil—both would be punished. As the judge of the whole world, surely you would do the right thing!”
26Then the Lord said, “If I find fifty good people in the city of Sodom, I will save the whole city.”
27Then Abraham said, “Compared to you, Lord, I am only dust and ashes. But let me bother you again and ask you this question. 28What if there are five less than fifty? Will you destroy a whole city because of just five people?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty-five good people there, I will not destroy the city.”
29Abraham spoke again. He said, “And if you find only forty good people there, will you destroy the city?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty good people, I will not destroy the city.”
30Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me ask you this. If only thirty good people are in the city, will you destroy it?”
The Lord said, “If I find thirty good people there, I will not destroy the city.”
31Then Abraham said, “Lord, may I bother you again and ask, what if there are twenty good people?”
The Lord answered, “If I find twenty good people, I will not destroy the city.”
32Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me bother you this one last time. If you find ten good people there, what will you do?”
The Lord said, “If I find ten good people in the city, I will not destroy it.”
33The Lord finished speaking to Abraham and left. Then Abraham went back home.