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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 LORD’s Sixth Promise to Abraham
1The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oak trees belonging to Mamre as he was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2Abraham looked up, and suddenly he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran to meet them, and he bowed with his face touching the ground.
3“Please, sir,” Abraham said, “stop by to visit me for a while. 4Why don’t we let someone bring a little water? After you wash your feet, you can stretch out and rest under the tree. 5Let me bring some bread so that you can regain your strength. After that you can leave, since this is why you stopped by to visit me.”
They answered, “That’s fine. Do as you say.”
6So Abraham hurried into the tent to find Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three measures of flour, knead it, and make bread.”
7Then Abraham ran to the herd and took one of his best calves. He gave it to his servant, who prepared it quickly. 8Abraham took cheese and milk, as well as the meat, and set these in front of them. Then he stood by them under the tree as they ate.
9They asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He answered, “Over there, in the tent.”
10The Lord said, “I promise I’ll come back to you next year at this time, and your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah happened to be listening at the entrance of the tent, which was behind him. 11Abraham and Sarah were old. Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12And so Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “Now that I’ve become old, will I enjoy myself again? What’s more, my husband is old!”
13The Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Can I really have a child now that I’m old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will come back to you next year at this time, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Because she was afraid, Sarah denied that she had laughed.
But the Lord said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
The LORD Tells Abraham about His Plan
16Then the men got up to leave. As Abraham was walking with them to see them off, they looked toward Sodom. 17The Lord said, “I shouldn’t hide what I am going to do from Abraham. 18After all, Abraham is going to become a great and mighty nation and through him all the nations of the earth will be blessed. 19I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his family after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. In this way I, the Lord, will do what I have promised Abraham.”
20The Lord also said, “Sodom and Gomorrah have many complaints against them, and their sin is very serious. 21I must go down and see whether these complaints are true. If not, I will know it.”
22From there the men turned and went on toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing in front of the Lord. 23Abraham came closer and asked, “Are you really going to sweep away the innocent with the guilty? 24What if there are 50 innocent people in the city? Are you really going to sweep them away? Won’t you spare that place for the sake of the 50 innocent people who are in it? 25It would be unthinkable for you to do such a thing, to treat the innocent and the guilty alike and to kill the innocent with the guilty. That would be unthinkable! Won’t the judge of the whole earth do what is fair?”
26The Lord said, “If I find 50 innocent people inside the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27Abraham asked, “Consider now, if I may be so bold as to ask you, although I’m ⌞only⌟ dust and ashes, 28what if there are 45 innocent people? Will you destroy the whole city because of 5 fewer people?”
The Lord answered, “I will not destroy it if I find 45 there.”
29Abraham asked him again, “What if 40 are found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of the 40 I will not do it.”
30“Please don’t be angry if I speak again,” Abraham said. “What if 30 are found there?”
He answered, “If I find 30 there, I will not do it.”
31“Look now, if I may be so bold as to ask you,” Abraham said. “What if 20 are found there?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the 20.”
32“Please don’t be angry if I speak only one more time,” Abraham said. “What if 10 are found there?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the 10.” 33When the Lord finished speaking to Abraham, he left. Abraham returned home.