Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 18

18
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.
18
Abraham’s Visitors. 1#Chapters 18 and 19 combined form a continuous narrative, concluding the story of Abraham and his nephew Lot that began in 13:2–18. The mysterious men visit Abraham in Mamre to promise him and Sarah a child the following year (18:1–15) and then visit Lot in Sodom to investigate and then to punish the corrupt city (19:1–29). Between the two visits, Abraham questions God about the justice of punishing Sodom (18:16–33). At the end of the destruction of Sodom, there is a short narrative about Lot as the ancestor of Moab and the Ammonites (19:30–38). The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oak of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot. 2Looking up, he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground,#Heb 13:1–2. 3he said: “Sir,#Abraham addresses the leader of the group, whom he does not yet recognize as the Lord; in the next two verses he speaks to all three men. The other two are later (Gn 19:1) identified as angels. The shifting numbers and identification of the visitors are a narrative way of expressing the mysterious presence of God. if it please you, do not go on past your servant. 4Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest under the tree. 5Now that you have come to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.” “Very well,” they replied, “do as you have said.”
6Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick, three measures#Three measures: Hebrew seah; three seahs equal one ephah, about half a bushel. of bran flour! Knead it and make bread.” 7He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice calf, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it. 8Then he got some curds#Curds: a type of soft cheese or yogurt. and milk, as well as the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them, waiting on them under the tree while they ate.
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There in the tent,” he replied. 10One of them#One of them: i.e., the Lord. said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son.” Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him.#Gn 17:19; 21:1; 2 Kgs 4:16; Rom 9:9. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years, and Sarah had stopped having her menstrual periods.#Gn 17:17; Rom 4:19; Heb 11:11–12. 12So Sarah laughed#Sarah laughed: a play on the verb “laugh,” which prefigures the name of Isaac; see note on 17:17. to herself and said, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, am I still to have sexual pleasure?” 13But the Lord said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really bear a child, old as I am?’ 14Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do? At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son.”#Mt 19:26; Mk 10:27; Lk 1:37; 18:27; Rom 4:21. 15Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But he said, “Yes, you did.”
Abraham Intercedes for Sodom. 16With Abraham walking with them to see them on their way, the men set out from there and looked down toward Sodom. 17The Lord considered: Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18now that he is to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him?#Lk 1:55. 19Indeed, I have singled him out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord may put into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him. 20#Gn 19:13; Is 3:9; Lk 17:28; Jude 7. So the Lord said: The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave,#The immorality of the cities was already hinted at in 13:13, when Lot made his choice to live there. The “outcry” comes from the victims of the injustice and violence rampant in the city, which will shortly be illustrated in the treatment of the visitors. The outcry of the Hebrews under the harsh treatment of Pharaoh (Ex 3:7) came up to God who reacts in anger at mistreatment of the poor (cf. Ex 22:21–23; Is 5:7). Sodom and Gomorrah became types of sinful cities in biblical literature. Is 1:9–10; 3:9 sees their sin as lack of social justice, Ez 16:46–51, as disregard for the poor, and Jer 23:14, as general immorality. In the Genesis story, the sin is violation of the sacred duty of hospitality by the threatened rape of Lot’s guests. 21that I must go down to see whether or not their actions are as bad as the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.
22As the men turned and walked on toward Sodom, Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23Then Abraham drew near and said: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there were fifty righteous people in the city; would you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Should not the judge of all the world do what is just?”#Dt 32:4; Jb 8:3, 20; Wis 12:15. 26The Lord replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake. 27Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am only dust and ashes!#Sir 10:9; 17:27. 28What if there are five less than fifty righteous people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” I will not destroy it, he answered, if I find forty-five there. 29But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it for the sake of the forty. 30Then he said, “Do not let my Lord be angry if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it if I can find thirty there. 31Abraham went on, “Since I have thus presumed to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” I will not destroy it, he answered, for the sake of the twenty. 32But he persisted: “Please, do not let my Lord be angry if I speak up this last time. What if ten are found there?” For the sake of the ten, he replied, I will not destroy it.#Jer 5:1; Ez 22:30.
33The Lord departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned home.