Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 18

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.
18
CHAPTER 18
1Forsooth in the valley of Mamre the Lord appeared to Abraham, sitting in the door of his tabernacle, in that heat of the day.
2And when Abraham had raised up his eyes, three men appeared to him, and stood nigh [to] him. And when he had seen them, he ran from the door of his tabernacle into the meeting of them, and he worshipped on [the] earth,
3and said, Lord, if I have found grace in thine eyes, pass thou not thy servant,
4but I shall bring a little water, and your feet be washed, and rest ye under the tree;
5and I shall set before you a morsel of bread, and your heart be comforted; afterward ye shall pass [forth]; for therefore be ye bowed aside to your servant. Which said, Do thou as thou hast spoken.
6Abraham hasted into the tabernacle, to Sarah, and said to her, Haste thou, mix three half bushels of clean flour; and make thou loaves baken under ashes.
7Forsooth he ran to the drove of beasts, and took thereof a calf most tender and best, and gave to a servant, which hasted, and seethed the calf;
8and he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had sodden, and set before them; forsooth Abraham stood beside them under the tree. And when they had eaten,
9they said to him, Where is Sarah thy wife? He answered, Lo! she is in the tabernacle.
10To whom the Lord said, I shall turn again, and I shall come to thee in this time, if I live; and Sarah, thy wife, shall have a son. When this was heard, Sarah laughed behind the door of the tabernacle.
11Forsooth both were old, and of great age, and woman’s terms ceased to be made to Sarah.
12And she laughed, saying privily, After that I waxed eld [or old], and my lord is eld [or old], shall I give diligence [or busyness] to lust?
13Forsooth the Lord said to Abraham, Why laughed Sarah, thy wife, saying, Whether I an eld [or old] woman shall bear a child verily?
14whether anything is hard to God? By the promise I shall turn again to thee in this same time, if I live; and Sarah shall have a son.
15Sarah was afeared for dread, and denied, saying, I laughed not. Forsooth the Lord said, It is not so, but thou laughedest.
16Therefore when the men had risen from thence, they dressed the eyes against Sodom; and Abraham went together, leading them forth.
17And the Lord said, Whether I may cover from Abraham what things I shall do,
18since he shall be into a great folk and most strong, and all nations of [the] earth shall be blessed in him?
19For I know that Abraham shall command his children, and his house after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, and that they do rightfulness [or rightwiseness] and doom, that the Lord bring for Abraham all things which he spake to Abraham.
20And so the Lord said, The cry of men of Sodom and of men of Gomorrah is multiplied, and their sin is egregious greatly;
21I shall come down, and see whether they have [ful] filled in work the cry that came to me, that I know whether it is not so.
22And they turned them[selves] from thence, and went to Sodom. Abraham soothly stood yet before the Lord,
23and nighed, and said, Whether thou shalt lose a just man [or the rightwise] with the wicked?
24if fifty just [or rightwise] men be in the city, shall they perish altogether, and shalt thou not spare that place for fifty just [or rightwise] men, if they be therein?
25Far be it from thee that thou do this thing, and slay the just [or rightwise] with the wicked, and that a just [or rightwise] man be made as a wicked man; this is not thine that deemest all [the] earth; thou shalt not make this doom.
26And the Lord said to him, If I shall find in Sodom fifty just [or rightwise] men in the midst of the city, I shall forgive to all the place for them.
27Abraham answered and said, For I began once, I shall speak to my Lord, since I am dust and ashes;
28what if less than fifty just [or rightwise] men by five be, shalt thou do away all the city for five and forty? And the Lord said, I shall not do away, if I shall find five and forty there.
29And again Abraham said to him, But if forty be there, what shalt thou do? The Lord said, I shall not smite for forty.
30Abraham said, Lord, I beseech, take thou not into indignation, if I speak; what if thirty be found there? The Lord answered, I shall not do, if I shall find thirty there.
31Abraham said, For I began once, I shall speak to my Lord; what if twenty be found there? The Lord said, I shall not slay for twenty.
32Abraham said, Lord, I beseech, be thou not wroth, if I speak yet once more; what if ten be found there? The Lord said, I shall not do away for ten.
33The Lord went forth, after that he [had] ceased to speak to Abraham, and Abraham turned again into his place.