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Genesis 18

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1And Jehovah appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre. And he sat at the tent-door in the heat of the day. 2And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, three men standing near him. And when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent-door, and bowed himself to the earth, 3and said, Lord, if now I have found favour in thine eyes, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. 4Let now a little water be fetched, that ye may wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5And I will fetch a morsel of bread; and refresh yourselves; after that ye shall pass on; for therefore have ye passed on towards your servant. And they said, So do as thou hast said. 6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, Knead quickly three seahs of wheaten flour, and make cakes. 7And Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf tender and good, and gave it to the attendant; and he hasted to dress it. 8And he took thick and sweet milk, and the calf that he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood before them under the tree, and they ate.
9And they said to him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10And he said, I will certainly return to thee at this time of the year, and behold, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah was listening at the tent-door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old and advanced in age: it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am become old, shall I have pleasure, and my lord old? 13And Jehovah said to Abraham, Why is this, that Sarah laughs, saying, Shall I indeed bear, when I am become old? 14Is any matter too wonderful for Jehovah? At the time appointed I will return to thee, at this time of the year, and Sarah shall have a son. 15And Sarah denied, saying, I did not laugh; for she was afraid. And he said, No; but thou didst laugh.
16And the men rose up thence, and looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to conduct them. 17And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing? 18Since Abraham shall indeed become a great and mighty nation; and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. 19For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice, in order that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham what he hath spoken of him. 20And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grievous, 21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come to me; and if not, I will know it. 22And the men turned thence, and went towards Sodom; and Abraham remained yet standing before Jehovah.
23And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also cause the righteous to perish with the wicked? 24There are perhaps fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not forgive the place for the sake of the fifty righteous that are therein? 25Far be it from thee to do so, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that the righteous should be as the wicked — far be it from thee! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26And Jehovah said, If I find at Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will forgive all the place for their sakes. 27And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have ventured to speak unto the Lord; I, who am dust and ashes. 28Perhaps there may want five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city on account of the five? And he said, If I shall find forty-five there, I will not destroy it. 29And he continued yet to speak with him, and said, Perhaps there may be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for the forty's sake. 30And he said, Oh, let not the Lord be angry that I speak! Perhaps there may be thirty found there. And he said, I will not do it if I find thirty there. 31And he said, Behold now, I have ventured to speak with the Lord. Perhaps there may be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake. 32And he said, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, that I speak yet but this time! Perhaps there may be ten found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the ten's sake. 33And Jehovah went away when he had ended speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
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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.