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Genesis 18

18
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.
18
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.