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Genesis 18

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Abraham’s Three Visitors
1Then the Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre # Gn 13:18; 14:13; 23:17-19 while he was sitting in the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day. 2He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him. # Gn 18:16,22; 19:1; 32:24; Jos 5:13; Jdg 13:6-11; Heb 13:2 When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed to the ground. 3Then he said, “My lord, # Or My Lord, or The Lord if I have found favor in your sight, please do not go on past your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. 5I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves. # Lit may sustain your heart This is why you have passed your servant’s way. Later, you can continue on.”
“Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.”
6So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Knead three measures # Lit three seahs ; about 21 quarts of fine flour and make bread.” # A round, thin, unleavened bread 7Meanwhile, Abraham ran to the herd and got a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man, who hurried to prepare it. 8Then Abraham took curds # Or butter and milk, and the calf that he had prepared, and set them before the men. He served # Lit was standing by them as they ate under the tree.
Sarah Laughs
9“Where is your wife Sarah? ” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he answered.
10The Lord said, “I will certainly come back to you in about a year’s time, and your wife Sarah will have a son! ” # Gn 17:10; 21:1; Rm 9:9 Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.
11Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years. # Lit days Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. # Lit The way of women had ceased for Sarah # Gn 17:17; Rm 4:19; Heb 11:11-12 12So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight? ” # Gn 17:17; Lk 1:18; 1Pt 3:6
13But the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old? ’ 14Is anything impossible for the Lord? # Jb 34:10; Jr 32:17,27; Mt 19:26; Mk 10:27; Lk 1:37; 18:27; Heb 6:18 At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”
15Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid.
But He replied, “No, you did laugh.”
Abraham’s Plea for Sodom
16The men got up from there and looked out over Sodom, and Abraham was walking with them to see them off. 17Then the Lord said, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? # Am 3:7 18Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. # Gn 12:3; 26:4; Gl 3:8 19For I have chosen # Lit known him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. This is how the Lord will fulfill to Abraham what He promised him.” 20Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. 21I will go down # Gn 11:5; Ex 3:8; Ps 14:2 to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to Me. If not, I will find out.”
22The men turned from there and went toward Sodom # Gn 19:1 while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. # Ancient Jewish tradition reads while the Lord remained standing before Abraham 23Abraham stepped forward and said, “Will You really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? # Ex 23:7; Nm 16:22; 2Sm 24:17; Ps 11:4-7 24What if there are 50 righteous people in the city? Will You really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the 50 righteous people who are in it? 25You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won’t the Judge of all the earth do what is just? ” # Dt 1:16-17; 32:4; Jb 8:3,20; Ps 58:11; 94:2; Is 3:10-11; Rm 3:5-6
26The Lord said, “If I find 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” # Jr 5:1
27Then Abraham answered, “Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord — even though I am dust and ashes — 28suppose the 50 righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five? ”
He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find 45 there.”
29Then he spoke to Him again, “Suppose 40 are found there? ”
He answered, “I will not do it on account of 40.”
30Then he said, “Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak further. Suppose 30 are found there? ”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find 30 there.”
31Then he said, “Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord, suppose 20 are found there? ”
He replied, “I will not destroy it on account of 20.”
32Then he said, “Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. # Jdg 6:39 Suppose 10 are found there? ”
He answered, “I will not destroy it on account of 10.” 33When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, He departed, 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.