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Genesis 18

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Yahweh Appears to Abraham as a Man
1And Yahweh appeared to him#Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. And he was sitting in the doorway of the tent at the heat of the day. 2And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing near#Or “by”; the context requires some distance for Abraham to run to them him. And he saw them and ran from the doorway of the tent to meet them. And he bowed down to the ground. 3And he said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your eyes do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest under the tree. 5And let me bring a piece of bread, then#Or “and” refresh yourselves.#Literally “your heart” Afterward you can pass on, once#Literally “for therefore” you have passed by with your servant.” Then they said, “Do so as you have said.” 6Then#Or “And” Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and he said, “Quickly—make three seahs of fine flour for kneading and make bread cakes!” 7And Abraham ran to the cattle and took a calf,#Literally “a son of cattle” tender and good, and gave it to the servant, and he made haste to prepare it. 8Then he took curds and milk, and the calf which he prepared, and set it before them. And he was standing by them under the tree while#Or “and” they ate. 9And they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “Here, in the tent.” 10And he#Yahweh said, “I will certainly return to you in the spring,#Literally “at the time of life” and look, Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the doorway of the tent, and which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age;#Literally “going in the days” the way of women#Literally “the road according to women” had ceased to be for Sarah. 12So#Or “And” Sarah laughed to herself saying, “After I am worn out and my husband is old, shall this pleasure be to me?” 13Then Yahweh said to Abraham, “What is this that Sarah laughed, saying, ‘Is it indeed true that I will bear a child, now that I have grown old?’ 14Is anything too difficult for Yahweh? At the appointed time I will return to you in the spring#Literally “at the time of life” and Sarah shall have a son.” 15But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. He#Yahweh said, “No, but you did laugh.”
16Then the men set out from there, and they looked down upon Sodom. And Abraham went with them to send them on their way.#Literally “to send them away” 17Then Yahweh said, “Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am going to do? 18Abraham will surely become a great and strong nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed on account of him. 19For I have chosen#Or “have known” him, that he will command his children and his household after him that they will keep the way of Yahweh, to do righteousness and justice, so that Yahweh may bring upon Abraham that which he said to him.” 20Then Yahweh said, “Because the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and because their sin is very serious,#Literally “heavy” 21I will go down and I will see. Have they done altogether according to its cry of distress which has come to me? If not, I will know.”
Abraham Intercedes for Sodom
22And the men turned from there and went toward Sodom. And Abraham was still standing before Yahweh. 23And Abraham drew near to Yahweh and said, “Will you also sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24If perhaps there are fifty righteous in the midst of the city, will you also sweep them away and not forgive the place on account of the fifty righteous in her midst? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing as this, to kill the righteous with the wicked, that#Or “and” the righteous would be as the wicked! Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do justice?” 26And Yahweh said, “If I find fifty righteous in Sodom, in the midst of the city, then I will forgive the whole place for their sake.” 27Then Abraham answered and said, “Look, please, I was bold to speak to my Lord, but I am dust and ashes. 28Perhaps the fifty righteous are lacking five—will you destroy the whole city on account of the five?” And he answered, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29And once again he spoke#Literally “And he added again to speak” to him and said, “What if#Or “Perhaps” forty are found there?” And he answered, “I will not do it on account of the forty.” 30And he said, “Please, let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak. What if#Or “Perhaps” thirty be found there?” And he answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31And he said, “Please, now, I was bold to speak to my Lord. What if#Or “Perhaps” twenty be found there?” And he answered, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.” 32And he said, “Please, let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak only once more. What if#Or “Perhaps” ten are found there?” And he answered, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.” 33Then Yahweh left,#Or “went” as he finished 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.