The Three Visitors
1Later, the Lord again appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When Abraham saw them, he ran from his tent to meet them. He bowed facedown on the ground before them 3and said, “Sir, if you think well of me, please stay awhile with me, your servant. 4I will bring some water so all of you can wash your feet. You may rest under the tree, 5and I will get some bread for you so you can regain your strength. Then you may continue your journey.”
The three men said, “That is fine. Do as you said.”
6Abraham hurried to the tent where Sarah was and said to her, “Hurry, prepare twenty quarts of fine flour, and make it into loaves of bread.” 7Then Abraham ran to his herd and took one of his best calves. He gave it to a servant, who hurried to kill it and to prepare it for food. 8Abraham gave the three men the calf that had been cooked and milk curds and milk. While they ate, he stood under the tree near them.
9The men asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
“There, in the tent,” said Abraham.
10Then the Lord said, “I will certainly return to you about this time a year from now. At that time your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent which was behind him. 11Abraham and Sarah were very old. Since Sarah was past the age when women normally have children, 12she laughed to herself, “My husband and I are too old to have a baby.”
13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘I am too old to have a baby’? 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! I will return to you at the right time a year from now, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I didn’t laugh.”
But the Lord said, “No. You did laugh.”
16Then the men got up to leave and started out toward Sodom. Abraham walked along with them a short time to send them on their way.
Abraham’s Bargain with God
17The Lord said, “Should I tell Abraham what I am going to do now? 18Abraham’s children will certainly become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19I have chosen him so he would command his children and his descendants to live the way the Lord wants them to, to live right and be fair. Then I, the Lord, will give Abraham what I promised him.”
20Then the Lord said, “I have heard many complaints against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. They are very evil. 21I will go down and see if they are as bad as I have heard. If not, I will know.”
22So the men turned and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood there before the Lord. 23Then Abraham approached him and asked, “Do you plan to destroy the good people along with the evil ones? 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 will not destroy the good people along with the evil ones; then they would be treated the same. You are the judge of all the earth. Won’t you do what is right?”
26The Lord said, “If I find fifty good people in the city of Sodom, I will save the whole city because of them.”
27Then Abraham said, “Though I am only dust and ashes, I have been brave to speak to the Lord. 28What if there are only forty-five good people in the city? Will you destroy the whole city for the lack of five good people?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty-five there, I will not destroy the city.”
29Again Abraham said to him, “If you find only forty good people there, will you destroy the city?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty, I will not destroy it.”
30Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me ask you this. If you find only thirty good people in the city, will you destroy it?”
He said, “If I find thirty good people there, I will not destroy the city.”
31Then Abraham said, “I have been brave to speak to the Lord. But what if there are twenty good people in the city?”
He answered, “If I find twenty there, 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. What if you find ten there?”
He said, “If I find ten there, I will not destroy it.”
33When the Lord finished speaking to Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
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1 The LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2He lifted up his eyes and looked, and saw that three men stood near him. When he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth, 3and said, “My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please don’t go away from your servant. 4Now let a little water be fetched, wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5I will get a piece of bread so you can refresh your heart. After that you may go your way, now that you have come to your servant.”
They said, “Very well, do as you have said.”
6 Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly prepare three seahs#18:6 1 seah is about 7 liters or 1.9 gallons or 0.8 pecks of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.” 7Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a tender and good calf, and gave it to the servant. He hurried to dress it. 8He took butter, milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them. He stood by them under the tree, and they ate.
9 They asked him, “Where is Sarah, your wife?”
He said, “There, in the tent.”
10 He said, “I will certainly return to you at about this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old will I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
13 The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Will I really bear a child when I am old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the set time I will return to you, when the season comes around, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Then Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh,” for she was afraid.
He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
16 The men rose up from there, and looked toward Sodom. Abraham went with them to see them on their way. 17The LORD said, “Will I hide from Abraham what I do, 18since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him? 19For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.” 20The LORD said, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, 21I will go down now, and see whether their deeds are as bad as the reports which have come to me. If not, I will know.”
22 The men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23Abraham came near, and said, “Will you consume the righteous with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25May it be far from you to do things like that, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be like the wicked. May that be far from you. Shouldn’t the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 The LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place for their sake.” 27Abraham answered, “See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord, although I am dust and ashes. 28What if there will lack five of the fifty righteous? Will you destroy all the city for lack of five?”
He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
29 He spoke to him yet again, and said, “What if there are forty found there?”
He said, “I will not do it for the forty’s sake.”
30 He said, “Oh don’t let the Lord be angry, and I will speak. What if there are thirty found there?”
He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 He said, “See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord. What if there are twenty found there?”
He said, “I will not destroy it for the twenty’s sake.”
32 He said, “Oh don’t let the Lord be angry, and I will speak just once more. What if ten are found there?”
He said, “I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake.”
33 The LORD went his way as soon as he had finished communing with Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
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