B'resheet (Gen) 18
Parashah 4: Vayera (He appeared) 18:1–22:24
1Adonai appeared to Avraham by the oaks of Mamre as he sat at the entrance to the tent during the heat of the day. 2He raised his eyes and looked, and there in front of him stood three men. On seeing them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, prostrated himself on the ground, 3and said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, please don’t leave your servant. 4Please let me send for some water, so that you can wash your feet; then rest under the tree, 5and I will bring a piece of bread. Now that you have come to your servant, refresh yourselves before going on.” “Very well,” they replied, “do what you have said.”
6Avraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, three measures of the best flour! Knead it and make cakes.” 7Avraham ran to the herd, took a good, tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8Then he took curds, milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it all before the men; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate. 9They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He said, “There, in the tent.” 10He said, “I will certainly return to you around this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Sarah heard him from the entrance of the tent, behind him. 11Avraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years; Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “I am old, and so is my lord; am I to have pleasure again?” 13Adonai said to Avraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and ask, ‘Am I really going to bear a child when I am so old?’ 14Is anything too hard for Adonai? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son.” (ii) 15Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t either laugh,” because she was afraid. He said, “Not so — you did laugh.”
16The men set out from there and looked over toward S’dom, and Avraham went with them to see them on their way. 17Adonai said, “Should I hide from Avraham what I am about to do, 18inasmuch as Avraham is sure to become a great and strong nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed by him? 19For I have made myself known to him, so that he will give orders to his children and to his household after him to keep the way of Adonai and to do what is right and just, so that Adonai may bring about for Avraham what he has promised him.”
20Adonai said, “The outcry against S’dom and ‘Amora is so great and their sin so serious 21that I will now go down and see whether their deeds warrant the outcry that has reached me; if not, I will know.” 22The men turned away from there and went toward S’dom, but Avraham remained standing before Adonai. 23Avraham approached and said, “Will you actually sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Maybe there are fifty righteous people in the city; will you actually sweep the place away, and not forgive it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are there? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing — to kill the righteous along with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Shouldn’t the judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26Adonai said, “If I find in S’dom fifty who are righteous, then I will forgive the whole place for their sake.”
27Avraham answered, “Here now, I, who am but dust and ashes, have taken it upon myself to speak to adonai. 28What if there are five less than fifty righteous?” He said, “I won’t destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
29He spoke to him yet again: “What if forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of the forty I won’t do it.”
30He said, “I hope adonai won’t be angry if I speak. What if thirty are found there?” He said, “I won’t do it if I find thirty there.”
31He said, “Here now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to adonai. What if twenty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of the twenty I won’t destroy it.”
32He said, “I hope adonai won’t be angry if I speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He said, “For the sake of the ten I won’t destroy it.” 33Adonai went on his way as soon as he had finished speaking to Avraham, and Avraham returned to his place.
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Birth of Isaac Promised
1Now the Lord appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees of Mamre [in Hebron], while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. 2When he raised his eyes and looked up, behold, three men were standing [a little distance] from him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed down [with his face] to the ground, 3and Abraham said, “My #At some point during this encounter, Abraham understood that one of the three men was actually God appearing as a man (or as an angel; cf note 16:7), and he addressed Him as such in v 14. Verse 13 confirms that it was the Lord who spoke to him. The other two men were angels.lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass by your servant [without stopping to visit]. 4Please let a little water be brought [by one of my servants] and [you may] wash your feet, and recline and rest comfortably under the tree. 5And I will bring a piece of bread to refresh and sustain #Lit your heart.you; after that you may go on, since you have come to your servant.” And they replied, “Do as you have said.” 6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, get ready three #Heb seim, plural of seah; since one seah equals about nine quarts, this was a large quantity. However, Abraham was asking Sarah to make cakes of bread which actually could be baked quickly because they were similar to pizza dough, that is, large, round, and flat. Together with the other food that Abraham provided (vv 7, 8), his promise of “a piece of bread” in v 5 was greatly understated, and the generous meal reflected the respect that he held for his special visitors.measures of fine meal, knead it and bake cakes.” 7Abraham also ran to the herd and brought a calf, tender and choice, and he gave it to the servant [to butcher], and he hurried to prepare it. 8Then he took #Or sour milk, or perhaps butter. It may have served as a kind of condiment for the bread.curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before the men; and he stood beside them under the tree while they ate.
9Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10He said, “I will surely return to you at this #Lit when the time revives.#Lit when the time revives. Some regard this as a reference to springtime. Others think it means “the time when the life is ready.”time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in years; she was past [the age of] childbearing. 12So Sarah laughed to herself [when she heard the Lord’s words], saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord (husband) being also old?” 13And the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh [to herself], saying, ‘Shall I really give birth [to a child] when I am so old?’ 14Is anything too difficult or too wonderful for the #The divine Hebrew name YHWH (Yahweh), usually represented by “Lord,” occurs more than 5,000 times in the Bible.Lord? At the appointed time, when the season [for her delivery] comes, I will return to you and Sarah will have a son.” 15Then Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh”; because she was afraid. And He (the Lord) said, “No, but you did laugh.”
16Then the men got up from there, and looked toward Sodom; and Abraham walked with them to send them on the way. 17The Lord said, “Shall I keep secret from Abraham [My friend and servant] what I am going to do, 18since Abraham #Lit will surely.is destined to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him? 19For I have known (chosen, acknowledged) him [as My own], so that he may teach and command his children and [the sons of] his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is righteous and just, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has promised him.” 20And the Lord said, “The outcry [of the sin] of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. 21I will go down now, and see whether they have acted [as vilely and wickedly] as the outcry which has come to Me [indicates]; and if not, I will know.”
22Now the [two] men (angelic beings) turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23Abraham approached [the Lord] and said, “Will You really sweep away the righteous (those who do right) with the wicked (those who do evil)? 24Suppose there are fifty righteous [people] within the city; will You really sweep it away and not spare it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25Far be it from You to do #Lit according to this word.such a thing—to strike the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right [by executing just and righteous judgment]?” 26So the Lord said, “If I find within the city of Sodom fifty righteous [people], then I will spare the entire place for their sake.” 27Abraham answered, “Now behold, I who am but dust [in origin] and ashes have decided to speak to the Lord. 28If five of the fifty righteous are lacking, will You destroy the entire city for lack of five?” And He said, “If I find [at least] forty-five [righteous people] there, I will not destroy it.” 29Abraham spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose [only] forty are found there.” And He said, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty [who are righteous].” 30Then Abraham said [to Him], “Oh, may the Lord not be angry, and I will speak; suppose thirty [righteous people] are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31And he said, “Now behold, I have decided to speak to the Lord [again]. Suppose [only] twenty [righteous people] are found there?” And the Lord said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.” 32Then Abraham said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry [with me], and I will speak only this once; suppose ten [righteous people] are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.” 33As soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his own place.
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