Abraham’s Three Visitors
1The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre#Gn 13:18; 14:13; 23:17–19 while he was sitting at 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, bowed to the ground, 3and said, “My lord, if I have found favor with you, 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. 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#18:6 Lit three seahs; about 21 quarts of fine flour and make bread.”#18:6 A round, thin, unleavened bread 7Abraham 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#18:8 Or butter and milk, as well as the calf that he had prepared, and set them before the men. He served#18:8 Lit was standing by them as they ate under the tree.
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.#18:11 Lit days Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.#Gn 17:17; Rm 4:19; Heb 11:11–12 12So she laughed to herself: “After I am worn out 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#18:19 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.#18:22 Alt Hb 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 fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the fifty 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 the whole 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 fifty 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 my lord — even though I am dust and ashes — 28suppose the fifty righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”
He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
29Then he spoke to him again, “Suppose forty are found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it on account of forty.”
30Then he said, “Let my lord not be angry, and I will speak further. Suppose thirty are found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31Then he said, “Since I have ventured to speak to my lord, suppose twenty are found there?”
He replied, “I will not destroy it on account of twenty.”
32Then he said, “Let my lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time.#Jdg 6:39 Suppose ten are found there?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it on account of ten.” 33When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he departed, and Abraham returned to his place.
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God promised again to give Abraham and Sarah a son
1Abraham camped for some time near the big trees that belonged to a man called Mamreh. One day, God came to Abraham there. It happened like this. Abraham was sitting in the doorway of his tent, at the hottest part of the day, 2and he looked up and saw 3 men standing nearby. He got up quickly, and he ran to meet them, and he got down on his knees and put his face near the ground to show them respect.#Hebrews 13:2 3Abraham said, “Sirs, please come and sit at my place for a while. Let me look after you. 4I will get a work-man to bring water so that you can wash your feet, and then you can rest in the shade of this tree. 5And I will get some food for you, so that you will be strong enough to keep walking to the place where you are going. I really want to do that for you.”
The 3 men said, “All right. We’ll rest here while you do that.”
6Then Abraham went quickly into the tent to tell Sarah, and he said, “Quick, get a big bag of really good flour and make some damper for our visitors.”
7Then he ran to his mob of cows and picked out a really good young cow. He gave it to one of his work-men and said, “Quick, kill this young cow, and cook it for our visitors.” 8Then Abraham gave the men the cooked meat, and some cheese and milk. And Abraham stood near them in the shade of that tree, and he looked after them while they ate that food.
9Then they said to Abraham, “Where is your wife, Sarah?”
Abraham said, “She is right here, in our tent.”
10You know, one of those men was God, but he made himself to be like a man when he talked to Abraham. He said, “I will come back to you at this time next year, and Sarah will have a baby boy.”#Romans 9:9
Sarah was at the doorway of the tent, and she listened to them talking. 11Abraham and Sarah were both very old. She knew she was too old to have a baby, 12so when she heard him say that, she laughed quietly and said to herself, “I am too old and worn out to have a baby, and my good boss, my husband, he is old too. If I had a baby, I would be really happy. But I’m too old for that now.”#1 Peter 3:6
13God said, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say to herself, ‘I can’t have a baby now, I am too old’? 14I’m telling you, nothing is too hard for me. I am God. Just like I said, at this time next year, I will come back, and Sarah will have a baby boy.”#Luke 1:37
15Sarah was frightened, and so she lied and said, “I didn’t laugh.”
But God said, “That’s not true. You did laugh.”
God talked to Abraham about the town called Sodom
16Then the 3 men got up to leave, and Abraham went with them for a little while to say goodbye. They went to a hill where they looked down at the town called Sodom. 17God said, “Maybe I will tell Abraham what I am going to do. 18You know, Abraham’s family will be a big and powerful nation one day, and I will use his family to do good things for all the nations in the world.#Galatians 3:8 19I have picked him out so that he can teach his family to live my way and do what is good and right. Then I will keep my promise to him.”
20So God said, “Abraham, I heard about all the really bad things that people do in those 2 towns down there, called Sodom and Gomorrah. A lot of people are telling me that those people are always doing bad things. 21I will go down and find out if they are really doing those bad things that I heard about.” That’s what the man said, the one that had God in him.
22Then the other 2 men turned and walked towards Sodom. They left Abraham standing in front of God.
23Abraham went up close to God and asked him, “Are you going to kill all the good people, as well as the bad people? 24There might be 50 good people that live the right way down there in that town. Will you still finish up that town? Or will you save that town to save those 50 good people? 25I don’t think you will kill 50 good people. I know that you are the judge of everybody in the world, and you always do what is right. I don’t think you will kill the good people with the bad people.”
26God said, “If I find 50 good people in Sodom, I will not finish up that town. I will save that town so that I can save those 50 good people.”
27Then Abraham said, “Look, I know that I am just a man and you are God, but I’m being brave and I’m talking to you. I want to ask you another question. 28What if you find only 45 good people in that town, will you still finish up that town?”
God said, “If I find 45 good people there, I will not finish up that town.”
29Then Abraham asked God again, he said, “What if you find only 40 good people there?”
God said, “If I find 40 good people there, I will not finish up that town.”
30Then Abraham said, “God, please don’t get angry with me, but I will say a little bit more. What if you find only 30 good people in that town?”
God said, “If I find 30 good people there, I will not finish up that town.”
31Then Abraham said, “I know that I am being brave to talk to God like this, but what if you find only 20 good people in that town?”
God said, “If I find 20 good people there, I will not finish up that town.”
32Then Abraham said, “God, please don’t get angry with me, but I will ask one more question. What if you find only 10 good people in that town?”
God said, “If I find 10 good people there, I will not finish up that town.”
33Then they finished talking, and God left Abraham, and Abraham went back to his camp.
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