Isaac’s birth announced
1The LORD appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he sat at the entrance of his tent in the day’s heat. 2He looked up and suddenly saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them, he ran from his tent entrance to greet them and bowed deeply. 3He said, “Sirs, if you would be so kind, don’t just pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought so you may wash your feet and refresh yourselves under the tree. 5Let me offer you a little bread so you will feel stronger, and after that you may leave your servant and go on your way—since you have visited your servant.”
They responded, “Fine. Do just as you have said.”
6So Abraham hurried to Sarah at his tent and said, “Hurry! Knead three seahs#18.6 One seah is seven and a half quarts. of the finest flour and make some baked goods!” 7Abraham ran to the cattle, took a healthy young calf, and gave it to a young servant, who prepared it quickly. 8Then Abraham took butter, milk, and the calf that had been prepared, put the food in front of them, and stood under the tree near them as they ate.
9They said to him, “Where’s your wife Sarah?”
And he said, “Right here in the tent.”
10Then one of the men said, “I will definitely return to you about this time next year. Then your wife Sarah will have a son!”
Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were both very old. Sarah was no longer menstruating. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, I’m no longer able to have children and my husband’s old.
13The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Me give birth? At my age?’ 14Is anything too difficult for the LORD? When I return to you about this time next year, Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah lied and said, “I didn’t laugh,” because she was frightened.
But he said, “No, you laughed.”
Abraham pleads for Sodom
16The men got up from there and went over to look down on Sodom. Abraham was walking along with them to send them off 17when the LORD said, “Will I keep from Abraham what I’m about to do? 18Abraham will certainly become a great populous nation, and all the earth’s nations will be blessed because of him. 19I have formed a relationship with him so that he will instruct his children and his household after him. And they will keep to the LORD’s path, being moral and just so that the LORD can do for Abraham everything he said he would.” 20Then the LORD said, “The cries of injustice from Sodom and Gomorrah are countless, and their sin is very serious! 21I will go down now to examine the cries of injustice that have reached me. Have they really done all this? If not, I want to know.”
22The men turned away and walked toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing in front of the LORD.#18.22 Some ancient manuscripts read but the LORD remained standing in front of Abraham. 23Abraham approached and said, “Will you really sweep away the innocent#18.23 Or righteous with the guilty?#18.23 Or wicked 24What if there are fifty innocent people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not save the place for the sake of the fifty innocent people in it? 25It’s not like you to do this, killing the innocent with the guilty as if there were no difference. It’s not like you! Will the judge of all the earth not act justly?”
26The LORD said, “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will save it because of them.”
27Abraham responded, “Since I’ve already decided to speak with my Lord, even though I’m just soil and ash, 28what if there are five fewer innocent people than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city over just five?”
The LORD said, “If I find forty-five there, I won’t destroy it.”
29Once again Abraham spoke, “What if forty are there?”
The LORD said, “For the sake of forty, I will do nothing.”
30He said, “Don’t be angry with me, my Lord, but let me speak. What if thirty are there?”
The LORD said, “I won’t do it if I find thirty there.”
31Abraham said, “Since I’ve already decided to speak with my Lord, what if twenty are there?”
The LORD said, “I won’t do it, for the sake of twenty.”
32Abraham said, “Don’t be angry with me, my Lord, but let me speak just once more. What if there are ten?”
And the LORD said, “I will not destroy it because of those ten.” 33When the LORD finished speaking with Abraham, he left; but Abraham stayed there in that place.
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1-2 God appeared to Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent. It was the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing. He ran from his tent to greet them and bowed before them.
3-5He said, “Master, if it please you, stop for a while with your servant. I’ll get some water so you can wash your feet. Rest under this tree. I’ll get some food to refresh you on your way, since your travels have brought you across my path.”
They said, “Certainly. Go ahead.”
6Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. He said, “Hurry. Get three cups of our best flour; knead it and make bread.”
7-8Then Abraham ran to the cattle pen and picked out a nice plump calf and gave it to the servant who lost no time getting it ready. Then he got curds and milk, brought them with the calf that had been roasted, set the meal before the men, and stood there under the tree while they ate.
9The men said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?”
He said, “In the tent.”
10One of them said, “I’m coming back about this time next year. When I arrive, your wife Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was listening at the tent opening, just behind the man.
11-12Abraham and Sarah were old by this time, very old. Sarah was far past the age for having babies. Sarah laughed within herself, “An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?”
13-14 God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, ‘Me? Have a baby? An old woman like me?’ Is anything too hard for God? I’ll be back about this time next year and Sarah will have a baby.”
15Sarah lied. She said, “I didn’t laugh,” because she was afraid.
But he said, “Yes you did; you laughed.”
* * *
16When the men got up to leave, they set off for Sodom. Abraham walked with them to say good-bye.
17-19Then God said, “Shall I keep back from Abraham what I’m about to do? Abraham is going to become a large and strong nation; all the nations of the world are going to find themselves blessed through him. Yes, I’ve settled on him as the one to train his children and future family to observe God’s way of life, live kindly and generously and fairly, so that God can complete in Abraham what he promised him.”
20-21 God continued, “The cries of the victims in Sodom and Gomorrah are deafening; the sin of those cities is immense. I’m going down to see for myself, see if what they’re doing is as bad as it sounds. Then I’ll know.”
22The men set out for Sodom, but Abraham stood in God’s path, blocking his way.
23-25Abraham confronted him, “Are you serious? Are you planning on getting rid of the good people right along with the bad? What if there are fifty decent people left in the city; will you lump the good with the bad and get rid of the lot? Wouldn’t you spare the city for the sake of those fifty innocents? I can’t believe you’d do that, kill off the good and the bad alike as if there were no difference between them. Doesn’t the Judge of all the Earth judge with justice?”
26 God said, “If I find fifty decent people in the city of Sodom, I’ll spare the place just for them.”
27-28Abraham came back, “Do I, a mere mortal made from a handful of dirt, dare open my mouth again to my Master? What if the fifty fall short by five—would you destroy the city because of those missing five?”
He said, “I won’t destroy it if there are forty-five.”
29Abraham spoke up again, “What if you only find forty?”
“Neither will I destroy it if for forty.”
30He said, “Master, don’t be irritated with me, but what if only thirty are found?”
“No, I won’t do it if I find thirty.”
31He pushed on, “I know I’m trying your patience, Master, but how about for twenty?”
“I won’t destroy it for twenty.”
32He wouldn’t quit, “Don’t get angry, Master—this is the last time. What if you only come up with ten?”
“For the sake of only ten, I won’t destroy the city.”
33When God finished talking with Abraham, he left. And Abraham went home.
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THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of NavPress. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.