1 Then the Lord appeared to him, in the steep valley of Mamre, when he was sitting at the door of his tent, in the very heat of the day.
2 And when he had lifted up his eyes, there appeared to him three men, standing near him. When he had seen them, he ran to meet them from the door of his tent, and he reverenced them on the ground.
3 And he said: "If I, O lord, have found grace in your eyes, do not pass by your servant.
4 But I will bring a little water, and you may wash your feet and rest under the tree.
5 And I will set out a meal of bread, so that you may strengthen your heart; after this you will pass on. It is for this reason that you have turned aside to your servant." And they said, "Do as you have spoken."
6 Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and he said to her, "Quickly, mix together three measures of the finest wheat flour and make loaves baked under the ashes."
7 In truth, he himself ran to the herd, and he took a calf from there, very tender and very good, and he gave it to a servant, who hurried and boiled it.
8 Likewise, he took butter and milk, and the calf which he had boiled, and he placed it before them. Yet truly, he himself stood near them under the tree.
9 And when they had eaten, they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" He answered, "Behold, she is in the tent."
10 And he said to him, "When returning, I will come to you at this time, with life as a companion, and your wife Sarah will have a son." Hearing this, Sarah laughed behind the door of the tent.
11 Now they were both old, and in an advanced state of life, and it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
12 And she laughed secretly, saying, "After I have grown old, and my lord is elderly, shall I give myself to the work of delight?"
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham: "Why did Sarah laugh, saying: 'How can I, an old woman, actually give birth?'
14 Is anything difficult for God? According to the announcement, he will return to you at this same time, with life as a companion, and Sarah will have a son."
15 Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh." For she was terribly afraid. But the Lord said, "It is not so; for you did laugh."
16 Therefore, when the men had risen up from there, they directed their eyes against Sodom. And Abraham traveled with them, leading them.
17 And the Lord said: "How could I hide what I am about to do from Abraham,
18 since he will become a great and very robust nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?
19 For I know that he will instruct his sons, and his household after him, to keep to the way of the Lord, and to act with judgment and justice, so that, for the sake of Abraham, the Lord may bring about all the things that he has spoken to him."
20 And so the Lord said, "The outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah has been multiplied, and their sin has become exceedingly grievous.
21 I will descend and see whether they have fulfilled the work of the outcry that has reached me, or whether it is not so, in order that I may know."
22 And they turned themselves from there, and they went toward Sodom. Yet in truth, Abraham still stood in the sight of the Lord.
23 And as they drew near, he said: "Will you destroy the just with the impious?
24 If there were fifty of the just in the city, will they perish with the rest? And will you not spare that place for the sake of fifty of the just, if they were in it?
25 Far be it from you to do this thing, and to kill the just with the impious, and for the just to be treated like the impious. No, this is not like you. You judge all the earth; you would never make such a judgment."
26 And the Lord said to him, "If I find in Sodom fifty of the just in the midst of the city, I will release the entire place because of them."
27 And Abraham responded by saying: "Since now I have begun, I will speak to my Lord, though I am dust and ashes.
28 What if there were five less than fifty of the just? Would you, despite the forty-five, eliminate the entire city?" And he said, "I will not eliminate it, if I find forty-five there."
29 And again he said to him, "But if forty were found there, what would you do?" He said, "I will not strike, for the sake of the forty."
30 "I ask you," he said, "not to be angry, Lord, if I speak. What if thirty were found there?" He responded, "I will not act, if I find thirty there."
31 "Since now I have begun," he said, "I will speak to my Lord. What if twenty were found there?" He said, "I will not put to death, for the sake of the twenty."
32 "I beg you," he said, "not to be angry, Lord, if I speak yet once more. What if ten were found there?" And he said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten."
33 And the Lord departed, after he had ceased speaking to Abraham, who then returned to his place.
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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