Genesis 18

Three Special Visitors

18:1 The Lord appeared to Abraham1 by the oaks2 of Mamre while3 he was sitting at the entrance4 to his tent during the hottest time of the day. 18:2 Abraham5 looked up6 and saw7 three men standing across8 from him. When he saw them9 he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed low10 to the ground.11

18:3 He said, “My lord,12 if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by and leave your servant.13 18:4 Let a little water be brought so that14 you may all15 wash your feet and rest under the tree. 18:5 And let me get16 a bit of food17 so that you may refresh yourselves18 since you have passed by your servant’s home. After that you may be on your way.”19 “All right,” they replied, “you may do as you say.”

18:6 So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Take20 three measures21 of fine flour, knead it, and make bread.”22 18:7 Then Abraham ran to the herd and chose a fine, tender calf, and gave it to a servant,23 who quickly prepared it.24 18:8 Abraham25 then took some curds and milk, along with the calf that had been prepared, and placed the food26 before them. They ate while27 he was standing near them under a tree.

18:9 Then they asked him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He replied, “There,28 in the tent.” 18:10 One of them29 said, “I will surely return30 to you when the season comes round again,31 and your wife Sarah will have a son!”32 (Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, not far behind him.33 18:11 Abraham and Sarah were old and advancing in years;34 Sarah had long since passed menopause.)35 18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking,36 “After I am worn out will I have pleasure,37 especially when my husband is old too?”38

18:13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why39 did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really40 have a child when I am old?’ 18:14 Is anything impossible41 for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.”42 18:15 Then Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But the Lord said, “No! You did laugh.”43

Abraham Pleads for Sodom

18:16 When the men got up to leave,44 they looked out over45 Sodom. (Now46 Abraham was walking with them to see them on their way.)47 18:17 Then the Lord said, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?48 18:18 After all, Abraham49 will surely become50 a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on the earth will pronounce blessings on one another51 using his name. 18:19 I have chosen him52 so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep53 the way of the Lord by doing54 what is right and just. Then the Lord will give55 to Abraham what he promised56 him.”

18:20 So the Lord said, “The outcry against57 Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so blatant58 18:21 that I must go down59 and see if they are as wicked as the outcry suggests.60 If not,61 I want to know.”

18:22 The two men turned62 and headed63 toward Sodom, but Abraham was still standing before the Lord.64 18:23 Abraham approached and said, “Will you sweep away the godly along with the wicked? 18:24 What if there are fifty godly people in the city? Will you really wipe it out and not spare65 the place for the sake of the fifty godly people who are in it? 18:25 Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the godly with the wicked, treating the godly and the wicked alike! Far be it from you! Will not the judge66 of the whole earth do what is right?”67

18:26 So the Lord replied, “If I find in the city of Sodom fifty godly people, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

18:27 Then Abraham asked, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord68 (although I am but dust and ashes),69 18:28 what if there are five less than the fifty godly people? Will you destroy70 the whole city because five are lacking?”71 He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

18:29 Abraham72 spoke to him again,73 “What if forty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty.”

18:30 Then Abraham74 said, “May the Lord not be angry75 so that I may speak!76 What if thirty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

18:31 Abraham77 said, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”

18:32 Finally Abraham78 said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”

18:33 The Lord went on his way79 when he had finished speaking80 to Abraham. Then Abraham returned home.81

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