New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Abraham’s Visitors. 1 [a]The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oak of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot. 2 Looking up, he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground,(A) 3 he said: “Sir,[b] if it please you, do not go on past your servant. 4 Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest under the tree. 5 Now that you have come to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.” “Very well,” they replied, “do as you have said.”
6 Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick, three measures[c] of bran flour! Knead it and make bread.” 7 He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice calf, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it. 8 Then he got some curds[d] and milk, as well as the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them, waiting on them under the tree while they ate.
9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There in the tent,” he replied. 10 One of them[e] said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son.” Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him.(B) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years, and Sarah had stopped having her menstrual periods.(C) 12 So Sarah laughed[f] to herself and said, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, am I still to have sexual pleasure?” 13 But the Lord said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really bear a child, old as I am?’ 14 Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do? At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son.”(D) 15 Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But he said, “Yes, you did.”Read full chapter
- 18:1 Chapters 18 and 19 combined form a continuous narrative, concluding the story of Abraham and his nephew Lot that began in 13:2–18. The mysterious men visit Abraham in Mamre to promise him and Sarah a child the following year (18:1–15) and then visit Lot in Sodom to investigate and then to punish the corrupt city (19:1–29). Between the two visits, Abraham questions God about the justice of punishing Sodom (18:16–33). At the end of the destruction of Sodom, there is a short narrative about Lot as the ancestor of Moab and the Ammonites (19:30–38).
- 18:3 Abraham addresses the leader of the group, whom he does not yet recognize as the Lord; in the next two verses he speaks to all three men. The other two are later (Gn 19:1) identified as angels. The shifting numbers and identification of the visitors are a narrative way of expressing the mysterious presence of God.
- 18:6 Three measures: Hebrew seah; three seahs equal one ephah, about half a bushel.
- 18:8 Curds: a type of soft cheese or yogurt.
- 18:10 One of them: i.e., the Lord.
- 18:12 Sarah laughed: a play on the verb “laugh,” which prefigures the name of Isaac; see note on 17:17.