The Three Visitors
18 Later, the Lord again appeared to Abraham near the ·great trees [L oaks; or terebinths] of Mamre [C an area near Hebron, named after Amorite leader; 14:13, 24]. Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent ·during the hottest part [L in the heat] of the day. 2 He ·looked up [L raised his eyes] and saw three men standing near him. When Abraham saw them, he ran from [L the entrance of] his tent to meet them. He bowed facedown on the ground before them 3 and said, “·Sir [My lord], if ·you think well of me [L I have found grace in your eyes], please ·stay awhile with me, [L do not pass by] your servant. 4 I will bring some water so all of you can wash your feet. You may rest under the tree, 5 and I will get some bread for you so you can regain your strength. Then you may ·continue your journey [L pass by].”
The three men said, “That is fine. Do as you said.” [C In the ancient Near East, hospitality towards strangers was a very imporant value.]
6 Abraham hurried to the tent where Sarah was and said to her, “Hurry, ·prepare [L take and knead] ·twenty quarts [L three seahs] of fine flour, and make ·it into loaves of bread [L cakes].” 7 Then Abraham ran to his herd and took one of his ·best [L tender and good/choice] calves. He gave it to a servant, who hurried ·to kill it and to prepare it for food [L to prepare it]. 8 Abraham gave the three men the calf that had been ·cooked [L prepared] and milk curds and milk. While they ate, he stood under the tree near them.
9 The men asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
“There, in the tent,” said Abraham.
10 Then ·the Lord [L he] said, “I will certainly return to you ·about this time a year from now [or in due time; L about the living time]. At that time your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were very old. Since ·Sarah was past the age when women normally have children [L it had stopped being with Sarah after the manner of women; C she had reached menopause], 12 she laughed ·to herself [inwardly], “·My husband and I are too old [L I am worn out and my husband is too old] to have ·a baby [L pleasure].”
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘I am too old to have a baby’? 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! I will return to you ·at the right time a year from now [or in due time; L about the living time], and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she ·lied [denied it] and said, “I didn’t laugh.”
But the Lord said, “No. You did laugh.”
16 Then the men got up to leave and ·started out [L looked] toward Sodom. Abraham walked along with them a short time to send them on their way.
Abraham’s Bargain with God
17 The Lord said, “Should I ·tell [L hide from] Abraham what I am going to do now? 18 ·Abraham’s children [L Abraham] will certainly become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him [12:1–3]. 19 I have ·chosen [L known] him so he would command his children and his ·descendants [L household] to ·live [L keep] the way the Lord wants them to, ·to live right and be fair [L …by doing righteousness and justice]. Then I, the Lord, will give Abraham what I promised him.”
20 Then the Lord said, “·I have heard many complaints [L The outcry is great] against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah [14:2]. ·They are very evil [L Their sin is very great/heavy]. 21 I will go down and see if they ·are as bad as I have heard [L have done according to the outcry which has come to me]. If not, I will know.”
22 So the men turned and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood there before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and asked, “Do you plan to ·destroy [sweep away] the ·good people [righteous] along with the ·evil ones [wicked]? 24 What if there are fifty ·good people [righteous] in that city? Will you still ·destroy it [sweep it away]? Surely you will ·save [spare] the ·city [L place] for the fifty ·good people [righteous] living there. 25 ·Surely [L It would be a desecration for you!] you will not ·destroy [L kill; slay] the ·good people [righteous] along with the ·evil ones [wicked]; then they would be treated the same. You are the judge of all the earth. Won’t you do what is ·right [just]?”
26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty ·good people [righteous] in the city of Sodom, I will ·save [spare] the whole ·city [L place] because of them.”
27 Then Abraham [L answered and] said, “Though I am only dust and ashes, I have been brave to speak to the Lord. 28 What if ·there are only forty-five good people [L five of the fifty righteous are lacking] in the city? Will you destroy the whole city for the lack of five ·good people [righteous]?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty-five there, I will not destroy the city.”
29 Again Abraham said to him, “If you find only forty ·good people [righteous] there, will you destroy the city?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty, I will not destroy it.”
30 Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me ask you this. If you find only thirty ·good people [righteous] in the city, will you destroy it?”
He said, “If I find thirty ·good people [righteous] there, I will not destroy the city.”
31 Then Abraham said, “I have been brave to speak to the Lord. But what if there are twenty ·good people [righteous] in the city?”
He answered, “If I find twenty there, I will not destroy the city.”
32 Then 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.”
33 When the Lord finished speaking to Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned ·home [L to his place].