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Genesis 14-18 Common English Bible (CEB)

Abram rescues Lot

14 While Amraphel was king of Shinar, Ellasar’s King Arioch, Elam’s King Chedorlaomer, and Goiim’s King Tidal declared war on Sodom’s King Bera, Gomorrah’s King Birsha, Admah’s King Shinab, Zeboiim’s King Shemeber, and the king of Bela, that is, Zoar. These latter kings formed an alliance in the Siddim Valley (that is, the Dead Sea[a]). For twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they revolted. In the fourteenth year, Chedorlaomer and the kings of his alliance came and attacked the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in the mountains of Seir as far as El-paran near the desert. Then they turned back, came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and attacked the territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar.

Then the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bera (that is, Zoar) took up battle positions in the Siddim Valley against King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar, four kings against five.

10 Now the Siddim Valley was filled with tar pits. When the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah retreated, they fell into them; and the rest fled to the mountains. 11 They took everything from Sodom and Gomorrah, including its food supplies, and left. 12 They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom, and everything he owned, and took off. 13 When a survivor arrived, he told Abram the Hebrew, who lived near the oaks of the Amorite Mamre, who was the brother of Eshcol and Aner, Abram’s treaty partners.

14 When Abram heard that his relative had been captured, he took all of the loyal men born in his household, three hundred eighteen, and went after them as far as Dan. 15 During the night, he and his servants divided themselves up against them, attacked, and chased them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all of the looted property, together with his relative Lot and Lot’s property, wives, and people.

Abram blessed by Melchizedek

17 After Abram returned from his attack on Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom came out to the Shaveh Valley (that is, the King’s Valley) to meet him. 18 Now Melchizedek the king of Salem and the priest of El Elyon[b] had brought bread and wine, 19 and he blessed him,

“Bless Abram by El Elyon,
        creator of heaven and earth;
20 bless El Elyon,
        who gave you the victory over your enemies.”

Abram gave Melchizedek one-tenth of everything. 21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and take the property for yourself.”

22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I promised the Lord, El Elyon, creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I wouldn’t take even a thread or a sandal strap from anything that was yours so that you couldn’t say, ‘I’m the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 The only exception is that the young men may keep whatever they have taken to eat, and the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre—may keep their share.”

God’s covenant with Abram

15 After these events, the Lord’s word came to Abram in a vision, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your protector.[c] Your reward will be very great.”

But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you possibly give me, since I still have no children? The head of my household is Eliezer, a man from Damascus.”[d] He continued, “Since you haven’t given me any children, the head of my household will be my heir.”

The Lord’s word came immediately to him, “This man will not be your heir. Your heir will definitely be your very own biological child.” Then he brought Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you think you can count them.” He continued, “This is how many children you will have.” Abram trusted the Lord, and the Lord recognized Abram’s high moral character.

He said to Abram, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.”

But Abram said, “Lord God, how do I know that I will actually possess it?”

He said, “Bring me a three-year-old female calf, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.” 10 He took all of these animals, split them in half, and laid the halves facing each other, but he didn’t split the birds. 11 When vultures swooped down on the carcasses, Abram waved them off. 12 After the sun set, Abram slept deeply. A terrifying and deep darkness settled over him.

13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Have no doubt that your descendants will live as immigrants in a land that isn’t their own, where they will be oppressed slaves for four hundred years. 14 But after I punish the nation they serve, they will leave it with great wealth. 15 As for you, you will join your ancestors in peace and be buried after a good long life. 16 The fourth generation will return here since the Amorites’ wrongdoing won’t have reached its peak until then.”

17 After the sun had set and darkness had deepened, a smoking vessel with a fiery flame passed between the split-open animals. 18 That day the Lord cut a covenant with Abram: “To your descendants I give this land, from Egypt’s river to the great Euphrates, 19 together with the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

Hagar and the Ishmaelites’ origins

16 Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to have children. Since she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar, Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from giving birth, so go to my servant. Maybe she will provide me with children.” Abram did just as Sarai said. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took her Egyptian servant Hagar and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when she realized that she was pregnant, she no longer respected her mistress. Sarai said to Abram, “This harassment is your fault. I allowed you to embrace my servant, but when she realized she was pregnant, I lost her respect. Let the Lord decide who is right, you or me.”

Abram said to Sarai, “Since she’s your servant, do whatever you wish to her.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she ran away from Sarai.

The Lord’s messenger found Hagar at a spring in the desert, the spring on the road to Shur, and said, “Hagar! Sarai’s servant! Where did you come from and where are you going?”

She said, “From Sarai my mistress. I’m running away.”

The Lord’s messenger said to her, “Go back to your mistress. Put up with her harsh treatment of you.” 10 The Lord’s messenger also said to her,

“I will give you many children,
        so many they can’t be counted!”

11 The Lord’s messenger said to her,

“You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son.
        You will name him Ishmael[e]
        because the Lord has heard about your harsh treatment.
12 He will be a wild mule of a man;
        he will fight everyone, and they will fight him.
        He will live at odds with all his relatives.”[f]

13 Hagar named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El Roi”[g] because she said, “Can I still see after he saw me?”[h] 14 Therefore, that well is called Beer-lahai-roi;[i] it’s the well between Kadesh and Bered. 15 Hagar gave birth to a son for Abram, and Abram named him Ishmael. 16 Abram was 86 years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael for Abram.

God’s covenant with Abraham

17 When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am El Shaddai.[j] Walk with me and be trustworthy. I will make a covenant between us and I will give you many, many descendants.” Abram fell on his face, and God said to him, “But me, my covenant is with you; you will be the ancestor of many nations. And because I have made you the ancestor of many nations, your name will no longer be Abram[k] but Abraham.[l] I will make you very fertile. I will produce nations from you, and kings will come from you. I will set up my covenant with you and your descendants after you in every generation as an enduring covenant. I will be your God and your descendants’ God after you. I will give you and your descendants the land in which you are immigrants, the whole land of Canaan, as an enduring possession. And I will be their God.”

God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants in every generation. 10 This is my covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Circumcise every male. 11 You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it will be a symbol of the covenant between us. 12 On the eighth day after birth, every male in every generation must be circumcised, including those who are not your own children: those born in your household and those purchased with silver from foreigners. 13 Be sure you circumcise those born in your household and those purchased with your silver. Your flesh will embody my covenant as an enduring covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male whose flesh of his foreskin remains uncircumcised will be cut off from his people. He has broken my covenant.”

15 God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, you will no longer call her Sarai. Her name will now be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and even give you a son from her. I will bless her so that she will become nations, and kings of peoples will come from her.”

17 Abraham fell on his face and laughed. He said to himself, Can a 100-year-old man become a father, or Sarah, a 90-year-old woman, have a child? 18 To God Abraham said, “If only you would accept Ishmael!”

19 But God said, “No, your wife Sarah will give birth to a son for you, and you will name him Isaac.[m] I will set up my covenant with him and with his descendants after him as an enduring covenant. 20 As for Ishmael, I’ve heard your request. I will bless him and make him fertile and give him many, many descendants. He will be the ancestor of twelve tribal leaders, and I will make a great nation of him. 21 But I will set up my covenant with Isaac, who will be born to Sarah at this time next year.” 22 When God finished speaking to him, God ascended, leaving Abraham alone.

23 Abraham took his son Ishmael, all those born in his household, and all those purchased with his silver—that is, every male in Abraham’s household—and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that same day, just as God had told him to do. 24 Abraham was 99 years old when he circumcised the flesh of his foreskin, 25 and his son Ishmael was 13 years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised. 26 That same day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 All the men of his household, those born in his household and those purchased with silver from foreigners, were circumcised with him.

Isaac’s birth announced

18 The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he sat at the entrance of his tent in the day’s heat. He 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. He said, “Sirs, if you would be so kind, don’t just pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought so you may wash your feet and refresh yourselves under the tree. Let 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.”

So Abraham hurried to Sarah at his tent and said, “Hurry! Knead three seahs[n] of the finest flour and make some baked goods!” Abraham ran to the cattle, took a healthy young calf, and gave it to a young servant, who prepared it quickly. Then 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.

They said to him, “Where’s your wife Sarah?”

And he said, “Right here in the tent.”

10 Then 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. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were both very old. Sarah was no longer menstruating. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, I’m no longer able to have children and my husband’s old.

13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Me give birth? At my age?’ 14 Is anything too difficult for the Lord? When I return to you about this time next year, Sarah will have a son.”

15 Sarah lied and said, “I didn’t laugh,” because she was frightened.

But he said, “No, you laughed.”

Abraham pleads for Sodom

16 The men got up from there and went over to look down on Sodom. Abraham was walking along with them to send them off 17 when the Lord said, “Will I keep from Abraham what I’m about to do? 18 Abraham will certainly become a great populous nation, and all the earth’s nations will be blessed because of him. 19 I 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.” 20 Then the Lord said, “The cries of injustice from Sodom and Gomorrah are countless, and their sin is very serious! 21 I 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.”

22 The men turned away and walked toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing in front of the Lord.[o] 23 Abraham approached and said, “Will you really sweep away the innocent[p] with the guilty?[q] 24 What 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? 25 It’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?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will save it because of them.”

27 Abraham responded, “Since I’ve already decided to speak with my Lord, even though I’m just soil and ash, 28 what 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.”

29 Once again Abraham spoke, “What if forty are there?”

The Lord said, “For the sake of forty, I will do nothing.”

30 He 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.”

31 Abraham 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.”

32 Abraham 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.” 33 When the Lord finished speaking with Abraham, he left; but Abraham stayed there in that place.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 14:3 Or Salt Sea
  2. Genesis 14:18 Or God Most High
  3. Genesis 15:1 Or shield or benefactor
  4. Genesis 15:2 Heb uncertain
  5. Genesis 16:11 Or God hears
  6. Genesis 16:12 Or He will reside near all his relatives.
  7. Genesis 16:13 Or God who sees or God whom I’ve seen
  8. Genesis 16:13 Heb uncertain; or Have I really seen God and survived?
  9. Genesis 16:14 Or the Well of the Living One who sees me or whom I’ve seen
  10. Genesis 17:1 Or God Almighty or God of the Mountain
  11. Genesis 17:5 Or exalted ancestor
  12. Genesis 17:5 Or ancestor of a multitude
  13. Genesis 17:19 Or he laughs
  14. Genesis 18:6 One seah is seven and a half quarts.
  15. Genesis 18:22 Some ancient manuscripts read but the Lord remained standing in front of Abraham.
  16. Genesis 18:23 Or righteous
  17. Genesis 18:23 Or wicked
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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