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Genesis 18 Living Bible (TLB)

18 The Lord appeared again to Abraham while he was living in the oak grove at Mamre. This is the way it happened: One hot summer afternoon as he was sitting in the opening of his tent, he suddenly noticed three men coming toward him. He sprang up and ran to meet them and welcomed them.

3-4 “Sirs,” he said, “please don’t go any farther. Stop awhile and rest here in the shade of this tree while I get water to refresh your feet, and a bite to eat to strengthen you. Do stay awhile before continuing your journey.”

“All right,” they said, “do as you have said.”

Then Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Mix up some pancakes![a] Use your best flour, and make enough for the three of them!” Then he ran out to the herd and selected a fat calf and told a servant to hurry and butcher it. Soon, taking them cheese and milk and the roast veal, he set it before the men and stood beneath the trees beside them as they ate.

“Where is Sarah, your wife?” they asked him.

“In the tent,” Abraham replied.

10 Then the Lord said, “Next year[b] I will give you and Sarah a son!” (Sarah was listening from the tent door behind him.) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were both very old, and Sarah was long since past the time when she could have a baby.

12 So Sarah laughed silently. “A woman my age have a baby?” she scoffed to herself. “And with a husband as old as mine?”

13 Then God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ 14 Is anything too hard for God? Next year, just as I told you, I will certainly see to it that Sarah has a son.”

15 But Sarah denied it. “I didn’t laugh,” she lied, for she was afraid.

16 Then the men stood up from their meal and started on toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them part of the way.

17 “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” God asked. 18 “For Abraham shall become a mighty nation, and he will be a source of blessing for all the nations of the earth. 19 And I have picked him out to have godly descendants and a godly household—men who are just and good—so that I can do for him all I have promised.”

20 So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are utterly evil, and that everything they do is wicked. 21 I am going down to see whether these reports are true or not. Then I will know.”

22-23 So the other two went on toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham a while. Then Abraham approached him and said, “Will you kill good and bad alike? 24 Suppose you find fifty godly people there within the city—will you destroy it, and not spare it for their sakes? 25 That wouldn’t be right! Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, to kill the godly with the wicked! Why, you would be treating godly and wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth be fair?”

26 And God replied, “If I find fifty godly people there, I will spare the entire city for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke again. “Since I have begun, let me go on and speak further to the Lord, though I am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose there are only forty-five? Will you destroy the city for lack of five?”

And God said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five.”

29 Then Abraham went further with his request. “Suppose there are only forty?”

And God replied, “I won’t destroy it if there are forty.”

30 “Please don’t be angry,” Abraham pleaded. “Let me speak: suppose only thirty are found there?”

And God replied, “I won’t do it if there are thirty there.”

31 Then Abraham said, “Since I have dared to speak to God, let me continue—suppose there are only twenty?”

And God said, “Then I won’t destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”

32 Finally, Abraham said, “Oh, let not the Lord be angry; I will speak but this once more! Suppose only ten are found?”

And God said, “Then, for the sake of the ten, I won’t destroy it.”

33 And the Lord went on his way when he had finished his conversation with Abraham. And Abraham returned to his tent.


  1. Genesis 18:6 pancakes, probably some sort of tortilla.
  2. Genesis 18:10 Next year, literally, “When life would be due.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Genesis 18 New International Version (NIV)

The Three Visitors

18 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,[a] do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs[b] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”

Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

Abraham Pleads for Sodom

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[c] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[d] 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[e] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.


  1. Genesis 18:3 Or eyes, Lord
  2. Genesis 18:6 That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms
  3. Genesis 18:18 Or will use his name in blessings (see 48:20)
  4. Genesis 18:22 Masoretic Text; an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition but the Lord remained standing before Abraham
  5. Genesis 18:24 Or forgive; also in verse 26
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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