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Genesis 18-20Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Abraham’s Three Visitors

18 The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day. He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, bowed to the ground, and said, “My lord, if I have found favor with you, please do not go on past your servant. Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves.[a] This is why you have passed your servant’s way. Later, you can continue on.”

“Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Knead three measures[b] of fine flour and make bread.”[c] Abraham ran to the herd and got a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man, who hurried to prepare it. Then Abraham took curds[d] and milk, as well as the calf that he had prepared, and set them before the men. He served[e] them as they ate under the tree.

Sarah Laughs

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

“There, in the tent,” he answered.

10 The Lord said, “I will certainly come back to you in about a year’s time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.

11 Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years.[f] Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.[g] 12 So she laughed to herself: “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I have delight?”

13 But the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”

15 Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid.

But he replied, “No, you did laugh.”

Abraham’s Plea for Sodom

16 The men got up from there and looked out over Sodom, and Abraham was walking with them to see them off. 17 Then the Lord said, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? 18 Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen[h] him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. This is how the Lord will fulfill to Abraham what he promised him.” 20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. 21 I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to me. If not, I will find out.”

22 The men turned from there and went toward Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[i] 23 Abraham stepped forward and said, “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people who are in it? 25 You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won’t the Judge of the whole earth do what is just?”

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 answered, “Since I have ventured to speak to my lord—even though I am dust and ashes— 28 suppose the fifty righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”

He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

29 Then he spoke to him again, “Suppose forty are found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it on account of forty.”

30 Then he said, “Let my lord not be angry, and I will speak further. Suppose thirty are found there?”

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

31 Then he said, “Since I have ventured to speak to my lord, suppose twenty are found there?”

He replied, “I will not destroy it on account of twenty.”

32 Then he said, “Let my lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. Suppose ten are found there?”

He answered, “I will not destroy it on account of ten.” 33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he departed, and Abraham returned to his place.

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

19 The two angels entered Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in Sodom’s gateway. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them. He bowed with his face to the ground and said, “My lords, turn aside to your servant’s house, wash your feet, and spend the night. Then you can get up early and go on your way.”

“No,” they said. “We would rather spend the night in the square.” But he urged them so strongly that they followed him and went into his house. He prepared a feast and baked unleavened bread for them, and they ate.

Before they went to bed, the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old, the whole population, surrounded the house. They called out to Lot and said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so we can have sex with them!”

Lot went out to them at the entrance and shut the door behind him. He said, “Don’t do this evil, my brothers. Look, I’ve got two daughters who haven’t been intimate with a man. I’ll bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want[j] to them. However, don’t do anything to these men, because they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of the way!” they said, adding, “This one came here as an alien, but he’s acting like a judge! Now we’ll do more harm to you than to them.” They put pressure on Lot and came up to break down the door. 10 But the angels[k] reached out, brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 They struck the men who were at the entrance of the house, both young and old, with blindness[l] so that they were unable to find the entrance.

12 Then the angels said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here: a son-in-law, your sons and daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of this place, 13 for we are about to destroy this place because the outcry against its people is so great before the Lord, that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were going to marry[m] his daughters. “Get up,” he said. “Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

15 At daybreak the angels urged Lot on: “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment[n] of the city.” 16 But he hesitated. Because of the Lord’s compassion for him, the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters. They brought him out and left him outside the city.

17 As soon as the angels got them outside, one of them[o] said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop anywhere on the plain! Run to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”

18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords[p]—please. 19 Your servant has indeed found favor with you, and you have shown me great kindness by saving my life. But I can’t run to the mountains; the disaster will overtake me, and I will die. 20 Look, this town is close enough for me to flee to. It is a small place. Please let me run to it—it’s only a small place, isn’t it?—so that I can survive.”

21 And he said to him, “All right,[q] I’ll grant your request[r] about this matter too and will not demolish the town you mentioned. 22 Hurry up! Run to it, for I cannot do anything until you get there.” Therefore the name of the city is Zoar.[s]

23 The sun had risen over the land when Lot reached Zoar. 24 Then out of the sky the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah burning sulfur from the Lord. 25 He demolished these cities, the entire plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and whatever grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.

27 Early in the morning Abraham went to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of the plain, and he saw that smoke was going up from the land like the smoke of a furnace. 29 So it was, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham and brought Lot out of the middle of the upheaval when he demolished the cities where Lot had lived.

The Origin of Moab and Ammon

30 Lot departed from Zoar and lived in the mountains along with his two daughters, because he was afraid to live in Zoar. Instead, he and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 Then the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man in the land to sleep with us as is the custom of all the land. 32 Come, let’s get our father to drink wine so that we can sleep with him and preserve our father’s line.” 33 So they got their father to drink wine that night, and the firstborn came and slept with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she got up.

34 The next day the firstborn said to the younger, “Look, I slept with my father last night. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight so you can go sleep with him and we can preserve our father’s line.” 35 That night they again got their father to drink wine, and the younger went and slept with him; he did not know when she lay down or when she got up.

36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn gave birth to a son and named him Moab.[t] He is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger also gave birth to a son, and she named him Ben-ammi.[u] He is the father of the Ammonites of today.

Sarah Rescued from Abimelech

20 From there Abraham traveled to the region of the Negev and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he was staying in Gerar, Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar had Sarah brought to him.

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, for she is a married woman.”[v]

Now Abimelech had not approached her, so he said, “Lord, would you destroy a nation even though it is innocent? Didn’t he himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ I did this with a clear conscience[w] and clean[x] hands.”

Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you did this with a clear conscience.[y] I have also kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I have not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, know that you will certainly die, you and all who are yours.”

Early in the morning Abimelech got up, called all his servants together, and personally[z] told them all these things, and the men were terrified.

Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said to him, “What have you done to us? How did I sin against you that you have brought such enormous guilt on me and on my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” 10 Abimelech also asked Abraham, “What made you do this?”

11 Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘There is absolutely no fear of God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 So when God had me wander from my father’s house, I said to her: Show your loyalty to me wherever we go and say about me: ‘He’s my brother.’”

14 Then Abimelech took flocks and herds and male and female slaves, gave them to Abraham, and returned his wife Sarah to him. 15 Abimelech said, “Look, my land is before you. Settle wherever you want.”[aa] 16 And he said to Sarah, “Look, I am giving your brother one thousand pieces of silver. It is a verification of your honor[ab] to all who are with you. You are fully vindicated.”

17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female slaves so that they could bear children, 18 for the Lord had completely closed all the wombs in Abimelech’s household on account of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Footnotes:

  1. 18:5 Lit may sustain your heart
  2. 18:6 Lit three seahs; about 21 quarts
  3. 18:6 A round, thin, unleavened bread
  4. 18:8 Or butter
  5. 18:8 Lit was standing by
  6. 18:11 Lit days
  7. 18:11 Lit The way of women had ceased for Sarah
  8. 18:19 Lit known
  9. 18:22 Alt Hb tradition reads while the Lord remained standing before Abraham
  10. 19:8 Lit do what is good in your eyes
  11. 19:10 Lit men, also in v. 12
  12. 19:11 Or a blinding light
  13. 19:14 Lit take
  14. 19:15 Or iniquity, or guilt
  15. 19:17 LXX, Syr, Vg read outside, they
  16. 19:18 Or my Lord, or my lord
  17. 19:21 Or “Look!
  18. 19:21 Lit I will lift up your face
  19. 19:22 In Hb, the name Zoar is related to “small” in v. 20; its previous name was “Bela”; Gn 14:2.
  20. 19:37 = From My Father
  21. 19:38 = Son of My People
  22. 20:3 Lit is possessed by a husband
  23. 20:5 Lit with integrity of my heart
  24. 20:5 Lit cleanness of my
  25. 20:6 Lit with integrity of your heart
  26. 20:8 Lit in their ears
  27. 20:15 Lit Settle in the good in your eyes
  28. 20:16 Lit a covering of the eyes
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

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