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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 18

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1 THE LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinths of Mamre, as he was sitting at the opening of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing over against him. On seeing them, he hurried from his tent door to meet them. Bowing low 3he said, ‘Sirs, if I have deserved your favour, do not go past your servant without a visit. 4Let me send for some water so that you may bathe your feet; and rest under this tree, 5while I fetch a little food so that you may refresh yourselves. Afterwards you may continue the journey which has brought you my way.’ They said, ‘Very well, do as you say.’ 6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, ‘Quick, take three measures of flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ 7He then hastened to the herd, chose a fine, tender calf, and gave it to a servant, who prepared it at once. 8He took curds and milk and the calf which was now ready, set it all before them, and there under the tree waited on them himself while they ate.

9They asked him where Sarah his wife was, and he replied, ‘She is in the tent.’ 10One of them said, ‘About this time next year I shall come back to you, and your wife Sarah will have a son.’ Now Sarah was listening at the opening of the tent close by him. 11Both Abraham and Sarah were very old, Sarah being well past the age of childbearing. 12So she laughed to herself and said, ‘At my time of life I am past bearing children, and my husband is old.’ 13The LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, “Can I really bear a child now that I am so old?” 14Is anything impossible for the LORD? In due season, at this time next year, I shall come back to you, and Sarah will have a son.’ 15Because she was frightened, Sarah lied and denied that she had laughed; but he said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’

16The men set out and looked down towards Sodom, and Abraham went with them to see them on their way. 17The LORD had thought to himself, ‘Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am about to do? 18He will become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will wish to be blessed as he is blessed a 18:18 will wish … is blessed: or will be blessed because of him. . 19I have singled him out so that he may charge his sons and family after him to conform to the way of the LORD and do what is right and just; thus I shall fulfil for him all that I have promised.’ 20The LORD said, ‘How great is the outcry over Sodom and Gomorrah! How grave their sin must be! 21I shall go down and see whether their deeds warrant the outcry reaching me. I must know the truth.’ 22When the men turned and went off towards Sodom, Abraham remained standing before the LORD b 18:22 Abraham … L ORD : original reading was probably the LORD remained standing before Abraham. . 23Abraham drew near him and asked, ‘Will you really sweep away innocent and wicked together? 24Suppose there are fifty innocent in the city; will you really sweep it away, and not pardon the place because of the fifty innocent there? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill innocent and wicked together; for then the innocent would suffer with the wicked. Far be it from you! Should not the judge of all the earth do what is just?’ 26The LORD replied, ‘If I find in Sodom fifty innocent, I shall pardon the whole place for their sake.’ 27Abraham said, ‘May I make so bold as to speak to the Lord, I who am nothing but dust and ashes: 28suppose there are five short of fifty innocent? Will you destroy the whole city for the lack of five men?’ ‘If I find forty-five there,’ he replied, ‘I shall not destroy it.’ 29Abraham spoke again, ‘Suppose forty can be found there?’ ‘For the sake of the forty I shall not do it,’ he replied. 30Then Abraham said, ‘Let not my Lord become angry if I speak again: suppose thirty can be found there?’ He answered, ‘If I find thirty there, I shall not do it.’ 31Abraham continued, ‘May I make so bold as to speak to the Lord: suppose twenty can be found there?’ He replied, ‘For the sake of the twenty I shall not destroy it.’ 32Abraham said, ‘Let not my Lord become angry if I speak just once more: suppose ten can be found there?’ ‘For the sake of the ten I shall not destroy it,’ said the Lord. 33When the LORD had finished talking to Abraham, he went away, and Abraham returned home.

Notes:

a 18:18 will wish … is blessed: or will be blessed because of him.

b 18:22 Abraham … L ORD : original reading was probably the LORD remained standing before Abraham.

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