18The Lord appeared to Abraham* by the oaks* of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3He said, My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass onsince you have come to your servant. So they said, Do as you have said. 6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures* of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes. 7Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
9 They said to him, Where is your wife Sarah? And he said, There, in the tent. 10Then one said, I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son. And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure? 13The Lord said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, and say, Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old? 14Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son. 15But Sarah denied, saying, I did not laugh; for she was afraid. He said, Oh yes, you did laugh.
16 Then the men set out from there, and they looked towards Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17The Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?* 19No, for I have chosen* him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring about for Abraham what he has promised him. 20Then the Lord said, How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! 21I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.
22 So the men turned from there, and went towards Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.* 23Then Abraham came near and said, Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just? 26And the Lord said, If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake. 27Abraham answered, Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five? And he said, I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there. 29Again he spoke to him, Suppose forty are found there. He answered, For the sake of forty I will not do it. 30Then he said, Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there. He answered, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31He said, Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there. He answered, For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it. 32Then he said, Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there. He answered, For the sake of ten I will not destroy it. 33And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011