New International Version

Genesis 18

The Three Visitors

1The 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.

Footnotes

  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 Reader's Version

Genesis 18

Three Men Visit Abraham

1The Lord appeared to Abraham near the large trees of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent. It was the hottest time of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. So he quickly left the entrance to his tent to greet them. He bowed low to the ground.

He said, “My lord, if you are pleased with me, don’t pass me by. Let me get you some water. Then all of you can wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat to give you strength. Then you can go on your way. I want to do this for you now that you have come to me.”

“All right,” they answered. “Do as you say.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick!” he said. “Get about 36 pounds of the finest flour. Prepare it and bake some bread.”

Then he ran over to the herd. He picked out a choice, tender calf. He gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. Then he brought some butter and milk and the calf that had been prepared. He served them to the three men. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

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

“Over there in the tent,” he said.

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

Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old. Sarah was too old to have a baby. 12 So she laughed to herself. She thought, “I’m worn out, and my husband is old. Can I really know the joy of having a baby?”

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

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

But the Lord said, “Yes, you laughed.”

Abraham Pleads for Sodom

16 The men got up to leave. They looked down toward Sodom. Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 He will certainly become a great and powerful nation. All nations on earth will be blessed because of him. 19 I have chosen him. He must direct his children to live in the way that pleases me. And he must direct the members of his family after him to do the same. So he must guide all of them in doing what is right and fair. Then I, the Lord, will do for Abraham what I have promised him.”

20 The Lord also said, “The cries against Sodom and Gomorrah are very great. Their sin is so bad 21 that I will go down and see for myself. I want to see if what they have done is as bad as the cries that have reached me. If it is not, then I will know.”

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom. But Abraham remained standing in front of the Lord. 23 Then Abraham came up to him. He said, “Will you sweep away godly people along with those who are evil? 24 What if there are 50 godly people in the city? Will you really sweep it away? Won’t you spare the place because of the 50 godly people in it? 25 You would never kill godly people along with those who are evil, would you? Would you treat them all alike? You would never do anything like that! Won’t the Judge of the whole earth do what is right?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find 50 godly people in the city of Sodom, I will spare it. I will spare the whole place because of them.”

27 Then Abraham spoke up again. He said, “I have been very bold to speak to the Lord. After all, I’m only dust and ashes. 28 What if the number of godly people is five fewer than 50? Will you destroy the whole city because there are five fewer people?”

“If I find 45 there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29 Once again Abraham spoke to him. He asked, “What if only 40 are found there?”

He said, “If there are 40, I will not do it.”

30 Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me. Let me speak. What if only 30 can be found there?”

He answered, “If I find 30, I will not do it.”

31 Abraham said, “I have been very bold to speak to the Lord. What if only 20 can be found there?”

He said, “If I find 20, I will not destroy it.”

32 Then he said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me. Let me speak just one more time. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “If I find ten, I will not destroy it.”

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