Abraham’s Three Visitors
1The 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. 2He 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, 3and said, “My lord, if I have found favor with you, please do not go on past your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. 5I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves. This is why you have passed your servant’s way. Later, you can continue on.”
“Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.”
6So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Knead three measures of fine flour and make bread.” 7Abraham ran to the herd and got a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man, who hurried to prepare it. 8Then Abraham took curds and milk, as well as the calf that he had prepared, and set them before the men. He served them as they ate under the tree.
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he answered.
10The 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.
11Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12So she laughed to herself: “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I have delight?”
13But the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’ 14Is 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.”
15Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid.
But he replied, “No, you did laugh.”
Abraham’s Plea for Sodom
16The men got up from there and looked out over Sodom, and Abraham was walking with them to see them off. 17Then the Lord said, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? 18Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19For I have chosen 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.” 20Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. 21I 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.”
22The men turned from there and went toward Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23Abraham stepped forward and said, “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24What 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? 25You 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?”
26The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27Then Abraham answered, “Since I have ventured to speak to my lord — even though I am dust and ashes — 28suppose 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.”
29Then he spoke to him again, “Suppose forty are found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it on account of forty.”
30Then 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.”
31Then 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.”
32Then 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.” 33When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he departed, and Abraham returned to his place.