Three Special Visitors
1 The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest time of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing across from him. When he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3 He said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by and leave your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought so that you may all wash your feet and rest under the tree. 5 And let me get a bit of food so that you may refresh yourselves since you have passed by your servant’s home. After that you may be on your way.” “All right,” they replied, “you may do as you say.”
6 So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Take three measures of fine flour, knead it, and make bread.” 7 Then Abraham ran to the herd and chose a fine, tender calf, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it. 8 Abraham then took some curds and milk, along with the calf that had been prepared, and placed the food before them. They ate while he was standing near them under a tree.
9 Then they asked him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He replied, “There, in the tent.” 10 One of them said, “I will surely return to you when the season comes round again, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” (Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, not far behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were old and advancing in years; Sarah had long since passed menopause.) 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, especially when my husband is old too?”
13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child when I am old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.” 15 Then Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But the Lord said, “No! You did laugh.”
Abraham Pleads for Sodom
16 When the men got up to leave, they looked out over Sodom. (Now Abraham was walking 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 After all, Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on the earth will pronounce blessings on one another using his name. 19 I have chosen him so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then the Lord will give to Abraham what he promised him.”
20 So the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so blatant 21 that I must go down and see if they are as wicked as the outcry suggests. If not, I want to know.”
22 The two men turned and headed toward Sodom, but Abraham was still standing before the Lord. 23 Abraham approached and said, “Will you sweep away the godly along with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty godly people in the city? Will you really wipe it out and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty godly people who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the godly with the wicked, treating the godly and the wicked alike! Far be it from you! Will not the judge of the whole earth do what is right?”
26 So the Lord replied, “If I find in the city of Sodom fifty godly people, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham asked, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord (although I am but dust and ashes), 28 what if there are five less than the fifty godly people? Will you destroy the whole city because five are lacking?” He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
29 Abraham spoke to him again, “What if forty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty.”
30 Then Abraham said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak! What if thirty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 Abraham said, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
32 Finally Abraham said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
33 The Lord went on his way when he had finished speaking to Abraham. Then Abraham returned home.