The Three Visitors
18 Later, the Lord again appeared to Abraham near the ·great trees [L oaks; or terebinths] of Mamre [C an area near Hebron, named after Amorite leader; 14:13, 24]. Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent ·during the hottest part [L in the heat] of the day. 2 He ·looked up [L raised his eyes] and saw three men standing near him. When Abraham saw them, he ran from [L the entrance of] his tent to meet them. He bowed facedown on the ground before them 3 and said, “·Sir [My lord], if ·you think well of me [L I have found grace in your eyes], please ·stay awhile with me, [L do not pass by] your servant. 4 I will bring some water so all of you can wash your feet. You may rest under the tree, 5 and I will get some bread for you so you can regain your strength. Then you may ·continue your journey [L pass by].”
The three men said, “That is fine. Do as you said.” [C In the ancient Near East, hospitality towards strangers was a very imporant value.]
6 Abraham hurried to the tent where Sarah was and said to her, “Hurry, ·prepare [L take and knead] ·twenty quarts [L three seahs] of fine flour, and make ·it into loaves of bread [L cakes].” 7 Then Abraham ran to his herd and took one of his ·best [L tender and good/choice] calves. He gave it to a servant, who hurried ·to kill it and to prepare it for food [L to prepare it]. 8 Abraham gave the three men the calf that had been ·cooked [L prepared] and milk curds and milk. While they ate, he stood under the tree near them.
9 The men asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
“There, in the tent,” said Abraham.
10 Then ·the Lord [L he] said, “I will certainly return to you ·about this time a year from now [or in due time; L about the living time]. At that time your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were very old. Since ·Sarah was past the age when women normally have children [L it had stopped being with Sarah after the manner of women; C she had reached menopause], 12 she laughed ·to herself [inwardly], “·My husband and I are too old [L I am worn out and my husband is too old] to have ·a baby [L pleasure].”
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘I am too old to have a baby’? 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! I will return to you ·at the right time a year from now [or in due time; L about the living time], and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she ·lied [denied it] and said, “I didn’t laugh.”
But the Lord said, “No. You did laugh.”
16 Then the men got up to leave and ·started out [L looked] toward Sodom. Abraham walked along with them a short time to send them on their way.
Abraham’s Bargain with God
17 The Lord said, “Should I ·tell [L hide from] Abraham what I am going to do now? 18 ·Abraham’s children [L Abraham] will certainly become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him [12:1–3]. 19 I have ·chosen [L known] him so he would command his children and his ·descendants [L household] to ·live [L keep] the way the Lord wants them to, ·to live right and be fair [L …by doing righteousness and justice]. Then I, the Lord, will give Abraham what I promised him.”
20 Then the Lord said, “·I have heard many complaints [L The outcry is great] against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah [14:2]. ·They are very evil [L Their sin is very great/heavy]. 21 I will go down and see if they ·are as bad as I have heard [L have done according to the outcry which has come to me]. If not, I will know.”
22 So the men turned and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood there before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and asked, “Do you plan to ·destroy [sweep away] the ·good people [righteous] along with the ·evil ones [wicked]? 24 What if there are fifty ·good people [righteous] in that city? Will you still ·destroy it [sweep it away]? Surely you will ·save [spare] the ·city [L place] for the fifty ·good people [righteous] living there. 25 ·Surely [L It would be a desecration for you!] you will not ·destroy [L kill; slay] the ·good people [righteous] along with the ·evil ones [wicked]; then they would be treated the same. You are the judge of all the earth. Won’t you do what is ·right [just]?”
26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty ·good people [righteous] in the city of Sodom, I will ·save [spare] the whole ·city [L place] because of them.”
27 Then Abraham [L answered and] said, “Though I am only dust and ashes, I have been brave to speak to the Lord. 28 What if ·there are only forty-five good people [L five of the fifty righteous are lacking] in the city? Will you destroy the whole city for the lack of five ·good people [righteous]?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty-five there, I will not destroy the city.”
29 Again Abraham said to him, “If you find only forty ·good people [righteous] there, will you destroy the city?”
The Lord said, “If I find forty, I will not destroy it.”
30 Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me ask you this. If you find only thirty ·good people [righteous] in the city, will you destroy it?”
He said, “If I find thirty ·good people [righteous] there, I will not destroy the city.”
31 Then Abraham said, “I have been brave to speak to the Lord. But what if there are twenty ·good people [righteous] in the city?”
He answered, “If I find twenty there, I will not destroy the city.”
32 Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me bother you this one last time. What if you find ten there?”
He said, “If I find ten there, I will not destroy it.”
33 When the Lord finished speaking to Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned ·home [L to his place].
Lot Leaves Sodom
19 The two ·angels [messengers] came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting near the ·city gate [L gate of Sodom; C the administrative center of a city]. When he saw them, he got up ·and went to [to meet] them and bowed facedown on the ground. 2 Lot said, “·Sirs [My lords], please come to ·my [L your servant’s] house and spend the night. There you can wash your feet, and then ·tomorrow you may [L you can get up early and] continue your journey.”
The ·angels [messengers] answered, “No, we will spend the night in the city’s public square.”
3 But Lot ·begged them [entreated/urged them strongly] to come, so they ·agreed [L turned aside to him] and went to his house. Then Lot prepared a ·meal [feast; banquet] for them. He baked ·bread without yeast [unleavened bread], and they ate it.
4 Before ·bedtime [L they lay down], men both young and old and from every part of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the two men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can ·have sexual relations with [L know] them.”
6 Lot went ·outside [L out the door] to them, closing the door behind him. 7 He said, “No, my brothers! Do not do this evil thing. 8 Look! I have two daughters who have never ·slept with [had sexual relations with; L known] a man. I will give them to you, and you may do anything you want with them. But please don’t do anything to these men. They have come ·to my house, and I must protect them [L under the shelter/shade of my roof].”
9 The men around the house answered, “·Move out of the way [Stand back]!” Then they said to each other, “This ·man Lot [fellow; L one] came to our city as a ·stranger [sojourner; wanderer; resident alien], and now he wants to ·tell us what to do [L judge us]!” They said to Lot, “We will do worse things to you than to them.” They started pushing him back and were ready to break down the door.
10 But ·the two men staying with Lot [L the men] ·opened the door, [L reached out their hands and] pulled him back inside the house, and then closed the door. 11 They struck those outside the door with ·blindness [a blinding flash], so the men, both ·young and old [L small and great], could not find the door.
12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have ·any other relatives in this city [L anyone else here]? Do you have any sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any other relatives? If you do, ·tell them to leave now [get them out of this place], 13 because we are about to destroy this ·city [L place]. ·The Lord has heard of all the evil that is here [L Great is the outcry against them before the Lord], so he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and said to his future sons-in-law who were pledged to marry his daughters, “·Hurry and leave this city [L Get up and get out of this place]! The Lord is about to destroy it!” But ·they [L his sons-in-law] thought Lot was joking.
15 ·At dawn the next morning [L As morning dawned], the ·angels [messengers] ·begged [urged] Lot to hurry. They said, “Go! Take your wife and your two daughters with you so you will not be ·destroyed [swept away] when the city is punished.”
16 But Lot ·delayed [lingered; dawdled]. So the two men ·took [grabbed; seized] the hands of Lot, his wife, and his two daughters and led them safely out of the city. So the Lord was merciful to Lot and his family. 17 After they brought them out of the city, one of the men said, “·Run [Flee] for your lives! Don’t look back or stop anywhere in the ·valley [or plain]. Run to the mountains, or you will be ·destroyed [swept away].”
18 But Lot said to one of them, “·Sir, please don’t force me to go so far [L Oh no, my lord]! 19 ·You have been merciful [L Your servant has found grace in your eyes] and ·kind to me [L you have shown great kindness to me] and have saved my life. But I can’t ·run [flee] to the mountains. The disaster will catch me, and I will die. 20 Look, that little town over there is ·not too far away [L near enough to flee to]. Let me run there. It’s really just a little town, and ·I’ll be safe there [L my life will be saved/spared].”
21 The angel said to Lot, “Very well, I will ·allow you to do this also [show you this favor; L lift up your face]. I will not ·destroy that town [L overthrow the town of which you speak]. 22 But run there fast, because I cannot ·destroy Sodom [L do anything] until you are safely in that town.” (That town is named Zoar, because it is little [C Zoar sounds like the Hebrew word for “little”].)
Sodom and Gomorrah Are Destroyed
23 The sun had already ·come up [L risen over the earth] when Lot entered Zoar. 24 The Lord sent a rain of ·burning sulfur [sulfur and fire] down from ·the sky [heaven] on Sodom and Gomorrah 25 and ·destroyed [overturned] those cities. He also ·destroyed [overturned] the whole ·Jordan Valley [valley; or plain], everyone living in the cities, and even all the plants.
26 At that point Lot’s wife looked back. When she did, she became a pillar of salt.
27 Early the next morning, Abraham got up and went to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the ·Jordan Valley [L valley; or plain] and saw smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
29 God destroyed the cities in the ·valley [or plain], but he remembered what Abraham had asked. So ·God saved Lot’s life, but he [L he sent Lot out of the overthrow/upheaval when he] ·destroyed [overturned] the city where Lot had lived [Deut. 29:23; Is. 1:9; 13:19; Jer. 50:40; Amos 4:11; Matt. 10:15; 11:23–24; Jude 1:7; Rev. 11:8].
Lot and His Daughters
30 Lot was afraid to continue living in Zoar, so he and his two daughters went to live in the mountains in a cave. 31 One day the ·older daughter [L firstborn] said to the younger, “Our father is old. ·Everywhere on the earth women and men marry, but there are no men around here for us to marry [L There is no man on earth to come into us according to the way of all the earth]. 32 Let’s get our father ·drunk [L to drink wine] and ·have sexual relations [L we will lie] with him. ·We can use him to have children and continue our family [L …so we may preserve offspring/seed through our father].”
33 That night the two girls ·got their father drunk [L made their father drink wine], and the ·older daughter [L firstborn] went and ·had sexual relations [L lay] with him. But Lot did not know when she lay down or when she got up.
34 The next day the ·older daughter [L firstborn] said to the younger, “Last night I ·had sexual relations [lay] with my father. Let’s get him ·drunk [L to drink wine] again tonight so you can go and ·have sexual relations [L lay] with him, too. In this way we can ·use our father to have children to continue our family [preserve offspring/seed through our father].” 35 So that night they got their father ·drunk [L to drink wine] again, and the younger daughter went and ·had sexual relations [L lay] with him. Again, Lot did not know when she lay down or when she got up.
36 So both of Lot’s daughters ·became pregnant [conceived] by their father. 37 The older daughter gave birth to a son and named him Moab. He is the ancestor of all the Moabite people who are still living today [C located to the east of the Dead Sea in what is today Jordan; the name sounds like “from the father” in Hebrew]. 38 The younger daughter also gave birth to a son and named him Ben-Ammi [C sounds like “son of my relative” in Hebrew]. He is the father of all the Ammonite people [C located just north of Moab; Moab and Ammon were enemies of Israel] who are still living today [C at the time this was written].