Old Testament

Genesis 18
Three Men Meet Abraham
181The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he was sitting by the door to his tent during the heat of the day. 2Abraham looked up, and he saw three men standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and he bowed down to the ground. 3He said, “My lord,[] if I have now found favor in your sight, please do not pass your servant by. 4Now let me get a little water so that all of you can wash your feet and rest under the tree. 5Let me get some bread so that you can refresh yourselves. After that you may go your way. That is why you have come to your servant.”
They said, “Yes, do as you have said.”
6Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly prepare twenty quarts[] of fine flour, knead it, and make some loaves of bread.” 7Abraham ran to the herd, brought a good, tender calf, and gave it to the servant. He hurried to prepare it. 8He took cheese curds, milk, and the calf that he had prepared and set it before them. He stood beside them under the tree while they ate.
9They asked him, “Where is Sarah, your wife?”
He said, “She is over there in the tent.”
10One of the men said, “I will certainly return to you when this season comes around next year. Then Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Sarah was listening to this from the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well into old age. Sarah was past the age for childbearing.[] 12Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, will I have pleasure, since my lord is also old?”
13The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really give birth to a child though I am old?’ 14Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the set time next year I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Then Sarah denied it and said, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid.
The Lord said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
16The men got up from there and looked down toward Sodom. Abraham went with them to see them on their way. 17The Lord said, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do 18since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him? 19For I have chosen him,[] so that he may command his children and his household who follow after him to keep the way of the Lord by carrying out righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may deliver to Abraham what he has promised him.”
20So the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very flagrant, 21I will go down now and see whether what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has come to me. If not, I will know.”
22The two men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23Abraham approached him and said, “Will you really sweep away the righteous along with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep them away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25You would never do such a thing, killing the righteous along with the wicked, treating the righteous the same as the wicked. You would never do such a thing. The Judge of all the earth should do right, shouldn't he?”
26The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people within the city of Sodom, then I will spare the entire place for their sake.”
27Abraham answered, “See now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it on myself to speak to my Lord. 28What if there are five fewer than fifty righteous? Will you destroy the entire city if the number is five short?”
He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
29He spoke to him yet again and said, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty.”
30He said, “Please, do not be angry, my Lord, but I will speak again. What if thirty are found there?”
He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31He said, “See now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to my Lord. What if there are twenty found there?”
He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
32He said, “Please, do not be angry, my Lord, but I will speak just once more. What if ten are found there?”
He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
33As soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham, the Lord went on his way, and Abraham returned to his place.


  • 18:3 Or my Lord. The Hebrew writes this word as Adonai. That would make this a divine name, Lord, but did Abraham already recognize that the man was God?
  • 18:6 Or thirty-six pounds. Hebrew three seahs. This is a huge amount for three guests.
  • 18:11 Literally the way of women had ceased for Sarah
  • 18:19 Literally have known him