God promises a son to Abraham
1 The LORD appeared to Abraham. This happened near the big trees of Mamre. Abraham was sitting by the door of his tent. 2 Abraham looked up. He saw 3 men. He hurried to meet them. He bowed to the ground.
18:2In verse 2, ‘bowed’ means that Abraham bent his body until his face was at the ground. Abraham knew that they had authority. He was showing them that he knew it.
18:2This is a visit from the LORD. Abraham did not know this at that time.
3 Abraham said to them, ‘If it makes you happy, my lords, do not go past me.’
4 ‘Let us bring some water for you. Then you can all wash your feet. Then you can rest under this tree.’ 5 Abraham said, ‘Let me get you some bread. Then you will be ready to continue with your journey. I will do this now because you have come to me.’ The men replied, ‘Very well, do as you have said.’ 6 Abraham hurried to the tent. This is where Sarah was. He said to her, ‘Quick, get some good flour. Make bread with it.’ 7 Then Abraham ran to his cows. He chose a baby cow. He gave it to a servant. The servant quickly prepared it for the men to eat. 8 Then Abraham brought some butter, milk and the meat from the cow. He put all these in front of the men. The men ate the food. And Abraham stood near them. He stood under a tree.
9 The men asked Abraham ‘Where is Sarah, your wife?’ Abraham replied, ‘She is in the tent.’ 10 Then the LORD said, ‘I will return to you at this time, after one year has passed. And you and Sarah your wife will have a son.’ Sarah was in the tent. She heard what the LORD said. She heard it because the tent was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were very old. Sarah was past the age of giving birth to a child. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself. She thought ‘I am too old. And my husband is too old. I cannot have this baby now.’ 13 The LORD said to Abraham, ‘Sarah laughed. She said, “I am too old to have a child.” ’ 14 God said, ‘Nothing is too difficult for the LORD. At this time next year, I will return to you. I will return to you and Sarah will have a son.’ 15 Sarah was afraid. So she did not say what was true. She said, ‘I did not laugh.’ But God said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’
God punishes the people in Sodom
16 The men got up. They were leaving. They looked down in the direction of Sodom. Abraham walked with them. He walked with them for part of their journey. 17 Then the LORD said, ‘Will I tell Abraham my plan?’ 18 ‘Abraham's descendants will be great people. They will be very powerful. Because of him, everyone on the earth will receive my blessing.’
18:18See Genesis 12:2-3.
19 ‘I chose him. Then he will teach his children and everyone in his household. He will teach them to know me. He will teach them to do what is right. Then I will keep the promise that I made to him.’ 20 The LORD said to Abraham, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great. The people who live there are evil.’
21 ‘I will go down to Sodom and Gomorrah. I will see what they have done. I will see if it is as bad as the outcry against them. Then I will know how badly they have sinned.’
22 The men turned away. They went towards Sodom. But Abraham remained with the LORD.
23 Then Abraham went near to God. Abraham asked, ‘Will you kill your people with the evil people? 24 There might be 50 people who know you in the city. Will you still destroy the city? Or will you let the people live, because of the 50 people who know you? 25 The ruler of all the earth will do what is right! So, you will not kill the people who know you. You will not kill them along with the evil people. You will not do the same thing to the people who know you, as you do to the evil people. I know that you would not do such a thing!’
18:25Abraham is God's friend. That is why Abraham can say this to God.
26 The LORD said, ‘Because of 50 people who know me in the city of Sodom, I will not destroy that place and everybody in it.’ 27 Then Abraham spoke again. ‘I have been brave enough to speak to the Lord. I know that I am nothing but dust and ashes.’
18:27Dust is on the top of the ground. It is dry. It blows away easily. When something burns, ashes are left. Abraham is saying that he is nothing.
28 Then Abraham asked, ‘What if there are 45 people in the city who know you. Will you destroy the city, because there are only 45 good people there?’ The Lord said, ‘Because of 45 people who know me in the city, I will not destroy it.’ 29 Abraham spoke to God again. ‘What will you do if only 40 good people are there?’ The Lord said, ‘Because of 40 good people I will not destroy the city.’ 30 Then Abraham said ‘Please do not be angry. Let me speak. What if there are only 30 people who know you there?’ The Lord answered, ‘I will not destroy the city if I find 30 good people in the city.’ 31 Abraham said ‘I have been brave. I have spoken to the Lord. What if only 20 good people are there?’ The Lord said, ‘Because of 20 good people I will not destroy the city.’ 32 Abraham said, ‘Please do not be angry. Let me speak once more. What if only 10 good people live there?’ The Lord answered, ‘Because of 10 good people I will not destroy the city.’ 33 The LORD had finished speaking with Abraham. So the Lord left him. And Abraham returned home.
18:33Lot is living in Sodom. Lot is Abraham's nephew. Abraham does not want God to kill Lot and his family. That is why Abraham asks ‘what if only 10 good people live there?’