1The LORD appeared to Abraham at the sacred trees of Mamre. As Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day, 2he looked up and saw three men standing there. As soon as he saw them, he ran out to meet them. Bowing down with his face touching the ground, 3he said, “Sirs, please do not pass by my home without stopping; I am here to serve you. 4Let me bring some water for you to wash your feet; you can rest here beneath this tree. 5I will also bring a bit of food; it will give you strength to continue your journey. You have honoured me by coming to my home, so let me serve you.”
They replied, “Thank you; we accept.”
6Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick, take a sack of your best flour, and bake some bread.” 7Then he ran to the herd and picked out a calf that was tender and fat, and gave it to a servant, who hurried to get it ready. 8He took some cream, some milk, and the meat, and set the food before the men. There under the tree he served them himself, and they ate.
9Then they asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
“She is there in the tent,” he answered.
10One of them said, “Nine months from now I will come back, and your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was behind him, at the door of the tent, listening. 11Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah had stopped having her monthly periods. 12So Sarah laughed to herself and said, “Now that I am old and worn out, can I still enjoy sex? And besides, my husband is old too.”
13Then the LORD asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Can I really have a child when I am so old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the LORD? As I said, nine months from now I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
15Because Sarah was afraid, she denied it. “I didn't laugh,” she said.
“Yes, you did,” he replied. “You laughed.”
Abraham Pleads for Sodom
16Then the men left and went to a place where they could look down at Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on their way. 17And the LORD said to himself, “I will not hide from Abraham what I am going to do. 18His descendants will become a great and mighty nation, and through him I will bless all the nations.19I have chosen him in order that he may command his sons and his descendants to obey me and to do what is right and just. If they do, I will do everything for him that I have promised.”
20Then the LORD said to Abraham, “There are terrible accusations against Sodom and Gomorrah, and their sin is very great. 21I must go down to find out whether or not the accusations which I have heard are true.”
22Then the two men left and went on towards Sodom, but the LORD remained with Abraham. 23Abraham approached the LORD and asked, “Are you really going to destroy the innocent with the guilty? 24If there are fifty innocent people in the city, will you destroy the whole city? Won't you spare it in order to save the fifty? 25Surely you won't kill the innocent with the guilty. That's impossible! You can't do that. If you did, the innocent would be punished along with the guilty. That is impossible. The judge of all the earth has to act justly.”
26The LORD answered, “If I find fifty innocent people in Sodom, I will spare the whole city for their sake.”
27Abraham spoke again: “Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. I am only a man and have no right to say anything. 28But perhaps there will be only 45 innocent people instead of fifty. Will you destroy the whole city because there are five too few?”
The LORD answered, “I will not destroy the city if I find 45 innocent people.”
29Abraham spoke again: “Perhaps there will be only forty.”
He replied, “I will not destroy it if there are forty.”
30Abraham said, “Please don't be angry, Lord, but I must speak again. What if there are only thirty?”
He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty.”
31Abraham said, “Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. Suppose that only twenty are found?”
He said, “I will not destroy the city if I find twenty.”
32Abraham said, “Please don't be angry, Lord, and I will speak just once more. What if only ten are found?”
He said, “I will not destroy it if there are ten.” 33After he had finished speaking with Abraham, the LORD went away, and Abraham returned home.
The Sinfulness of Sodom
1When the two angels came to Sodom that evening, Lot was sitting at the city gate. As soon as he saw them, he got up and went to meet them. He bowed down before them 2and said, “Sirs, I am here to serve you. Please come to my house. You can wash your feet and stay the night. In the morning you can get up early and go on your way.”
But they answered, “No, we will spend the night here in the city square.”
3He kept on urging them, and finally they went with him to his house. Lot ordered his servants to bake some bread and prepare a fine meal for the guests. When it was ready, they ate it.
4Before the guests went to bed, the men of Sodom surrounded the house. All the men of the city, both young and old, were there. 5They called out to Lot and asked, “Where are the men who came to stay with you tonight? Bring them out to us!” The men of Sodom wanted to have sex with them.
6Lot went outside and closed the door behind him. 7He said to them, “Friends, I beg you, don't do such a wicked thing! 8Look, I have two daughters who are still virgins. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want with them. But don't do anything to these men; they are guests in my house, and I must protect them.”
9But they said, “Get out of our way, you foreigner! Who are you to tell us what to do? Out of our way, or we will treat you worse than them.” They pushed Lot back and moved up to break down the door. 10But the two men inside reached out, pulled Lot back into the house, and shut the door. 11Then they struck all the men outside with blindness, so that they couldn't find the door.
Lot Leaves Sodom
12The two men said to Lot, “If you have anyone else here — sons, daughters, sons-in-law, or any other relatives living in the city — get them out of here, 13because we are going to destroy this place. The LORD has heard the terrible accusations against these people and has sent us to destroy Sodom.”
14Then Lot went to the men that his daughters were going to marry, and said, “Hurry up and get out of here; the LORD is going to destroy this place.” But they thought he was joking.
15At dawn the angels tried to make Lot hurry. “Quick!” they said. “Take your wife and your two daughters and get out, so that you will not lose your lives when the city is destroyed.” 16Lot hesitated. The LORD, however, had pity on him; so the men took him, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city. 17Then one of the angels said, “Run for your lives! Don't look back and don't stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won't be killed.”
18But Lot answered, “No, please don't make us do that, sir. 19You have done me a great favour and saved my life. But the hills are too far away; the disaster will overtake me, and I will die before I get there. 20Do you see that little town? It is near enough. Let me go over there — you can see it is just a small place — and I will be safe.”
21He answered, “All right, I agree. I won't destroy that town. 22Hurry! Run! I can't do anything until you get there.”
Because Lot called it small, the town was named Zoar.
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
23The sun was rising when Lot reached Zoar. 24Suddenly the LORD rained burning sulphur on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah 25and destroyed them and the whole valley, along with all the people there and everything that grew on the land. 26But Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
27Early the next morning Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood in the presence of the LORD. 28He looked down at Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole valley and saw smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a huge furnace. 29But when God destroyed the cities of the valley where Lot was living, he kept Abraham in mind and allowed Lot to escape to safety.
The Origin of the Moabites and Ammonites
30Because Lot was afraid to stay in Zoar, he and his two daughters moved up into the hills and lived in a cave. 31The elder daughter said to her sister, “Our father is getting old, and there are no men in the whole world to marry us so that we can have children. 32Come on, let's make our father drunk, so that we can sleep with him and have children by him.” 33That night they gave him wine to drink, and the elder daughter had intercourse with him. But he was so drunk that he didn't know it.
34The next day the elder daughter said to her sister, “I slept with him last night; now let's make him drunk again tonight, and you sleep with him. Then each of us will have a child by our father.” 35So that night they made him drunk, and the younger daughter had intercourse with him. Again he was so drunk that he didn't know it. 36In this way both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their own father. 37The elder daughter had a son, whom she named Moab. He was the ancestor of the present-day Moabites. 38The younger daughter also had a son, whom she named Benammi. He was the ancestor of the present-day Ammonites.
Abraham and Abimelech
1Abraham moved from Mamre to the southern part of Canaan and lived between Kadesh and Shur. Later, while he was living in Gerar, 2he said that his wife Sarah was his sister. So King Abimelech of Gerar had Sarah brought to him. 3One night God appeared to him in a dream and said: “You are going to die, because you have taken this woman; she is already married.”
4But Abimelech had not come near her, and he said, “Lord, I am innocent! Would you destroy me and my people? 5Abraham himself said that she was his sister, and she said the same thing. I did this with a clear conscience, and I have done no wrong.”
6God replied in the dream, “Yes, I know that you did it with a clear conscience; so I kept you from sinning against me and did not let you touch her. 7But now, give the woman back to her husband. He is a prophet, and he will pray for you, so that you will not die. But if you do not give her back, I warn you that you are going to die, you and all your people.”
8Early the next morning Abimelech called all his officials and told them what had happened, and they were terrified. 9Then Abimelech called Abraham and asked, “What have you done to us? What wrong have I done to you to make you bring this disaster on me and my kingdom? No one should ever do what you have done to me. 10Why did you do it?”
11Abraham answered, “I thought that there would be no one here who has reverence for God and that they would kill me to get my wife. 12She really is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not of my mother, and I married her. 13So when God sent me from my father's house into foreign lands, I said to her, ‘You can show how loyal you are to me by telling everyone that I am your brother.’ ”
14Then Abimelech gave Sarah back to Abraham, and at the same time he gave him sheep, cattle, and slaves. 15He said to Abraham, “Here is my whole land; live anywhere you like.” 16He said to Sarah, “I am giving your brother a thousand pieces of silver as proof to all who are with you that you are innocent; everyone will know that you have done no wrong.”