Genesis 18:16-33 – The prayer of Abraham

Gen 18:16  And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

Gen 18:17  And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Gen 18:18  Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Gen 18:19  For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Gen 18:20  And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

Gen 18:21  I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

Gen 18:22  And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

Gen 18:23  And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

Gen 18:24  Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

Gen 18:25  That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Gen 18:26  And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

Gen 18:27  And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

Gen 18:28  Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

Gen 18:29  And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.

Gen 18:30  And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

Gen 18:31  And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.

Gen 18:32  And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.

Gen 18:33  And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

Who is Abraham speaking too?

1. Some believe he is speaking to Michael and two other angels.

The Jewish legend claims that this speaking visitor is Michael.

2. Some believe he is speaking to Jesus Christ

Some claim that this is a Christophany, or an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ. Perhaps this lead some to come to the conclusion that Jesus and the angel Michael are the same.

The text says three men and in the next chapter it tells of two angels coming to Sodom so we know that at least two of these visitors are angels, and whether it is a Christophany or the Angel of the Lord, Abraham calls him Lord (Adonay) and the Scripture calls him Lord (Yhovah) so we know that is  God speaking with him.

And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Notice that the fact that Abraham will teach his children to keep the way of the Lord Stands out to God more than anything

And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

Classical Jewish texts do not stress the homosexual aspect of the attitude of the inhabitants of Sodom as much as their cruelty and lack of hospitality to the “stranger.” The people of Sodom were seen as guilty of many other significant sins. Rabbinic writings affirm that the Sodomites also committed economic crimes, blasphemy and bloodshed. One of the worst was to give money or even gold ingots to beggars, after inscribing their names on them, and then subsequently refusing to sell them food. The unfortunate stranger would end up starving and after his death, the people who gave him the money would reclaim it.

A rabbinic tradition, described in the Mishnah, postulates that the sin of Sodom was related to property: Sodomites believed that “what is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours” (Abot), which is interpreted as a lack of compassion. Another rabbinic tradition is that these two wealthy cities treated visitors in a sadistic fashion. One major crime done to strangers was almost identical to that of Procrustes in Greek mythology. This would be the story of the “bed” that guests to Sodom were forced to sleep in: if they were too short they were stretched to fit it, and if they were too tall, they were cut up.

In another incident, Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, went to visit Lot in Sodom and got in a dispute with a Sodomite over a beggar, and was hit in the forehead with a stone, making him bleed. The Sodomite demanded Eliezer pay him for the service of bloodletting, and a Sodomite judge sided with the Sodomite. Eliezer then struck the judge in the forehead with a stone and asked the judge to pay the Sodomite.

The Talmud and the book of Jasher also recount two incidents of a young girl (one involved Lot’s daughter Paltith) who gave some bread to a poor man who had entered the city. When the townspeople discovered their acts of kindness, they burned Paltith and smeared the other girl’s body with honey and hung her from the city wall until she was eaten by bees. (Sanhedrin 109a) It is this gruesome event, and her scream in particular, the Talmud concludes, that are alluded to in the verse that heralds the city’s destruction: “So Hashem said, ‘Because the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and because their sin has been very grave, I will descend and see…’” (Genesis 18:20-21).

The view of Josephus

Now, about this time the Sodomites, overwhelmingly proud of their numbers and the extent of their wealth, showed themselves insolent to men and impious to the divinity, insomuch that they no more remembered the benefits that they had received from him, hated foreigners and avoided any contact with others. Indignant at this conduct, God accordingly resolved to chastise them for their arrogance, and not only to uproot their city, but to blast their land so completely that it should yield neither plant nor fruit whatsoever from that time forward.

Jewish Antiquities 1:194-195

and Josephus recounts that when angels came to Sodom to find good men they were instead greeted by rapists:

And the angels came to the city of the Sodomites…when the Sodomites beheld the young men, who were outstanding in beauty of appearance and who had been received into Lot’s house, they set about to do violence and outrage to their youthful beauty….Therefore, God, indignant at their bold acts, struck them with blindness, so that they were unable to find the entrance into the house, and condemned the Sodomites to destruction of the whole population.

Jewish Antiquities 1:199-202

He says how beautiful it was before everything was burned up, and how rich the towns were in the area. Josephus described what had happened:

Now this country is then so sadly burnt up, that nobody cares to come to it… It was of old a most happy land, both for the fruits it bore and the riches of its cities, although it be now all burnt up. It is related how for the impiety of its inhabitants, it was burnt by lightning; in consequence of which there are still the remainders of that divine fire; and the shadows of the five cities are still to be seen, as well as the ashes growing in their fruits, which fruits have a colour as if they were fit to be eaten: but if you pluck them with your hands, they will dissolve into smoke and ashes

The Wars of the Jews, book 4, chapter 8.

And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.

And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.

And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.

And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

Abraham begins a dialogue with God concerning Sodom because his nephew Lot lives there. Lot has two unmarried daughters and two married ones which meant a total of 8 people at the very least living in Lot’s house or acquainted with him so perhaps this is why he stopped bargaining at 10.

How can God judge the earth?

How can God judge man and the world in the end?

1. Because we have no excuse to say that we don’t know Him!

We are surrounded by evidence that there is a God.

Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Rom 1:19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Rom 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Rom 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Rom 1:23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Rom 1:24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Rom 1:25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Rom 1:26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

Rom 1:27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Rom 1:28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Rom 1:29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Rom 1:30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Rom 1:31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Rom 1:32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

2. Because we have Jesus Christ and the Spirit as His witness!

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Joh 14:7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Joh 14:8  Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

Joh 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

Joh 14:10  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Joh 14:11  Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

Joh 14:12  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Joh 14:13  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Joh 14:14  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Joh 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Joh 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Joh 14:17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Joh 14:18  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Joh 14:19  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

Joh 14:20  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Joh 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

We have no excuses and no exceptions to stand before the Lord and claim that we never knew Him. There are too many witnesses that He exists. Choose Him today before it is too late

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About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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