by Robert Brow    (

Brow Publications, Kingston, Ontario (e-mail: 2004

Introduction | Genesis 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11| 12| 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30

31 | 32 | 33| 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41| 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50| PostScript

Table Of Contents:

Genesis 18:1 Genesis 18:17
Genesis 18:2-3 Genesis 18:18-19
Genesis 18:4-5 Genesis 18:20-21
Genesis 18:6-8 Genesis 18:22
Genesis 18:9-10 Genesis 18:23-26
Genesis 18:11-12 Genesis 18:27-32
Genesis 18:13-14 Genesis 18:33
Genesis 18:15  
Genesis 18:16  

GENESIS  18:1-8   (Abraham welcomes the three visitors)

18:1   This is a second appearing of the LORD (see 12:7; 17:1).   Abraham had settled by the Oaks of Mamre near Hebron (13:8), and he was sitting by his tent.   It was not at night (as on a previous occasion when he could see the stars, 15:5), but right in the middle of a hot day. 

18:2-3   Abraham could see the LORD, and also two men who accompanied him (see the distinction between the LORD and the men in 18:16, 22; 19:1).  He bowed to them, and asked them to stay. 

18:4-5   He offered them water to wash the dust off their feet.   Then he settled them to have a siesta  under his tree, and offered to prepare them food to eat.  And they accepted this.

18:6-8   Then Abraham told Sarah  to prepare  ugoth (probably pita bread) while he butchered a calf and got the servants to prepare it.  Meanwhile they rested under a tree (18:4).   Then he brought curds and milk, and set it before his visitors.    As is often the custom in the Middle East, he stood by to be available for anything else they might need.  It seems that when the LORD appeared in a visible form he could talk, walk, and eat like those who accompanied him.  The difference in the New Testament was that the visit was not for a temporary period but for thirty years living among us.  The resurrection appearances also included walking, serving a meal and eating with the disciples (Luke 24:15-17, 30-31, 40-42; John 21:4. 9, 15)


GENESIS  18:9-15   (Sarah laughs at the idea of bearing a child)

18:9-10   The three visitors obviously had a message for Sarah, and they asked where she was. She came to the entrance of the tent, and listened as one of them repeated the promise of a child by Sarah (given in 17:16).  Perhaps Abraham had not shared with her this astonishing possibility.

18:11-12   Sarah knew that she was long past being able to be pregnant,  and she laughed at the news silently in her heart.   Abraham had also laughed at the thought of having a child at his age (17:7-9) and both Abraham and Sarah named their son Isaac to remind them of the laughter (21:1-6).

18:13-14    Evidently the LORD heard her unbelieving laugh, and pointed out to Abraham (as she listened) that such a miracle was not impossible for him.  Sarah would indeed have a son.

18:15   Sarah tried to pretend she had not laughed in her heart, but the LORD told she was lying.


GENESIS 18:16‑33    (Abraham pleads for the city of Sodom)

18:16   When the meal (18:8) was finished the three visitors got up to take the road  towards Sodom   Abraham accompanied them to the road which went due east through the hills ten miles, 16 km,  to Engedi.   The beautiful oasis of Engedi (Joshua 15:62, Song of Songs 1:14, 1 Samuel 23:29) is still a tourist site 5 miles, 8 km, from the Salt Sea (now known as the Dead Sea).   The city of Sodom was perhaps 20 miles (32 km) to the south in an area now covered by the waters of the southern end of the Dead Sea.

18:17   When they were on their way The LORD, who had appeared to Abraham (18:1), accompanied him (see walking with the LORD, 17:1).   The LORD had already considered the need for destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (13:13; 18:20-21), but had not discussed this with his friend Abraham (James 2:23,  as in 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8).   Moses was another who was described as a friend of the LORD ( Exodus 33:11, and Jesus called his  apostles friends, 15:15).   Friendship with the LORD implies being taken into his confidence, and having an input in blessing and assigning wrath (as in 18:22-33).

18:18-19   The reason for the LORD sharing his  intention regarding Sodom was that Abraham was destined to be the founder of a great nation, and all nations of the world would be blessed in him (as in the covenant, 12:2-3, Galatians 3:8).  Abraham was chosen to teach his children to do what was right and exercise justice.

18:20-21   The LORD had noted the terrible wrongs of Sodom (13:13).  But  now there was an outcry of people calling for justice.   This is a frequent occurrence in the history of nations when oppression, brutality, and slavery  have become intolerable (as in Exodus 1:13-14; 3:7).  In such situations people have a right to appeal for the LORD’s intervention.

18:22   It seems the two (18:3) were sent to investigate the situation.  But Abraham knew already that his nephew Lot (13:11-13) and his family were in very severe danger (see 19:13).

18:23-26  Abraham had the boldness to argue with the LORD  that it would not be right to destroy the fifty righteous persons in the city, but the LORD replied that the city would not be destroyed if that many righteous persons could be found there.  The adjective tzaddiq, plural tzaddiquim (as in Psalm 1:6)  has meanings such as straight, upright, exercising justice, caring about the poor, orphans, widows, strangers (as exemplified in Job 29:12-16).   Abraham pleaded on the basis of God’s known character, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (18:25)

18:27-32   Then Abraham suggested there must be at least 45, or 40, 30, 20 or even 10 upright people in the city, and the LORD said the whole city would be spared if even ten such people could be found there.   But evidently that was not the case and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were in due course destroyed (19:24).

18:33   This particular conversation with Abraham was now ended, and Abraham returned to his family by the Oaks of Mamre near Hebron (18:1).

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