King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Genesis 18

The Lord appears to Abraham. (1-8) Sarah’s unbelief reproved. (9-15) God reveals to Abraham the destruction of Sodom. (16-22) Abraham’s intercession for Sodom. (23-33)

Genesis 18 Audio:

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The Lord appears to Abraham

1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

3 And said, My LORD, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.

8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

Sarah’s unbelief reproved

9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

God reveals to Abraham the destruction of Sodom

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

Abraham’s intercession for Sodom

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

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?

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Sitting, &c. that he might lose no opportunity of exercising hospitality.

Ver. 2. Men in outward appearance, but angels indeed. Heb. xiii. 2. S. Aug. de C. D. xvi. c. 29. Some have supposed, that one of them was the Son of God, whom Abraham adored, and who bears throughout the chief authority. Tres vidit et unum adoravit. He saw three and adored one, as we read in the Church office. In the former supposition, which is generally adopted, this adoration was only a civil ceremony, if Abraham considered them as mere men; or it might be mixed with a degree of religious, though inferior veneration, if he imagined they were angels; or in fine, he adored God in his representatives. H.

Ver. 4. Wash ye, or let your feet be washed by me, or by my servants, laventur. M.

Ver. 5. Therefore, Providence has directed you hither. Abraham promises but little, and gives much, in the true spirit of generous hospitality. C.

Ver. 6. Measures, or one epha; that is, three pecks and three pints, English corn measure. — Flour, of the finest quality, similæ.Hearth, as being soonest ready.

Ver. 7. Himself. These rich and truly noble people, do not esteem it beneath themto wait on strangers. They provide abundance, but no dainties. H.

Ver. 9. Eaten apparently. Tob. xii. 19. or perhaps they consumed the food, as fire may be said to eat. S. Justin’s Dial.

Ver. 10. Time, or season of the year ensuing, if I be alive; which he says after the manner of men, as he had assumed also the human form. H.

Ver. 12. Laughed, as if the promise were incredible. — My lord, or husband, which title of respect, S. Peter i. C. iii. 6, commends. D.

Ver. 13. Indeed. This was the import of Sara’s words. By thus revealing what was secretly done in the tent, he shewed himself to be more than man.

Ver. 14. Hard. So Gabriel says to the blessed Virgin: there is nothing impossible to God.

Ver. 15. Afraid; which does not entirely clear her of sin: for though she might innocently laugh, if she thought the person who spoke was only a man, yet she ought not to have told an untruth; and if she reflected, that he had disclosed what she supposed no one knew, and thereby manifested his superiority over man, her denial was still more inexcusable. But she was taken, as it were, by surprise; and therefore the Lord reproves her very gently. H.

Ver. 21. I will go down, &c. The Lord here accommodates his discourse to the way of speaking and acting amongst men: for he knoweth all things, and needeth not to go any where for information. — Note here, that two of the three angels went away immediately for Sodom; whilst the third, who represented the Lord, remained with Abraham.

Ver. 25. With the wicked. God frequently suffers the just to be here the most afflicted; designing to reward them abundantly hereafter. But this was not so common in the days of Abraham and Job. C.

Ver. 32. Ten. Abraham’s chief solicitude was for Lot; though, out of modesty, he does not mention him; trusting, however, in the divine goodness the he would be preserved, unless he had forfeited his justice, he proceeds no farther. God thus challenges Jerusalem to produce one virtuous man, and the city shall be saved for his sake. Jer. v. 1. H.