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Wednesday, August 7 2013

Genesis 18: The LORD and Two Angels

"Sarah thy wife shall have a son"

Abraham had become settled in Hebron, in the hill country south of Jerusalem (see A Biography Of Abraham: Mamre in Hebron and Camped Out In Canaan). One day, "the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre," along with two angels. Although all appeared as men, the Scriptures plainly identify one as the LORD (see also Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) and the other two as angels (i.e. "two angels" Genesis 19:1 KJV).

Abraham and The Three Angels

"18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

18:2 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,

18:3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 18:4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 18:5 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." (Genesis 18:1-5 KJV)

Sarah made the bread and a man servant prepared the veal ("a calf tender and good"). When all was prepared, Abraham "stood by them under the tree, and they did eat."

"18:6 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.

18:7 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.

18:8 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." (Genesis 18:6-8 KJV)

The LORD and the two angels had come to attend to two tasks in the area. The first was the LORD's reiteration announcement that Sarah (see A Biography Of Abraham: Sarah) would become a mother.

"18:9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife?

And he said, Behold, in the tent.

18:10 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.

18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 18:14 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.

18:15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid.

And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh." (Genesis 18:9-15 KJV)

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

The second task was a visit to Sodom, to see if any good could be found in it. The LORD and the two angels began to leave Abraham's encampment, with Abraham walking along with them. The LORD then decided to tell Abraham what He was going to do to Sodom - perhaps as a way to get Abraham to return home (Abraham was already well aware of the evil in Sodom; see Genesis 14: The Rescue Of Lot).

Sodomites

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

18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 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? 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." (Genesis 18:16-19 KJV)

The LORD had intended to go to Sodom with the two angels, but Abraham's presence and conversation caused the two angels to continue on to Sodom alone (if not for Abraham, the "men" of Sodom would have attempted to sexually assault the LORD too - His appearance, as described, was no different than the angels that the men of Sodom lusted after.

"18:20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 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." (Genesis 18:20-21 KJV)

So it was that the LORD remained with Abraham, while the two angels departed for Sodom.

"18:22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD." (Genesis 18:22 KJV)

Abraham then began pleading not to destroy everyone in Sodom. He began with "Wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?"

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

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? 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?" (Genesis 18:23-25 KJV)

The LORD granted Abraham's request.

"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." (Genesis 18:26 KJV)

Abraham then continued bargaining, until he reached ten - a number of people that Abraham obviously had a reason to choose, otherwise, why stop at ten? (see the Fact Finder question below).

"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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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." (Genesis 18:27-32 KJV)

The LORD then departed for Sodom, where, as we will read in the next chapter, the perverts of Sodom were already attacking the angels that they thought were men.

"18:33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place." (Genesis 18:33 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why did Abraham stop bargaining at ten people? Lot, his wife, and their two daughters were only four people. Were there six more people of Lot's family (e.g. married daughters and their husbands) in Sodom?
See Why Did Lot's Wife Look Back?


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This Day In History, August 7

322 BC: The Battle of Crannon between Macedon and Athens (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).

117: The accession of Hadrian, the 14th Roman emperor, reigned 117-138 (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

355: Claudius Silvanus proclaimed himself Roman Emperor against Emperor Constantius II.

461: Roman Emperor Majorian was beheaded after his arrest by the magister militum Ricimer.

626: Avar and Slav forces left the siege of Constantinople.

936: The Coronation of King Otto I of Germany (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation, Emperors and Popes and the photograph below).

German Roman Crown 991: The Danes under Olaf Tryggvason defeated the Saxons at Maldon.

1712: The Treaty of Aargau was signed which ended the Swiss War and guaranteed Protestant superiority over Catholic Cantons.

1718: The English fleet under Admiral George Byng destroyed or captured 15 out of 22 Spanish ships at the Battle of Cape Passaro off Sicily.

1786: Francis Light established the British colony of Penang, Malaysia.

1794: U.S. President George Washington invoked the Militia Law to suppress a rebellion by colonists in western Pennsylvania.

1804: Francis II became the first Emperor of Austria.

1858: The Eiger of the Bernese Alps was climbed for the first time.

1863: Cambodia became a French protectorate.

1906: In France, Eugene Lauste received the first patent for a "talking film."

1908: Britain's King Edward VII met with Germany's Kaiser (Kaiser is the German form of Caesar) Wilhelm II to protest the growth of the German navy.

1919: After the First World War, the constitution of the Weimar Republic was adopted in Germany.

1927: The Peace Bridge opened between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. The last invasion of Canada, by any country, was by the U.S. during the War of 1812 (1812-1814). In starting the war, President James Madison publicly-declared that his objective was to attempt to destroy and annex Canada as a nation and subject its people to dictatorial rule from Washington (i.e. Madison's malignant threat, "surrender or be annihilated"). At the end of the war, the border remained where it was before Madison declared the war, and Madison's White House, along with much of Washington, was burned to the ground by Royal Marines in retaliation for the U.S. looting and burning of the Parliament Building and library in Toronto, Ontario earlier in the year.

1930: The last confirmed racist lynching in the northern U.S. occurred, in Marion, Indiana. Two black men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were murdered by "Christian" white men.

1933: "The Assyrian Incident" - a massacre of Assyrian villagers (315 men, 4 women, 6 children) by Iraqi government forces.

1942: A German submarine sank the British Navy's HMS Eagle, one of the world's first aircraft carriers.

1952: King Hussein of Jordan succeeded to the throne after his father, King Ala, was deposed. He reigned for 47 years, until his death in 1999.

1972: The last U.S. military forces withdrew from Vietnam. Soon thereafter, North Vietnam over-ran South Vietnam, ending the Vietnam civil war between north and south, thereby creating a single country free of foreign interference for the first time since colonial France divided Vietnam into North and South in the 1950s.

1979: Several tornadoes struck the city of Woodstock, Ontario, Canada and the surrounding communities in Oxford County.

1981: The Washington Star ceased publication after 128 years.

1990: West German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher's Free Democrats (FDP) merged with their liberal East German allies to become the first revived all-Germany political party.

1999: The Chechnya-based Islamic International Brigade invaded the bordering Russian Republic of Dagestan.

2008: Georgia launched an invasion of South Ossetia, thereby starting the 2008 South Ossetia War.


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Copyright © Wayne Blank