Abram's wife Sarai had not borne him any children. But she had an Egyptian slave woman named Hagar,
and so she said to Abram, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Why don't you sleep with my slave? Perhaps she can have a child for me." Abram agreed with what Sarai said.
So she gave Hagar to him to be his concubine. (This happened after Abram had lived in Canaan for ten years.)
Abram had intercourse with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she found out that she was pregnant, she became proud and despised Sarai.
Then Sarai said to Abram, "It's your fault that Hagar despises me. I myself gave her to you, and ever since she found out that she was pregnant, she has despised me. May the Lord judge which of us is right, you or me!"
Abram answered, "Very well, she is your slave and under your control; do whatever you want with her." Then Sarai treated Hagar so cruelly that she ran away.
The angel of the Lord met Hagar at a spring in the desert on the road to Shur
and said, "Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She answered, "I am running away from my mistress."
He said, "Go back to her and be her slave."
Then he said, "I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them.
You are going to have a son, and you will name him Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your cry of distress.
But your son will live like a wild donkey; he will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. He will live apart from all his relatives."
Hagar asked herself, "Have I really seen God and lived to tell about it?" So she called the Lord, who had spoken to her, "A God Who Sees."
That is why people call the well between Kadesh and Bered "The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me."
Hagar bore Abram a son, and he named him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old at the time.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am the Almighty God. Obey me and always do what is right.
I will make my covenant with you and give you many descendants."
Abram bowed down with his face touching the ground, and God said,
"I make this covenant with you: I promise that you will be the ancestor of many nations.
Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, because I am making you the ancestor of many nations.
I will give you many descendants, and some of them will be kings. You will have so many descendants that they will become nations.
"I will keep my promise to you and to your descendants in future generations as an everlasting covenant. I will be your God and the God of your descendants.
I will give to you and to your descendants this land in which you are now a foreigner. The whole land of Canaan will belong to your descendants forever, and I will be their God."
God said to Abraham, "You also must agree to keep the covenant with me, both you and your descendants in future generations.
You and your descendants must all agree to circumcise every male among you.
From now on you must circumcise every baby boy when he is eight days old, including slaves born in your homes and slaves bought from foreigners. This will show that there is a covenant between you and me.
Each one must be circumcised, and this will be a physical sign to show that my covenant with you is everlasting.
Any male who has not been circumcised will no longer be considered one of my people, because he has not kept the covenant with me."
God said to Abraham, "You must no longer call your wife Sarai; from now on her name is Sarah.
I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will become the mother of nations, and there will be kings among her descendants."
Abraham bowed down with his face touching the ground, but he began to laugh when he thought, "Can a man have a child when he is a hundred years old? Can Sarah have a child at ninety?"
He asked God, "Why not let Ishmael be my heir?"
But God said, "No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son and you will name him Isaac. I will keep my covenant with him and with his descendants forever. It is an everlasting covenant.
I have heard your request about Ishmael, so I will bless him and give him many children and many descendants. He will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make a great nation of his descendants.
But I will keep my covenant with your son Isaac, who will be born to Sarah about this time next year."
When God finished speaking to Abraham, he left him.
On that same day Abraham obeyed God and circumcised his son Ishmael and all the other males in his household, including the slaves born in his home and those he had bought.
Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised,
and his son Ishmael was thirteen.
They were both circumcised on the same day,
together with all of Abraham's slaves.
The 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,
he 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,
he said, "Sirs, please do not pass by my home without stopping; I am here to serve you.
Let me bring some water for you to wash your feet; you can rest here beneath this tree.
I will also bring a bit of food; it will give you strength to continue your journey. You have honored me by coming to my home, so let me serve you." They replied, "Thank you; we accept."
Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, "Quick, take a sack of your best flour, and bake some bread."
Then 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.
He 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.
Then they asked him, "Where is your wife Sarah?" "She is there in the tent," he answered.
One 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.
Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah had stopped having her monthly periods.
So 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."
Then the Lord asked Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, "Can I really have a child when I am so old?'
Is anything too hard for the Lord? As I said, nine months from now I will return, and Sarah will have a son."
Because Sarah was afraid, she denied it. "I didn't laugh," she said. "Yes, you did," he replied. "You laughed."
Then 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.
And the Lord said to himself, "I will not hide from Abraham what I am going to do.
His descendants will become a great and mighty nation, and through him I will bless all the nations.
I 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."
Then the Lord said to Abraham, "There are terrible accusations against Sodom and Gomorrah, and their sin is very great.
I must go down to find out whether or not the accusations which I have heard are true."
Then the two men left and went on toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham.
Abraham approached the Lord and asked, "Are you really going to destroy the innocent with the guilty?
If 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?
Surely 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."
The Lord answered, "If I find fifty innocent people in Sodom, I will spare the whole city for their sake."
Abraham 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.
But perhaps there will be only forty-five 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 forty-five innocent people."
Abraham spoke again: "Perhaps there will be only forty." He replied, "I will not destroy it if there are forty."
Abraham 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."
Abraham 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."
Abraham said, "Please don't be angry, Lord, and I will speak only once more. What if only ten are found?" He said, "I will not destroy it if there are ten."
After he had finished speaking with Abraham, the Lord went away, and Abraham returned home.