The LORD appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he sat at the entrance of his tent in the day's heat.
He looked up and suddenly saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them, he ran from his tent entrance to greet them and bowed deeply.
He said, "Sirs, if you would be so kind, don't just pass by your servant.
Let a little water be brought so you may wash your feet and refresh yourselves under the tree.
Let me offer you a little bread so you will feel stronger, and after that you may leave your servant and go on your way—since you have visited your servant." They responded, "Fine. Do just as you have said."
So Abraham hurried to Sarah at his tent and said, "Hurry! Knead three seahs of the finest flour and make some baked goods!"
Abraham ran to the cattle, took a healthy young calf, and gave it to a young servant, who prepared it quickly.
Then Abraham took butter, milk, and the calf that had been prepared, put the food in front of them, and stood under the tree near them as they ate.
They said to him, "Where's your wife Sarah? And he said, "Right here in the tent."
Then one of the men said, "I will definitely return to you about this time next year. Then your wife Sarah will have a son!" Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.
Now Abraham and Sarah were both very old. Sarah was no longer menstruating.
So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, I'm no longer able to have children and my husband's old.
The LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Me give birth? At my age?'
Is anything too difficult for the LORD? When I return to you about this time next year, Sarah will have a son."
Sarah lied and said, "I didn't laugh," because she was frightened. But he said, "No, you laughed."
The men got up from there and went over to look down on Sodom. Abraham was walking along with them to send them off
when the LORD said, "Will I keep from Abraham what I'm about to do?
Abraham will certainly become a great populous nation, and all the earth's nations will be blessed because of him.
I have formed a relationship with him so that he will oversee his children and his household after him. And they will keep to the LORD's path, being moral and just so that the LORD can do for Abraham everything he said he would."
Then the LORD said, "The cries of injustice from Sodom and Gomorrah are countless, and their sin is very serious!
I will go down now to examine the cries of injustice that have reached me. Have they really done all this? If not, I want to know."
The men turned away and walked toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing in front of the LORD.
Abraham approached and said, "Will you really sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
What if there are fifty innocent people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not save the place for the sake of the fifty innocent people in it?
It's not like you to do this, killing the innocent with the guilty as if there were no difference. It's not like you! Will the judge of all the earth not act justly?"
The LORD said, "If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will save it because of them."
Abraham responded, "Since I've already decided to speak with my Lord, even though I'm just soil and ash,
what if there are five fewer innocent people than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city over just five?" The LORD said, "If I find forty-five there, I won't destroy it."
Once again Abraham spoke, "What if forty are there?" The LORD said, "For the sake of forty, I will do nothing."
He said, "Don't be angry with me, my Lord, but let me speak. What if thirty are there?" The LORD said, "I won't do it if I find thirty there."
Abraham said, "Since I've already decided to speak with my Lord, what if twenty are there?" The LORD said, "I won't do it, for the sake of twenty."
Abraham said, "Don't be angry with me, my Lord, but let me speak just once more. What if there are ten?" And the LORD said, "I will not destroy it because of those ten."
When the LORD finished speaking with Abraham, he left; but Abraham stayed there in that place.