Then the Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting in the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day.
He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed to the ground.
Then he said, "My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, please do not go on past your servant.
Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree.
I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves. This is why you have passed your servant's [way]. Later, you can continue on." "Yes," they replied, "do as you have said."
So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, "Quick! Knead three measures of fine flour and make bread."
Meanwhile, Abraham ran to the herd and got a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man, who hurried to prepare it.
Then Abraham took curds and milk, and the calf that he had prepared, and set [them] before the men. He served them as they ate under the tree.
"Where is your wife Sarah?" they asked him. "There, in the tent," he answered.
The Lord said, "I will certainly come back to you in about a year's time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!" Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.
Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.
So she laughed to herself: "After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?"
But the Lord asked Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Can I really have a baby when I'm old?'
Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son."
Sarah denied it. "I did not laugh," she said, because she was afraid. But He replied, "No, you did laugh."
The men got up from there and looked out over Sodom, and Abraham was walking with them to see them off.
Then the Lord said, "Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?
Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.
For I have chosen him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. This is how the Lord will fulfill to Abraham what He promised him."
Then the Lord said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious.
I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to Me. If not, I will find out."
The men turned from there and went toward Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.
Abraham stepped forward and said, "Will You really sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
What if there are 50 righteous people in the city? Will You really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the 50 righteous people who are in it?
You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won't the Judge of all the earth do what is just?"
The Lord said, "If at Sodom I find 50 righteous people in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake."
Then Abraham answered, "Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord-even though I am dust and ashes-
suppose the 50 righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?" He replied, "I will not destroy [it] if I find 45 there."
Then he spoke to Him again, "Suppose 40 are found there?" He answered, "I will not do [it] on account of 40."
Then he said, "Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak further. Suppose 30 are found there?" He answered, "I will not do [it] if I find 30 there."
Then he said, "Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord, suppose 20 are found there?" He replied, "I will not destroy [it] on account of 20."
Then he said, "Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. Suppose 10 are found there?" He answered, "I will not destroy [it] on account of 10."
When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, He departed, and Abraham returned to his place.
Holman Christian Standard Bible ® Copyright © 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.