Genesis 18:16-33

Abraham Pleads for Sodom

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.
17 Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?
18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[a]
19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous
21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.[b]
23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[c] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?
25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,
28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Genesis 18:16 in Other Translations

KJV
16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
ESV
16 Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way.
NLT
16 Then the men got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As they left, Abraham went with them to send them on their way.
MSG
16 When the men got up to leave, they set off for Sodom. Abraham walked with them to say good-bye.
CSB
16 The men got up from there and looked out over Sodom, and Abraham was walking with them to see them off.

Genesis 18:16-33 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 18

Another appearance of God to Abraham is here recorded; three persons are seen by him in an human form, whom he kindly invites to stop with him, and generously entertains them, Ge 18:1-8; they inquire concerning Sarah his wife, and one of them renews the promise of her bearing a son to him, which occasions laughter in her, for which she is reproved, Ge 18:9-15; upon their departure the Lord thought fit, for reasons given, to make known to Abraham his intention to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Ge 18:16-22; when Abraham intercedes for the preservation of those cities in a most importunate and affectionate manner, Ge 18:23-33.

Genesis 18:16-33 In-Context

14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.
17 Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?
18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.
19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous
21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.
23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?
25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,
28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Cross References 31

  • 1. S ver 2
  • 2. Amos 3:7
  • 3. Genesis 19:24; Job 1:16; Psalms 107:34
  • 4. S Genesis 12:2; Galatians 3:8*
  • 5. Genesis 17:9
  • 6. Deuteronomy 4:9-10; Deuteronomy 6:7
  • 7. Joshua 24:15; Ephesians 6:4
  • 8. Genesis 22:12,18; Genesis 26:5; 2 Samuel 8:15; Psalms 17:2; Psalms 99:4; Jeremiah 23:5
  • 9. S Genesis 16:11; S Isaiah 14:1
  • 10. Isaiah 1:10; Jeremiah 23:14; Ezekiel 16:46
  • 11. Genesis 19:13
  • 12. S Genesis 13:13
  • 13. S Genesis 11:5
  • 14. S ver 2
  • 15. Genesis 19:1
  • 16. ver 1; Genesis 19:27
  • 17. Exodus 23:7; Lev 4:3,22,27; Numbers 16:22; Deuteronomy 27:25; 2 Samuel 24:17; Psalms 11:4-7; Psalms 94:21; Ezekiel 18:4; 2 Peter 2:9
  • 18. ver 26; Jeremiah 5:1
  • 19. Genesis 44:7,17; Deuteronomy 32:4; Job 8:3-7; Job 34:10
  • 20. Isaiah 5:20; Amos 5:15; Malachi 2:17; Malachi 3:18
  • 21. Deuteronomy 1:16-17
  • 22. Judges 11:27; Job 9:15; Psalms 7:11; Psalms 94:2; Hebrews 12:23
  • 23. Genesis 20:4; Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Ezra 9:15; Nehemiah 9:33; Job 8:3,20; Job 34:10; Job 36:23; Psalms 58:11; Psalms 75:7; Psalms 94:2; Psalms 119:137; Isaiah 3:10-11; Ezekiel 18:25; Daniel 4:37; Daniel 9:14; Malachi 2:17; Romans 3:6
  • 24. S ver 24; Jeremiah 5:1
  • 25. S Genesis 2:7; Genesis 3:19; S Job 2:8; Job 30:19; Job 42:6
  • 26. ver 32; Genesis 44:18; Exodus 32:22
  • 27. S ver 30; Judges 6:39
  • 28. Jeremiah 5:1
  • 29. Exodus 31:18
  • 30. S Genesis 17:22
  • 31. Genesis 31:55

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "will use his name in blessings" (see 48:20)
  • [b]. Masoretic Text; an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition "but the " Lord"remained standing before Abraham"
  • [c]. Or "forgive" ; also in verse 26
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