Genesis 18:23-33

23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked?
24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes?
25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”
26 And the LORD replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke again. “Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes.
28 Suppose there are only forty-five righteous people rather than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And the LORD said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five righteous people there.”
29 Then Abraham pressed his request further. “Suppose there are only forty?” And the LORD replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the forty.”
30 “Please don’t be angry, my Lord,” Abraham pleaded. “Let me speak—suppose only thirty righteous people are found?” And the LORD replied, “I will not destroy it if I find thirty.”
31 Then Abraham said, “Since I have dared to speak to the Lord, let me continue—suppose there are only twenty?” And the LORD replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
32 Finally, Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found there?” And the LORD replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
33 When the LORD had finished his conversation with Abraham, he went on his way, and Abraham returned to his tent.

Genesis 18:23-33 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 18:23-33 In-Context

21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”
22 The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the LORD remained with Abraham.
23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked?
24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes?
25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”
26 And the LORD replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke again. “Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes.
28 Suppose there are only forty-five righteous people rather than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And the LORD said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five righteous people there.”
29 Then Abraham pressed his request further. “Suppose there are only forty?” And the LORD replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the forty.”
30 “Please don’t be angry, my Lord,” Abraham pleaded. “Let me speak—suppose only thirty righteous people are found?” And the LORD replied, “I will not destroy it if I find thirty.”
31 Then Abraham said, “Since I have dared to speak to the Lord, let me continue—suppose there are only twenty?” And the LORD replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
32 Finally, Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found there?” And the LORD replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
33 When the LORD had finished his conversation with Abraham, he went on his way, and Abraham returned to his tent.