male

Abraham

2056 BCE - 1881 BCE  

Avraham, Avram

Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

יהוה appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and saw that three men stood near him. When he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please don’t go away from your servant. Now let a little water be fetched, wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. I will get a piece of bread so you can refresh your heart. After that you may go your way, now that you have come to your servant.” They said, “Very well, do as you have said.” Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly prepare three seahs of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a tender and good calf, and gave it to the servant. He hurried to dress it. He took butter, milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them. He stood by them under the tree, and they ate. They asked him, “Where is Sarah, your wife?” He said, “There, in the tent.” He said, “I will certainly return to you at about this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old will I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” יהוה said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Will I really bear a child when I am old?’ Is anything too hard for יהוה? At the set time I will return to you, when the season comes round, and Sarah will have a son.” Then Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.” The men rose up from there, and looked toward Sodom. Abraham went with them to see them on their way. יהוה said, “Will I hide from Abraham what I do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him? For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of יהוה, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that יהוה may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.” יהוה said, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether their deeds are as bad as the reports which have come to me. If not, I will know.” The men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood yet before יהוה. Abraham came near, and said, “Will you consume the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? May it be far from you to do things like that, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be like the wicked. May that be far from you. Shouldn’t the Judge of all the earth do right?” יהוה said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham answered, “See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord, although I am dust and ashes. What if there will lack five of the fifty righteous? Will you destroy all the city for lack of five?” He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” He spoke to him yet again, and said, “What if there are forty found there?” He said, “I will not do it for the forty’s sake.” He said, “Oh don’t let the Lord be angry, and I will speak. What if there are thirty found there?” He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” He said, “See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord. What if there are twenty found there?” He said, “I will not destroy it for the twenty’s sake.” He said, “Oh don’t let the Lord be angry, and I will speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He said, “I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake.” יהוה went his way, as soon as he had finished communing with Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place. The two angels came to Sodom at evening. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. Lot saw them, and rose up to meet them. He bowed himself with his face to the earth, and he said, “See now, my lords, please come into your servant’s house, stay all night, wash your feet, and you can rise up early, and go on your way.” They said, “No, but we will stay in the street all night.” He urged them greatly, and they came in with him, and entered into his house. He made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. They called to Lot, and said to him, “Where are the men who came in to you this night? Bring them out to us, that we may have sex with them.” Lot went out to them through the door, and shut the door after himself. He said, “Please, my brothers, don’t act so wickedly. See now, I have two virgin daughters. Please let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them what seems good to you. Only don’t do anything to these men, because they have come under the shadow of my roof.” They said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one fellow came in to live as a foreigner, and he appoints himself a judge. Now we will deal worse with you than with them!” They pressed hard on the man Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men reached out their hand, and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. They struck the men who were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves to find the door. The men said to Lot, “Do you have anybody else here? Sons-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place: for we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown so great before יהוה that יהוה has sent us to destroy it.” Lot went out, and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters, and said, “Get up! Get out of this place, for יהוה will destroy the city!” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be joking. When the morning came, then the angels hurried Lot, saying, “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city.” But he lingered; and the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand, and his two daughters’ hands, יהוה being merciful to him; and they took him out, and set him outside of the city. It came to pass, when they had taken them out, that he said, “Escape for your life! Don’t look behind you, and don’t stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be consumed!” Lot said to them, “Oh, not so, my lord. See now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your loving kindness, which you have shown to me in saving my life. I can’t escape to the mountain, lest evil overtake me, and I die. See now, this city is near to flee to, and it is a little one. Oh let me escape there (isn’t it a little one?), and my soul will live.” He said to him, “Behold, I have granted your request concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there, for I can’t do anything until you get there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then יהוה rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah sulfur and fire from יהוה out of the sky. He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. Abraham went up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before יהוה. He looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and saw that the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a furnace. When God destroyed the cities of the plain, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the middle of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.