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Genesis 18:22-32

Context

18:22 The two men turned 1  and headed 2  toward Sodom, but Abraham was still standing before the Lord. 3  18:23 Abraham approached and said, “Will you sweep away the godly along with the wicked? 18:24 What if there are fifty godly people in the city? Will you really wipe it out and not spare 4  the place for the sake of the fifty godly people who are in it? 18:25 Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the godly with the wicked, treating the godly and the wicked alike! Far be it from you! Will not the judge 5  of the whole earth do what is right?” 6 

18:26 So the Lord replied, “If I find in the city of Sodom fifty godly people, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

18:27 Then Abraham asked, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord 7  (although I am but dust and ashes), 8  18:28 what if there are five less than the fifty godly people? Will you destroy 9  the whole city because five are lacking?” 10  He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

18:29 Abraham 11  spoke to him again, 12  “What if forty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty.”

18:30 Then Abraham 13  said, “May the Lord not be angry 14  so that I may speak! 15  What if thirty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

18:31 Abraham 16  said, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”

18:32 Finally Abraham 17  said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”

1 tn Heb “And the men turned from there.” The word “two” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied here for clarity. Gen 19:1 mentions only two individuals (described as “angels”), while Abraham had entertained three visitors (18:2). The implication is that the Lord was the third visitor, who remained behind with Abraham here. The words “from there” are not included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

2 tn Heb “went.”

3 tc An ancient Hebrew scribal tradition reads “but the Lord remained standing before Abraham.” This reading is problematic because the phrase “standing before” typically indicates intercession, but the Lord would certainly not be interceding before Abraham.

4 tn Heb “lift up,” perhaps in the sense of “bear with” (cf. NRSV “forgive”).

5 tn Or “ruler.”

6 sn Will not the judge of the whole earth do what is right? For discussion of this text see J. L. Crenshaw, “Popular Questioning of the Justice of God in Ancient Israel,” ZAW 82 (1970): 380-95, and C. S. Rodd, “Shall Not the Judge of All the Earth Do What Is Just?” ExpTim 83 (1972): 137-39.

7 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here and in vv. 30, 31, 32 is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

8 tn The disjunctive clause is a concessive clause here, drawing out the humility as a contrast to the Lord.

9 tn The Hebrew verb שָׁחַת (shakhat, “to destroy”) was used earlier to describe the effect of the flood.

10 tn Heb “because of five.”

11 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 tn The construction is a verbal hendiadys – the preterite (“he added”) is combined with an adverb “yet” and an infinitive “to speak.”

13 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

14 tn Heb “let it not be hot to the Lord.” This is an idiom which means “may the Lord not be angry.”

15 tn After the jussive, the cohortative indicates purpose/result.

16 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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