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Genesis 18:4-8

Context
18:4 Let a little water be brought so that 1  you may all 2  wash your feet and rest under the tree. 18:5 And let me get 3  a bit of food 4  so that you may refresh yourselves 5  since you have passed by your servant’s home. After that you may be on your way.” 6  “All right,” they replied, “you may do as you say.”

18:6 So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Take 7  three measures 8  of fine flour, knead it, and make bread.” 9  18:7 Then Abraham ran to the herd and chose a fine, tender calf, and gave it to a servant, 10  who quickly prepared it. 11  18:8 Abraham 12  then took some curds and milk, along with the calf that had been prepared, and placed the food 13  before them. They ate while 14  he was standing near them under a tree.

1 tn The imperative after the jussive indicates purpose here.

2 tn The word “all” has been supplied in the translation because the Hebrew verb translated “wash” and the pronominal suffix on the word “feet” are plural, referring to all three of the visitors.

3 tn The Qal cohortative here probably has the nuance of polite request.

4 tn Heb “a piece of bread.” The Hebrew word לֶחֶם (lekhem) can refer either to bread specifically or to food in general. Based on Abraham’s directions to Sarah in v. 6, bread was certainly involved, but v. 7 indicates that Abraham had a more elaborate meal in mind.

5 tn Heb “strengthen your heart.” The imperative after the cohortative indicates purpose here.

6 tn Heb “so that you may refresh yourselves, after [which] you may be on your way – for therefore you passed by near your servant.”

7 tn The word “take” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the sentence lacks a verb other than the imperative “hurry.” The elliptical structure of the language reflects Abraham’s haste to get things ready quickly.

8 sn Three measures (Heb “three seahs”) was equivalent to about twenty quarts (twenty-two liters) of flour, which would make a lot of bread. The animal prepared for the meal was far more than the three visitors needed. This was a banquet for royalty. Either it had been a lonely time for Abraham and the presence of visitors made him very happy, or he sensed this was a momentous visit.

9 sn The bread was the simple, round bread made by bedouins that is normally prepared quickly for visitors.

10 tn Heb “the young man.”

11 tn The construction uses the Piel preterite, “he hurried,” followed by the infinitive construct; the two probably form a verbal hendiadys: “he quickly prepared.”

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

13 tn The words “the food” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the verb has no stated object.

14 tn The disjunctive clause is a temporal circumstantial clause subordinate to the main verb.



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