Genesis 18



1 And the LORD appeared to him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

2 And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

4 Let a little water, I pray you, be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

5 And I will bring a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that you shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

6 And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

7 And Abraham ran to the herd, and brought a calf tender and good, and gave it to a young man; and he hasted to dress it.

8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they ate.

9 And they said to him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

10 And he said, I will certainly return to thee according to the time of life; and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and far advanced in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am become old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

13 And the LORD said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I certainly bear a child, who am old?

14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return to thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they will keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come to me; and if not, I will know.

22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went towards Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

24 Peradventure there are fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are in it?

25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I, who am dust and ashes, have taken upon me to speak to the Lord.

28 Peradventure there will lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

29 And he spoke to him yet again, and said, Peradventure there will be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake.

30 And he said, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there will thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak to the Lord: Peradventure there will be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.

32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten will be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.

33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place.


Exploring the Meaning of Genesis 18      

Napsal(a) Emanuel Swedenborg

Here are some excerpts from Swedenborg's "Arcana Coelestia" that help explain the inner meaning of this chapter:

AC 2136. In the first place, this chapter treats concerning the Lord’s state of perception in the Human and concerning the communication with the Divine at that time, before the perfect union of His Human Essence with the Divine Essence, which state is also that in regard to which the Lord says,

"No one hath seen God at any time, the Only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father" (John 1:18).

AC 2137. The Lord‘s state of perception in the Human at that time is signified by the "oak-groves of Mamre" (verse 1); and that in this state He perceived the Divine which was manifesting itself before His Human (verse 2); at which He rejoiced (verse 3); and desired that the Divine should draw nearer to His Human by putting on something natural (verse 4), and His Human nearer to the Divine by putting on the celestial (verse 5). The celestial and the derivative spiritual, which He put on, are signified by the "three measures of meal of fine flour" of which the cakes were made (verse 6); and that He also put on a conforming natural, is signified by the "son of an ox" (verse 7); the result being conformation, and a communication of the Divine with the Human, and of the Human with the Divine (verse 8).

AC 2138. In the second place, this chapter treats concerning the Lord’s perception in that state respecting the rational with Him, in that it would put off the Human, and be made Divine.

AC 2139. That the rational would be made Divine, is signified by the "son" whom Sarah was to bear (verse 10). That the human rational truth that was with the Lord did not perceive this, and thus did not believe it, is signified by Sarah‘s "laughing" at the door of the tent that was behind him (verses 10-13, 15). It is confirmed that the Lord would put off this also, and would put on in its place truth Divine (verse 14).

AC 2140. In the third place, the chapter treats concerning the Lord’s grief and anxiety over the human race, because men were so greatly imbued with the love of self, and from this with the cupidity of exercising command over others from what is evil and false, for whom in that state He interceded, and obtained that those should be saved with whom there should be goods and truths; and who these are, is recounted in order.

AC 2141. The Lord‘s perception concerning the human race, that it was in evil and falsity, "Sodom" being the love of self and the derivative cupidity of exercising command from what is evil, and "Gomorrah" being the same from what is false (verses 16, 20). That this could not be concealed from the Lord in that state, because by Him and from Him is all salvation (verses 17 to 19); that is to say, they were to be visited when their wickedness reached its height (verses 20, 21). That when He was in this perception (verse 22), He interceded for them; first for those with whom there should be truths, and these truths full of goods, who are signified by the "fifty" (verses 23 to 26); also for those with whom there should be less of good, but this good nevertheless conjoined with truths, who are signified by the "forty-five" (verses 27, 28); next for those who have been in temptations, who are signified by the "forty" (verse 29); as likewise for those who have been in some combats against evils, who are signified by the "thirty" (verse 30); afterwards for those with whom there should be states of the affection of good from any other source, who are signified by the "twenty" (verse 31); lastly for those with whom there should be states of the affection of truth, who are signified by the "ten" (verse 32); and the constant answer was that they should be saved (verses 26, 28 to 32). These things being accomplished, the Lord returned into His former state of perception (verse 33). These are the arcana contained in the internal sense of this chapter, which are not manifest from the letter.

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