The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 18

Gen 18:1

Blessings given in the path of home duty: shepherds at night (Luk 2:8-20), Moses keeping flock (Exo 3:1,2), David in sheepfolds (Psa 78:70), Gideon threshing (Jdg 6:11,12), Abraham in tent-door (Gen 18:1), and a woman coming to draw water (Joh 4:7,26).

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it" (Heb 13:2; cp Rom 12:13, 3Jo 1:5,7; 1Ti 3:2). Cp also Lot with strangers (Gen 19:1).

THE LORD: = 3 angels, who speak on His behalf (v 10).

THE GREAT TREES: "Elon". Rt "strength" or "oak". The Heb is consistently translated "tree(s)" in NIV, but "plain" in Gen 12:6; 13:18; 14:13; 18:1; Deu 11:30. Cp also Jdg 4:11; 9:6,37; 1Sa 10:3.

HE WAS SITTING AT THE ENTRANCE TO HIS TENT: Abraham sat in door of tent (alone). Lot sat in gate of city: Gen 19:11.

IN THE HEAT OF THE DAY: This is an open manifestation, not a dream of the night.

Gen 18:2

Hospitality: Heb 13:2; Rom 12:13; 1Pe 4:9.

HURRIED (RAN): Eagerness. Abraham's characteristic haste: Gen 19:27; 22:3.

BOWED LOW TO THE GROUND: Normal form of greeting strangers (Gen 23:7).

Gen 18:3

MY LORD: Not "Yahweh", but "Adonai", although supposedly altered by Sopherim (Comp 32). Or, poss plural: "Adonai" = "My lords, with no recognition as yet of their divine origin". A normal form of greeting (Gen 30:27; 1Sa 20:29).

Gen 18:5

SOMETHING TO EAT: AV: "a morsel of bread" -- a very modest description of what proves to be a sumptuous feast (vv 6-8).

REFRESHED: "Comfort ye" (AV) or "stay" (ie strengthen) ye (AV mg).

Gen 18:6

Abraham commanded a very large household, of perh several hundred, but he delighted in personally ministering to these visitors.

Gen 18:7

A "sacrificial" meal!

Gen 18:8

This meal, not proper/kosher according to modern Jewish dietary laws.

"He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right" (Isa 7:15).

HE STOOD NEAR THEM: In a mediatorial, or servant's, capacity.

Gen 18:9

A very strange thing, to know the name of the man's wife!

Vv 9-15: Abraham had not told Sarah of the promised seed, or else she had not believed him. Sarah doubted, but only for a brief moment.

Gen 18:10

Cp 2Ki 4:16: another unusual childbirth.

Gen 18:11

Spiritually, we are like Sarah -- past the time and unable to bear "fruit" to our "husband" without divine help.

Gen 18:12

MY MASTER: "My lord" (adon) in AV. This is what Sarah said in her heart, ie, her ordinary attitude: 1Pe 3:6; 1Co 11:3.

Gen 18:14

HARD: Sw "wonderful" in Isa 9:6.

"You do not prove the resources of God until you trust Him for the impossible."

I WILL RETURN: "I will surely return" (v 10). God was personally involved in this birth, literally so in giving strength and revitalization to this aged couple -- just as He is spiritually involved in the calling of each of His sons and daughters by the Word (hence causing them to "born after the Spirit": Gal 4:29; John 6:44,45).

AT THE APPOINTED TIME: In Gen 18:10 it is "the time of life", but the question of time is emphasized again in Gen 18:14: "At the TIME APPOINTED..." Not only was Isaac born out of a promise but a promise to be fulfilled at a SET TIME (cp Gen 21:2). This time was first appointed in Gen 17:21 -- a year after Yahweh appeared to Abraham with the covenant token of circumcision (Gen 17:1,10,11) -- and probably nine months from the visitation of Gen 18.

Gen 18:16

LOOKED DOWN TOWARD SODOM: As Jesus looked toward Jerusalem... Mamre is in a valley close to Hebron; from the heights a little to the east a view of the Dead Sea can be had.

Gen 18:17

Abraham = the Friend of God in 2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8; Jam 2:23.

Gen 18:20

The sins of Sodom: more than sexual. Also, pride, arrogance, haughtiness, leisure, indifference to poor (Eze 16:49)."It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building" (Luk 17:28). In short, they showed concern only for temporal affairs, material wealth and pleasure.

Gen 18:21

The angels do not have infinite wisdom: ie, they must go down to see for themselves!

THE OUTCRY THAT HAS REACHED ME: Cp cry of Abel's blood: "Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground" (Gen 4:10), and laborers defrauded of wages (Jam 5:4). Cp also Babylon the Great, whose sins have reached unto heaven (Rev 19:5).

Gen 18:22

THE MEN: They continue to assume the appearance of ordinary men.

BUT ABRAHAM REMAINED STANDING: Reflection and waiting before approaching God.

BEFORE THE LORD: One of the 3 "men" remained behind, while the other 2 went ahead (Gen 19:1). Abraham was prob talking to an angel referred to as "the Lord". Since there were 3 initially (v 2) and since the plural word "men" is used in v 22 when they went toward Sodom, then apparently one stays behind and becomes a spokesman for the Lord. Refs where an angel = God are Psa 97:7 (cp Heb 1:6); Gen 32:30 (cp Hos 12:3-4); Exod 3:1-6 (cp Act 7:38).

Gen 18:23

Other cities were to be destroyed, but Abraham pleads for Sodom only, because that is where Lot dwelt (Gen 14:12). God allowed Abraham to "barter" without telling him it was wrong. Moses "bargains" with God on several occasions (eg Exod 32:11-14). Gideon also does... a conscious imitation of Abraham's intercession in Jdg 6:39 (cp Gen 18:32). Notice, however, the humility of Abraham in his bartering: "dust and ashes" (v 27); he pleads with God not to be angry (v 32).

WILL YOU SWEEP AWAY (DESTROY) THE RIGHTEOUS WITH THE WICKED: The lesson of the Flood and Noah, prob learned from Shem?

Gen 18:24

FIFTY: The number of Jubilee and, hence, deliverance (Lev 25:10). "Why not let the feeble light still shine, so long as there is any possibility that another sinner may be called to repentance?"

Gen 18:26

The righteous, as salt of the earth, a preservative: Mat 5:13.

Gen 18:27

SO BOLD (I HAVE TAKEN UPON ME): Astonished at the liberty he has taken.

DUST AND ASHES: Abraham's estimate of himself (cp Job 14:1,2,7; 1Co 15:45-49; Rom 5:12).

Gen 18:31

"There was abundance of mercy with God, but His servant was limited -- he was afraid of overdrawing his account" (CHM 199).

Gen 18:32

TEN: 10 = Lot, wife, 2 married daughters (Gen 19:14), 2 sons-in-law, at least 2 sons (Gen 19:2), and 2 unmarried daughters (Gen 19:12,15,31).

Power of faith and intercession of others: Mat 8:13; 9:32; 15:28; 17:14-18; Luk 8:50; Joh 4:49; Jos 6:17; Gen 7:1; 18:32; 19:12; Act 27:24.

Abraham is now assured, but his faith was to be sorely tested when he rose to see Sodom's smoke afar off: Gen 19:27,28 (WAbr 81,82).

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