(Gen 18:1 NASB) Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.
Gen 18:1: In the last chapter we saw the command for the sign of being a part of the covenant with Abraham. This sign of circumcision has caused much controversy throughout history.
All the men of his house, all the men born in his house and bought from foreigners, were circumcised with him. The covenant calls for every child who is eight days old to be circumcised (Gen. 17:10-13). Every child who is not circumcised on the eighth day will be cast out from the people (Ge. 17:14).
Torah states that all men must be circumcised before they partake of Passover (Exodus 12:48-49). Torah is very specific in that all eight day old baby boys and all men who wish to participate in Passover are to be circumcised.
In Paul’s day, many Jewish believers wanted all Gentiles to be circumcised and become Jews before they learned of Messiah and Torah (Acts 15:1). This was a terrible misunderstanding of circumcision. The council in Jerusalem met to iron out this misconception. Peter said this was unfair to the Gentiles because adult circumcision was a burden that neither they nor their fathers had to bear (Acts 15:6-11). The Jerusalem Council determined that all that was required for a Gentile to learn of Messiah and Torah is to stay away from idolatry. Then they could come into the synagogues and learn of the Torah of Moses (Acts 15:19-21).
There is no prohibition in Scripture that one must be circumcised before they are drawn to Elohim. We saw as an example that Abram was declared righteous before he was circumcised. Paul uses that example more than once in his letters.
This first verse is sometime after the covenant was ratified in chapter 17, but possibly only a few days.
(Gen 18:2 NASB) And when he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth,
(Gen 18:3 NASB) and said, “My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass your servant by.
Gen 18:3: Why is Abraham acting this way for these three men? There is no indication that they are anything more than men. Their appearance was nothing outstanding or different as indicated by the account in the next chapter in Sodom. At this point it is likely that Abraham has no idea who they are.
Torah states that we are to welcome strangers as family (Lev. 19:33-34). Once again, this is evidence that Abraham knew Torah well and followed it.
(Gen 18:4 NASB) “Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree;
(Gen 18:5 NASB) and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.”
Gen 18:5: It does not make sense that Abraham thinks they are anything more than men. Why is he telling them to rest? Elohim or angels would not need to rest. The only logical conclusion is that Abraham thought they were men passing through and he welcomed them as Elohim’s law says to.
Apparently they looked weary from a long journey. This is apparently a test for Abraham. The writer of Hebrews tells us that we are to follow Elohim’s Law and treat strangers according to the Torah (Heb. 13:2).
(Gen 18:6 NASB) So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it, and make bread cakes.”
(Gen 18:7 NASB) Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf, and gave it to the servant; and he hurried to prepare it.
(Gen 18:8 NASB) And he took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.
Gen 18:8: Abraham was the epitome of a good host. He promised them a “piece of bread” and he makes them a lavish feast.
We should let this be a lesson for us in how we are to treat visitors to our home and our assembly.
There is also an interesting detail in this verse that should not be overlooked. Abraham is serving the prepared calf with milk. This goes against the (erroneous) traditional Orthodox Jewish tradition of eating dairy with meat.
(Gen 18:9 NASB) Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “Behold, in the tent.”
(Gen 18:10 NASB) And he said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him.
Gen 18:10: Now the supernatural character of the visitors is evident. Elohim tells them that Sarah will certainly have a son next year.
(Gen 18:11 NASB) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.
Gen 18:11: Abraham is 99 and Sarah is 89. She is well past the age of childbearing even with the life spans being longer than they are today.
(Gen 18:12 NASB) And Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
(Gen 18:13 NASB) And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’
Gen 18:13: One of the men is apparently a manifestation of Elohim who knew the thoughts of Sarah. If there were any doubts of their supernatural nature, this convinced Sarah.
(Gen 18:14 NASB) “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
(Gen 18:15 NASB) Sarah denied it however, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
Gen 18:15: Elohim was not delighted with her response of laughter. He was probably not too happy Abraham’s response when he laughed at the promise of Sarah having a child either.
Sarah was ashamed and denied her laughter and negative thoughts.
(Gen 18:16 NASB) Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was walking with them to send them off.
(Gen 18:17 NASB) And the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
(Gen 18:18 NASB) since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?
Gen 18:18: Elohim is making a point here that He will not hide from Abraham what He is doing in His righteousness. All the nations of the world will learn from Abraham and Abraham must learn of Elohim’s holiness and righteousness as well as His love and mercy.
(Gen 18:19 NASB) “For I have chosen him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”
Gen 18:19: The KJV translates “For I have chosen him” as “”For I know Him.” The Hebrew word “yada” is translated “know” 535 times and a few times means “chosen.” So Elohim says of Abraham, “I have known Him.” He is called a “friend of Elohim” at least three times in Scripture (2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8; James 2:23).
Abraham is to command his children and his household after him that they keep the way of Elohim. Certainly Abraham knew the laws of Elohim. Elohim said that Abraham followed all of His Torah and because of this, Abraham all nations will be blessed through him (Gen. 26:4-5).
Abraham kept the way of righteousness and taught it to his children.
What is the “way of Yahweh?” He tells us in this verse that it means to do righteousness and justice. Righteousness is defined as keeping Torah, (Deut. 6:25). Abraham was Elohim’s friend. Elohim “knew” Abraham. What does it mean to “know” Elohim and to love Him? It means to obey His commandments (Deut. 10:12-13, John 14:15, 21-24).
If you do not follow His commandments, Yeshua says that Elohim will say He never knew you (Matt. 7:21-23).
Elohim says of Abraham, “I know him.” Abraham knew the ways of Elohim and commanded his children and household in that manner.
(Gen 18:20 NASB) And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.
(Gen 18:21 NASB) “I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”
Gen 18:21: Elohim was going to illustrate the immorality of Sodom.
(Gen 18:22 NASB) Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD.
Gen 18:22: Abraham stood before Elohim for the possibility of righteous men being in Sodom.
(Gen 18:23 NASB) And Abraham came near and said, “Wilt Thou indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
(Gen 18:24 NASB) “Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it?
(Gen 18:25 NASB) “Far be it from Thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”
(Gen 18:26 NASB) So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.”
Gen 18:26: Sodom would be spared for 50 righteous men. Abraham starts to doubt himself in this offer right away.
(Gen 18:27 NASB) And Abraham answered and said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes.
(Gen 18:28 NASB) “Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, wilt Thou destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
(Gen 18:29 NASB) And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.”
(Gen 18:30 NASB) Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
(Gen 18:31 NASB) And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.”
(Gen 18:32 NASB) Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.”
Gen 18:32: Not even ten righteous people are to be found in Sodom.
(Gen 18:33 NASB) And as soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed; and Abraham returned to his place.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas