The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Genesis
He had a vision of the Lord, too, in the valley of Mambre, as he sat by his tent door at noon.
He looked up, and saw three men standing near him; and, at the sight, he ran from his tent door to meet them, bowing down to the earth.✻
Lord, he said, as thou lovest me, do not pass thy servant by;
let me fetch a drop of water, so that you can wash your feet and rest in the shade.
I will bring a mouthful of food, too, so that you can refresh yourselves before you go on further; you have not come this way for nothing. And when they had agreed to what he proposed,
Abraham hastened into the tent to find Sara. Quick, he said, knead three measures of flour, and make girdle-cakes.
Meanwhile, he ran to the byre, and brought in a calf, tender and well-fed, and gave it to a servant, who made haste to cook it.
Then he brought out butter and milk with the calf he had cooked for them, and laid their meal ready, and stood there beside them in the shade of the trees.
When they finished eating, they asked, Where is thy wife Sara? She is here, he answered, in the tent.
I will come back, said he who was speaking to him, next year without fail; and, live she till then, thy wife Sara shall have a son.✻ Sara, behind the tent door, overheard it and laughed;
both were old, and past their prime, so that Sara was no longer subject to the lot of womanhood.
What, she said, laughing to herself at the thought, am I to have dalliance with this lord of mine, grown old as I too have grown old?
Whereupon the Lord said to Abraham, Why does Sara laugh, and ask whether she is indeed to become a mother in her old age?
Can any task be too difficult for the Lord? At this time of year, the time I have appointed, I will come back to thee; live she till then, Sara shall have a son.
And when Sara, overcome with terror, denied the charge of laughing, Ah, he said, but thou didst laugh.
And now the men rose up, and turned towards Sodom, Abraham going with them to put them on their way.
And the Lord said, Should I hide my purpose from Abraham,
this man who is destined to give birth to a people so great and so powerful? This man through whom all the nations of the world are to find a blessing?
Have I not chosen him as one who will teach his children✻ and all his race after him to follow the paths which the Lord shews them, and to do what is just and right, winning him the fulfilment of all the Lord has promised him?
So the Lord told him, The ill repute of Sodom and Gomorrha goes from bad to worse, their sin is grievous out of all measure;
I must needs go down to see for myself whether they have deserved the ill report that has reached me or not; I must know for certain.
And Abraham stood there in the Lord’s presence, as the men turned and went on towards Sodom.
Abraham drew close to him, and asked, Wilt thou, then, sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there are fifty innocent men in the city, must they too perish? Wilt thou not spare the place to save fifty such innocent men that dwell there?
Never that, thou wilt not destroy the innocent with the guilty, as if innocence and guilt were all one; that is not thy way, that is not how the Judge of the whole earth executes justice!
And the Lord told him, If I find fifty innocent citizens in Sodom, I will spare the whole place to save them.
And Abraham answered, Dust and ashes though I be, I have taken it upon me to speak to my Lord, and speak I will.
What if there should be five wanting to make up the tale of fifty innocent men? Wilt thou bring the whole city to ruin because there are five less than fifty? No, he said, if I meet with forty-five such, I will not bring it to ruin.
But he plied him once more, What wilt thou do, then, if forty are found there? I will hold my hand, said he, to save forty.
Then he said, Lord, do not be angry with me for pleading thus; what if thirty are found there? If I find thirty, he said, I will not do it.
I have taken it upon me, said he, to speak to my Lord, and speak I will; what if twenty are found there? I will grant it life, he said, to save twenty.
And he said, Do not be angry with me, Lord, I entreat thee, for making one more plea still; what if ten are found there? I will spare it from destruction, he said, to save ten.
So God finished speaking to Abraham, and left him, and Abraham turned and went home.
The Holy Bible