Bible Study Notes on Genesis 18 – 20161027

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 18:1-2  “…LORD appeared to him…behold, three men were standing…bowed himself to the ground”
We’re not told what it was about the three men that made Abraham know they were from God.  Commentary suggests his actions of running to meet them and bowing to the ground show he knew they are not just regular travelers.  We’re also not told if these were angels acting for God or a pre-incarnate Christ.  I wonder if the fact there were three of them represented the triune God.

6-8  “…three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes…took a tender and good calf…he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared…”
Seems to me this would have taken some time, but the commentaries suggest it wasn’t that long.  Apparently the calf could be prepared and cooked in such a way that not much time was used.  At any rate, it is apparent that Abraham regarded the visitors as being very important.  Some commentaries suggest he didn’t know of their heavenly origin until they began speaking with them.  I get the feeling he did know.  Abraham was a man of great means.  I don’t think he would have acted in such a way toward them unless he had reason to think they were very important, not just some other travelers or visitors.  I’m sure he would have been hospitable to anyone, but he went out of his way for these.

8  “…as they ate”
Interesting.  Angelic beings actually eating food as Christ did after the resurrection.  Commentary says there is some question regarding that, but whether they did or not is possible.  Perhaps God did the visitation in this manner, more similar to an earthly visitor, as Abraham was still learning about Him.  Once the Israelites learned of God, angelic visitations usually only involved delivering messages.  The text says the LORD spoke, or they spoke, or He spoke.  I’m wondering if the three acted as one, as would seem apparent when it mentions they spoke, or if there was one that seemed the leader, as referenced by LORD or He.

12  “…Sarah laughed within herself…”
I’ll believe it when I see it.  We usually don’t doubt the possibility, but the probability.  Then again, when God has said something specific, we know that it will come to pass.  This was different than a prayer, this was a specific statement by God.  The child would arrive after nine months, according to the time of life.

13-15  “…Why did Sarah laugh…I did not laugh…No, but you did laugh!”
I wondered why God even mentioned what Sarah did.  It shouldn’t matter whether she believed Him or not, His word would still come to pass.  My guess is that He was concerned for her faith in Him as well as Abraham’s.  To have a stranger suddenly tell you what you thought in your mind would have been quickly sobering.  She tried to deny it, but He called her on that as well.  Reminds me of what Jesus said to Thomas.  Do not be unbelieving, but believing.

17  “…Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing”
God has other business besides reminding Abraham about the arrival of his son.  He decides to let Abraham in on what He is about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah and why.

22  “Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD.”
Seems to answer our earlier question about who did what speaking.  Two of the men continued on toward Sodom, but the one speaking as God remained.  He has said the outcry against the cities is great.  It’s obvious to Abraham that He intends to destroy the cities for their wickedness.  He knows Lot is there or nearby which probably contributed to him trying to intercede for the cities.

23-32  Interesting section of scripture.  Abraham is allowed to bargain with God for the saving of Sodom and Gomorrah.  He uses the same arguments as Moses would later use, calling on the righteousness of the Creator to not destroy the righteous with the wicked.  He works his way from fifty persons down to ten.  Surely there were at least ten persons in the city who could be considered righteous.  Unfortunately, there was only one, Lot.  His wife and daughters would have been included if not counted.  Two cities of people and ten people who were not considered wicked could not be found.  Should be a warning to us.  God will not allow great wickedness to abide forever.
One commentary made an interesting point.  This was the first time recorded that God allowed someone to intercede on behalf of others to allay their destruction.  He would do so other times throughout scripture.  An awesome thought to know that God allows men to participate with Him in His purposes.  How many times have we passed up the opportunity?

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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