Genesis 16-18 Bible in Basic English

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Hagar and Ishmael

16 1  Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had given him no children; and she had a servant, a woman of Egypt whose name was Hagar. 2  And Sarai said to Abram, See, the Lord has not let me have children; go in to my servant, for I may get a family through her. And Abram did as Sarai said. 3  So after Abram had been living for ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian servant, and gave her to Abram for his wife.

4  And he went in to Hagar and she became with child, and when she saw that she was with child, she no longer had any respect for her master's wife. 5  And Sarai said to Abram, May my wrong be on you: I gave you my servant for your wife and when she saw that she was with child, she no longer had any respect for me: may the Lord be judge between you and me. 6  And Abram said, The woman is in your power; do with her whatever seems good to you. And Sarai was cruel to her, so that she went running away from her.

7  And an angel of the Lord came to her by a fountain of water in the waste land, by the fountain on the way to Shur. 8  And he said, Hagar, Sarai's servant, where have you come from and where are you going? And she said, I am running away from Sarai, my master's wife. 9  And the angel said to her, Go back, and put yourself under her authority.

10  And the angel of the Lord said, Your seed will be greatly increased so that it may not be numbered. 11  And the angel of the Lord said, See, you are with child and will give birth to a son, to whom you will give the name Ishmael, because the ears of the Lord were open to your sorrow. 12  And he will be like a mountain ass among men; his hand will be against every man and every man's hand against him, and he will keep his place against all his brothers. 13  And to the Lord who was talking with her she gave this name, You are a God who is seen; for she said, Have I not even here in the waste land had a vision of God and am still living? 14  So that fountain was named, Fountain of Life and Vision: it is between Kadesh and Bered.

15  And Hagar gave birth to a child, the son of Abram, to whom Abram gave the name of Ishmael. 16  Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.

Circumcision the Sign of the Covenant

17 1  When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord came to him, and said, I am God, Ruler of all; go in my ways and be upright in all things, 2  And I will make an agreement between you and me, and your offspring will be greatly increased. 3  And Abram went down on his face on the earth, and the Lord God went on talking with him, and said,

4  As for me, my agreement is made with you, and you will be the father of nations without end. 5  No longer will your name be Abram, but Abraham, for I have made you the father of a number of nations. 6  I will make you very fertile, so that nations will come from you and kings will be your offspring.

7  And I will make between me and you and your seed after you through all generations, an eternal agreement to be a God to you and to your seed after you. 8  And to you and to your seed after you, I will give the land in which you are living, all the land of Canaan for an eternal heritage; and I will be their God. 9  And God said to Abraham, On your side, you are to keep the agreement, you and your seed after you through all generations. 10  And this is the agreement which you are to keep with me, you and your seed after you: every male among you is to undergo circumcision. 11  In the flesh of your private parts you are to undergo it, as a mark of the agreement between me and you. 12  Every male among you, from one generation to another, is to undergo circumcision when he is eight days old, with every servant whose birth takes place in your house, or for whom you gave money to someone of another country, and not of your seed. 13  He who comes to birth in your house and he who is made yours for a price, all are to undergo circumcision; so that my agreement may be marked in your flesh, an agreement for all time. 14  And any male who does not undergo circumcision will be cut off from his people: my agreement has been broken by him.

15  And God said, As for Sarai, your wife, from now her name will be not Sarai, but Sarah. 16  And I will give her a blessing so that you will have a son by her: truly my blessing will be on her, and she will be the mother of nations: kings of peoples will be her offspring. 17  Then Abraham went down on his face, and laughing, said in his heart, May a man a hundred years old have a child? will Sarah, at ninety years old, give birth? 18  And Abraham said to God, If only Ishmael's life might be your care! 19  And God said, Not so; but Sarah, your wife, will have a son, and you will give him the name Isaac, and I will make my agreement with him for ever and with his seed after him. 20  As for Ishmael, I have given ear to your prayer: truly I have given him my blessing and I will make him fertile and give him great increase; he will be the father of twelve chiefs, and I will make him a great nation. 21  But my agreement will be with Isaac, to whom Sarah will give birth a year from this time. 22  And having said these words, God went up from Abraham.

23  And Abraham took Ishmael, his son, and all whose birth had taken place in his house, and all his servants whom he had made his for a price, every male of his house, and on that very day he gave them circumcision in the flesh of their private parts as God had said to him. 24  Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he underwent circumcision. 25  And Ishmael, his son, was thirteen years old when he underwent circumcision. 26  Abraham and Ishmael, his son, underwent circumcision on that very day. 27  And all the men of his house, those whose birth had taken place in the house and those whom he had got for money from men of other lands, underwent circumcision with him.

The Birth of Isaac Promised

18 1  Now the Lord came to him by the holy tree of Mamre, when he was seated in the doorway of his tent in the middle of the day; 2  And lifting up his eyes, he saw three men before him; and seeing them, he went quickly to them from the door of the tent, and went down on his face to the earth; 3  And said, My Lord, if now I have grace in your eyes, do not go away from your servant: 4  Let me get water for washing your feet, and take your rest under the tree: 5  And let me get a bit of bread to keep up your strength, and after that you may go on your way: for this is why you have come to your servant. And they said, Let it be so. 6  Then Abraham went quickly into the tent, and said to Sarah, Get three measures of meal straight away and make cakes. 7  And running to the herd, he took a young ox, soft and fat, and gave it to the servant and he quickly made it ready; 8  And he took butter and milk and the young ox which he had made ready and put it before them, waiting by them under the tree while they took food.

9  And they said to him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, She is in the tent. 10  And he said, I will certainly come back to you in the spring, and Sarah your wife will have a son. And his words came to the ears of Sarah who was at the back of the tent-door. 11  Now Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah was past the time for giving birth. 12  And Sarah, laughing to herself, said, Now that I am used up am I still to have pleasure, my husband himself being old? 13  And the Lord said, Why was Sarah laughing and saying, Is it possible for me, being old, to give birth to a child? 14  Is there any wonder which the Lord is not able to do? At the time I said, in the spring, I will come back to you, and Sarah will have a child. 15  Then Sarah said, I was not laughing; for she was full of fear. And he said, No, but you were laughing.

Abraham Intercedes for Sodom

16  And the men went on from there in the direction of Sodom; and Abraham went with them on their way. 17  And the Lord said, Am I to keep back from Abraham the knowledge of what I do; 18  Seeing that Abraham will certainly become a great and strong nation, and his name will be used by all the nations of the earth as a blessing? 19  For I have made him mine so that he may give orders to his children and those of his line after him, to keep the ways of the Lord, to do what is good and right: so that the Lord may do to Abraham as he has said. 20  And the Lord said, Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is very great, and their sin is very evil, 21  I will go down now, and see if their acts are as bad as they seem from the outcry which has come to me; and if they are not, I will see. 22  And the men, turning from that place, went on to Sodom: but Abraham was still waiting before the Lord.

23  And Abraham came near, and said, Will you let destruction come on the upright with the sinners? 24  If by chance there are fifty upright men in the town, will you give the place to destruction and not have mercy on it because of the fifty upright men? 25  Let such a thing be far from you, to put the upright to death with the sinner: will not the judge of all the earth do right? 26  And the Lord said, If there are fifty upright men in the town, I will have mercy on it because of them. 27  And Abraham answering said, Truly, I who am only dust, have undertaken to put my thoughts before the Lord: 28  If by chance there are five less than fifty upright men, will you give up all the town to destruction because of these five? And he said, I will not give it to destruction if there are forty-five. 29  And again he said to him, By chance there may be forty there. And he said, I will not do it if there are forty. 30  And he said, Let not the Lord be angry with me if I say, What if there are thirty there? And he said, I will not do it if there are thirty. 31  And he said, See now, I have undertaken to put my thoughts before the Lord: what if there are twenty there? And he said, I will have mercy because of the twenty. 32  And he said, O let not the Lord be angry and I will say only one word more: by chance there may be ten there. And he said, I will have mercy because of the ten. 33  And the Lord went on his way when his talk with Abraham was ended, and Abraham went back to his place.

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