The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
19 1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening. Lot was sitting at the city gate. He saw them and got up to welcome them, bowing before them 2 and said, "Please, my friends, come to my house and stay the night. Wash up. You can rise early and be on your way refreshed." They said, "No, we'll sleep in the street." 3 But he insisted, wouldn't take no for an answer; and they relented and went home with him. Lot fixed a hot meal for them and they ate.
4 Before they went to bed men from all over the city of Sodom, young and old, descended on the house from all sides and boxed them in. 5 They yelled to Lot, "Where are the men who are staying with you for the night? Bring them out so we can have our sport with them!" 6 Lot went out, barring the door behind him, 7 and said, "Brothers, please, don't be vile! 8 Look, I have two daughters, virgins; let me bring them out; you can take your pleasure with them, but don't touch these men - they're my guests." 9 They said, "Get lost! You drop in from nowhere and now you're going to tell us how to run our lives. We'll treat you worse than them!" And they charged past Lot to break down the door. 10 But the two men reached out and pulled Lot inside the house, locking the door. 11 Then they struck blind the men who were trying to break down the door, both leaders and followers, leaving them groping in the dark.
12 The two men said to Lot, "Do you have any other family here? Sons, daughters - anybody in the city? Get them out of here, and now! 13 We're going to destroy this place. The outcries of victims here to God are deafening; we've been sent to blast this place into oblivion." 14 Lot went out and warned the fiancZs of his daughters, "Evacuate this place; God is about to destroy this city!" But his daughters' would-be husbands treated it as a joke.
15 At break of day, the angels pushed Lot to get going, "Hurry. Get your wife and two daughters out of here before it's too late and you're caught in the punishment of the city." 16 Lot was dragging his feet. The men grabbed Lot's arm, and the arms of his wife and daughters - God was so merciful to them! - and dragged them to safety outside the city. 17 When they had them outside, Lot was told, "Now run for your life! Don't look back! Don't stop anywhere on the plain - run for the hills or you'll be swept away." 18 But Lot protested, "No, masters, you can't mean it! 19 I know that you've taken a liking to me and have done me an immense favor in saving my life, but I can't run for the mountains - who knows what terrible thing might happen to me in the mountains and leave me for dead. 20 Look over there - that town is close enough to get to. It's a small town, hardly anything to it. Let me escape there and save my life - it's a mere wide place in the road." 21 He said to him, "All right. If you insist. I'll let you have your way. And I won't stamp out the town you've spotted. 22 But hurry up. Run for it! I can't do anything until you get there." That's why the town was called Zoar, that is, Smalltown. 23 The sun was high in the sky when Lot arrived at Zoar.
24 Then God rained brimstone and fire down on Sodom and Gomorrah - a river of lava from God out of the sky! - 25 and destroyed these cities and the entire plain and everyone who lived in the cities and everything that grew from the ground.
26 But Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.
27 Abraham got up early the next morning and went to the place he had so recently stood with God. 28 He looked out over Sodom and Gomorrah, surveying the whole plain. All he could see was smoke belching from the Earth, like smoke from a furnace. 29 And that's the story: When God destroyed the Cities of the Plain, he was mindful of Abraham and first got Lot out of there before he blasted those cities off the face of the Earth.
30 Lot left Zoar and went into the mountains to live with his two daughters; he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He lived in a cave with his daughters. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is getting old and there's not a man left in the country by whom we can get pregnant. 32 Let's get our father drunk with wine and lie with him. We'll get children through our father - it's our only chance to keep our family alive." 33 They got their father drunk with wine that very night. The older daughter went and lay with him. He was oblivious, knowing nothing of what she did. 34 The next morning the older said to the younger, "Last night I slept with my father. Tonight, it's your turn. We'll get him drunk again and then you sleep with him. We'll both get a child through our father and keep our family alive." 35 So that night they got their father drunk again and the younger went in and slept with him. Again he was oblivious, knowing nothing of what she did. 36 Both daughters became pregnant by their father, Lot. 37 The older daughter had a son and named him Moab, the ancestor of the present-day Moabites. 38 The younger daughter had a son and named him Ben-Ammi, the ancestor of the present-day Ammonites.
Abraham and Abimelech
3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream that night and told him, "You're as good as dead - that woman you took, she's a married woman." 4 Now Abimelech had not yet slept with her, hadn't so much as touched her. He said, "Master, would you kill an innocent man? 5 Didn't he tell me, 'She's my sister'? And didn't she herself say, 'He's my brother'? I had no idea I was doing anything wrong when I did this." 6 God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know your intentions were pure, that's why I kept you from sinning against me; I was the one who kept you from going to bed with her. 7 So now give the man's wife back to him. He's a prophet and will pray for you - pray for your life. If you don't give her back, know that it's certain death both for you and everyone in your family."
8 Abimelech was up first thing in the morning. He called all his house servants together and told them the whole story. They were shocked. 9 Then Abimelech called in Abraham and said, "What have you done to us? What have I ever done to you that you would bring on me and my kingdom this huge offense? What you've done to me ought never to have been done." 10 Abimelech went on to Abraham, "Whatever were you thinking of when you did this thing?" 11 Abraham said, "I just assumed that there was no fear of God in this place and that they'd kill me to get my wife. 12 Besides, the truth is that she is my half sister; she's my father's daughter but not my mother's. 13 When God sent me out as a wanderer from my father's home, I told her, 'Do me a favor; wherever we go, tell people that I'm your brother.'"
14 Then Abimelech gave Sarah back to Abraham, and along with her sent sheep and cattle and servants, both male and female. 15 He said, "My land is open to you; live wherever you wish." 16 And to Sarah he said, "I've given your brother a thousand pieces of silver - that clears you of even a shadow of suspicion before the eyes of the world. You're vindicated." 17 Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his maidservants, and they started having babies again. 18 For God had shut down every womb in Abimelech's household on account of Sarah, Abraham's wife.
The Birth of Isaac
21 1 God visited Sarah exactly as he said he would; God did to Sarah what he promised: 2 Sarah became pregnant and gave Abraham a son in his old age, and at the very time God had set. 3 Abraham named him Isaac. 4 When his son was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him just as God had commanded. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born. 6 Sarah said, God has blessed me with laughter and all who get the news will laugh with me! 7 She also said, Whoever would have suggested to Abraham that Sarah would one day nurse a baby! Yet here I am! I've given the old man a son!
Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away
8 The baby grew and was weaned. Abraham threw a big party on the day Isaac was weaned.
9 One day Sarah saw the son that Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, poking fun at her son Isaac. 10 She told Abraham, "Get rid of this slave woman and her son. No child of this slave is going to share inheritance with my son Isaac!" 11 The matter gave great pain to Abraham - after all, Ishmael was his son. 12 But God spoke to Abraham, "Don't feel badly about the boy and your maid. Do whatever Sarah tells you. Your descendants will come through Isaac. 13 Regarding your maid's son, be assured that I'll also develop a great nation from him - he's your son too."
14 Abraham got up early the next morning, got some food together and a canteen of water for Hagar, put them on her back and sent her away with the child. She wandered off into the desert of Beersheba. 15 When the water was gone, she left the child under a shrub 16 and went off, fifty yards or so. She said, "I can't watch my son die." As she sat, she broke into sobs. 17 Meanwhile, God heard the boy crying. The angel of God called from Heaven to Hagar, "What's wrong, Hagar? Don't be afraid. God has heard the boy and knows the fix he's in. 18 Up now; go get the boy. Hold him tight. I'm going to make of him a great nation." 19 Just then God opened her eyes. She looked. She saw a well of water. She went to it and filled her canteen and gave the boy a long, cool drink. 20 God was on the boy's side as he grew up. He lived out in the desert and became a skilled archer. 21 He lived in the Paran wilderness. And his mother got him a wife from Egypt.
The Covenant between Abraham and Abimelech
22 At about that same time, Abimelech and the captain of his troops, Phicol, spoke to Abraham: "No matter what you do, God is on your side. 23 So swear to me that you won't do anything underhanded to me or any of my family. For as long as you live here, swear that you'll treat me and my land as well as I've treated you." 24 Abraham said, "I swear it." 25 At the same time, Abraham confronted Abimelech over the matter of a well of water that Abimelech's servants had taken. 26 Abimelech said, "I have no idea who did this; you never told me about it; this is the first I've heard of it." 27 So the two of them made a covenant. Abraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech. 28 Abraham set aside seven sheep from his flock. 29 Abimelech said, "What does this mean? These seven sheep you've set aside." 30 Abraham said, "It means that when you accept these seven sheep, you take it as proof that I dug this well, that it's my well." 31 That's how the place got named Beersheba (the Oath-Well), because the two of them swore a covenant oath there. 32 After they had made the covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech and his commander, Phicol, left and went back to Philistine territory.