Genesis 16-18 Revised Standard Version

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Hagar and Ishmael

16 1  Now Sar'ai, Abram's wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar; 2  and Sar'ai said to Abram, "Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my maid; it may be that I shall obtain children by her." And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sar'ai. 3  So, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, Sar'ai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.

4  And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. 5  And Sar'ai said to Abram, "May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my maid to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!" 6  But Abram said to Sar'ai, "Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her as you please." Then Sar'ai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.

7  The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8  And he said, "Hagar, maid of Sar'ai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sar'ai." 9  The angel of the Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit to her."

10  The angel of the Lord also said to her, "I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude." 11  And the angel of the Lord said to her, "Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ish'mael; because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. 12  He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen." 13  So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, "Thou art a God of seeing"; for she said, "Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?" 14  Therefore the well was called Beer-la'hai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.

15  And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ish'mael. 16  Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ish'mael to Abram.

Circumcision the Sign of the Covenant

17 1  When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. 2  And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." 3  Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,

4  "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5  No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6  I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you.

7  And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8  And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." 9  And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10  This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11  You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12  He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13  both he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money, shall be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14  Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."

15  And God said to Abraham, "As for Sar'ai your wife, you shall not call her name Sar'ai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16  I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her; I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her." 17  Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said to himself, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18  And Abraham said to God, "O that Ish'mael might live in thy sight!" 19  God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20  As for Ish'mael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21  But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this season next year." 22  When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.

23  Then Abraham took Ish'mael his son and all the slaves born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24  Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25  And Ish'mael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26  That very day Abraham and his son Ish'mael were circumcised; 27  and all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

The Birth of Isaac Promised

18 1  And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2  He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, 3  and said, "My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. 4  Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, 5  while I fetch a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on--since you have come to your servant." So they said, "Do as you have said." 6  And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes." 7  And Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8  Then he took curds, and milk, and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

9  They said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "She is in the tent." 10  The Lord said, "I will surely return to you in the spring, and Sarah your wife shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11  Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12  So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?" 13  The Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' 14  Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, in the spring, and Sarah shall have a son." 15  But Sarah denied, saying, "I did not laugh"; for she was afraid. He said, "No, but you did laugh."

Abraham Intercedes for Sodom

16  Then the men set out from there, and they looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17  The Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18  seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? 19  No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him." 20  Then the Lord said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor'rah is great and their sin is very grave, 21  I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know." 22  So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the Lord.

23  Then Abraham drew near, and said, "Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24  Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25  Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 26  And the Lord said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake." 27  Abraham answered, "Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28  Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt thou destroy the whole city for lack of five?" And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there." 29  Again he spoke to him, and said, "Suppose forty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of forty I will not do it." 30  Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there." He answered, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there." 31  He said, "Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it." 32  Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it." 33  And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

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