Genesis 18 Commentary

Genesis 18 Commentary

Chapter 18 is very interesting. The LORD appears to Abraham in person. And they are three, collectively called the LORD. The tone is divine and so is the language. Human beings don’t just have this style. I also note that the LORD accepted a meal. The LORD also accepted worship. As we shall see later on, angels often didn’t eat and never accept worship and pointedly refused when an attempt to worship them was made.

The LORD takes time to repeat Himself over the promise of Isaac. Sarah would conceive and have a son. Like Abraham earlier on, Sarah laughs and the LORD isn’t impressed. But who wouldn’t laugh at jokes like that? The woman is too old to conceive. Science says no. But we are talking about El-Shaddai here!

After this the LORD invites Abraham to a conversation on Sodom and Gomorrah. This conversation is very important for a couple of reasons. It’s a father-son talk. It gives us insight into God’s mind concerning sinful man. Secondly Abraham is seen as pleading for mercy (for his nephew Lot) but in truth the picture is that of the LORD trying to save Lot via Abraham. Abraham had been called to be a blessing to the nations. The picture of Abraham’s son pleading on half of the entire world at Calvary comes to mind.

And more on Lot. Earlier we observed Lot’s poor choices. He settled near Sodom, a sinful city. By the time of Sodom’s punishment Lot was right inside the city. Getting to sin is a slow process but you eventually get there as long as you remain on that path. The fact that the LORD needs reminding about Lot’s presence in the city explains just how little Lot’s life affected Heaven. When prayer or even good works are constantly knocking on Heaven’s door, it’s impossible to remain hidden. Humanly speaking if Lot had prayed that morning, he (Lot) was going to be in the LORD’S mind.

The LORD appeared to Abraham in form of men. I believe it’s the LORD Jesus talking to Abraham, hence “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” John 8:58 KJV

The same God who appeared to Abraham and enjoyed a meal at Abraham’s house would, much much much later sit down to prepare a meal of fish and enjoy it with Peter and his friends by the lake. Indeed before Abraham was, IAM.

Here is something interesting. The human author identifies the three men as the LORD. But to Abraham these are just men. Three men. In fact, he addresses them as lord (with ‘l’ in lower case) as a matter of normal courtesy. As the conversation develops, Abraham’s view of the men changes and the lower case is changed to upper case ‘L’.

At some point the LORD remains talking to Abraham while the other two men now identified as angels continue their trip into Sodom. It is safe to just say…..the LORD and forget the complications of Abraham’s view of the ‘men’, or even Lot’s view, or even the author’s subjective usage. It’s like you calling your cousin as Uncle Ben, to reflect your children’s view of your cousin. You really don’t want this confusion. So is easier to just say, the LORD visited Abraham.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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