20.) Genesis 25:1 – 34

May 29, 2009

jacesa-mod

Abraham by Edwin Muir (1887–1959).


The rivulet-loving wanderer Abraham
Through waterless wastes tracing his fields of pasture
Led his Chaldean herds and fattening flocks
With the meandering art of wavering water
That seeks and finds, yet does not know its way.
He came, rested and prospered, and went on,
Scattering behind him little pastoral kingdoms,
And over each one its own particular sky,
Not the great rounded sky through which he journeyed,
That went with him but when he rested changed.
His mind was full of names
Learned from strange peoples speaking alien tongues,
And all that was theirs one day he would inherit.
He died content and full of years, though still
The Promise had not come, and left his bones,
Far from his father’s house, in alien Canaan.


Genesis 25:1-26:35   (NRSV)

Abraham Marries Keturah

25) Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. 4The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.

5Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, while he was still living, and he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.

The Death of Abraham

The Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, built over the site of the tomb of Abraham

The Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, built over the site of the tomb of Abraham

7This is the length of Abraham’s life, one hundred seventy-five years. 8Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 9His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, 10the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with his wife Sarah. 11After the death of Abraham God blessed his son Isaac. And Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi.

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More pictures:

of the Great Mosque of Hebron and the tombs of Abraham and Isaac:    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bibleplaces.com/images/Hebron_Cave_of_Machpelah_ceiling_tb_n112799b.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.bibleplaces.com/hebron.htm&usg=__kK9VTPpbH1tRphpnde1picUImhk=&h=300&w=400&sz=39&hl=en&start=15&tbnid=DJCYY08WALLaVM:&tbnh=93&tbnw=124&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dthe%2Bgreat%2Bmosque%2Bof%2Bhebron%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG

Poetry:

Gary F. Gordon, With Love to Isaac and Ishmael. http://traubman.igc.org/isaac.htm

Music:

“Father Abraham had many sons,” a camp song sung by the Cedarmont Kids.   

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Ishmael’s Descendants

12These are the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s slave-girl, bore to Abraham. 13These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes. 17(This is the length of the life of Ishmael, one hundred thirty-seven years; he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.) 18They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria; he settled down alongside of all his people.

The Birth and Youth of Esau and Jacob

birth-of-jacobratner

19These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, 20and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean.

21Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. 22The children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is to be this way, why do I live?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

23And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples born of you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the elder shall serve the younger.”

24When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. 25The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. 26Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

27When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. 28Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.

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Book:

Bruce Feiler: Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses (Book I, Chapter 3 “A Pillow of Stones”).

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Esau Sells His Birthright

lentil stew

lentil stew

29 Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. 30Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” (Therefore he was called Edom.)

31Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.”

32Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?”

33Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.

34Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way.

Thus Esau despised his birthright.

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Recipe for Curried Lamb and Lentil Stew (above), from Cooking Light. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img.timeinc.net/recipes/i/recipes/ck/97/10/lamb-stew-ck-222618-x.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.myrecipes.com/recipes/gallery/0,28548,1685842_1488500,00.html&usg=___7oa9G_SNTRV0kHvPdIzFc1xgd0=&h=420&w=420&sz=31&hl=en&start=8&tbnid=xXUVKNHM-gT6lM:&tbnh=125&tbnw=125&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dlentil%2Bstew%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DG

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Mosque at Hebron.  http://www.imemc.org/attachments/oct2008/alharam_ibrahimi.jpg

Ratner.   http://www.ratnermuseum.com/includes/images/photos/genesis/birth-of-jacob.jpg

lentil stew.  http://img.timeinc.net/recipes/i/recipes/ck/97/10/lamb-stew-ck-222618-x.jpg

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19.) Genesis 24:1 – 67

May 28, 2009

"Isaac and Rebecca" (better known as "The Jewish Bride") by Rembrandt van Rijn (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

"Isaac and Rebecca" (better known as "The Jewish Bride") by Rembrandt van Rijn (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Genesis 24:1 – 67   (NRSV)

The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah

24) Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh 3and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, 4but will go to my country and to my kindred and get a wife for my son Isaac.”

5The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land; must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?”

6Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. 7The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” 9So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.

10Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, taking all kinds of choice gifts from his master; and he set out and went to Aram-naharaim, to the city of Nahor. 11He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water; it was toward evening, the time when women go out to draw water.

12And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.

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Devotional from Amy Carmichael, Whispers of His Power:

Gen. 24:12 (KJV) — O Lord God . . . I pray Thee, send me good speed this day.

Matt. 6:7-8 (KJV) — But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do:  for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.

Our Lord told His disciples that there was no need for many words when they prayed.  A brief prayer goes straight to the heart of God.  Abraham’s servant teaches us a prayer we can pray at all times, however pressed for time we may be.  It covers everything.  O Lord God, send me good speed this day. Give me success today, in my prayer life, in my work, in what I think and say and do, in what I am.

It is a telegram prayer.  Let us use it at moments of sudden need.  We know it will be answered, for “our Father knows” our needs long before we ask Him.

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13I am standing here by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14Let the girl to whom I shall say, ‘Please offer your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’ —let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”

"Rebecca" by contemporary Israeli-American artist Orit Arfa

“Rebecca” by contemporary Israeli-American artist Orit Arfa

15Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, coming out with her water jar on her shoulder. 16The girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up.

17Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me sip a little water from your jar.”

18“Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink.

19When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” 20So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. 21The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.

22When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, 23and said, “Tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”

24She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25She added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder and a place to spend the night.”

26The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord 27and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the way to the house of my master’s kin.”

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Art:

Eliezer and Rebekah at the Well, by Nicolas Poussin, 1648 (The Louvre, Paris).  Notice the looks on some of the other girls’ faces!   http://artyzm.com/obrazy/poussin_rebecca.jpg

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28Then the girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things. 29Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran out to the man, to the spring. 30As soon as he had seen the nose-ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and when he heard the words of his sister Rebekah, “Thus the man spoke to me,” he went to the man; and there he was, standing by the camels at the spring. 31He said, “Come in, O blessed of the Lord. Why do you stand outside when I have prepared the house and a place for the camels?”

32So the man came into the house; and Laban unloaded the camels, and gave him straw and fodder for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33Then food was set before him to eat; but he said, “I will not eat until I have told my errand.” He said, “Speak on.”

34So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. 36And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. 37My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; 38but you shall go to my father’s house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.’

39I said to my master, ‘Perhaps the woman will not follow me.’ 40But he said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you and make your way successful. You shall get a wife for my son from my kindred, from my father’s house. 41Then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my kindred; even if they will not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.’

42“I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going! 43I am standing here by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, “Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,” 44and who will say to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also” —let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.’

45“Before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah coming out with her water jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’

46She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels.

47Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’

She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’

"Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well', by Carlo Maratti, 1655 (Indianapolis Museum of Art)

“Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well’, by Carlo Maratti, 1655 (Indianapolis Museum of Art)

“So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her arms. 48Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. 49Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left.”

50Then Laban and Bethuel answered, “The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you anything bad or good. 51Look, Rebekah is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken.”

52When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground before the Lord. 53And the servant brought out jewelry of silver and of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave to her brother and to her mother costly ornaments.

54Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank, and they spent the night there. When they rose in the morning, he said, “Send me back to my master.”

55Her brother and her mother said, “Let the girl remain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go.”

56But he said to them, “Do not delay me, since the Lord has made my journey successful; let me go that I may go to my master.”

57They said, “We will call the girl, and ask her.” 58And they called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will.”

59So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

“May you, our sister,
become thousands of myriads;
may your offspring gain possession
of the gates of their foes.”

61Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

62Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. 63Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. 64And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, 65and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?”

The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself.

66And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

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Proverbs 18:22 (New International Version)

He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the LORD.

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"Landscape with Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah," by Claude Lorrain, 1648 (National Gallery, London)

“Landscape with Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah,” by Claude Lorrain, 1648 (National Gallery, London)

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Music:

“The Wedding Song (There Is Love)” sung by Noel Paul Stookey, the “Paul” of “Peter, Paul & Mary,” the mid-century folk-singing group.  A real golden-oldie, but my daughter Maureen chose it to be sung at her wedding earlier this month!  

Art:

The Meeting of Rebekah and Isaac, by G. B. Castiglione, c. 1640.  http://www.wga.hu/art/c/castigli/meeting.jpg

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Rembrandt.  http://kcfac.kilgore.edu/aafh/JewishBride.jpg

Arfa.  http://www.oritarfa.net/images/rebecca1.jpg

Maratti.  http://www.bible-art.info/images/Rebecca_and_Eliezer_at_the_Well_Maratti_Carlo.jpg

Lorrain.   http://www.cksinfo.com/clipart/art/famouspaintings/gellee/Claude-Gell_c3_a9e-Landscape-with-the-Marriage-of-Isaac-and-Rebecca.png


18.) Genesis 23:1 – 20

May 27, 2009

23-casket_spray

Genesis 23: 1 – 20   (NRSV)

Sarah’s Death and Burial

23) Sarah lived one hundred twenty-seven years; this was the length of Sarah’s life. 2And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

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Mourner’s Kaddish:

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

(The Kaddish is one of the most important and central prayers of the Jewish liturgy, and is said at funerals.  Note that the prayer does not mention death at all, but instead praises God.  This English translation is from the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.)

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3Abraham rose up from beside his dead, and said to the Hittites, 4“I am a stranger and an alien residing among you; give me property among you for a burying place, so that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

5The Hittites answered Abraham, 6“Hear us, my lord; you are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places; none of us will withhold from you any burial ground for burying your dead.”

7Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. 8He said to them, “If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me Ephron son of Zohar, 9so that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as a possession for a burying place.”

10Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, 11“No, my lord, hear me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it; in the presence of my people I give it to you; bury your dead.”

12Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13He said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “If you only will listen to me! I will give the price of the field; accept it from me, so that I may bury my dead there.”

14Ephron answered Abraham, 15“My lord, listen to me; a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver—what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.”

23-rural-cemetery1

16Abraham agreed with Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants. 17So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, passed 18to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, in the presence of all who went in at the gate of his city. 19After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20The field and the cave that is in it passed from the Hittites into Abraham’s possession as a burying place.

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1 Peter 3:1-6 (The Message)

The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.

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Music:

Mark Schultz singing “Walking Her Home.”    

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

casket spray.   http://www.funderburkflowers.com/images/casket_spray.jpg

cemetery.   http://www.mo.nrcs.usda.gov/news/MOphotogallery/Scenic/rural%20cemetery1.jpg


17.) Genesis 22:1 – 24

May 26, 2009

"The Sacrifice of Isaac," by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1635 (The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia)

"The Sacrifice of Isaac" by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1635 (The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia)

Genesis 22:1 – 24   (NRSV)

The Command to Sacrifice Isaac

22) After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

2He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”

3So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him.

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Reflection:

God’s command is– Take now, not presently.  It is extraordinary how we debate!  We know a thing is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it at once.  To climb to the height God shows can never be done presently, it must be done now.  The sacrifice is gone through in will, before it is performed actually.

“And Abraham rose up early in the morning . . . and went unto the place of which God had told him” (v. 3).  The wonderful simplicity of Abraham!  When God spoke, he did not confer with flesh and blood.  Beware when you want to confer with flesh and blood, i.e., your own sympathies, your own insight, anything that is not based on your personal relationship with God.  These are the things that compete with and hinder obedience to God.
–from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers

What is hindering you from being obedient to God?  How can we be more like Abraham in his “simplicity” of faith?

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4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. 5Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.”

6Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.

7Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

8Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

"The Binding of Isaac," by Israeli painter Roni Pinto, 2008.

"The Binding of Isaac" by Israeli painter Roni Pinto, 2008.

9When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.

"The Binding of Isaac," by Marc Chagall, 1975 (Nice, France)

"The Binding of Isaac" by Marc Chagall, 1975 (Nice, France)

11But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

12He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

13And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

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Music:

Lamb of God, sung by Twila Paris.

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John 3:16 (KJV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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Art:

He Qi, Sacrifice of Abraham.   http://www.heqigallery.com/GALLERY%20OT%20B/images/57sacrifice_of_abraham.jpg

Music:

He Is Jehovah, recorded in Israel. 

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15The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, 18and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”

19So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham lived at Beer-sheba.

The Dome of the Rock , on top of Mount Moriah today.  Photograph by Mike Levin.

The Dome of the Rock, erected in A.D. 691, on top of Mount Moriah today. Photograph by Mike Levin.

The Children of Nahor

20Now after these things it was told Abraham, “Milcah also has borne children, to your brother Nahor: 21Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

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a quick review of Genesis 1 – 22!  

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Rembrandt.   http://www.poetryresourcepage.com/images/rembrandt6.jpg

Pinto.  http://www.jewcy.com/files/images/isaac.jpg

Chagall.  (Notice the crucifixion scene, upper right corner, also on Mount Moriah.)  http://www.jesuswalk.com/abraham/images/chagall_slaying_isaac432x355.jpg

Levin photograph.  http://www.mikelevin.com/JerusalemDomeOfTheRock.jpg


16.) Genesis 21:1 – 34

May 25, 2009

its_a_boy_balloon

Genesis 21: 1 – 34   (NRSV)

The Birth of Isaac

21) The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. 2Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. 4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

6Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” 7And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

birthisaacrat1

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Galatians 4:28 (New Living Translation)

And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac.

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Another Isaac . . . Isaac Watts

a brief biography about Watts and his hymn writing.   

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”  (based on Galatians 6:14)   

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Book:

Bruce Feiler: Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses (Book I, Chapter 2 “Take Now thy Son”).

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Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away

"Son of Hagar," by Indian Christian artist Frank Wesley (1923-2002)

"Son of Hagar," by Indian Christian artist Frank Wesley (1923-2002)

8The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. 10So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.”

11The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. 12But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. 13As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.”

14So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

15When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.

17And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”

19Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. 20God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. 21He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

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Poetry:

Hagar by Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849)

Lone in the wilderness, her child and she
Sits the dark beauty, and her fierce-eyed boy,
A heavy burden and no winsome toy
To such as she, a hanging babe must be;
A slave without a master–wild, nor free,
With anger in her heart!  and in her face
Shame for foul wrong and undeserved disgrace.
Poor Hagar mourns her lost virginity!
Oh woman fear not–God is everywhere;
The silent tears, thy thirsty infant’s moan,
Are known to Him whose never-absent care
Still wakes to make all hearts and souls his own;
He sends an angel from beneath his throne
To cheer the outcast in the desert bare.

Art:

Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael, Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), 1657.   http://static.artbible.info/large/hagar_ismael.jpg
The Expulsion of Hagar, Claude Lorrain, 1668 (Alte Pinakothek, Munich). http://www.artunframed.com/images/artmis48/lorrain13.jpg

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Abraham and Abimelech Make a Covenant

well and tamarisk tree near the outer wall of Beersheba

well and tamarisk tree near the outer wall of Beersheba

22At that time Abimelech, with Phicol the commander of his army, said to Abraham, “God is with you in all that you do; 23now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but as I have dealt loyally with you, you will deal with me and with the land where you have resided as an alien.”

24And Abraham said, “I swear it.”

25When Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized, 26Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today.”

27So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a covenant. 28Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs of the flock. 29And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?”

30He said, “These seven ewe lambs you shall accept from my hand, in order that you may be a witness for me that I dug this well.”

31Therefore that place was called Beer-sheba; because there both of them swore an oath. 32When they had made a covenant at Beer-sheba, Abimelech, with Phicol the commander of his army, left and returned to the land of the Philistines.

33Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. 34And Abraham resided as an alien many days in the land of the Philistines.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

balloon.  http://76design.com/shiftcontrol/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/327-its_a_boy_balloon.jpg

“The Birth of Isaac” from The Ratner Museum, Bethesda. MD.  http://www.biblical-art.com/R%5Cratner%5Cratner0064.jpg

Wesley.  http://www.onemindonevoice.org/mentors/sonofhagar.jpg

Beersheba well.  http://www.bibleplaces.com/images/Beersheba_gate_well_and_tamarisk_tree_tb_n062400_wr.jpg


15.) Genesis 19:1 – 20:18

May 22, 2009

The Dead Sea. Sodom was known as a Dead Sea city.

The Dead Sea. Sodom was known as a Dead Sea city.

Genesis 19: 1 – 20:18   (NRSV)

The Depravity of Sodom

19)  The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2He said, “Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way.”

They said, “No; we will spend the night in the square.”

3But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

4But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; 5and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them.”

6Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, 7and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

9But they replied, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down.

10But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door.

Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed

sodomgomorrah31

12Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city—bring them out of the place. 13For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

14So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up, get out of this place; for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

15When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.”

16But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and left him outside the city. 17When they had brought them outside, they said, “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, or else you will be consumed.”

18And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; 19your servant has found favor with you, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me and I die. 20Look, that city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one? —and my life will be saved!”

21He said to him, “Very well, I grant you this favor too, and will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22Hurry, escape there, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” Therefore the city was called Zoar. 23The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.

24Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

26But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

"Lot's Wife Looked Back," by Chicago artist David Detzner

"Lot's Wife Looked Back" by Chicago artist David Detzner

27Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord; 28and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the Plain and saw the smoke of the land going up like the smoke of a furnace.

29So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had settled.

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Reflection:

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.  They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”
–Ezekiel 16: 49-50  (NIV)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
–James 1:27   (NIV)

How painful it is to look back on our lives and see where we have been “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned . . .”  What can you and I do even more intentionally to “help the poor and needy” and “look after orphans and widows in their distress”?

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The Shameful Origin of Moab and Ammon

30Now Lot went up out of Zoar and settled in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; so he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the world. 32Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father.”

33So they made their father drink wine that night; and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose.

34On the next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Look, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father.” 35So they made their father drink wine that night also; and the younger rose, and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she rose.

36Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab; he is the ancestor of the Moabites to this day. 38The younger also bore a son and named him Ben-ammi; he is the ancestor of the Ammonites to this day.

"Lot and His Daughters," by Orazio Gentileschi, 1623 (National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa)

"Lot and His Daughters" by Orazio Gentileschi, 1623 (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa)

Abraham and Sarah at Gerar

20) From there Abraham journeyed toward the region of the Negeb, and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While residing in Gerar as an alien, 2Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” And King Abimelech of Gerar sent and took Sarah.

3But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “You are about to die because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a married woman.”

4Now Abimelech had not approached her; so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent people? 5Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ I did this in the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands.”

6Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart; furthermore it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7Now then, return the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all that are yours.”

8So Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants and told them all these things; and the men were very much afraid. 9Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I sinned against you, that you have brought such great guilt on me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that ought not to be done.” 10And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What were you thinking of, that you did this thing?”

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Memo #2 to Abraham:

As a dog returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly.

–Proverbs 26:11  (NIV)

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11Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. 12Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, He is my brother.’“

14Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves, and gave them to Abraham, and restored his wife Sarah to him. 15Abimelech said, “My land is before you; settle where it pleases you.”

16To Sarah he said, “Look, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; it is your exoneration before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

17Then Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. 18For the Lord had closed fast all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Dead Sea.   http://www.ianandwendy.com/Israel/Dead_Sea/Dead%20Sea-9.jpg

Destruction of Sodom.  http://www.aboutkhai.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/windowslivewriterbiggsodomgomorrahandblogging-f65bimage03.png

Detzner.   http://www.burkhartstudios.com/gallery/painters/detzner/lots_wife.jpg

Gentileschi.  http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_9l2lhz6XYkA/SaFO11oGn6I/AAAAAAAAAFg/bo_Be9zNyVQ/s1600-h/Lot,+daughters.jpg


14.) Genesis 18:1 – 33

May 21, 2009

"Abraham and the Three Visitors" by Israeli Hassidic artist David Avisar

"Abraham and the Three Visitors" by Israeli Hassidic artist David Avisar

Genesis 18:1 – 33   (NRSV)

A Son Promised to Abraham and Sarah

18) The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground.

3He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5Let me bring a little 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.”

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Music:

As Abraham did before the angels, so we also bow down.  “We Bow Down,” written by Viola Grafstrom.  

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6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

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Hebrews 13:2 (New American Standard Bible)

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

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Music:

“Entertaining Angels”  by the Australian Christian pop rock band Newsboys, released in 1998 and a big hit. 

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9They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?”

And he said, “There, in the tent.”

10Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.”

And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”

13The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.”

15But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid.

He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”

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Art:

“Abraham Welcoming the Three Angels,” by contemporary Israeli artist Boruch Nachson.   http://www.kesser.org/gallery/nachshon/angels.jpg

Mosaic of Abraham from Ravenna, 6th century.   http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~rs002/Images/Christian/abraham.jpg

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How the angels must have enjoyed cake from Sara(h)!

How the angels must have enjoyed cake from Sara(h)!

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Judgement Pronounced on Sodom

16Then the men set out from there, and they looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19No, 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 about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20Then the Lord said, “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! 21I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.” 22So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.

23Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

26And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.”

27Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”

And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

29Again he spoke to him, “Suppose forty are found there.”

He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”

30Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.”

He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”

31He said, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.”

He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”

32Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.”

He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

sodom-bw11

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Avisar.   http://www.jewish-art-and-gifts.com/images/Abraham%20and%203%20visitors%20lg.jpg

Sara Lee cake.   http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_92_cipUxhGw/SFUbpr5soKI/AAAAAAAAAak/KliCizEux5Y/s320/sara%2Blee.png

Sodom in black and white.  http://sewhttkr.home.comcast.net/~sewhttkr/bibleWS/bibleWS/12_sodom1.gif