The refusal of the wicked to accept G-d’s mercy is the vehicle of their own demise.
In Rashi’s view the events of Chapter 18 follow directly on from the previous chapter, taking place three days after Avraham’s circumcision. I see no reason for disputing this. Even if understood as a tradition rather than an inspiration, Rashi’s idea adds to our understanding rather than detracting from it. If Rashi is correct, Avraham is now at the most painful stage of the healing process and is sitting, not only due to the heat of the day but also due to his need for rest and recovery.
As in the case of the previous events, this Divine encounter (theophany) and its outcome teach us a number of spiritual principles and further illuminate the character of G-d and the nature of humanity. The Holy Name of G-d YHVH, which denotes mercy, is used eleven times in this account (12 if the rabbinical interpretation of Adonai in verse 3 is accepted). This seems unusual given that the latter emphasis of the account is on the coming judgement against S’dom and Amorrah. However, it seems that G-d appears to Avraham as Mercy Himself for the purpose of conveying the idea that mercy triumphs over judgement. Avraham in turn, trusting the heart of G-d, becomes a type for the Messiah, pleading for justice seasoned with mercy, something that G-d intended all along.
With regard to Avraham and Sarah, a stark contrast is drawn between trust and disbelief. We are challenged by both Avraham’s eager hospitality and loving kindness, and by Sarah’s disbelief and denial.
When compared to chapter 19, this noon encounter stands in stark contrast to the night scene in Sodom. In the full light of midday G-d comes to Avraham for an intimate meeting of promise, sustenance, common unity and intercession. This is both a beginning and a counterpoint to the events of chapter 19, where in the darkness of night, an already condemned city establishes its wickedness by seeking to soil G-d’s messengers with acts of moral decay born of a depraved worldview, thus refusing intercession. The resulting destruction answers the loveless squalor of the citizens of S’dom and Amorrah, who have rejected G-d’s mercy outright. There is a correlation to Yeshua’s (Jesus) Revelation to Yochanan (John) here.
Verses 1-5 add nothing to the promises of 17:15. What differentiates the accounts is the intimate setting and the challenge to Sarah’s faith or lack thereof. The final result will be Sarah’s decision to trust G-d for the child, in response to His disciplining of her by way of a gentle challenge:
“By trust even Sarah herself received ability to conceive when she was barren and past the age, since she considered the One who had made the promise to be trustworthy.” – Hebrews 11:11
Gen 18:1 And HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) appeared to him (Avraham) at the trees of Mamrei (strength): and he (Avraham) sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
What is clear from the outset is that HaShem Himself is appearing to Avraham. Regardless of how we interpret what follows, we must not lose sight of this fact. Accepting Rashi’s assertion, I see this scene set with the recovering Avraham seated at midday in the shade of his tent, still in a great deal of pain from having been obedient to G-d’s instruction to circumcise both himself and all the males of his household.
Whether we interpret, “the trees” or, “the plain” of Mamrei (strength), the result is the same. Having been obedient to G-d Avraham finds that in his weakness G-d is his strength.
“By trusting they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness…” –Hebrews 11:33-34a
Gen 18:2 And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and prostrated himself on the ground,
“Lifted up his eyes” suggests that Avraham was either at rest or in prayerful meditation prior to this theophany (Divine visitation).
Avraham’s response to the appearance of the three men, whom he obviously sees as being representatives of The L-rd, is both courageous and reverential. Imagine getting up to run in the 45 degree (Celsius) plus heat of midday only three days after a painful operation on your private parts and then prostrating yourself before your guests, coming to rest on those very same parts in the hot sand. It’s safe to say, Avraham was extremely excited to see The L-rd and His messengers. This action shows the wonderful tension between friendship and awe in his relating to the Holy G-d. Avraham runs toward G-d and His messengers like a giddy school girl and then prostrates himself, an awe inspired servant.
It has been popular in Christian circles to try and affix the doctrine of the trinity to this meeting. However, it is clear from the remainder of this account (v.22) and the subsequent arrival of the two messengers at Sodom in 19:1, that at least two of the three men are not G-d.
Or HaChaim (Light of Life) suggests that G-d’s visit to Avraham in this instance was intended to demonstrate that Avraham had become a, “Chariot of the Divine Presence” (Bereshit Rabbah 82:6), meaning that Avraham’s physical being became a resting place for the Divine Presence of G-d (John 14:16-18; Romans 8:10, 15; James 4:5).
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper so He may be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him. You know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not abandon you as orphans; I will come to you.” –Yochanan (John) 14:16-18
“Or do you think that in vain the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the Spirit which He made to dwell in us’”? –Yaakov (James) 4:5
Traditional rabbinic Judaism considers each of G-d’s angels to serve a specific purpose. Thus each angel (Messenger) is named for his function. The Midrash says, “One angel does not perform two missions”. Gur Aryeh explains Rashi’s view of the three angels, by providing the following names and functions:
- Michael (Who is like G-d) – Function: Proclaims a miracle, informing Avraham that the all sufficient G-d will give Sarah a Son
- Gavriel (Mighty one of G-d) – Function: Enacting Judgement, overturning Sodom (19:25)
- Raphael (Healing of G-d) – Function: To Bring Wholeness. He is said to have healed Avraham of his circumcision wound and delivered Lot from Sodom, the two acts being part of making Avraham’s household whole, a single mission of rescue.
My personal view is that if we are to accept Rashi/Gur Aryeh’s view, we should swap the functions and order of the Malakhim (Angels) so as to match them to their well-documented Biblical roles and functions. Thus my list would read as follows:
- Gavriel (Mighty one of G-d) – Function: Proclaims a miracle, informing Avraham that the all sufficient G-d will give Sarah a Son
- Michael (Who is like G-d) – Function: Guardian of Israel, enacting Judgement, overturning Sodom (19:25)
- Yeshua [Raphael] (Healing of G-d) – Function: To Bring Wholeness. He is said to have healed Avraham of his circumcision wound and delivered Lot from Sodom, the two acts being part of making Avraham’s household whole, a single mission of rescue.
Given that we know two of the men (angels) will depart for Sodom (19:1) leaving one angel to remain behind, and adding to this the fact that Avraham speaks to the remaining lord as if he were speaking directly to HaShem; it seems unlikely that the third angel was Raphael (an angel not mentioned directly in Scripture). However, the name Raphael, which is a composite of Rapha (Healing, wholeness, and rescue) and El (G-d), is certainly symbolic of the attribute of healing and wholeness in the G-d head. There is then a healing messenger of G-d Who comes to mind, being represented here as one of the three men, that is Yeshua our Messiah.
It is important to note that the Hebrew anashim meaning men is being used here to describe angelic beings. This is an opportunity to remind ourselves that the Hebrew malakh (angel) means, messenger.
Gen 18:3 And said, “My L-rd (Adonai: Master), if now I have found favour in Your eyes, please, don’t pass away from your servant:
Most rabbinical interpretations of this verse claim that the Hebrew Adonai used here in its standard form refers to YHVH, which is usually pronounced Adonai in respect for the Holy Name HaShem. Based on this view, HaShem: YHVH:Mercy, is referred to directly 12 times in total during this account.
Notice that Avraham rushes out to the three men but addresses only one of them, using the singular, “Adonai” (My lord). If he had intended to address all three as lord he would have said “Adonim”.
Gen 18:4 Please let a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
The washing of the feet of weary travellers is a common Middle Eastern custom that has been practised by Jews and Arabs alike for thousands of years. It refreshes the entire body and in ancient times was usually performed by the lowliest servant in the household, however, it seems that Avraham’s intention was to wash the feet of the travellers himself, an act reminiscent of the Mashiyach (John 13:3-17).
Gen 18:5 And I’ll fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort your hearts; after that go on your way: for it is for this purpose that you’ve come to your servant”. And they said, “So do, as you have said”.
“I’ll fetch a morsel of bread” is a hospitable understatement given the feast that Avraham organizes for the three men. This is part of a rhythm of nomadic custom that is still practised today among Arab Bedouin and Mizrahi Jews. The Hebrew idiom, “comfort your hearts” uses lev in the traditional Hebrew sense to convey the centre of the being where all parts of the being converge. Thus the inference is that they might be refreshed in their entire being based on the complete performance of hospitable practice.
Notice that, “they” respond. This kind of interchangeable tense is familiar to theophany, as is the case in Jacob’s wrestling with the Angel of Hashem (Gen. 32) and the meeting the Angel of HaShem has with the parents of Samson (Judges 13). We must not lose sight of the fact that we have significant clues within the text (v.22, 19:1) that allow us to deduct which of the three is being called lord and who the remaining two are.
Michael (Who is like G-d) is known in Scripture as the arch angel who guards Israel and is representative of G-d’s might. He is a warrior messenger (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1, Jude 1:9, Rev. 12:7). It seems that he plays a similar role here (Chapter. 19) in protecting Lot, while Gavriel (Mighty one of G-d), who is known in Scripture as a herald of G-d (Daniel 8:16; 9:21, Luke 1:19, 26) is seen here proclaiming blessing for Avraham and then enforcing G-d’s judgement against the people of S’dom and Amorrah. Notice that in the book of Daniel both angels are associated with G-d’s proclamation of blessing for Israel and His judgement against His enemies.
Gen 18:6 And Avraham (Father of a Multitude) hastened into the tent to Sarah (Princess, Noble woman), and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make round bread upon the hearth (convex metal surface)”.
The first thing we observe is the speed with which Avraham operates in order to care for his guests. Second, we see that Avraham does not instruct Sarah to add yeast to the bread, therefore, this is maztot (unleavened bread). It is from this verse and the subsequent reference in 19:3 that the rabbis’ determine that this was the season of Pesach (Passover) and that Avraham was prophetically observing the future deliverance of his progeny. This text was written down by Moses at Sinai following Israel’s first Pesach. Thus the attention to detail with regard to the type of bread being prepared in this story is intended by the author to draw the reader’s attention to this particular season in the Jewish religious year.
The three men, three measures of fine meal and the three days since Avraham’s circumcision all point to an established promise of G-d. The son that is to come has been firmly established and as has the judgement that is to come against the wickedness of S’dom and Amorrah. While the complex unity of G-d is not present in the plain meaning of the text, it is revealed in the remez (hint) of symbolic Biblical numerology. The number three reminding us of the Father (Av), Son (Ben) and Holy Spirit (Ruach Ha-Kodesh).
Gen 18:7 And Avraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it to a young man; and he rushed to prepare it.
Avraham is close to 100 years old and still recovering from circumcision, and yet he personally runs to select a calf for his guests. He had any number of servants he could have called upon to perform this act, however, these three men were extremely important to him. In particular, one of the men is G-d with us, the manifest humanoid form of that person of the One G-d we know to be, the Angel of HaShem, The Healer, the Son.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers—for in doing so, some have entertained angels (Messengers) without knowing it.” –Hebrews 13:2
“For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in;” –Mattitiyahu (Matthew) 25:35 (TLV)
Gen 18:8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the trees, and they ate.
The custom of standing by while guests eat their fill is still practiced today in many Middle Eastern homes and among the Arab Bedouin and Mizrahi Jews.
They were eating beneath the trees of Mamrei (strength). The strength of G-d had formed a canopy over Avraham in his weakness and his longing for an heir. In his weakness Avraham placed his trust in G-d’s strength.
Gen 18:9 And they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “Behold, in the tent.”
Here, “they” speak, asking after Sarah. However, in the following verse, “He” speaks the promise. G-d knows where Sarah is, He need not ask. He asks, all be it through His Angel, in order to show Avraham His desire for relationship with the entire household, beginning with Sarah.
Gen 18:10 And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life (season); and, behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah heard from inside the tent door, which was behind him.
The, “He” here is clearly not Avraham because the words are being spoken as a promise to Avraham concerning his wife Sarah and the birth of Isaac. Nor is it, “they” speaking together. So who is left? HaShem appeared to Avraham at the beginning of the encounter and has not left. So too the three men arrived and have not left. Therefore the speaker here is one of the three men and is also a manifestation of the person of G-d (18:14). Only one individual in all of Biblical history fits this description, Yeshua the Messiah, Emmanuel (G-d with us).
Sarah, being modest, had stayed within the tent according to protocol, but was listening intently to the conversation of the men outside. The man speaking to Avraham has His back to Sarah.
Gen 18:11 Now Avraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women (She had already experienced menopause).
Gen 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I am waxed old shall I have fine skin (a return of fertility), my lord (husband) being old also?”
What is clear from Sarah’s response is that either Avraham hadn’t told her of the promise of the child or he had told her and she had maintained disbelief. Either way she responds here in a way that emphasizes her doubt, laughing out of a place of mistrust. Where Avraham laughed in joyous awe asking, “How will this occur?” thus inviting the probability, Sarah laughs in disbelief asking, “Shall it occur?” thus denying the possibility. Notice that Sarah laughs within, her words are thoughts contained in her inner being, no one could have known how she responded unless they could see into her core being. Only G-d is truly capable of this. Picture then the awesome scene that follows when the man responds to Sarah’s inner musings.
According to both Radak and Sforno, Sarah believed that such a radical rejuvenation was as impossible a miracle as the raising of the dead. This is interesting given the fact that Isaac, who is later to be offered by Avraham in sacrifice and then saved by the Ram (A type for Messiah: Genesis 22), is spoken of in the book of Hebrews in relationship to trust in the Messiah Yeshua, Who was raised from the dead for our redemption.
“He (Avraham) reasoned that God was able to raise him (Isaac) up even from the dead—and in a sense, he did receive him back from the dead.” –Hebrews 11:19
Gen 18:13 And HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) said to Avraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I be certain that I’ll bear a child, when I’m old’?”
Gen 18:14 Is anything too hard for HaShem (YHVH: Mercy)? At the time appointed I will return unto you, according to the time of life (season), and Sarah shall have a son.
Avraham is perhaps thinking, “What laughter? I didn’t hear her laugh or say anything?” In turn Sarah is probably thinking, “How is it possible that this man knows my inner thoughts?”
We note here that it is HaShem who has heard Sarah and that it is He Who will return in a year’s time at this season (Pesach) to witness the birth of the son.
With the words, “Is anything too hard for HaShem” G-d challenges Sarah’s unbelief (mistrust).
Gen 18:15 Then Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh”; for she was afraid. And He said, “Not so; you did laugh.”
Sarah, now caught in her disbelief and being fearful of G-d, choses to lie rather than confess. However, G-d, Who is present in mercy (YHVH), disciplines Sarah as a beloved child, refuting her lie with the simple statement, “Not so; you did laugh”. Here, “laugh” is synonymous with, “doubt”. Therefore, we can read, “Not so; you did doubt”.
Remember that up to this point the man (G-d with us) has had His back turned to Sarah, now He turns to look her in the eye and gently challenge her unbelief.
We know that Sarah took HaShem’s challenge to heart because she eventually found trust in HaShem, and considering Him trustworthy, believed she would give birth to the promised child.
“By trust even Sarah herself received ability to conceive when she was barren and past the age, since she considered the One who had made the promise to be trustworthy.” – Hebrews 11:11
It is also worth noting here the similarities between the birth of Isaac and the later birth of the Messiah. The Ram which delivers Isaac in Genesis 22 is a type for the Messiah and his sacrificial death and His resurrection. Thus, when we see the proclamation to Sarah, we also hear the proclamation to Miriyam (Mary). When we hear of the miraculous birth that is to take place, we’re also reminded of the miraculous birth of our Messiah. When we see the two angels that accompany G-d with us (Emmanuel: the third man), we also think of the angel that visited Miriyam (Mary) and the angel who brought a legion of angels to announce the Messiah’s birth to the shepherds of Israel’s sacrificial flocks.
Gen 18:16 And the men rose up from there, and turned their faces toward S’dom (burning): and Avraham walked with them on the way.
We know that two of the three men arrived in S’dom, named as messengers (malakhim: angels) 19:1.
It seems that Avraham, went with the men for part of their journey as they began to head toward S’dom.
Gen 18:17 And HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) said, “Shall I hide from Avraham the thing which I am doing; Gen 18:18 seeing that Avraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? Gen 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), to do justice and judgment; that HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) may bring upon Avraham that which He has spoken of him.”
This conversation seems to be taking place between HaShem and the men (angels). Given our former deduction regarding Who the third man is, we can suggest that G-d with us (Yeshua), the third man, is conversing with Michael and Gavriel. These two angels already know what G-d has instructed them to do in S’dom, thus, for the reader’s sake the text alludes to a sort of legal tribunal being conducted in line with the attributes of mercy, justice and judgement, which are the attributes G-d is trusting Avraham to pass on to his offspring. This therefore is the reason for the consultation and the subsequent opportunity for Avraham to offer a righteous argument for the consolation of justice and mercy. Not because G-d is unjust or unmerciful but because G-d has imparted His attributes to Avraham a heart of mercy and justice which will be a light to the nations.
“Shall I hide” infers a friendship between G-d and Avraham (Isaiah 41:8). Yeshua illuminates the relationship between G-d and His servants when He says:
“I am no longer calling you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing. Now I have called you friends, because everything I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” –Yochanan (John) 15:15 (TLV)
This friendship is further emphasized by the phrase, “I know him” the Hebrew, “yada” denoting intimate knowledge of a person. In this case it is a knowledge that transcends time and space, an observation of the present eternity spoken into time and space in this conversation between G-d and the angels. In other words, G-d has already seen Avraham’s future righteousness and is speaking it into time and space.
Gen 18:20 And HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) said, “Because the cry of S’dom (Burning) and Amorrah (Submersion) is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
Ibn Ezra notes that the, “Outcry” is either the outcry of the rebellion of the Sodomites or the outcry of those who had suffered as a result of the evil conduct of the Sodomites. Rambam claims that it is the cry of the oppressed looking for liberation.
The opinion of the Jewish sages is that the cruelty of S’dom stemmed from the maxim, “What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours” (Avot 5:10). A similar modern idiom says, “Neither a borrower or a lender be”. Both colloquialisms offer the pretence inherent in worldly wisdom but directly oppose the charitable mission of G-d’s people.
Gen 18:21 I will descend, and inspect what they have done according to the outcry, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know (I will be known).”
“I will descend” is for the sake of the human audience. G-d uses kinetic terms to convey a sense of His present action within time and space, however, He remains invisible and immutable, existing outside of all things, the eternal G-d.
G-d, within Whom all things exist and have their being, need not descend. Additionally, G-d with us (Emmanuel), the angel, will descend. The inspection of S’dom is intended to emphasize the judicial nature of this judgement. S’dom is being given a just and fair trial, her destruction will not be without merit.
The phrase, “And if not, I will know (yada)” may mean, “If they repent, I will know (yada) them” or, “I will be known by them”.
Gen 18:22 And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward S’dom: but Avraham remained standing before HaShem (YHVH: Mercy).
The present reading of verse 22 is according to the Masoretic scribal correction of the text. Possibly intended to avoid conjecture over the position of Avraham in relation to G-d. However, there is a good case for reading the original Hebrew as, “but HaShem remained standing before Avraham”. This reading qualifies the former correlation between the manifestation of G-d in humanoid form and the third man (angel). Regardless, only two men (angels) arrive at S’dom (19:1), leaving the third to remain. Thus it is the L-rd with us (Emmanuel) as the man (angel) Who remains standing before Avraham, or if you like, before Whom Avraham stands.
Gen 18:23 And Avraham drew near (nagash: an intimate closeness), and said, “Will You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”
Avraham now draws near, an intimate positioning of himself close to the third man, face to face. This is the intense relational context of the conversation that follows.
In the previous chapter Avraham had received his new name and had become the Father of the nations. He takes this role seriously by drawing near to G-d as an intermediary on behalf of the people of S’dom and the surrounding cities who will be destroyed by the ensuing destruction brought about by G-d’s righteous judgement. G-d has placed in him the desire to see justice tempered with mercy. Thus the G-d of mercy is seen at work within the heart of His servant.
Avraham had intervened on S’dom’s behalf in the past (Genesis 14:14) for the sake of his nephew Lot. His continued concern and deep connection to his nephew can be heard in his pleading for mercy.
Gen 18:24 “What if there were fifty righteous within the midst of the terror (the city): will You also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are there?
“So it was, as God destroyed the cities of the surrounding area, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the upheaval, when He demolished the cities where Lot had dwelt.” –Bereishit (Genesis) 19:29 (TLV)
Based on Genesis 19:29 Rashi suggests that all five of the cities mentioned in Genesis 14:2 are to be condemned in the judgement against S’dom. Thus the plea for the holding back of judgement on account of 50 righteous ones is in fact a plea for 10 (a quorum for worship/prayer—minion) from each of the five condemned cities. This infers that the number of righteous is related to the potential for their faithful worship of G-d, to have a redemptive effect upon those around them and thus cause the cities to repent and turn away from evil. This is consistent with the continual use of the Holy Name YHVH: mercy, throughout the chapter.
Gen 18:25 That be far from You to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from You: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Simply put Avraham is saying, “It is not in Your Character to punish the righteous with the wicked”. In other words, “that be far from You” means, “It’s not Who You are”. Additionally, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” is rhetorical and best understood to mean, “I know that the Judge of the earth will do what is right”.
Gen 18:26 And HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) said, “If I find in S’dom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”
The key phrase here is, “within the city” which means inside the walls, in the midst of the evil behaviour.
Gen 18:27 And Avraham answered and said, “Behold now, I have taken it upon myself to speak unto HaShem (YHVH: Mercy), although I am but dust and ashes: Gen 18:28 If there are five less than fifty righteous: will You destroy all the city for lack of five? And He said, “If I find there forty five, I will not destroy it.”
Notice the humility and respect Avraham pays to G-d as he continues to petition Him for mercy. Given the inference in the Holy Name we could read, “I have taken it upon myself to speak unto Mercy”. Rashi notes according to the Midrash that even with five subtracted from the number of the righteous each city would still have nine and G-d would become the tenth member of the quorum for worship and prayer.
Gen 18:29 And he spoke to Him yet again, and said, “ If there are forty found there?” And He said, “I will not do it for forty's sake.” Gen 18:30 And he said unto him, “Oh let not my Lord (Adonai) be angry, and I will speak: if there are thirty found there?” And He said, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” Gen 18:31 And he said, “Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord (Adonai): If there were twenty found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.” Gen 18:32 And he said, “Oh let not my Lord (Adonai) be angry, and I will speak but once more: if ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for ten's sake.
We might be tempted to see this dialogue as some sort of haggling over the judgement of the people of S’dom, however, that is not what’s happening. This dialogue between Avraham the advocate and G-d the Merciful Judge is intended to express G-d’s desire to see all come to a saving knowledge of Him (1 Timothy 2:3-5). Avraham is acting as a type for the then future coming of the Messiah, the greatest advocate of all time. One of the key evidences for this being a conversation of friendship, or of Teacher and disciple, is the fact that G-d does not respond with a counter to Avraham’s requests, He simply concedes to each of Avraham’s demands until at last Avraham learns that G-d has shown great mercy already and that the refusal of the wicked to accept G-d’s mercy is the vehicle of their own demise.
The petitioning for mercy ends at the number 10, the number for a single complete quorum of worship and prayer or alternatively, 2 people in each of the five condemned cities grouped together with S’dom and Amorrah. It is interesting to note that Yeshua seems to have used the traditional rabbinical requirement for a quorum of ten as a platform for conveying the reality that G-d is present and active even when two are gathered in His Name (Matthew 18:20).
Gen 18:33 And HaShem (YHVH: Mercy) went His way (departed), as soon as he had finished communing with Avraham: and Avraham returned unto his place.
G-d didn’t leave until Avraham had finished petitioning Him. This, in and of itself is a clear representation of G-d’s merciful character. Because G-d is everywhere in the sense that all things are in Him, He cannot leave or depart from Himself. However, as explained previously, in order for human beings to read relational interaction in this encounter, kinetic language must be used to convey the tangible sense of relationship that Avraham experienced with G-d. Additionally, the third man still had to depart and did not arrive at S’dom in 19:1, therefore G-d with us (Yeshua), the man (angel), departed.
Avraham returned to his place because he had previously left with the three men toward S’dom and then stopped at a point on the way where he continued to speak with G-d while the two angels (Michael and Gavriel) went to S’dom. He now returned to his tents at the trees of Mamrei.
My daughter’s teachers ask them to put what they term a, “hook” in their essay writing. A repeated phrase, an idea that reconciles each element of the essay. If there is a hook in this theophany, it is this, “Mercy triumphs over judgement”.
“So speak and act as those who will be judged according to a Torah that gives freedom. For judgment is merciless to the one who does not show mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” –Yaakov (James) 2:12-13 (TLV)
© Yaakov brown 2016