I’ve decided not to write my posts in chronological order as they are given in the Bible. I prefer to bring out the most obvious and profound first and then we’ll look at the many others which substantiate them. I’ll come back to other accounts in the book of Genesis a bit later and then look into the revelatory Scriptures which portray the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as he is. I’ll post previous passages as well as those in the writings and the prophets. (God willing)

In Genesis 18 and 19 we have forever recorded for us the story of the LORD and two other men who dined with Abraham before the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. The first thing we’re told is that the LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent to cool off in the heat of the day. After the opening statement, the text goes on to elaborate that there are actually three men who have come to visit. Abraham, upon noticing them, runs to greet them and he bows himself to the ground before them. He naturally invites them to rest themselves while he makes preparation for them to refresh themselves and share a meal. Abraham has one of his servants dress the best of his herd as quickly as possible while his wife, Sarah, makes ready some bread cakes. When we begin reading our Scripture as it was written we are sure that this is not a case of mistaken identity. These travelers are most definitely recognized as men who need to wash their feet and they can all eat real food, so we know that they are not spirits as all three have form and substance and they all partake of refreshment, as any man would. Moses recorded that one of these men is YHWH.

Abraham sets before these men what we might refer to as yogurt with some milk together with the roasted meat and the three of them ate while Abraham stood under the shade of a tree next to them. They inquire about Sarah and they’re informed that she is in the tent.  We are told in this chapter that one of those men is the LORD who then says to Abraham, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah, your wife, shall have a son.” Sarah, upon hearing this statement from the LORD, laughs in disbelief. The LORD then speaks again; Gen 18:13-14 – The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything [wonderful] too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” The LORD then speaks to Sarah after she denied having laughed, in fact she had spoken falsely to the LORD and now she was afraid. The LORD assured her that he had heard her and he said to Sarah, “Yes, you did laugh.” 

We then have all three men setting out on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah with Abraham walking with them. In verses 17-21, the LORD has Moses record what is either his private thoughts or those spoken to the other two men as to whether or not he should tell Abraham the reason for their going to the cities of the plain. In verse 19, the LORD elaborates on the reason he chose to do so. The man who is the LORD says of Abraham, “For I have chosen him, that he may command 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.”

There seems to be a grammatical error in these passages. First, we have the man standing with Abraham who speaks using the first person pronoun, “I“, yet in the same breath, in the same verse, the one speaking switches to “that the LORD may bring…what ‘he‘ has promised him.” That is curious indeed because I thought it was the LORD who was speaking, yet we have this same LORD referring to “the LORD” as bringing what “he” had promised. Not what “I” have promised but what “he” had promised. The one speaking is most definitely YHWH, yet he speaks of another YHWH who will bring about what he has promised.  It seems to me that there are two YHWH’s referenced in one sentence. I have no doubt that Moses recorded everything exactly as the LORD commanded him to write it down while they conversed at Mt. Sinai. We’ll have to save that encounter for another time.

After the LORD tells Abraham why they are headed down to Sodom and Gomorrah, we have two of the men continuing on while Abraham remains standing next to the LORD, drawing even nearer to him, they begin their conversation.

Gen 18:22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD.

The conversation that ensues between Abraham and YHWH is forever recorded in Scripture for all the world to read about. Abraham is reasoning with the LORD concerning the lives of the righteous, specifically for the life of his nephew, Lot, and his family. This is a real conversation with a real man who has just dined with Abraham and Sarah and this man is YHWH, as we are told he is. The text tells us what God wants us to know, which is that Abraham is standing next to a man who is also the LORD and he’s talking to him face to face. The highlights of the conversation begins in verse 23.

Abraham speaks to the one next to him, who we’ve already determined is the man, YHWH, saying, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” 

In verse 24 the countdown begins. Abraham asks the LORD, “Suppose there are fifty righteous…will you…not spare it..?”

In verse 25, Abraham is pleading with the Judge of all the earth when he says to him, “Far be it from you to do such a thing!…Far be that from you!” 

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

The exchange continues with Abraham humbling himself, yet being brave enough to speak for the sake of his family and the righteous, so he says: 

27 and 28: “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, (Adonai) I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” 

To which YHWH, who is referenced now as Adonai, responds: “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

29: Abraham speaks: “Suppose forty are found there.”

 YHWH answers: “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”

30: Abraham says, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.”

YHWH/Adonai answers: “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”

31: “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” 

YHWH/Adonai answers: “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”

32: “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.”

Adonai, the same YHWH who has been conversing with him all along, answers: “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

Verse 33 in Genesis 18 concludes the conversation between Abraham and YHWH/Adonai. It’s recorded for us like this:

“And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.”

What just transpired can only be understood as a conversation just like any other two people might have with each other. There is an exchange with questions and answers between two men speaking and communing together. These men are Abraham and YHWH. The Man, YHWH, has attributed to him “The Name” of the God of Israel, the authority to judge and the power to destroy the cities of the plain.  He is referred to by Abraham as the Judge of all the earth.  Yet we have to take into account the change that occurs in the personal pronouns.  I am not a scholar of the Hebrew language, but there seems to be a mix up in the use of them when we read it like it is written.  We have YHWH, who is speaking in Genesis 18:19, saying, “for I have chosen him” and then the personal pronoun switches and the verse reads:  “that he may command 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.”  The one speaking does not say “so that I may bring to Abraham what I have promised.  Anyone?  It appears to me, and perhaps other careful readers of Scripture, that there are two YHWH’s spoken of in the same sentence. 

If anyone cares to share their understanding of the exchange, feel free to give your interpretation of what you believe it does or doesn’t say. Christians/Messianics are accused of inserting the eternal Son, Immanuel (God with us), into First Testament Scripture here and there in order to make our case, but the only way to uphold that accusation is if we blatantly deny what is written.  I would say that the ancient revelation to the Patriarchs, in this case, Abraham, “is what it is” and the Messianic Revelation of Jesus as one with the Father, as He revealed Himself to be, was believed by the first century Jews living in Jerusalem exactly because it is in keeping with Genesis 18 as well as many other Scriptures that say the same. The idea of two who are both YHWH, being distinct yet equal is not a later Christian/Messianic heretical addition to any of the texts of Scripture and that will become more evident as we proceed.

In order to keep the posts more manageable, I’ll come back and look at chapter 19 another time. I hope I’ve encouraged others to read those verses for what they say, exactly as they are written without inventing any artificially contrived explanation for them.  Let the truth of Scripture speak for itself, or in this case, let YHWH speak for Himself!  God willing I’ll continue as soon as possible.

Blessing to all of you reading and contemplating the profound truth of Genesis 18 as the LORD had Moses record it for us. 🙂

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