Genesis 18:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 18:2, NIV: "Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground."

Genesis 18:2, ESV: "He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth"

Genesis 18:2, KJV: "And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,"

Genesis 18:2, NASB: "When he raised his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed down to the ground,"

Genesis 18:2, NLT: "He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground."

Genesis 18:2, CSB: "He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, bowed to the ground,"

What does Genesis 18:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Abraham, sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day, looks up and suddenly notices three men standing nearby. He seems startled to see them. Given who these three men are, it's possible they appeared out of thin air. Or, more simply, they were simply not noticed until they'd gotten fairly close. In any case, Abraham had not noticed them before.

This passage indicates that these men are God, in a temporary human form, as well as two angels (Genesis 18:1). This kind of physical appearance of God is referred to as a theophany. It's not clear whether Abraham immediately understood one of these men to be the Lord or simply saw them as strangers. He hurried toward them and bowed low, a sign of great respect, especially coming from a wealthy and important man. Whomever he thought these men to be, Abraham saw it as his responsibility to greet them warmly and offer them hospitality.