Genesis 18:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 18:25, NIV: "Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?'"

Genesis 18:25, ESV: "Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death 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?”"

Genesis 18:25, KJV: "That be far from thee 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 thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

Genesis 18:25, NASB: "Far be it from You to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?'"

Genesis 18:25, NLT: "Surely you wouldn't do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn't do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?'"

Genesis 18:25, CSB: "You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won't the Judge of the whole earth do what is just?""

What does Genesis 18:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Lord has revealed to Abraham His plan to investigate and, by implication, bring judgment on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their great sinfulness. Abraham, standing with the Lord as two angels walk toward Sodom, is asking the Lord some hard questions. Abraham's nephew Lot lives in Sodom, so Abraham seems to be angling for the city to be spared on Lot's account.

Abraham's question is similar to one we grapple with, even today. Will God really bring judgment that affects righteous people, as well as wicked people? Is there some proportion of good-to-bad that would stop God from doing so? Specifically, Abraham asked, will the Lord sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Would He not spare the city for the sake of, say, 50 righteous people?

Here in this verse, Abraham almost sounds indignant, possibly even manipulative. The very idea that the Lord would kill righteous people along with those who deserve to be punished does not fit with Abraham's idea of who God is. He twice repeats the phrase "Far be it from you!" Then he states his central argument point: Shouldn't the judge of all of the earth do what is just?

That is a question many people have asked of God down through the ages. In fact, it's the first question many people ask about the idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God. Is he fair? The problem, of course, is that when we ask the question, we ask in the way Abraham does here. We assume, in advance, that we—not God—can define justice and righteousness, and criticize God when He does not meet our expectations.

The following verses will reveal that Abraham is both underestimating God's justice and mercy and overestimating the goodness of humanity. God will graciously allow Abraham to "negotiate" Sodom's rescue to the presence of only ten righteous people—a standard the city will still fail.