Genesis 18:33

ESV And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
NIV When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
NASB As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his place.
CSB When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he departed, and Abraham returned to his place.
NLT When the Lord had finished his conversation with Abraham, he went on his way, and Abraham returned to his tent.
KJV And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

What does Genesis 18:33 mean?

God has indicated that Sodom will be destroyed for its wickedness. Abraham objects, suggesting that it would be unfair for God to punish "righteous" people along with those who are wicked, and begins to ask God to spare the city for the sake of smaller and smaller numbers of "righteous" people. In this context, "righteous" simply means those who aren't involved in the grievous sins of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19; Ezekiel 16:49–50).

In a display of great patience, grace, and mercy, the Lord has stood and heard everything Abraham has said to Him, including a bold claim about whether or not God's plan is fair. In addition, the Lord has agreed to every request from Abraham, even though Abraham turned it into what sounded like a negotiation. Abraham's intent all along was likely to reach the point seen in the last verse: God's vow not to destroy the city if 10 righteous people could be found there. The point of this is not that God needs to have His mind changed. Rather, the purpose for this conversation is to prove, in no uncertain terms, that God's approach to these wicked cities is entirely just.

As the Lord walks away, likely toward Sodom, and Abraham returns home, their agreement stands that the Lord will not destroy Sodom if He finds 10 righteous people there. Abraham seems to believe, or at least hopes, that at least 10 of Sodom's thousands of residents are not participating in the great wickedness for which they have become infamous (Genesis 13:13). Abraham's ultimate hope, we assume, is to save the life of his nephew Lot and his family.

Sadly, the next chapter will reveal that Abraham has overestimated the number of righteous people in Sodom. He has also underestimated the extent of the Lord's blessing for him and, thus, for his extended family. God's patient discussion with Abraham allowed Abraham to set his own standard for "goodness," which Sodom still failed. By any measure, the city was deserving of God's wrath. Lot, however, will be saved from this wrath, despite his own foolishness.
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