What does Genesis 18:3 mean?
ESV: and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.
NIV: He said, 'If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.
NASB: and said, 'My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by.
CSB: and said, "My lord, if I have found favor with you, please do not go on past your servant.
NLT: My lord,' he said, 'if it pleases you, stop here for a while.
KJV: And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
NKJV: and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.
Verse Commentary:
Abraham, seeing three unexpected strangers standing near his tent in the heat of the day, rushes toward them, bows low before them, and earnestly asks them not to pass by. He practically begs the leader of the group to stop and spend time with him.

According to earlier verses, these three men are actually God, in a physical form, and a pair of angels. It remains unclear, still, if Abraham understands that the leader of these three is indeed the Lord. His language would certainly be appropriate for addressing God. He calls Him Lord, asking Him to stop if Abraham has found favor in His eyes.

However, Abraham's respectful language may also represent the appropriate and gracious standard for welcoming strangers in his part of the ancient world. That culture placed an enormous value on social graces, including respect. This style of modest speech would have been the norm when dealing with strangers.
Verse Context:
Genesis 18:1–8 describes Abraham's initial reaction to three unexpected guests at this tent. These men are actually God, in a temporary human form, and two similarly-formed angels. Abraham rushes to offer an extravagant meal of bread, meat, and cheeses. Whether Abraham is merely expressing common Bedouin hospitality, or knows that he is in the presence of God, his actions are both humble and gracious. In the next passage, the identity of his visitors will become clear.
Chapter Summary:
Abraham hurries to offer respect and hospitality to three men who appear near his tent. Over the course of the chapter, the men reveal themselves to be the Lord and two angels in human form. As He had told Abraham in the previous chapter, the Lord now reveals to Sarah that she will have a son within the year. Later, the Lord poetically says He will investigate the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, where Abraham's nephew Lot lives. Abraham asks, and the Lord agrees, not to destroy Sodom if God finds 10 righteous people there.
Chapter Context:
God appeared to Abraham in the previous chapter revealing, in part, that Sarah would bear Abraham a son within a year's time. Now the Lord appears again, this time in human form and accompanied by two disguised angels. He reveals to Sarah the same promise. She laughs, and the Lord insists that even her age isn't too hard for Him to overcome. Next the Lord reveals to Abraham that He will investigate the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham receives the Lord's promise not to destroy Sodom (where Abraham's nephew lives) if He finds 10 righteous people in the city. Unfortunately, the city is beyond saving, and the next chapter details its utter destruction.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 5/25/2024 12:45:34 AM
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