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Genesis 18:31-33

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Genesis 18:31
  • Genesis 18:32
  • Genesis 18:33

Genesis is a book about many beginnings. The beginnings of the world, the human race, sin and redemption, and the nation of Israel to name a few. In fact, the word Genesis from the Greek means “origin,” and in Hebrew it means “beginning.” The book of Genesis contains the events of the flood, tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the lives of the Patriarchs.

In the beginning, God created everything by simply speaking, “God said…and it was so” (Genesis 1:6-7, 9, 11, 14-15). This is not a scientific technical account of creation, but it shows a loving God creating a universe and mankind to rule it and fellowship with God. Man was formed especially from the ground and given the breath of life from God. The woman was made from the man’s rib (Genesis 2:7).

After man fell into sin, things began to spin out of control quickly. Cain murdered his brother Abel and the human race became so violent that God decided to destroy them all with a flood. God saved one righteous man (Noah) and his family in an ark filled with animals to deliver the human race from extinction. God chose Abraham and blessed a special group of people named “Israel.” God began to unfold a plan of salvation from a coming famine by sending Joseph to rule in Egypt. The failure of man in every circumstance is met by the salvation of God. We fail, but the good news is God saves us.


In Genesis chapter 18 God appears to Abraham again. The promise of a son born by Sarah is renewed, and the time is set for the birth. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is announced. Abraham, the friend of God, makes a plea for Sodom.


Abraham continued to ask, what if there are 20 or 10 righteous people? God replied He would not destroy the city if 10 righteous are found. Then God departed, and Abraham returned home.

Abraham continues his intercession, now in increments of ten.  After starting the bargaining at fifty, Abraham gets down to twenty, then decides to make one final ask. “Suppose ten are found there?” Interestingly, ten was the number in Lot’s family. There were Lot and his wife, two sons, two married daughters, two son-in-law’s, and two unmarried daughters (Genesis 19:12-14). God promises, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” We will soon learn, Lot must leave Sodom, so that God can punish the wicked (Genesis 19:16-17).

When the conversation between God and Abraham ended, the Lord departed and Abraham returned to his place, his tent by the Oaks of Mamre at Hebron (Genesis 13:18, 18:1). The events of this chapter took place in one afternoon at Mamre.

Biblical Text

31 And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.” 32 Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” 33 As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his place.

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