Genesis 18:6-8

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Genesis 18:6
  • Genesis 18:7
  • Genesis 18:8

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, the good host, quickly asks Sarah to prepare bread and asks a servant to prepare a calf to eat. He then brought his guests something refreshing to drink.

The bread cakes were small round, thin, loaves of bread. The word “measures” is the Hebrew word seah. One “seah” equals approximately 11 quarts. So, 3 “measures” would be a little more than a bushel. This would yield much more bread than the three visitors, Sarah, and Abraham could possibly eat.

Abraham himself selects a tender and choice calf for the main dish. The meat was costly and a rare treat, but Abraham did not hesitate to prepare a calf for his guest’s meal. We see the expense which Abraham goes to in order to cater lavishly to his visitors.

He took curds and milk which were side dishes to bring out the taste of the meat and to quench the visitor’s thirst. The word “curds” is the Hebrew word hemah which refers to curdled milk that is much like yogurt. In fact, it is made by churning milk just like making butter (cf. 2 Samuel 17:29; Proverbs 30:33). It was a staple of the diet of the Israelites, they even ate it from infancy (cf. Deuteronomy 32:14; Isaiah 7:15,22). Milk was highly esteemed in the ancient world and regarded as a source of vitality. 

He was standing by them…as they ate. A mark of the highest courtesy, Abraham (the head of the household) stood (like a servant) while his guests ate. Here and in Genesis 19:3 we see heavenly beings (Angels, including the Lord) eating earthly food. Although they were not human, they appeared in a form that could perform physical acts as a human being would (Genesis 19:10, 32:24,30; Hosea 12:3-4). Eating together was important in making or confirming covenants (Exodus 24:9-11; Matthew 26:17-30; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:20-34). Therefore, when God was ready to expand the covenant promise to Sarah, he came in person to share a meal with Abraham.

Biblical Text

6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes.” 7 Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf and gave it to the servant, and he hurried to prepare it. 8 He took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.

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