Genesis 18:1
And the LORD appeared to him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XVIII.

VISIT OF ANGELS TO ABRAHAM AT MAMRE; AND OVERTHROW OF SODOM.

(1) And the Lord (Jehovah) appeared unto him.—No new section could begin in this way, but evidently this is a continuation of the narrative of the circumcision. We thus find a Jehovistic section coupled in the closest way with one which is Elohistic (comp. Genesis 17:22-23); and even here it is Elohim who for Abraham’s sake delivers Lot (Genesis 19:29). Far more important, however, is it to notice that this familiar intercourse, and clear revelation of Jehovah to Abraham, follows upon his closer relation to God by virtue of the sacrament of circumcision. Jewish tradition adds that this visit was made to Abraham on the third day after the rite had been performed, and was for the purpose of healing him from the painful consequences of it. It was on this account, as they think, that Abraham was resting at home, instead of being with his herds in the field.

The plains (Heb., the oaks) of Mamre.—(See Genesis 13:18; Genesis 14:13.)

The tent door.—Heb., the opening of the tent, formed by looping back one of the curtains.

The heat of the day.—The time of noon, when Orientals rest from labour (comp. Genesis 3:8). As the air in the tent would be sultry, Abraham sits in the shade on the outside. So in Genesis 18:8 the meal is spread under a tree.

Genesis 18:1. This appearance of God to Abraham seems to have had in it more of freedom and familiarity, and less of grandeur and majesty, than those we have hitherto read of, and therefore more resembles that great visit, which in the fulness of time the Son of God was to make to the world. He sat in the tent-door in the heat of the day — Not so much to repose himself, as to seek an opportunity of doing good, by giving entertainment to strangers. And when there were no inns where travellers could refresh themselves or lodge, it was as common, as it was necessary, for hospitable persons to invite such at noon, or at eventide, to their houses or tents.18:1-8 Abraham was waiting to entertain any weary traveller, for inns were not to be met with as among us. While Abraham was thus sitting, he saw three men coming. These were three heavenly beings in human bodies. Some think they were all created angels; others, that one of them was the Son of God, the Angel of the covenant. Washing the feet is customary in those hot climates, where only sandals are worn. We should not be forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares, Heb 13:2; nay, the Lord of angels himself; as we always do, when for his sake we entertain the least of his brethren. Cheerful and obliging manners in showing kindness, are great ornaments to piety. Though our condescending Lord vouchsafes not personal visits to us, yet still by his Spirit he stands at the door and knocks; when we are inclined to open, he deigns to enter; and by his gracious consolations he provides a rich feast, of which we partake with him, Re 3:20.The Lord visits Abraham and assures Sarah of the birth of a son. Abraham is sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day, reposing. "Three men stood before him." Whenever visitants from the celestial world appear to men, they have the form of man. This is the only form of a rational being known to us. It is not the design of God in revealing his mercy to us to make us acquainted with the whole of the nature of things. The science of things visible or invisible he leaves to our natural faculties to explore, as far as occasion allows. Hence, we conclude that the celestial visitant is a real being, and that the form is a real form. But we are not entitled to infer that the human is the only or the proper form of such beings, or that they have any ordinary or constant form open to sense. We only discern that they are intelligent beings like ourselves, and, in order to manifest themselves to us as such, put on that form of intelligent creatures with which we are familiar, and in which they can intelligibly confer with us. For the same reason they speak the language of the party addressed, though, for ought we know, spiritual beings use none of the many languages of humanity, and have quite a different mode of communicating with one another. Other human acts follow on the occasion. They accept the hospitality of Abraham and partake of human food. This, also, was a real act. It does not imply, however, that food is necessary to spiritual beings. The whole is a typical act representing communion between God and Abraham. The giving and receiving of a meal was the ground of a perpetual or inviolable friendship.

He ran to meet him. - This indicates the genuine warmth of unsophisticated nature. "Bowed himself to the earth." This indicates a low bow, in which the body becomes horizontal, and the head droops. This gesture is employed both in worship and doing obeisance.

CHAPTER 18

Ge 18:1-8. Entertainment of Angels.

1. the Lord appeared—another manifestation of the divine presence, more familiar than any yet narrated; and more like that in the fulness of time, when the Word was made flesh.

plains of Mamre—rather, terebinth or oak of Mamre; a tall-spreading tree or grove of trees.

sat in the tent door—The tent itself being too close and sultry at noon, the shaded open front is usually resorted to for the air that may be stirring.The Lord appears to Abraham, Genesis 18:1. He sees three men, Genesis 18:2; invites them, Genesis 18:3-5. They accept it, Genesis 18:5. He prepares for them a calf, &c.; they eat, Genesis 18:6-8. The promise of a son by Sarah renewed; the time appointed, Genesis 18:9,10. Sarah, being old, laughs, Genesis 18:11,12. God reproves her, Genesis 18:13; and confirms the promise, Genesis 18:14. Her denial, and God’s reply, Genesis 18:15. The men go towards Sodom, Genesis 18:16. God resolves to show Abraham his purpose to destroy Sodom, Genesis 18:17. The reason of it, Genesis 18:18. God’s testimony of him, Genesis 18:19. God reveals his purpose to him, Genesis 18:20-22. Abraham’s intercession for Sodom oft repeated, and God’s condescension, Genesis 18:23-32.

1898 Waiting for strangers which might pass that way; for whom no public places being provided in those times and places, virtuous persons used to entertain them in their houses. See Hebrews 13:2.

In the heat of the day, the time when travellers, especially in those hot contries, used to divert and refresh themselves.

And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre,.... That is, to Abraham; and very likely this appearance of God was quickly after the affair of the circumcision, to show his approbation of his ready obedience to his command; and at this time he was in the plains, or at the oaks of Mamre, the oaken grove there, as has been observed on Genesis 13:18; and which seems to be the best rendering of the words, since in Genesis 18:4; mention is made of a tree to sit and stand under; and Abraham might choose this place for his habitation, because of the shadiness of it, in those hot countries:

and he sat in the tent door, in the heat of the day; partly to cool and refresh himself, and partly to observe if any passengers passed by, to invite them in; this being a time of day when such needed refreshment, and it was proper for them to lie by a while, and not proceed on their journey until it was cooler: or rather to or "near" the tent door, as Noldius (g), or before it, without or under the shade of the tree, after mentioned.

(g) Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 13.

And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1–15. Visit of three Angels to Abraham, and the Promise of a Son to Sarah (J)

1. the Lord appeared] The personal Theophany of Jehovah (cf. Genesis 16:13) was evidently at first not recognized by Abraham.

the oaks of Mamre] Better, as R.V. marg., terebinths. See note on Genesis 13:18. Mamre is here the name of a place, not of a chieftain (Genesis 14:24).

in the heat of the day] i.e. at noontide, as in 2 Samuel 4:5. Cf. 1 Samuel 11:9, “by the time the sun is hot”; Nehemiah 7:3. For “the cool of the day,” see Genesis 3:8.Verse 1. - And the Lord - Jehovah, the Divine name employed throughout the present and succeeding chapters, which are accordingly assigned to the Jehovist (Tuch, Bleek, Davidson, Colenso), with the exception of Genesis 19:29, which is commonly regarded as a fragment of the original Elohist's narration (vide infra) - appeared unto him. The absence of Abraham's name has been thought to favor the idea that the present chapter should have begun at Genesis 17:23 (Quarry). That the time of this renewed Divine manifestation was shortly after the incidents recorded in the preceding chapter is apparent, as also that its object was the reassurance of the patriarch concerning the birth of Isaac. In the plains of Mamre. Literally, in the oaks of Mature (vide Genesis 13:18). And he sat in the tent door. Literally, in the opening of the tent, a fold of which was fastened to a post near by to admit any air that might be stirring. In the heat of the day, i.e. noontide (cf. 1 Samuel 11:11), as the cool of the day, or the wind of the day (Genesis 3:8), means eventide. "The usual term for noon is Tsoharim (Genesis 43:16), that is, the time of ' double or greatest light,' while a more poetical expression is 'the height of the day' (Proverbs 4:18), either because then the sun has reached its most exalted position, or because it appears to stand still in the zenith" (Kalisch). Among the Orientals the hour of noon is the time of rest (cf. Song of Solomon 1:7) and the time of dinner (Genesis 43:16, 25). In this case the patriarch had probably dined and was resting after dinner, sines, on the arrival of his visitors, preparations had to be commenced for their entertainment. When God had finished His address and ascended again, Abraham immediately fulfilled the covenant duty enjoined upon him, by circumcision himself on that very day, along with all the male members of his house. Because Ishmael was 13 years old when he was circumcised, the Arabs even now defer circumcision to a much later period than the Jews, generally till between the ages of 5 and 13, and frequently even till the 13th year.
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