Genesis 18:20
And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
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18:16-22 The two who are supposed to have been created angels went toward Sodom. The one who is called Jehovah throughout the chapter, continued with Abraham, and would not hide from him the thing he intended to do. Though God long forbears with sinners, from which they fancy that the Lord does not see, and does not regard; yet when the day of his wrath comes, he will look toward them. The Lord will give Abraham an opportunity to intercede with him, and shows him the reason of his conduct. Consider, as a very bright part of Abraham's character and example, that he not only prayed with his family, but he was very careful to teach and rule them well. Those who expect family blessings must make conscience of family duty. Abraham did not fill their heads with matters of doubtful dispute; but he taught them to be serious and devout in the worship of God, and to be honest in their dealings with all men. Of how few may such a character be given in our days! How little care is taken by masters of families to ground those under them in the principles of religion! Do we watch from sabbath to sabbath whether they go forward or backward?The Lord now proceeds to unfold his design. There is justice in every step of the divine procedure. He comes down to inquire and act according to the merits of the case. The men now depart on their errand; but Abraham still stands before the Lord.17. the Lord said, Shall I hide—The chief stranger, no other than the Lord, disclosed to Abraham the awful doom about to be inflicted on Sodom and the cities of the plain for their enormous wickedness. Sins are said to cry when they are gross, and manifest, and impudent, and such as highly provoke God to anger. He names only these two cities, as being the most eminent in state, and exemplary in wickedness; but under them he includes the rest, as appears by the story. And the Lord said,.... The Targum of Jonathan adds, to the ministering angels, the two angels that were with him in the likeness of men; or to Abraham, at least in his hearing, by which he understood that Sodom and other cities were about to be destroyed for their sins:

because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great; either of Lot in it, whose righteous soul was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked, and cried to heaven against them; or of the inhabitants that were oppressed by others, either in their bodies, being forced to submit to their unnatural usage of them, or in their estates, of which they wronged them; particularly the cry of the poor among them, whom they suffered to starve, though there were fulness of bread in the midst of them, see Ezekiel 16:49; the Jews (b) say, they appointed false judges, who oppressed all strangers that came to Sodom, and made a law, that whoever relieved a poor person should be burnt with fire: or the cry of their sins, which were many and great, and openly and impudently committed; the cry of which came into the ears of the Lord of hosts, and called for vengeance. Those two cities, which perhaps were the greatest and the most remarkable for their sins, are put for all the five cities of the plain, called Pentapolis.

And because their sin is very grievous; attended with very aggravated circumstances, they enjoyed great plenty of good things; and were not to be bore with, being so exceeding sinful, and so publicly and audaciously committed, especially that sin so frequent among them, which has its name from Sodom, see Genesis 13:13.

(b) Pirke Eliezer, c. 25.

And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
20. Because … because] Better, as marg., Verily … verily.

the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah] See Genesis 19:13. (1) Either, this is the complaint concerning Sodom and Gomorrah going up to Heaven. The genitive “of” is then objective, like “the report of Tyre” (Isaiah 23:5), “the spoil of thine enemies” (Deuteronomy 20:14). (2) Or, it is the cry by the cities, which are personified, and which make their loud complaint against the inhabitants. The genitive then is subjective. See Genesis 4:10.

their sin is very grievous] Cf. Genesis 13:13; Ezekiel 16:49-50.Verse 20. - And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great. Literally, the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah (cf. Genesis 4:10), because it is (not, it is indeed, Baumgarten, Keil) multiplied; the place of emphasis being conceded to the subject of discourse, viz., the cry of Sodom s wickedness. And because their sin is very great. Literally, and their sin, because it is heavy, i.e. abundant and heinous. During the meal, at which Abraham stood, and waited upon them as the host, they asked for Sarah, for whom the visit was chiefly intended. On being told that she was in the tent, where she could hear, therefore, all that passed under the tree in front of the tent, the one whom Abraham addressed as Adonai (my Lord), and who is called Jehovah in Genesis 18:13, said, "I will return to thee (חיּה כּעת) at this time, when it lives again" (חיּה, reviviscens, without the article, Ges. 111, 2b), i.e., at this time next year; "and, behold, Sarah, thy wife, will (then) have a son." Sarah heard this at the door of the tent; "and it was behind Him" (Jehovah), so that she could not be seen by Him as she stood at the door. But as the fulfilment of this promise seemed impossible to her, on account of Abraham's extreme age, and the fact that her own womb had lost the power of conception, she laughed within herself, thinking that she was not observed. But that she might know that the promise was made by the omniscient and omnipotent God, He reproved her for laughing, saying, "Is anything too wonderful (i.e., impossible) for Jehovah? at the time appointed I will return unto thee," etc.; and when her perplexity led her to deny it, He convicted her of falsehood. Abraham also had laughed at this promise (Genesis 17:17), and without receiving any reproof. For his laughing was the joyous outburst of astonishment; Sarah's, on the contrary, the result of doubt and unbelief, which had to be broken down by reproof, and, as the result showed, really was broken down, inasmuch as she conceived and bore a son, whom she could only have conceived in faith (Hebrews 11:11).
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