Genesis 18:22
And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
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(22) Abraham stood yet before the Lord (before Jehovah).—The two angels went on their way in form as men, towards Sodom, but the one who was a manifestation of Jehovah (Genesis 18:13; Genesis 18:17) remained behind.

Genesis 18:22. And the men — That is, two of them, who appear to have been created angels: turned their faces from thence — And went toward Sodom, which they entered in the evening; but the one called Jehovah throughout the chapter continued with Abraham, who stood yet before the Lord, evidently the same person with whom he had hitherto been communing.

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.21. I will go down … and see—language used after the manner of men. These cities were to be made examples to all future ages of God's severity; and therefore ample proof given that the judgment was neither rash nor excessive (Eze 18:23; Jer 18:7). And the men, i.e. two of them; for the third staid with Abraham, as it here follows.

Before the Lord, the third of these persons, whom now he perceived to be the Lord himself, who had assumed a human shape.

And the men turned their faces from thence,.... From the place to which Abraham brought them on; these were only two of them, for the third continued with Abraham:

and went towards Sodom; and are the two angels said to come thither at evening, Genesis 19:1,

but Abraham stood yet before the Lord; before the third person, whom Abraham now began to know more clearly; he stood before him with all reverence and humility, to hear what he had further to say to him, as well as to say something to him himself; he stood "yet", he continued to stand after the departure of the two angels that were gone to Sodom. Onkelos and Jonathan paraphrase it,"he ministered in prayer before the Lord.''

And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
22. And the men turned] There is nothing definitely to shew that all three Angels are not here intended. But, as the passage stands, Jehovah here separates Himself from the two Angels mentioned in Genesis 19:1.

Abraham stood yet] Standing is the posture of prayer and intercession. The dialogue (1) emphasizes Abraham’s intimacy with Jehovah, (2) heightens expectation of the catastrophe.

The Massoretic note on this verse suggests that the original reading ran “and Jehovah stood yet before Abraham,” and that this was altered for reverential reasons. The alteration was included in the list of the so-called Tikkun Sopherim, or “Corrections of the Scribes.” The versions, however, shew no uncertainty as to the reading. Targum of Onkelos has “And Abraham still ministered in prayer before the Lord.”

Verse 22. - And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom (i.e. two of the three proceeded on their way towards the Jordan valley, while the third was detained by the patriarch, probably on the heights overlooking the plain, for a sublime act of intercession which is thus briefly but suggestively described): but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. According to the Masorites the text originally read, "And the Lord stood before Abraham, and was changed because it did not seem becoming to speak of God standing in the presence of a creature. This, however, is a mere Rabbinical conceit. As Abraham is not said to hays stood before the three men, the expression points to spiritual rather than to local contiguity.

CHAPTER 18:23-33 Genesis 18:22God was about to go down, and convince Himself whether they had done entirely according to the cry which had reached Him, or not. כלה עשׂה, lit., to make completeness, here referring to the extremity of iniquity, generally to the extremity of punishment (Nahum 1:8-9; Jeremiah 4:27; Jeremiah 5:10): כּלה is a noun, as Isaiah 10:23 shows, not an adverb, as in Exodus 11:1. After this explanation, the men (according to Genesis 19:1, the two angels) turned from thence to go to Sodom (Genesis 18:22); but Abraham continued standing before Jehovah, who had been talking with him, and approached Him with earnestness and boldness of faith to intercede for Sodom. He was urged to this, not by any special interest in Lot, for in that case he would have prayed for his deliverance; nor by the circumstance that, as he had just before felt himself called upon to become the protector, avenger, and deliverer of the land from its foes, so he now thought himself called upon to act as mediator, and to appeal from Jehovah's judicial wrath to Jehovah's covenant grace (Kurtz), for he had not delivered the land from the foe, but merely rescued his nephew Lot and all the booty that remained after the enemy had withdrawn; nor did he appeal to the covenant grace of Jehovah, but to His justice alone; and on the principle that the Judge of all the earth could not possibly destroy the righteous with the wicked, he founded his entreaty that God would forgive the city if there were but fifty righteous in it, or even if there were only ten. He was led to intercede in this way, not by "communis erga quinque populos misericordia" (Calvin), but by the love which springs from the consciousness that one's own preservation and rescue are due to compassionate grace alone; love, too, which cannot conceive of the guilt of others as too great for salvation to be possible. This sympathetic love, springing from the faith which was counted for righteousness, impelled him to the intercession which Luther thus describes: "sexies petiit, et cum tanto ardore ac affectu sic urgente, ut prae nimia angustia, qua cupit consultum miseris civitatibus, videatur quasi stulte loqui." There may be apparent folly in the words, "Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" but they were only "violenta oratio et impetuosa, quasi cogens Deum ad ignoscendum." For Abraham added, "peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou also destroy and not forgive (נשׁא, to take away and bear the guilt, i.e., forgive) the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?" and described the slaying of the righteous with the wicked as irreconcilable with the justice of God. He knew that he was speaking to the Judge of all the earth, and that before Him he was "but dust and ashes" - "dust in his origin, and ashes in the end;" and yet he made bold to appeal still further, and even as low as ten righteous, to pray that for their sake He would spare the city. - הפּעם אך (Genesis 18:32) signifies "only this (one) time more," as in Exodus 10:17. This "seemingly commercial kind of entreaty is," as Delitzsch observes, "the essence of true prayer. It is the holy ἀναίδεια, of which our Lord speaks in Luke 11:8, the shamelessness of faith, which bridges over the infinite distance of the creature from the Creator, appeals with importunity to the heart of God, and ceases not till its point is gained. This would indeed be neither permissible nor possible, had not God, by virtue of the mysterious interlacing of necessity and freedom in His nature and operations, granted a power to the prayer of faith, to which He consents to yield; had He not, by virtue of His absoluteness, which is anything but blind necessity, placed Himself in such a relation to men, that He not merely works upon them by means of His grace, but allows them to work upon Him by means of their faith; had He not interwoven the life of the free creature into His own absolute life, and accorded to a created personality the right to assert itself in faith, in distinction from His own." With the promise, that even for the sake of ten righteous He would not destroy the city, Jehovah "went His way," that is to say, vanished; and Abraham returned to his place, viz., to the grove of Mamre. The judgment which fell upon the wicked cities immediately afterwards, proves that there were not ten "righteous persons" in Sodom; by which we understand, not merely ten sinless or holy men, but ten who through the fear of God and conscientiousness had kept themselves free from the prevailing sin and iniquity of these cities.
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