Abraham Makes an Appeal for Sodom

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After eating and chatting with Abraham, the three heavenly visitors and Abraham began to walk in the direction of Sodom (v. 16). As they walked, the Lord informed Abraham of the impending judgment of Sodom (vv. 17-21). Since Abraham was going to become the father of the nation, the Lord wanted him to know that the coming punishment on Sodom was necessary, because of the great sin of this city. He didn’t want Abraham to become confused and think that judgment would destroy all of the land promised to him and his descendants (vv. 22-23).

As the Lord looked at Abraham, no doubt many thoughts must have filled Abraham’s heart. He knew that his backslidden nephew Lot lived there; thus, he was greatly concerned. I can visualize Abraham standing with his arms outstret­ched as though to bar the only way to Sodom. However, this people’s sins were so great that they had to be judged.

Abraham appealed to the Lord that Sodom might be spared on the basis of God’s justice. (He thought for certain that there must be some righteous people in Sodom.) Thus, he pleaded that if there was a certain number of righteous people in the city, God would spare the whole city on behalf of the righteous. Abraham started with a figure of 50 and kept coming down until he got down to 10 (vv. 24-32). Since the city was destroyed, we can conclude that not even 10 righteous people could be found.


Just as Abraham stood there with outstretched arms, as if to bar the way to Sodom, the Lord will one day stand with his arms outstretched to save, and thus bar the road to hell.

Genesis 18:16-33 (English Standard Version)

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