Abraham Gets Strange Visitors
But Abraham sat in the cool shade of his tent door, beneath a tree. Presently three strange men drew near. They did not look like other men, and Abraham knew they were from a far country. He hurried to meet them, and, bowing low toward the ground just as he always when greeting a friend or a visitor, he urged them to rest for a while in the cool shade.

Now we shall see how Abraham entertained his guests. First he merit for water to wash their feet.

This was not unusual because people wore sandals in that long-ago time and it was customary for them to remove their sandals and wash their feet whenever they sat down to rest and visit. Next, Abraham told his wife to make ready and bake some barley cakes upon the hearth, while he should prepare some meat, for his guests.

When all was ready, he brought the food to his guests, and they ate while he stood under a tree near by. Abraham was glad to serve these strangers because he was kind to every one. When the meal was ended, the men arose to continue their journey. Abraham walked with them for a little way.

Two of them were angels. The other one was the Lord. And Abraham felt that he was unworthy to entertain such wonderful visitors. But because he was a good man the Lord loved him.

"I know that he will teach his children to keep my ways and to do right. "

Then, turning toward Abraham the Lord said, "I am going to visit Sodom and Gomorrah to see if these cities are as wicked as they seem, for the cry of their sins has reached me. "

The two men hurried on; but Abraham detained the Lord a while longer, because he wanted to talk to him. He knew the Lord would destroy the cities if he found them to be as wicked as they seemed, and he thought of Lot.

Abraham knew that Lot too might perish if the cities should be destroyed. And he loved Lot. He wished once more to try to save him, so he said, "Will you destroy the righteous persons in the city, will you not spare the lives of all for their sake'?" And the Lord promised to spare Sodom if he could find fifty righteous persons in it.

Abraham feared that there might be less than fifty.

So he spoke again. "I know that I am but a common man, made of dust," said he, "yet I speak to the Lord. If there should be only forty-five righteous persons living in Sodom, will you spare the city ?" And the Lord said he would spare the city for the sake of only forty-five righteous persons.

Still Abraham felt troubled.

So he asked if the city might be spared for the sake of forty. The Lord knew it was Abraham's love for the people which to plead so earnestly for Sodom, and he promised to spare the city for the sake of forty.

"What," thought poor, distressed Abraham, "if there should not be even forty righteous persons found in Sodom?" And once more he spoke. "0 Lord, be not angry with me," he said, "but if there are only thirty righteous persons, will you spare the city for their sakes.