Genesis 18:1-15

1 Then the Lord appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day.

So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,

and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.

Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.

And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.” They said, “Do as you have said.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.”

And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it.

So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.

Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” So he said, “Here, in the tent.”

10 And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.)

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.

12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”

13 And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’

14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

15 But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh!”

The context of Genesis 18 and 19 makes it clear that the other two men were angels, who later were sent to Sodom and Gomorrah to bring God’s judgment on those wicked cities. The leader of the three men could have been none other than God Himself and, therefore, Christ in His preincarnate state (John 1:18). — Morris, page 337


There is no indication that [the three men] had been riding or even walking; as Abraham looked up, there they were. … [Abraham’s] whole manner suggests an urgency about his conversation with them and, although it was no doubt the custom of men in the East to be very hospitable toward guests, there is clearly an element of more than normal hospitality here. First, he ran to meet them, and then “bowed himself toward the ground.” The phrase “bowed himself” is actually the Hebrew shachah, the usual word for “worship.” This, in fact, is the first use of this word in Scripture. Although it is often also used to describe bowing down in obeisance before men, the fact that it is used first in connection with worshiping God in human appearance seems significant as setting the standard for its primary meaning throughout Scripture.

Abraham then urged the men to rest themselves while he fetched water to wash their feet and had a meal prepared for them. He addressed the spokesman as “my Lord” (Hebrew Adonai), which is one of the divine names. … — Morris, page 337.


This is the first time we read of the fine meal of fine flour in the Bible. The word is used approximately one hundred times and is the standing type of the fine, lovely, smooth, white, pure, nourishing life of Christ in whom there was no foreign substance but only grace, purity, love, holiness, and perfect smoothness. All roughness and rudeness was far from Him. Often the fine flour was mingled with oil, Leviticus 2:7; 7:12; Numbers 6:15; and in Numbers 7 we find this ordered twelve times. The oil typified the Holy Spirit as the fine flour foreshadowed the human nature of Christ. He was filled with the Spirit if anyone ever was. The soleth or fine flour, may have given rise to the word “solemnity” which we received from the Latins and which originally meant to sacrifice with soleth, or an offering of fine flour. When we speak of a solemn occasion, we have forgotten the origin of this word, just as when we speak of an ovation, we do not think of the fact that this word originated in the sacrifice of a sheep at some minor triumph. — Bultema, page 50


[The Lord] said, literally, “I will surely return unto thee when the season lives.” This might refer either to the return of the same season of the year in the following year, or to the reviving of Sarah’s bodily functions when the Lord returned. “It had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.” She had passed her “change of life,” but her “season” for child-bearing was to be revived, all the more miraculously since her womb had been barren even when she was young.

When Sarah heard this promise, she “laughed within herself,” not a laugh of joy, but a cynical laugh, knowing that it was impossible for her and her husband any longer to enjoy the pleasures of sexual relations or of child-bearing. … Abraham must have told her earlier about God’s great promise (17:19), even if she had not been present at the theophany. She must have found it difficult to believe, even coming from God. Without a doubt, her faith needed to be strengthened, if indeed she was ever going to “receive strength to conceive seed, and be delivered of a child when she was past age” (Hebrews 11:11). 

On thing that helped strengthen her faith was the Lord’s question: “Wherefore did Sarah laugh?” The man could neither see her behind the tent flap nor hear her laugh, since she only laughed within herself. She must quickly have realized that this indeed was either an angel or God Himself, in order for Him to know these things. 

In embarrassment, she called out, denying that she had laughed. The Lord insisted, correctly that she had, even though Abraham had not heard her. The Lord also repeated the promise.

Verse 14 is one of the mountain-peak verses of the Bible. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” To ask the question is to answer it. “With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). He who created all things surely controls all things. He who enacted the laws of nature can change them if He wills. The adjective “hard” is the same as “wonderful,” the same word describing the coming Messiah in Isaiah 9:6. — Morris, pages 340-341

This entry was posted in Genesis. Bookmark the permalink.