The Angels’ Visit

Genesis 18:1-16

As Abraham is enjoying a visit from God following his own circumcision, he sees three men in the distance. Eager to share his hospitality, he begs the men to stop a while in his shelter, and prepares them a lavish meal. The three men have news for Abraham. They tell him that in a year’s time, his wife, Sarah, will give birth to a son. Sarah, who is listening to the conversation from inside, is so surprised by the news that she laughs. God confronts Abraham over Sarah’s reaction, and she denies her lapse in faith. Then the men turn away and head towards Sodom.

 

We are told in this passage that Abraham is dwelling in Elonei Mamre, which is located overlooking the Hebron Valley. The Israel Bible discusses the significance of this location throughout history.The archaeological remains of two towers, over 2,000 years old, have been found there. They are thought to date back to King Herod. In the 4th century, the site became home to a Christian church, and a major marketplace. According to the Talmud, that particular market was one of the three most important markets in the Land of Israel.

 

Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think God chose to reveal the coming birth of Isaac this way? Why not tell Abraham Himself? Alternatively, why tell him at all?

Comments ( 17 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Nadine Navalta

    Isaac foreshadows Yeshua. Yeshua's birth was also confirmed to Yosef by an angel in his dream. (Matt 1:20)

  • Susan Ault

    I think God was giving abraham a gift after his circumcision Now that abraham is clean in the eyes of God Issac is his gift from God a clean child special and chosen God rewards those who are faithful

  • Shlomenu Muendo

    Adonai,with the archangel Michael and another man decided to personally descend to Earth and share the story of the birth of a special Son brought to existance by Adonai directly part by Adonai-Yaakov-via-Avraham

  • Damian Sco

    Given that the Koran indicates it was Ismail who was sacrificed and not Isaac, I think it was intentional to include the laughter of Sarah into the narrative. Surely the mother of the one to be sacrificed would add her two cents since she was so much beyond child bearing years while Hagar, being much younger, was not. Since we hear of the laughter of Sarah, who not coincidentally was standing within earshot and with her two cents put the lie of the Moslems to bed for good, I believe the scenario was intentionally set up this way in order to add further evidence to refute the Koran's narrative.

    Had the Moslems not attempted to twist the truth to their advantage, which evidently G-d knew would be coming eventually, there would have been no reason for the foretelling of Isaac's birth at all!

    However, as the gentleman above said, G-d's ways are not our ways so this is purely a guess on my part.

  • Pauline Graham

    Hi, I believe that G-D and the messengers came to visit Abraham and Sarah to impart the news of the child personally. He is a G-D who cares, loves and watches over His Own. As the child would be brought forth by supernatural means by G-D. No wonder Sarah laughed as she knew that she was well passed the natural means of getting pregnant by her husband. Abraham trusted and believed the Lord so he admonishes his wife.

  • We can never fully understand why Hashem came with two angels to visit him and confirm that Sarah was to have a child. For his ways are not our ways. At best all we can do is guess why he came. I would guess it was to comfort him ( Abraham)in his pain and reassure that he (Hashem) would in fact give them a child. Before his coming to Abraham and Sarah both still doubted as demonstrated by their laughter.

  • Three "men" visiting Avraham. Three angels and/or two angels and HaShem ? Anyhow G-d is speaking to man in a way man can understand and follow. The three might be emanations of heavenly beings. 2 heavenly messengers and The ONE Who is speaking with Authority might be an emanation of The Holy ONE., just as there is many more times spoken of celestial beings who have authority. Why convers to Avraham in this way ? In his painful condition (after he brit ) and maybe Avraham was a little bit doubting wether he was right in his conviction, a personal Word was at the right place. and making the Word flesh HE spoke about the son that would be born to reassure that Avraham was not believing windmills but Reality.The two angels on their way to Sedom supported the visibility of HIS Authority. Because Avraham was the head of the household he needed to be addressed in order to know what was going to happen in the near future and what was expected of him….

  • I have struggled with my comments here for several weeks. One of the first questions that you have to settle when you begin to study the Torah is when will you believe…I determined to believe at Beresheet 1:1. I don't always understand things, but over the years as I've walked out Torah, Elohim has made many things clear to me, some things not.
    *
    Moshe recorded the Torah for us. He is our "first" witness". He recorded that Avraham received a visit from three persons that Avraham addressed as "Adonai". Even the sages admit that Avraham used a "sacred form" to address these visitors. He bowed down and worshipped and we are told throughout Scripture that angels NEVER received worship.
    *
    The sages have decided in light of all of this that these beings were three angels. I have no reason to follow their beliefs. I chose to believe Avraham & Moshe despite whatever men may beg to differ with what's written here.
    *
    The question that's asked is why Elohim would chose to bring this news of his son to him personally?
    *
    From my own experience with my husband's circumcision in his mid 60's due to his conviction that Elohim was calling him to be circumcised, I can tell you that Avraham has just gone through something very painful and difficult. It was an operation unknown to him and the recovery for a full grown man is quite different than that for an 8-day old child. His acceptance of this mark upon his flesh as a sign of the covenant between him and Elohim is a HUGE leap of faith.
    *
    (To this day, I don't know how the King of Shechem convinced the men of his kingdom to all be circumcised so his son could marry Ya'acov's daughter!! Especially when you consider it in light of how many have risen up in opposition to circumcision in this day and age!)
    *
    I think it's beautiful that Elohim decided to come and have lunch with Avraham to honor him with HIS Holy Presence. I can't take that away from him just because it's hard to imagine HIM wanting to come to earth to be with any of us.
    *
    Baruch Hashem

    • Thank you so much for sharing. I have a different view of this now. You seem to make so much sense to what I was wondering also.

    • Thank you SueJean, I agree with this line of thought, that Yahweh personally appeared to Abraham in honor of Abraham's obedience to the covenant of circumcision, and to comfort him through the pain he was going through, given that he was over 90 years of age at this point — the circumcision pain must have been unbearable for a man his age.

      On the point of angels (messengers), two of them were messengers and one of them was Yahweh himself. It follows therefore that Avraham was worshiping Yahweh and not the messengers.

  • Herman

    3 men coming to convey the coming of the promised son. They come this way to convince Avraham of the importance of this coming child, the holder of The Promis. And then something confuses me: it is the Holy One Himself , praise be to His Name, Who came and ….Avraham and Sara lived on, even produced life after the encounter. Scripture says: “No man can see G’d and live” How to understand this?

    • According to Jewish tradition, the text often speaks “in the language of man”, meaning that when God appears to Abraham at the beginning of this portion, it is not meant to be understood in the literal sense of being seen, but rather, His presence was felt by Abraham, who was able to converse with Him. We can safely assume this interpretation for the reason you cited — “No man can see God and live.” We know, also, that Moses was the one who came closest to seeing God in any manifestation, and while he spoke to Him “peh el peh” (literally mouth to mouth), he only ever “saw” God’s “back”.

      • Damian Sco

        And then again Adam walked and talked with G-d.

  • Magda

    In addition to all the great things that Sheila and Jesse had said, I also think God reminds Abraham through this concrete (with ‘people’ he can see) encounter that He is real and present all the time. He could have surprised Abraham with a son in a year’s time (He didn’t previously mention a time for Izaac’s birth/ waiting period for the promised son), but He chooses to become visible and visibly involved again by conversing with Abraham about the specifics of the promise. So Abraham is thus reminded that His God isn’t One leaving him (Abraham) on his own waiting and wondering and never knowing, but He is involved, Ever Present and Ever Caring. And the Ultimate Keeper of His Word – and Promises.

  • Jesse

    God had already spoken to Abraham and told him that he would have a son by Sarah. Abraham’s reaction was actually the same as Sarah’s in this passage in that they both laughed at the incredulity of the promise but the fact that God spoke this promise to Abraham twice was to doubly indicate that what was spoken by God would indeed come to pass.

  • Sheila

    The Abrahamic Covenant was coming to fruition inthe Lord’s timing. The Lord was preparing, changing and encouraging them in their faith journey especially with the expectation of the son of promise still to be born to them. There is nothing more powerful than a personal encounter with the Lord which happened in a warm and hospitable situation at their tent. Sarah needed to be present as I sense she needed an extra boost of faith because she knew that because of her age it was impossible biologically to conceive and deliver a child and laughed when the Lord spoke to Abraham —– in about a year’s time your wife Sarah will have a son v10. This confirmed to Abraham that v14 — is anything impossible for the Lord — would result in the miraculous birth of Isaac.

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