ARE YOU GOING TO DESTROY THE JUST MAN WITH THE SINNER?
From Mamre the men set out and arrived within sight of Sodom, with Abraham accompanying them to show them the way. Now the Lord wondered, “Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am going to do, seeing that Abraham will become a great nation with all the nations of the earth blessing themselves by him? For I have singled him out to command his sons and his household after him to maintain the way of the Lord by just and upright living. In this way the Lord will carry out for Abraham what he has promised him.” Then the lord said, “How great an outcry there is against Sodom and Gomorrah! How grievous is their sin! I propose to go down and see whether or not they have done all that is alleged in the outcry against them that has come up to me. I am determined to know.”
The men left there and went to Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Approaching him he said, “Are you really going to destroy the just man with the sinner? Perhaps there are fifty just men in the town. Will you really overwhelm them, will you not spare the place for the fifty just men in it? Do not think of doing such a thing: to kill the just man with the sinner, treating just and sinner alike! Do not think of it! Will the judge of the whole earth not administer justice?” The Lord replied, “If at Sodom I find fifty just men in the town, I will spare the whole place because of them.”
Abraham replied, “I am bold indeed to speak like this to my Lord, I who am dust and ashes. But perhaps the fifty just men lack five: will you destroy the whole city for five?” “No,” he replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five just men there.” Again abraham said to him, “Perhaps there will only be forty there.” “I will not do it,” he replied, “for the sake of the forty.” Abraham said, “I trust my Lord will not be angry, but give me leave to speak: perhaps there will only be thirty there.” “I will not do it,” he replied, “if I find thirty there.” He said, “I am bold indeed to speak like this, but perhaps there will only be twenty there.” “I will not destroy it,” he replied, “for the sake of the twenty.” He said, “I trust my Lord will not be angry if I speak once more: perhaps there will only be ten.” “I will not destroy it,” he replied, “for the sake of the ten.”
When he had finished talking to Abraham the Lord went away, and Abraham returned home.
V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.