Genesis 18 – Jehovah visits Abraham; scolds Sarah; Is not sure about Sodom & Gomorrah?

By the oaks of Mamre Jehovah appears before Noah. Noah, sitting at the door of his “tent”, lifts up his eyes and see 3 men. Realizing Jehovah is one of them he runs to greet them and asks them to rest and stay, to be fed a morsel of bread and water.

Note: Jehovah is there but no offering of burnt flesh is mentioned. Also note that Jehovah can appear to Abraham in human form, so why the need for visions and divination? Is it possible that Jehovah has a physical presence that keeps him from being in all places at once, the way we think of God’s omnipresence (all being) and omniscience (all knowing)?

The three “men” inquire about his wife Sarah, and Jehovah tells Abraham that he will return “when the season cometh round” which could be when the season changes to the next. Jehovah tells Noah that when he returns, Sarah will have a son.

Genesis 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

Sarah no longer menstruated “after the manner of women.” She laughs (to herself) about the idea that not only her, but Abraham were old and could not “have pleasure.”

G.D.Tiepolo, Drei Engel bei Abraham - G.D.Tiepolo / Three Angels & Abraham - G.D.Tiepolo/Trois Anges/Abraham/V.1768
Sarah listens in, laughs to herself, and is chastised by Jehovah.

Jehovah hears her thoughts, and questions Abraham why his wife laughed at the concept, questioning whether such a concept was beyond Jehovah’s capabilities. Sarah denies thinking it, but Jehovah scolds her saying “…but thou didst laugh.”

18:14 – Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the SET TIME I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son.

The set time, as illustrated in previous verse, is the change of the season. Let’s break this down. A very old man and woman, both admitting to their inability to bear children in their age, are promised a child. A miraculous birth, if you will. Will Abraham be the physical father? The promise here is, is that Sarah will be pregnant, no specific mention that Abraham will be the father by the act of intercourse. At this point it sounds like a form of immaculate conception is in the plans, because it involves Jehovah returning to Sarah for it to take place.

Their discussion complete, the 2 angels head toward Sodom and Gomorrah, while Jehovah stays behind with Abraham.

18:20 – And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

To back up the idea that Jehovah is not omnipresent/omniscient this verse verifies it. Jehovah can “hear” the cry of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, but he needs to go down to see for himself, and he validates this with “if not, I will know.” Meaning he doesn’t know at the time of this statement.

So we have two verses and concepts that show that Jehovah is not omnipresent or omniscient:

  • When he is away from Abraham he has to speak to him using visions and divination, but when he is physically close he can speak to him as a man. (not omnipresent)
  • He hears the cries of Sodom and Gomorrah but he has to go see for himself to make sure the actions fit the cry. (not omniscient)

Very interesting… Abraham asks Jehovah to consider any righteous who may be living among all the wicked, in hopes he can sway Jehovah not to wipe out the entirety of the cities.

 

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