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The Birth of Ishmael
16Â Now Sarai, Abramâ€™s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar.Â 2Â So Sarai said to Abram, â€œTheÂ LordÂ has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.â€ And Abram agreed with Saraiâ€™s proposal.Â 3Â So Sarai, Abramâ€™s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.)
4Â So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt.Â 5Â Then Sarai said to Abram, â€œThis is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that sheâ€™s pregnant she treats me with contempt. TheÂ LordÂ will show whoâ€™s wrongâ€”you or me!â€
6Â Abram replied, â€œLook, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.â€ Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
7Â The angel of theÂ LordÂ found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur.Â 8Â The angel said to her, â€œHagar, Saraiâ€™s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?â€
â€œIâ€™m running away from my mistress, Sarai,â€ she replied.
9Â The angel of theÂ LordÂ said to her, â€œReturn to your mistress, and submit to her authority.â€Â 10Â Then he added, â€œI will give you more descendants than you can count.â€
11Â And the angel also said, â€œYou are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means â€˜God hearsâ€™), for theÂ LordÂ has heard your cry of distress.Â 12Â This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.â€
13Â Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to theÂ Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, â€œYou are the God who sees me.â€Â She also said, â€œHave I truly seen the One who sees me?â€Â 14Â So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means â€œwell of the Living One who sees meâ€). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered.
15Â So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael.16Â Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.
Abram Is Named Abraham
17Â When Abram was ninety-nine years old, theÂ LordÂ appeared to him and said, â€œI am El-Shaddaiâ€”â€˜God Almighty.â€™ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.Â 2Â I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.â€
3Â At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him,4Â â€œThis is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations!Â 5Â Whatâ€™s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham,Â for you will be the father of many nations.Â 6Â I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!
7Â â€œI will confirm my covenant with you and your descendantsÂ after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.8Â And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.â€
The Mark of the Covenant
9Â Then God said to Abraham, â€œYour responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility.Â 10Â This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised.11Â You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you.Â 12Â From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased.Â 13Â All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant.Â 14Â Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.â€
Sarai Is Named Sarah
15Â Then God said to Abraham, â€œRegarding Sarai, your wifeâ€”her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah.Â 16Â And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.â€
17Â Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. â€œHow could I become a father at the age of 100?â€ he thought. â€œAnd how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?â€Â 18Â So Abraham said to God, â€œMay Ishmael live under your special blessing!â€
19Â But God replied, â€œNoâ€”Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac,Â and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant.Â 20Â As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.Â 21Â But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.â€Â 22Â When God had finished speaking, he left Abraham.
23Â On that very day Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and every male in his household, including those born there and those he had bought. Then he circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins, just as God had told him.Â 24Â Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised,Â 25Â and Ishmael, his son, was thirteen.Â 26Â Both Abraham and his son, Ishmael, were circumcised on that same day,27Â along with all the other men and boys of the household, whether they were born there or bought as servants. All were circumcised with him.
A Son Is Promised to Sarah
18Â TheÂ LordÂ appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day.Â 2Â He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground.
3Â â€œMy lord,â€ he said, â€œif it pleases you, stop here for a while.Â 4Â Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet.5Â And since youâ€™ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.â€
â€œAll right,â€ they said. â€œDo as you have said.â€
6Â So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, â€œHurry! Get three large measuresÂ of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.â€Â 7Â Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a tender calf and gave it to his servant, who quickly prepared it.8Â When the food was ready, Abraham took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them in the shade of the trees.
9Â â€œWhere is Sarah, your wife?â€ the visitors asked.
â€œSheâ€™s inside the tent,â€ Abraham replied.
10Â Then one of them said, â€œI will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!â€
Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent.Â 11Â Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children.Â 12Â So she laughed silently to herself and said, â€œHow could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my masterâ€”my husbandâ€”is also so old?â€
13Â Then theÂ LordÂ said to Abraham, â€œWhy did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, â€˜Can an old woman like me have a baby?â€™Â 14Â Is anything too hard for theÂ Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.â€
15Â Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, â€œI didnâ€™t laugh.â€
But theÂ LordÂ said, â€œNo, you did laugh.â€
Abraham Intercedes for Sodom
16Â Then the men got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As they left, Abraham went with them to send them on their way.
17Â â€œShould I hide my plan from Abraham?â€ theÂ LordÂ asked.Â 18Â â€œFor Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.Â 19Â I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of theÂ LordÂ by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.â€
20Â So theÂ LordÂ told Abraham, â€œI have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant.Â 21Â I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.â€
22Â The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but theÂ Lordremained with Abraham.Â 23Â Abraham approached him and said, â€œWill you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked?Â 24Â Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the cityâ€”will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes?Â 25Â Surely you wouldnâ€™t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldnâ€™t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?â€
26Â And theÂ LordÂ replied, â€œIf I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.â€
27Â Then Abraham spoke again. â€œSince I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes.28Â Suppose there are only forty-five righteous people rather than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?â€
And theÂ LordÂ said, â€œI will not destroy it if I find forty-five righteous people there.â€
29Â Then Abraham pressed his request further. â€œSuppose there are only forty?â€
And theÂ LordÂ replied, â€œI will not destroy it for the sake of the forty.â€
30Â â€œPlease donâ€™t be angry, my Lord,â€ Abraham pleaded. â€œLet me speakâ€”suppose only thirty righteous people are found?â€
And theÂ LordÂ replied, â€œI will not destroy it if I find thirty.â€
31Â Then Abraham said, â€œSince I have dared to speak to the Lord, let me continueâ€”suppose there are only twenty?â€
And theÂ LordÂ replied, â€œThen I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.â€
32Â Finally, Abraham said, â€œLord, please donâ€™t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found there?â€
And theÂ LordÂ replied, â€œThen I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.â€
33Â When theÂ LordÂ had finished his conversation with Abraham, he went on his way, and Abraham returned to his tent.
Teaching about Adultery
27Â â€œYou have heard the commandment that says, â€˜You must not commit adultery.â€™Â 28Â But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.Â 29Â So if your eyeâ€”even your good eyeâ€”causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.Â 30Â And if your handâ€”even your stronger handâ€”causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Teaching about Divorce
31Â â€œYou have heard the law that says, â€˜A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.â€™Â 32Â But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.
Teaching about Vows
33Â â€œYou have also heard that our ancestors were told, â€˜You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.â€™Â 34Â But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, â€˜By heaven!â€™ because heaven is Godâ€™s throne.Â 35Â And do not say, â€˜By the earth!â€™ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, â€˜By Jerusalem!â€™ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King.Â 36Â Do not even say, â€˜By my head!â€™ for you canâ€™t turn one hair white or black.Â 37Â Just say a simple, â€˜Yes, I will,â€™ or â€˜No, I wonâ€™t.â€™ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.
Teaching about Revenge
38Â â€œYou have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: â€˜An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.â€™39Â But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.Â 40Â If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.Â 41Â If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,carry it two miles.Â 42Â Give to those who ask, and donâ€™t turn away from those who want to borrow.
Teaching about Love for Enemies
43Â â€œYou have heard the law that says, â€˜Love your neighborâ€™Â and hate your enemy.Â 44Â But I say, love your enemies!Â Pray for those who persecute you!Â 45Â In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.Â 46Â If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.Â 47Â If you are kind only to your friends,Â how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.Â 48Â But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.