A Daily Genesis

Genesis 18:21-22

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 18:21a . . I will go down to see whether they have acted altogether according to the outcry that has reached Me;[/B]

The word for "outcry" is from [I]tsa'aqah[/I] (tsah-ak-aw') which means: a shriek. The same word was in chapter 4 to describe the cry of Abel's blood from the ground and also in Exodus to describe the cry of Moses' people under the heel of Egyptian slavery.

Have you ever been so annoyed by someone's speaking that you wanted to cover your ears, close your eyes, grit your teeth and just yell out[B]:[/B] SHUT. . . UP!

Sodom was so bad that even the Earth itself couldn't tolerate them any longer; it just wanted to cover its ears, close its eyes, grit its teeth and shout ENOUGH ALREADY! Sadly, there are some people of whom it can be honestly said that the world is a much better place without them.

But isn't Yhvh supposed to be omniscient? Then why does He have to go investigate for Himself to see if the reports coming across His desk regarding Sodom are true? And isn't He supposed to be omnipresent? Then why is Yhvh talking as if He hasn't been down to visit Sodom lately? Because . . Abraham wasn't talking to The True God in person nor is he talking to God's Spirit in person. He was talking to a messenger who has authority to act on God's behalf: to speak for God, to speak as God; and to use God's name for itself.

The Old Testament's Yhvh is a most surprising, enigmatic being.

"God spoke all these words, saying: I Yhvh am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods besides Me." (Ex 20:1-3)

Israel has to worship Yhvh as their god, and they must obey Him as their god. But the divine being who spoke to them in the past as Yhvh, and for Yhvh, was not the actual True God himself in person. No, it was a divine messenger of God. The being named Yhvh whom they dealt with was a reflection of the actual True God; a Supreme Ambassador who mediates between God and Man-- authorized to use God's name for itself --and merits all the worship and prayer, and respect and veneration and fear due to The True God.

The actual person of The True God is remote, and removed; concealed within a forbidden city where sinful flesh can neither see Him, approach Him, nor relate to Him, nor even so much as listen to His actual voice. The Old Testament's Yhvh fills Man's need for someone who relates well to Man, and also relates well to the hidden Sovereign, so that Man and the inaccessible, hidden Sovereign can maintain a viable diplomatic relationship with each other.

Targum authors, at a loss to explain the existence of what they perceived as two persons named Yhvh, labeled the second one "The Word of the Lord God" which is a pretty good expedient since words are used to communicate, and to convey thoughts and ideas. Talmudic writers identified the second Yhvh as the angel Metatron-- a celestial being whose name is his Master's. The New Testament follows the thinking of the Targums in identifying one of the Yhvhs as God's word.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:1-3)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 18:21b . . if not, I will take note.[/B]

Doesn't everyone have a right to face their accuser and defend themselves? Yes. That is one of America's basic human rights; and also a Divine law (Num 35:30, Deut 17:6-7, Deut 19:15). Yhvh can't just act upon rumors and hearsay like some sort of heavenly kangaroo court. No, He has to investigate, and establish the truth of every fact for Himself before moving against Sodom. Their judgment will be fair, and the case against them so air-tight, that even Sodom will have to agree they have whatever's coming to them.

Along that same line; the dead won't go into the flaming sulfur depicted at Rev 20:11-15 without a fair trial. They'll be given ample opportunity to defend themselves; and to know exactly why God feels they deserve to die.

"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every thoughtless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matt 12:36-37)

"Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the irreverent of all the irreverent acts they have done in an irreverent way, and of all the harsh words irreverent sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 1:14-15)

The Greek word for "convict" is from [I]elegcho[/I] (el-eng'-kho) and means: to confute, to admonish. So nobody will be sent to Hell arbitrarily. The case against them will be made in a summary and professional manner-- evidence will be introduced, and witnesses called for testimony. Yhvh was given reports that the Sodomites were doing bad things; and now He will go and see for Himself if those reports are, in fact, true or not. The Bible's Yhvh is, after all, a rational, objective jurist rather than an emotional, reactive vigilante.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 18:22 . .The men went on from there to Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before The Lord.[/B]

A plausible scenario is that all three men began walking towards Sodom, and then one (earlier identified as Yhvh) stayed behind to conduct a private meeting with Abraham.

The Targums say Abraham interceded for his nephew, but it would appear from the Scripture that he interceded not just for Lot, but also for the citizens of Sodom too. And that's to be expected. After all, Abraham was their savior; the one who rescued them all from that awful Chedorlaomer back in chapter fourteen. He couldn't just sit on his hands now and let them all die without making any effort to save them from the wrath of God.

This is somewhat ironic. It's as if Abraham saved the people from El Ched only to be barbecued in Sodom; viz: sort of like the cops shooting a felon during his arrest, taking him to the hospital to save his life, then hauling him into court after he's well enough to stand trial so he can be given the gas chamber.

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