Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Great Bargainer of the Bible

I don't think I've ever quite thougth of it this way before, but just read this passage below that I read yesterday:

And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
That be far from thee to do after this manner, so slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for the forty's sake.
And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall be thirty there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake.
And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the ten's sake.
And the Lord went his way, as soon as he left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
Genesis 18: 23-33 KJV
(I have tried to type this as accurately as possible - and doubled checked it, but I don't guarantee perfect accuracy. Please consult your own Bible if in doubt. Thank you.)
Look what is going on here! Abraham is bargaining. He didn't start out with ten, he worked his way down. Now, I'm somewhat curious, was that intentional (Realistically, Abraham was wealthy, so it would probably follow that he was a savvy business man) or did he keep rethinking himself?

What I also wonder is this; God would have known there wasn't even ten righteous in the city, so why did he let Abraham work his way down to it? At the moment, all that makes sense is that this was about Abraham and his relationship with God, not about Sodom and Gomorrah. Or maybe he would have spared the city if Abraham had kept bargaining? I'm just throwing that question out there, because it occurred to me, not because I think that it is case.
On another note - next passage - I've always had a dreadful fear that if I were in the same place as Lot's wife, I would have done the same exact thing. I feel sympathy for her, because would I have not looked back? Something else that occurred to me as I was reading through it this time, it's easy to judge her, but it really hit me, some of her daughters were in that city! Remember the sons-in-law Lot appealed to? When you think about it that way, it was still wrong, but I'm certainly not going to hold my nose up in any spiritual superiority!
It's frankly a little scary, because how many second did it take her to look back? Now, God knew she was going to do that too, so he had a purpose in his warning. Which somehow I find a little comforting.
Just some thought for today, from yesterday. :)

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