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Genesis 18 General Notes

Special concepts in this chapter

Three men

The three men who visited Abraham were probably angels. This is evident from Abraham’s reaction to them. Also, it appears Abraham knew that he was speaking directly to Yahweh through these men. (See: rc://en/tw/dict/bible/kt/angel and rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-explicit)

Disbelief

When Sarah heard the news that she was going to have a baby, she laughed in disbelief because she was considered too old to have a baby. She also asked a rhetorical question in order to further show her disbelief. This would have been considered an insult to God. (See: rc://en/tw/dict/bible/kt/unbeliever and rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-rquestion)

In his exchange with God, Abraham did not show any sign of unbelief. Instead, he is asking God for mercy because he trusted in the character of God. He does not question God’s power to accomplish things as Sarah had done. (See: rc://en/tw/dict/bible/kt/trust)

Other possible translation difficulties in this chapter

Sarah’s age

It should be apparent that Sarah was physically no longer able to have children because of her age. There is a natural period in a woman’s life when she stops being able to have children. The text assumes the reader understands that Sarah has already experienced this event. In English, this is called “menopause.” (See: rc://en/ta/man/translate/figs-explicit)

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