The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!
As Abraham was sitting before his tent, after having circumcised himself, God appeared. Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw three men standing there. Abraham invited them to come in and made a fine meal for them.
One of the men said that Sarah would have a son by the time he returns to their tent. Sarah heard this comment and laughed to herself, saying, “Oh, that I shall have the greatest fulfillment now that I am already worn out and my husband is an old man!”
God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Is there anything too wondrous for God?”
After Abraham and God parted, the two angels went to Sodom in the evening. Lot greeted them with a reverent bow and urged them to stay at his house overnight. At first they refused, but then they agreed and Lot made them a feast.
But before they lay down to sleep, the men of Sodom surrounded the house. They wanted Lot to reveal his guests, but Lot refused, begging them to not act wickedly. But the men pushed harder until they almost pushed down Lot and his door. The visitors grabbed Lot and brought him inside, then struck down the men with blindness so that they could no longer find the entrance.
But Sarah saw Ishmael, the son of Hagar, the Egyptian woman, making mockery. Sarah said to her husband, “Cast out this handmaid and her son, for the son shall not share the inheritance with our son, Isaac.”
But the matter was very displeasing in the eyes of Abraham because of his son. And God said to Abraham, “Let it not be evil in your eyes because of the lad and your handmaid. Hearken to Sarah’s wishes, for in Isaac shall be your seed. And also for the son of the handmaid, I will make a nation, for he is your seed.”
And it came to pass that God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham.”
“Here I am,” Abraham responded.
God said, “Take, I beg of you, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and get yourself to the land of Moriah and offer him on one of the mountains.”
So Abraham did as he was told, journeying with his wood for the offering and with his son and his servants to the place that God had told him. On the third day, Abraham and Isaac left the servants and took the wood for the offering, some fire and a knife. So they went, both of them, together.
Isaac spoke to his father, Abraham, “My father!”
Abraham said, “Here I am, my son.”
Questions For Discussion
1. Why does Abraham argue with God over the righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah, but not over sending Hagar and Ishmael away or the notion of using his son Isaac as an offering? Do you ever argue with God? How?
2. When Hagar and Ishmael are sent away by Abraham, why does he only give them bread and water? What would you have done in the same situation?
3. God appears to Abimelekh in a dream. Has God ever appeared to you in a dream? In what way?
4. There are many angels of God in this portion. What exactly is an angel of God? Have you ever met an angel of God? When?