Hospitality in Midday Heat


August

Hospitality in Midday Heat (Genesis 18:1-15)


m 1195, Nordfrankreich, Tempera und Gold auf Pergament, Chantilly, Musée Condé Musée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée CondéMusée Condé

Biblical Text

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures* of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.”

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Ingeborg Psalter, Abraham Receives the Three Angels and Hosts Them, ca. 1195. Northern France, tempera and gold on parchment. Chantilly, Musée Condé.


Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself. The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” 

*approximately 12 kg



For Adults

Who are these three mysterious strangers visiting Abraham? Human beings, angels (so named in the following chapter, Gn 19:1), or God Himself accompanied by two attendants? Abraham at first seems uncertain whether he sees three ordinary men or whether they are divine apparitions. The address “My lord” to one of the three men indicates that Abraham senses that supernatural visitors have come. Abraham’s reserve in the beginning—he announces a modest meal (“Let a little water be brought… Let me bring a little bread”)— changes into an enormous effort to serve his guests. A superb calf is prepared, loads of fresh bread is baked, butter and milk are brought, and thus a truly royal banquet is served fitting the divine visit. Until now, Christian tradition has interpreted the three visitors as foreshadowing the Divine Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).


Picture Credit

Photo: Erich Lessing / akg-images


Text Credit

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.