Homilies on Genesis and Exodus

By Ronald E. Heine; Origen | Go to book overview

HOMILY IV
On that which is written: "God appeared to Abraham"

ANOTHER APPEARANCE OF GOD TO ABRAHAM has been read to us as follows: "God was seen," the text says, "by Abraham when he was sitting at the door of his tent at the oak of Mambre. And behold, three men stood before him, and looking about with his eyes Abraham saw, and behold three men were before him and he went out to meet them," etc.1

Let us compare, first of all, if you please, this appearance with that one which Lot experienced. "Three men" come to Abraham and stand "before him"; "two" come to Lot and sit "in the street."2 See if, in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, these events did not occur as each man deserved. For Lot was far inferior to Abraham. For if he had not been inferior, he would not have been separate from Abraham nor would Abraham have said to him, "If you go to the right, I will go to the left; if you go to the left, I will go to the right."3 And if he had not been inferior, the land and habitation of Sodom would not have pleased him.

Three men, therefore, come to Abraham at midday; two come to Lot and in the evening.4 For Lot could not receive the magnitude of midday light; but Abraham was capable of receiving the full brightness of the light.

Let us see now how Abraham received those who came and how Lot did, and let us compare each man's preparation of hospitality. First, however, observe that the Lord also was present with Abraham with two angels, but two angels alone proceed to Lot. And what do they say? "The Lord has sent us to

____________________
1
Gn 18.1-2.
2
Gn 19.1.
3
Gn 13.9.
4
Gn 19.1. Cf. Philo QG. 4.30.

-103-

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