16-7-17 Abraham’s Three Visitors

Abraham’s Three Visitors

Who were Abraham’s three visitors in Gen. 18? In verse 1 it says the LORD, Hebrew Yahveh or maybe Yahoo (see Greetings from Paradise, chapter ‘The Name Of the Lord’). Verse 2 speaks of three men. And why was Abraham so eager that they pass on in verse 5?

Gen. 18: 1 to 10: (Abraham’s Three Visitors)

[1] And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; [2] And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

The Three Visitors 

[3] And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: [4] Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: [5] And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

[6] And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. [7] And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. [8] And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. [9] And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. [10] And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. ….

Who were Abraham’s three visitors?

There is an extensive discussion on what lead up to the Birth of Isaac. Gen. 18 can only be understood from the Ancient point of view on science, in this case on reproduction.

Where do the little boys and girls come from?

The views of the Ancients and the development of their views is discussed in great detail in Greetings from Paradise in the chapters ‘In the Beginning’ and ‘The Original Sin.’ Understanding the development of these prehistoric views holds the key to the identity of Abraham’s three visitors!

In the Beginning, people did not know why women became pregnant. They just did and men must have greatly admired them for that. Some say that women ruled in very early society, but I don’t agree. Women never ruled in the modern sense but they enticed men by their charms and the magic of bringing forth children.

Once women found out why they became pregnant, they thought that the whole ejaculation was an early form of the complete child, which would change inside the woman into a newborn baby, just like the gooey substance inside an eggshell would change into a little chicken, if the hen sat upon it.

Why didn’t the Ancients know better? For one thing they did not have microscopes to see that there were millions of sperm cells in an ejaculation. Secondly, even those who knew what parts there are inside a woman would not have made any sense of it.

This is why Jacob said in Gen. 32: 10, when he returned to Esau, ‘With (nothing but) my staff I passed over this Jordan (on my flight from Esau) and now I have become two bands.’ He has become two bands, he saw himself as his own children. He did not think that the women had had any influence on his offspring. He saw women as empty vessels. This view was not contempt against women at that time but it just was an early stage of science!

What does this have to do with Abraham’s three visitors?

Well, Gen. 18 is part of the story how Sarah became pregnant with Isaac. In Gen. 11: 30, it had been thought that Sarai, as her name was originally, was infertile. However in the next chapter Abram, his original name, went into Egypt, because there was a famine in Canaan. Abram asked Sarai to pass herself off as his sister, so that the Egyptians won’t kill him for her sake. So the Egyptians took Sarai for great rewards (Gen. 12: 16) into Pharaoh’s harem.

When the Pharaoh found out that Sarai had been Abram’s woman (there is no word for wife in Hebrew), he returned her and said (Gen. 12: 19), Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I have taken her to me to woman.’ King James filled in the word ‘might’, he might have taken her, but this word does not exist in Hebrew. The Pharaoh took her into his harem and quite likely Sarai bear him a child or two.

Why doesn’t Genesis mention this?

Genesis only mentions important children. For example in Gen. 5 the descendants of Adam are listed. Adam begot Seth and Seth begot Enos and so on. It says about every patriarch, … and he begat sons and daughters:’ These are not named, since they are not important.

Likewise the Pharaoh’s children which Sarai bare were not important. When Abram and Sarai left Egypt, they left those children with the Pharaoh. They were his. They had come forth from his loins (comp. Gen. 35: 11 & Gen. 37: 34). Sarai had no problem leaving these children. They were not only the Pharaoh’s, they were the Pharaoh. They were his seed. She did not think that she had had any influence on how they had turned out.

This incident might have shown Abram, that the cause of his childlessness was with him, not with Sarai!

How Could Abraham Heal himself from his Childlessness?

One attempt, which did not involve the three visitors, might have been the circumcision which the scripture introduced in Gen. 17: 10. So far the covenant between God and men had always been one – sided. God was going to protect men, but in this verse God, for the first time, asked for something in return.

How could anybody dare to do such a thing to himself in those days. They didn’t have scalpels or disinfectants. Much later, in Ex. 4: 25, Zipporah took a sharp stone to circumcise her son. If the wound would become infected the person was quite likely to die in those days without doctors or antibiotics.

The reward for the circumcision was (Gen. 17: 6), ‘I (God) will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.’ Again there is the notion that the women involved are unimportant. Maybe the Ancients even thought they would live on after death in the form of their own offspring. This in turn could have been a source of courage and death defiance in battle. Death was all present anyway, due to the lack of medical help. Sacrificing yourself in battle might ensure a better life to the warrior himself in the form of his own son.

According to Gen. 17: 6, even the slaves shall be circumcised. Why? If Abraham’s slaves have many children, he will have many slaves, who will work for him, fight for him or he could sell them! So there is an indication that the circumcision would facilitate ‘fruitfulness’, i.e. many children for everybody, not only people of the race of Abraham.

How would Circumcision Help?

Well, if the Ancients thought that the ejaculation coming out of the penis is the complete child, then the answer might have to do with the passage of this early form of the child from the penis into the woman.

Maybe Abraham had noticed, that after intercourse quite a bit of his ejaculation remained caught in his foreskin. Maybe he thought, that without the part that remained there, what he had passed into Sarai’s belly would be incomplete. Therefore it might not be able to develop into a baby! So cutting off the foreskin might help to get the complete ejaculation, the complete child, into the woman so that it can develop into a new human being!

This thought might well have been the reason for the circumcision.!

Did the Circumcision Help?

Silly question, of course not. Genesis does not say much about how it went, and it slides gently from Gen. 17: 14 to verse 15. However, there may be quite an amount of time between these two verses during which Abraham would have found out that he could not get Sarai pregnant, even though he had circumcised himself and his seed would easily and completely pass into her. This is where Abraham’s three visitors come into play.

In Gen. 17: 15 God commanded Abraham to change his woman’s name from Sarai to Sarah. Sarai means ‘my princess’ while Sarah means just ‘princess’. There are Bible scholars who think that Sarah or Sarai was not her name but her title. The words prince and princess in Genesis obviously do not mean just sons and daughters of kings, but people of good physical and mental qualities who would be able to produce offspring of the same good qualities. The ‘princes of Pharaoh’ in Gen. 12: 15, probably were breeders like this.

So could the name change of Sarai to Sarah, from ‘my princess’ to just ‘princess’, mean that Abraham should not keep her to himself anymore, but allow her intercourse with other men? Could Abraham’s three visitors have been three men, maybe one with two assistants, who hired himself out to impregnate other men’s women with high quality offspring?

Who would do such a thing?

The Ancient Greek writer Plutarch reported in his ‘Life of Lycurgus 15: 7’, that any Spartan man could go up to any other Spartan whose woman (it does not say wife) he admired for the good offspring he had born him and ask his permission to grow himself some noble sons in his good soil. In section 8 he reported that Lycurgus, the Spartan law maker, ‘saw much folly and vanity in what other peoples enacted for the regulation of these matters. In the breeding of dogs and horses they insist on having the best sires which money or favour can secure, but they keep their women under lock and key, demanding that they have children by none but themselves, even though they be foolish, or infirm, or diseased.’

The Ancient Romans actually freed and then adopted good slaves! Quality people were important to the Ancients!

If Abraham’s three visitors actually did hire themselves out to make Sarah pregnant with some good quality offspring, that would certainly explain, why Abraham was so eager for them to travel on in Gen. 18: 5. If they or one of them was God, he might have asked him to stay with him, but he said, ’… after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant.’ He obviously would want to get rid of them. They would have been competition for him as the chieftain of his tribe, particularly because they were good at producing offspring.

Just like in the prehistoric days, people worshipped those who were good at creating life!

They actually saw them as gods!

In the Odyssey Circe (10: 136) and Calypso (1: 14) were both called goddesses.. According to Hesiod’s Theogony (1003) Odysseus had sons with both of them. So these two may very well have been the most important women on their islands. The people on these islands might not have known yet what makes women pregnant. It may very well have been Odysseus who brought this knowledge to these islands, since they were extremely remote. The Ancients might have just admired these women because of the many children they brought forth and therefore they might have called them goddesses.

Even in the last century Rabbi Schneerson (1902 to 1994, Toward a Meaningful Life) wrote at the beginning of his chapter entitled, ‘Why is sexuality so powerful?’, ‘When G-d created man and woman, they were one human in the image of one G-d, then they were separated into two distinct parts.’ Later, the Rabbi claims, they were separated. But because of this ‘man and woman constantly feel the need to reunite. And sexuality is this union,’ claims the Rabbi. ‘Man and woman seek to “become one flesh,” thereby uniting with G-d, in whose image they were created. No wonder intimacy is such a powerful force: It is the only experience in human life in which we come face to face with G-d,’ says Rabbi Schneerson!

Also in Gen. 6: 1 to 4 the ‘sons of God’ might have been good quality human breeders. They certainly produced good offspring, ‘mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown’. The Ancients called them sons of god due to this quality. If these really would have been sons of God, then Jesus would not be God’s only begotten son, not even his firstborn!

The Ancients saw the ability to produce children as a quality of a god or goddess!

So, who were Abraham’s Three Visitors?

Quite likely they were three men who hired themselves out to give other men offspring from their own women of the same good physical and mental qualities as Abraham’s three visitors themselves. The Ancients called these men gods due to their ability to produce quality offspring! Since this happened more than thousand years before the actual writing of Genesis, there might have been confusion between these ‘gods’ and God himself. Therefore the writer used God’s name, Yahveh or maybe even Yahoo, in the first verse of Gen. 18 and from verse 13 on!

So it appears that at the time of Abraham people were breeding people. Obviously Sarai had been a valuable princess or breeder since Abraham received for her (Gen. 12: 16) ‘sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels’, he received even other human beings! Men preferred their own sons of whom they thought these sons are themselves in another form, living on after their own deaths. Circumcision appears to have been a way to ensure the complete insertion of the ejaculation into a woman. The Ancients thought that the ejaculation is an early form of the complete child!

With this stage of scientific knowledge at the time Gen. 18 the identity of Abraham’s three visitors becomes clearer.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.