The Theophany At Mamre
Genesis 18:1-15
And the LORD appeared to him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;…

The Lord appeared unto him (Ver. 1).


1. Abraham stands on a higher plane of spiritual life. He is endeavoring to fulfill the commandment given (Genesis 17:1): "Walk before me," &c. The appearances and communications are more frequent and more full.

2. The concentration of the believer's thought at a particular crisis. His place at the tent door, looking forth over the plains of Mature, representing his mental attitude, as he dwelt on the promises and gazed into the future.

3. There was a coincidence between the conjuncture in the history of the neighboring cities and the crisis in the history of the individual believer. So in the purposes of God there is preparation for his manifestation both in external providence and in the events of the world on the one hand, and on the other in the more personal and private history of his people.


1. It was very gracious and condescending. The angels did not appear in angelic glory, but in human likeness. They came as guests, and, in the fragrant atmosphere of a genial hospitality, at once quickened confidence and led forward the mind to expect a higher communication. The household activity of Abraham and Sarah on behalf of the three visitors, while it calmed and strengthened, did also give time for thought and observation of the signs of approaching opportunity.

2. There was from the first an appeal to faith. Three persons, yet one having the pre-eminence. The reverential feeling of the patriarch called out at the manner of their approach to his tent The coincidence possibly between the work of the Spirit in the mind of the believer and the bestowment of outward opportunity.

3. The communication of the Divine promise in immediate connection with the facts of human life. The great trial of faith is not the appeal to accept the word of God in its larger aspect as his truth, but the application of it to our own case. We may believe that the promise will be fulfilled, and yet we may not take it to heart, "I will return unto thee." "Sarah shall have a son." The strength made perfect in weakness, not merely for weakness. The Divine in the Scripture revelation does not overwhelm and absorb the human; the human is taken up into the Divine and glorified. Taking the narrative as a whole, it may be treated -

(1) Historically - as it holds a place in the history of the man Abraham and in the progressive development of revelation.

(2) Morally - suggesting lessons of patience, reverence, humility, truthfulness, faith.

(3) Spiritually - as pointing to the Messiah, intimating the incarnation, the atonement, the prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices of the promised Redeemer; the freedom and simplicity of the fellowship of God with man; the great Christian entertainment - man spreading the meal before God, God accepting it, uniting with man in its participation, elevating it into that which is heavenly by his manifested presence. - R.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

WEB: Yahweh appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.

The Duty of Hospitality
Top of Page
Top of Page