(1) וישקיפו [AND THE MEN] GLANCED — Wherever the Hiphil form of שקף occurs in the Scriptures it denotes taking notice for the purpose of bringing evil (Midrash Tanchuma, Ki Tisa 14), except (Deuteronomy 26:15) (a passage dealing with the tithe, including that given to the poor), “Look forth (השקיפה) from thy holy habitation . .. [and bless thy people] for so great is the power (virtue) of giving to the poor that it changes God’s anger into mercy. (2) לשלחם means TO ESCORT THEM, for he believed that they were travellers. (1) המכסה אני SHALL I HIDE? This is a question. (2) אשר אני עושה WHAT I AM DOING in Sodom. It is not proper for Me to do this thing without his knowledge. I gave him this land and these five cities therefore are his — as it is said, (10:19) “And the territory of the Canaanites was from Sidon … as thou goest towards Sodom and Gommorah etc.” I called him Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations; should I destroy the children without informing the father who loves me? (Genesis Rabbah 49:2) (1) ואברהם היו יהיה SEEING THAT ABRAHAM SHALL SURELY BECOME — The Midrash applies to this the text Proverbs 10:7, “The mention of the righteous shall be for a blessing”: therefore, since He mentions him He blessed him (Genesis Rabbah 49:1). But its real meaning is: “Shall I conceal it from him, seeing that he is so beloved by Me as to become a great nation, and seeing that all nations of the earth shall bless themselves through him?” (1) כי ידעתיו FOR I KNOW HIM — this is an expression denoting "affection", as (Ruth 2:1) "kinsman (מודע) of her husband," and (Ruth 3:2) “And is not Boaz our kinsman (מודעתנו), and (Exodus 30:17) “I have distinguished (ידעתיך) thee by name”. Still the primary meaning of these terms connected with the root ידע is really that of knowing, for whoever holds a person in affection attaches him to himself, so that he knows him well and is familiar with him. And why do I hold him dear? (2) למען אשר יצוה BECAUSE HE WILL GIVE HIS CHILDREN CHARGE CONCERNING ME TO KEEP MY WAYS. If, however, you explain it as the Targum, “I know “of” him that he will command his sons etc.”, then the word למען does not fit into the sense. (3) יצוה HE WILL COMMAND — This form of the verb (the imperfect) expresses frequentative action, as (Job 1.5) "This Job used to do" (יַעֲשֶׂה) (4) למען הביא IN ORDER THAT [THE LORD] MAY BRING — Thus will he ever command his children saying “Keep the way of the Lord in order that the Lord may bring upon Abraham etc.” Since it does not say here ‘‘upon the house of Abraham”, but upon Abraham himself, we may infer that he who trains up a righteous son is as though he never dies (Genesis Rabbah 49:4). (1) 'ויאמר ה AND THE LORD SAID to Abraham, thus doing what he had said — that He would not conceal the matter from him. (2) כי רבה BECAUSE IT IS GREAT — Wherever רבה elsewhere occurs in Scripture the accent is on the last syllable — on the ב — because it is to be translated by “great” (adj.) or “becoming great” (participle), but this, here, has the accent on the first syllable — on the ר — because it is to be translated by “has already become great” (perf.), just as I have explained (15:17) “And it came to pass, that, when the sun had gone down (בָּאָה)” and (Ruth 1:15) “Behold, thy sister-in-law has gone back (שָׁבָה)”. (1) ארדה נא I WILL GO DOWN NOW — This teaches the judges that they should not give decisions in cases involving capital punishment, except after having carefully looked into the matter — all as I have explained in the section dealing with the dispersion of the nations (11:5). Another explanation of ארדה נא is: I will go down to the very end of their doings (I will fathom the depths of their wickedness). (2) הכצעקתה WHETHER ACCORDING TO THE CRY OF IT (literally, of her) — i.e. the cry of the country (מדינה which is feminine). (3) הבאה אלי עשו WHETHER THEY HAVE DONE [ACCORDING TO THE CRY OF IT] WHICH IS COME UNTO ME — If they persist in their rebellious ways, (כלה) an end will I make of them; if, however, they do not persist in their rebellious ways, I shall know what I shall do — punishing them only with suffering, but I will not make an end of them. — A similar phrase we find elsewhere, (Exodus 33:5) “There- fore now put off thy ornaments from thee that I may know what to do unto thee”. — For this reason there is a separation marked by a פסיק between עשו and כלה, in order to separate in sense one word from the other. Our Teachers explained the word הכצעקתה “the cry of her”, to refer to the cry of a certain girl whom they put to death in an unnatural manner because she had given food to a poor man, as is explained in the chapter Chelek (Sanhedrin 109b). (1) ויפנו משם AND [THE MEN] TURNED FROM THENCE —from the place where Abraham had accompanied them. (2) 'ואברהם עודנו עומד לפני ה BUT ABRAHAM STOOD YET BEFORE THE LORD — But surely it was not he (Abraham) who had gone to stand before Him, but it was the Holy One, blessed be He, Who had come to him and had said to him, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great” and it should therefore have written here, “And the Lord stood yet before Abraham”? But it is a variation such as writers make to avoid an apparently irreverent expression (Genesis Rabbah 49:7) (which our Rabbis, of blessed memory, altered, writing it thus). (1) ויגש אברהם AND ABRAHAM DREW NEAR — We find the verb ננש “to come near” used in the sense of coming near to wage war — (2 Samuel 10:13) “So Joab … drew near unto the battle”; — of coming near to persuade by entreaty — (44:18) “And Judah came near to him [and said, Oh, my lord]” — and of coming near to pray — (1 Kings 18:36) “And Elijah the prophet came near [and said, O Lord, God of Abraham etc.]” Abraham employed all these methods — to fight, by speaking stern words, and to persuade by entreaty, and to pray (Genesis Rabbah 49:8). (2) האף תספה means wilt Thou also destroy. But according to the Targum of Onkelos which translates it (the word האף) in the sense of anger, the explanation would be as follows: will Your anger urge you to destroy righteous with wicked? (1) אולי יש חמשים צדיקים PERADVENTURE THERE BE FIFTY RIGHTEOUS — ten righteous men for each city for there were five localities concerned. Should You, however, say that the righteous cannot save the wicked—but why should You kill the righteous at all? (1) חלילה לך FAR BE IT FROM THEE — It is a profanation (חולין) of Yourself. People will say, “That is what He usually busies Himself with: He destroys every one, righteous and wicked alike” —and thus did You indeed do to the generation of the Flood and to that of the dispersal of nations (Midrash Tanchuma, Vayera 8). (2) כדבר הזה ANYTHING LIKE THIS THING — neither this nor anything like it (Genesis Rabbah 49:10). (3) חלילה לך IT IS UNWORTHY OF THEE —in the world to come. (4) השופט כל הארץ SHALL NOT THE JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH [DO JUSTICE]? — The 'ה of השופט is punctuated with Chataph Patach because the words express a question: “Should not He who is Judge practice true justice”? (1) אם אמצא בסדום וגו' לכל המקום IF I FIND IN SODOM … FORGIVE ALL THE PLACE — all the cities, but because Sodom was the capital city of the district and the most important of all, Scripture subordinates the order cities to it. (1) הואלתי means I am willing to speak, just as (Exodus 2:21) “And Moses was pleased (ויואל) [to dwell with the man]”. (2) ואנכי עפר ואפר I Am BUT DUST AND ASHES — I would long ago have been reduced to dust by the kings and to ashes by Nimrod had it not been that Thy mercies stood by me (Genesis Rabbah 49:11). (1) התשחית בחמשה WILT THOU DESTROY ON ACCOUNT OF THE FIVE — Will there not still be nine for each city, and You, the All-Righteous One of the Universe, can be counted with them to make up the original number of ten! (Genesis Rabbah 49:9). (1) . אולי ימצאון שם ארבעים PERADVENTURE THERE SHALL BE FORTY FOUND THERE — then let four cities be saved; so, too, let thirty save three of them and twenty save two of them or ten save one of them. (1) הואלתי means I am willing to speak, just as (Exodus 2:21) “And Moses was pleased (ויואל) [to dwell with the man]”. (1) אולי ימצאון שם עשרה PERADVENTURE THERE SHALL TEN BE FOUND THERE — For a smaller number he did not plead because he knew already of two instances where less than ten had failed to save the wicked. He said to himself: In the generation of the Flood there were eight righteous people, viz., Noah, his sons and their wives, and they could not save their generation (Genesis Rabbah 49:13), and for nine in association with God he had already pleaded but had found no acceptance. (1) 'וילך ה 'וגו AND THE LORD WENT AWAY — As soon as the counsel for the defence had nothing more to say the Judge took his departure. (2) ואברהם שב למקומו AND ABRAHAM RETURNED UNTO HIS PLAGE — The Judge departed, the Advocate went away, but the Prosecutor continued his accusation, and on that account— ויבואו שני המלאכים סדומה “The two angels came to Sodom” to destroy it (Genesis Rabbah 49:14).