Righteous Person – To Be or Not To Be?

Sodom and Gomorrah #3

In the previous verse that we covered in our previous post, Abraham started his defence statement. He askes God: “Will you exterminate a righteous man together with an evil man?” In Genesis 18:24 he continues with his defence. He is doing all he can to save the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction.

Note: following readers’ requests, I decided to add transliteration to the verses. I will make sure to continue with it from now. Thank you for any suggestions you may have to make this blog better.

When we find ourselves fighting a tide of evil, we must think of Abraham asking God: "Will you save the city for the sake of the very few who are righteous, despite the evil that surrounds them?"


Abraham keeps teaching us the strategies we need when we defend in court. In verse 23 he starts by raising the moral question about collateral damage. He askes, “Will you kill the innocent together with the guilty?” Now he continues, moving from the principle to the pragmatic specifics. The specifics are essential. If God agrees with his moral principle, Abraham should leave for himself a base to negotiate from.

He starts with a specific number of righteous persons

Starting from the general and moving to the negotiable specifics is an effective technique that we often use in modern negotiations. So in this verse Abraham not only demonstrates the technique, but he also keeps showing us how we must use the best tools in our arsenal. When we defend our ‘client’, we must to give them the best possible chance.

But this is not all Abraham is doing

Abraham could have asked God to save the righteous men. But this was not enough for him. He wants more. He wants וְלֹאתִשָּׂא לַמָּקוֹם, that is, he wants God to forgive the entire place and save it for the sake of the few righteous people in it.  Here Abraham sets the principle which will continue throughout the Bible. Righteous people, as few as they might be, make the difference. They are the lighthouse, the ones that save the world, even if they are only a few and far between.

What does it mean for us? Why should we be righteous persons?

This is a call and a reminder to all of us who struggle with the question why we need to keep doing the right thing in a world in which nobody appreciates it, in a world where we are often ridiculed, threatened, or worse.

There are times when all seems hopeless, when you find yourself in a minority fighting a tide of evil, when you want to give up because you do not see what difference you can bring. In time like this we must ask ourselves if our situation is worse than of those few righteous men in Sodom. Because for them and for you Abraham asks God: “Will you save the city for the sake of the very few who do the right thing despite the evil that surrounds them”.

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1 year ago

[…] the previous post, Abraham started his defence: “Will you exterminate the righteous together with the wicked?” […]