Then Yahweh said, 'The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin is so grave,
that I shall go down and see whether or not their actions are at all as the outcry reaching me would suggest. Then I shall know.'
While the men left there and went to Sodom, Yahweh remained in Abraham's presence.
Abraham stepped forward and said, 'Will you really destroy the upright with the guilty?
Suppose there are fifty upright people in the city. Will you really destroy it? Will you not spare the place for the sake of the fifty upright in it?
Do not think of doing such a thing: to put the upright to death with the guilty, so that upright and guilty fare alike! Is the judge of the whole world not to act justly?'
Yahweh replied, 'If I find fifty upright people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place because of them.'
Abraham spoke up and said, 'It is presumptuous of me to speak to the Lord, I who am dust and ashes:
Suppose the fifty upright were five short? Would you destroy the whole city because of five?' 'No,' he replied, 'I shall not destroy it if I find forty-five there.'
Abraham persisted and said, 'Suppose there are forty to be found there?' 'I shall not do it,' he replied, 'for the sake of the forty.'
Abraham said, 'I hope the Lord will not be angry if I go on: Suppose there are only thirty to be found there?' 'I shall not do it,' he replied, 'if I find thirty there.'
He said, 'It is presumptuous of me to speak to the Lord: Suppose there are only twenty there?' 'I shall not destroy it,' he replied, 'for the sake of the twenty.'
He said, 'I trust my Lord will not be angry if I speak once more: perhaps there will only be ten.' 'I shall not destroy it,' he replied, 'for the sake of the ten.'