"But for You, $9.99!"By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
When Avraham spoke to Sarah about her having laughed at the thought of having a baby, she denied it. He told her not to bother denying it; after all, his information came straight from G-d!
The visitors (who were angels) got up and headed for Sodom. Avraham escorted them.
G-d said to Himself that it would not be right to conceal from Avraham his plans regarding Sodom. The city had become so thoroughly corrupt, G-d told Avraham, that He had decided to destroy it. The angels proceeded and Avraham remained behind. He decided to attempt to persuade G-d not to destroy the city.
“Would you destroy the righteous along with the guilty?” he asked. “Will you refrain from destroying Sodom if there are fifty innocent people there?” G-d agreed not to destroy the city for the sake of 50 righteous people. Avraham continued to haggle, getting G-d to go down to 45, 40, 30, 20 and finally 10. (When he reached ten righteous people, Avraham stopped, inferring from the inhabitants of the Ark that fewer than ten would not constitute a critical mass. Unfortunately, there were not even ten innocent people to be found in the entire city!)