177. Therefore, because of this, THAT IS, BECAUSE HE ESCORTED HIS GUESTS, HE WAS FULLY MERITORIOUS, "and Hashem said, 'Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do?'" Rabbi Chiya opened the discourse with the verse, "For Hashem Elohim will do nothing, until He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). Blessed are the righteous of the world, that the Holy One, blessed be He, chose them. And all that He has done in the heavens and shall do in the world, He accomplishes through righteous people. And He never hides anything from them.
178. For the Holy One, blessed be He, wants the righteous to join Him. This is so that they may warn people and advise them to repent their iniquities so that they will not be punished by celestial punishment, and so that they will have no excuse to complain to Him, SAYING THAT HE DID NOT WARN THEM AND THEY DID NOT KNOW. Therefore, the Holy One, blessed be He, reveals to them the secret that He is about to punish them. He does not want them to be able to claim that He is punishing them without a trial.
179. Rabbi Elazar said, Woe to the wicked who do not seek TO KNOW, and do not know how to refrain from sin. Hence, the Holy One, blessed be He, whose deeds are just and whose actions are right, never acts before He reveals His plans to the righteous, so that other people will have no excuse to complain about Him. SIMILARLY, men should act in a way that prevents other people from uttering accusations against them. Therefore, it is written, "And you shall be clean before Hashem and before Yisrael" (Bemidbar 32:22).
180. And THE RIGHTEOUS should act accordingly, to prevent other people from complaining ABOUT THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, and warn them that if they sin and do not guard themselves, the attribute of Judgment of the Holy One, blessed be He, might have a reason to ACCUSE them. And how may they ESCAPE THIS ATTRIBUTE OF JUDGMENT? By repenting and performing good deeds.
181. Come and behold, "And Hashem said, 'Shall I hide from Abraham.'" Rabbi Yehuda said, The holy One, blessed be He, has given the entire land to Abraham, as an everlasting heritage, as it is written, "For all the land which you see, to you I give it..." (Beresheet 13:15) as well as, "lift up your eyes and see..." (Ibid. 14). Later, when the Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to uproot and destroy these places, NAMELY SODOM AND GOMORRAH, He said, I have already given the land to Abraham, and he is the father of them all, as it is written, "for a father of a multitude of nations have I made you" (Beresheet 17:5). So it is not fitting for me to smite the children without informing their father whom I have called "Abraham my friend" (Yeshayah 41:8). Therefore, I must inform him. Thus, "And Hashem said, 'Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do?'"
182. Rabbi Aba said, Behold the humility of Abraham, even though the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great" (Beresheet 18:20). Although He delayed Himself by informing Abraham that He wanted to punish Sodom, he did not pray before Him to save Lot from punishment. Why? So that he did not ask for a reward for his deeds.
183. Because of this, EVEN THOUGH HE DID NOT ASK FOR IT, the Holy One, blessed be He, sent for Lot and saved him for the sake of Abraham, as it is written, "And Elohim remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow" (Beresheet 19:29).
184. What is meant by "in which Lot dwelt?" WHY WERE THEY NAMED AFTER HIM? This has been explained; it is because they were all wicked and there was nobody among them who was good, save Lot. From this we learn that wherever the wicked stay, that place is doomed to be destroyed. FROM THE VERSE "IN WHICH LOT DWELT," WE LEARN THAT FOR ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO DWELT THERE, IT WAS NOT CONSIDERED TO BE A DWELLING PLACE, BUT RATHER A PLACE OF DESTRUCTION AND DESOLATION UNFIT FOR HABITATION. AND THIS WAS BECAUSE THEY WERE WICKED PEOPLE.
185. Of the verse "the cities in which Lot dwelt," HE ASKS, Could it be that Lot lived in all of them? AND HE REPLIES, Because of his presence in those cities, they were not destroyed, and the people were able to dwell there. THIS IS WHY THEY ARE NAMED AFTER HIM. But if you say this was because of the merit of Lot, you are incorrect; it was because of the merit of Abraham.
186. Rabbi Shimon said, Come and behold. The service that a person does for the righteous protects him in this world. In addition, even if he is a sinful person, he will learn from the righteous person's behavior and emulate it.