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Based on this answer, there is plenty of evidence that malachim can be human. There is a widespread opinion that the 3 visitors who came to Avraham were malachim. Are there any opinions who agree that they were malachim, but say that some or all of them were human malachim, rather than the supernatural type? ie. that they were normal human beings who Hashem was using as agents of His will (whether or not they were aware of that)?

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  • I'm not sure I understand - the sources say they resembled regular humans?
    – Dov
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 21:39
  • @Dov I've edited to try to clarify - does that make more sense? Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 21:44
  • I don't mean opinions who say that they weren't malachim at all - can you clarify what that means?
    – shmosel
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 21:50
  • @shmosel Isn't the pshat that they were just men? Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 21:53
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    @MosesSupposes yup - I had to double check myself. And yes, in general it's very good to analyse which bits of our childhood teachings are midrashic - just here it seems even the "rodfei hapshat" assume the guests are supernatural.
    – AKA
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 21:04

2 Answers 2

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The Ralbag says they were prophets sent by Hashem. Ibn Ezra brings a similar interpretation. The Abarbanel has a lengthy analysis of the competing interpretations, raising a number of difficulties with each, concluding that the common view that they were angels is the more plausible one.

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See Bereishis Rabbah 50:2

אָמַר רַבִּי תַּנְחוּמָא אָמַר רַבִּי לֵוִי אַבְרָהָם שֶׁהָיָה כֹּחוֹ יָפֶה נִדְמוּ לוֹ בִּדְמוּת אֲנָשִׁים, אֲבָל לוֹט עַל יְדֵי שֶׁהָיָה כֹּחוֹ רַע נִדְמוּ לוֹ בִּדְמוּת מַלְאָכִים

Rabbi Tancḥuma said that Rabbi Levi said: To Avraham, whose power was great, they appeared in the image of men; to Lot, whose strength was inferior, they appeared in the image of angels.

The Eitz Yosef there explains this to mean that Avraham was accustomed to seeing angels, and so they appeared to him as men, yet with Lot who was not used to seeing angels, they appeared as angels.

Similarly refer to the Mechilta and Sifrei Eikev 38 who say that he thought them to be Arabs.

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  • Thanks, but this seems to be an opinion that they were the supernatural type of malachim who just appeared as humans, but I was asking whether anyone says that they were just normal humans who were sent on a mission by Hashem (whether knowingly or not)? Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 21:56

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