Richard Agee

Genesis 19: ‘Righteous’ Lot flees destruction of Sodom, impregnates his daughters

Richard AgeeFrom threats of homosexual gang rape of two of God’s messengers to Lot’s offering his two virgin daughters to the mob to Lot’s wife dying from looking back at the destruction of Sodom to Lot’s daughters’ conspiring to get their father so drunk he would get them pregnant, chapter 19 is full of controversy for the modern mind. Actually, there are a lot of parallels between this account and Israel’s miraculous departure from Egypt after Passover.

This is probably the most controversial chapter in the entire book of Genesis. There are a lot of theories and assumptions that are used to interpret the event of this chapter. Some of them jump through some strange hoops to justify some of the more objectionable actions recorded in this chapter.

The reason God saved Lot was not because of Lot but because of Abraham. Although God calls Lot “righteous.” We read in Revelation that God will save the righteous “both great and small.” He will deliver those who have a great deal of righteousness and those who have only a small measure of righteousness.

We read that Lot was sitting at the city gate when he met the angels.

Psa. 24:6-10 compares gates to people:

“This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face — even Jacob. Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.”

Lot opened the gates for the angels (who Lot assumed were mere men) and when the townspeople discovered these angels, they wanted to do evil to them. When Lot tried to dissuade them, they rebuked Lot and said he had no right to judge them, even though the main reason that men would gather at the gates was to adjudicate cases.

We don’t know how long the young men were in Sodom before Lot found them. The young men/angels were commissioned to try to find 50 righteous men in the city but at the end of their investigation, they only found Lot.

When Lot greeted these two men, he recognized something different about them, he honored them and bowed to them. Remember that the Middle East is an Eastern culture. Just as in modern times, it is common in Japan and Korea to bow to each other in greeting, particularly when a younger person greets an elder. Lot addressed these men as “Adonai” which means “My Lord.” In our modern time, we might address them as “Sir.” In America, we don’t really call people Lord, so it’s a foreign term to us but it was a common form of addressing one’s superior in those days. Lot treated them with great respect but the townspeople treated these same men with contempt.

Lot served the visitor a feast featuring unleavened bread, this is Passover imagery. When Lot’s daughters got him drunk, they served him wine, which is also part of the imagery of Passover.

We are told that all the men of Sodom from the four corners of the town came to Lot’s house to molest his guests. Lot tried to offer the men his own virgin daughters to satiate them but they rejected Lot’s offer. Lot tells the men of Sodom that the visitors came under the covering of his roof, which is a play on the meaning of Lot’s name, which means covering.

When the men of Sodom insisted on molesting the men, we read that the visiting men caused a blindness to fall upon the men of Sodom that were gathered there. The city folk “wearied” themselves to try to find the doorway to Lot’s house. The Hebrew word translated as wearied is לָאָה laah (Strong’s lexicon No. H3811). It also means impatient, tired or parched.

Lot wanted to protect those he cared about. He wanted to take care of the visiting men. When the visiting men told Lot to gather up his family and leave town, he first sought out his sons-in-law to try to gather them up and he was rebuked but no one can say that Lot didn’t try to save all those who were under his care. We don’t know how many house the visitors waited for Lot to try to gather his sons in laws before they had to flee the city but we know that by daybreak, the visitors set the deadline and told Lot, his wife and two daughters to leave.

The family was reluctant to leave, so God saved Lot from himself:

“the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.” (Gen. 19:16)

Lot was a foreigner, a sojourner in Sodom. He was so different from everyone else. Everyone knew Lot was different. Just as everyone knew that Abraham was different from those around him. What made Lot and Abraham different were their actions and lifestyle.

The angels told Lot and the family not to even turn around to look back at the distraction of Sodom and the cities of the plain. Lot’s wife disobeyed, turned around and immediately was turned into a pillar of salt.

Commentators have read a lot into that act. People can believe in God, fear Him and make a mistake. They say that Lot’s wife longed for Sodom, that she preferred life in Sodom but that is not necessarily true. She may have simply have not believed that the city would really be utterly destroyed. Her belief was weak. She might have been curious about the details. Either way, she was killed instantly.

Yeshua used the example of Lot’s wife as a consequence of unbelief. Sometimes, God will bring death on someone who makes a simple mistake.

Remember the man who touched the ark when they were bringing it to Jerusalem (2nd Sam. 6:6-9; 1st Chron. 13:9-12). All that man did was briefly touch the ark to prevent it from toppling over and the man was struck dead immediately.

Initially Lot and the daughters lived in Zoar after fleeing Sodom. We don’t know how long he was there before he fled into the caves. We don’t know how long they were living in the caves before the daughters conspired to take matters in their own hands.

The older daughter said to the younger daughter, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of the earth.”

What were their prospects of finding a husband and having children? Not very good. Men were not going to come and look for them. They had nothing to offer a spouse so they decided that the only way to perpetuate Lot’s family line was to get pregnant by him themselves.

The older daughter had a son called Moab, which means “from her father.” The second daughter had a son as well called “Ben-ammi” which means “to gather together”

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a message for us to understand. It’s not really about Lot and his daughters, or the sons in laws who refused to leave, but about the destruction of the cities themselves.

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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