Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.#The story takes place in one day (counting a day from the previous evening): evening (v. 1), dawn (v. 15), and sunrise (v. 23). The passage resembles Jgs 19:15–25, which suggests dependence of one story on the other. 1The two angels reached Sodom in the evening, as Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he got up to greet them; and bowing down with his face to the ground, 2he said, “Please, my lords,#My lords: Lot does not yet know that the men are God’s messengers; cf. 18:3. come aside into your servant’s house for the night, and bathe your feet; you can get up early to continue your journey.” But they replied, “No, we will pass the night in the town square.”#Heb 13:1–2. 3He urged them so strongly, however, that they turned aside to his place and entered his house. He prepared a banquet for them, baking unleavened bread, and they dined.
4#Jgs 19:22–25; Jude 7. Before they went to bed, the townsmen of Sodom, both young and old—all the people to the last man—surrounded the house. 5They called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to your house tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have sexual relations with them.” 6Lot went out to meet them at the entrance. When he had shut the door behind him, 7he said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not do this wicked thing! 8I have two daughters who have never had sexual relations with men. Let me bring them out to you,#Let me bring them out to you: the authority of a patriarch within his house was virtually absolute. Lot’s extreme response of offering his daughters to a violent mob seems to be motivated by the obligation of hospitality. and you may do to them as you please. But do not do anything to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 9They replied, “Stand back! This man,” they said, “came here as a resident alien, and now he dares to give orders! We will treat you worse than them!” With that, they pressed hard against Lot, moving in closer to break down the door.#Gn 13:12; 2 Pt 2:7–8. 10But his guests put out their hands, pulled Lot inside with them, and closed the door; 11they struck the men at the entrance of the house, small and great, with such a blinding light#Blinding light: an extraordinary flash that temporarily dazed the wicked men and revealed to Lot the true nature of his guests. that they were utterly unable to find the doorway.
12Then the guests said to Lot: “Who else belongs to you here? Sons-in-law, your sons, your daughters, all who belong to you in the city—take them away from this place!#2 Pt 2:7–9. 13We are about to destroy this place, for the outcry reaching the Lord against those here is so great that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”#Is 1:7, 9; Ez 16:49–50; Zep 2:9. 14So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had contracted marriage with his daughters.#It is uncertain whether Lot’s sons-in-law were fully married to his daughters or only “engaged” to them (Israelite “engagement” was the first part of the marriage ceremony), or even whether the daughters involved were the same as, or different from, the two daughters who were still in their father’s house. “Come on, leave this place,” he told them; “the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, “Come on! Take your wife with you and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16When he hesitated, the men, because of the Lord’s compassion for him, seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters and led them to safety outside the city. 17As soon as they had brought them outside, they said: “Flee for your life! Do not look back or stop anywhere on the Plain. Flee to the hills at once, or you will be swept away.”#Wis 10:6. 18“Oh, no, my lords!” Lot replied to them. 19“You have already shown favor to your servant, doing me the great kindness of saving my life. But I cannot flee to the hills, or the disaster will overtake and kill me. 20Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to. It is only a small place.#A small place: the Hebrew word misar, lit., “a little thing,” has the same root consonants as the name of the town Zoar in v. 22. Let me flee there—is it not a small place?—to save my life.” 21“Well, then,” he replied, “I grant you this favor too. I will not overthrow the town you have mentioned. 22Hurry, escape there! I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” That is why the town is called Zoar.#Wis 10:6.
23The sun had risen over the earth when Lot arrived in Zoar, 24and the Lord rained down sulfur upon Sodom and Gomorrah, fire from the Lord out of heaven.#Ps 9:6; 11:6; 107:34; Wis 10:7; Sir 16:8; Is 1:9; Lk 17:29; 2 Pt 2:6. 25He overthrew#Overthrew: this term, lit., “turned upside down,” is used consistently to describe the destruction of the cities of the Plain. The imagery of earthquake and subsequent fire fits the geology of this region. those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil.#Dt 29:22; Is 13:19; Jer 50:40; Lam 4:6; Am 4:11. 26But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.#Wis 10:7; Lk 17:32.
27The next morning Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region of the Plain,#In a deft narrative detail, Abraham looks down from the height east of Hebron, from which he could easily see the region at the southern end of the Dead Sea, where the cities of the Plain were probably located. he saw smoke over the land rising like the smoke from a kiln.#Rev 9:2; 14:10–11.
29When God destroyed the cities of the Plain, he remembered Abraham and sent Lot away from the upheaval that occurred when God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.
Moabites and Ammonites.#This Israelite tale about the origin of Israel’s neighbors east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea was told partly to ridicule these ethnically related but rival nations and partly to give popular etymologies for their names. The stylized nature of the story is seen in the names of the daughters (“the firstborn” and “the younger”), the ease with which they fool their father, and the identical descriptions of the encounters. 30Since Lot was afraid to stay in Zoar, he and his two daughters went up from Zoar and settled in the hill country, where he lived with his two daughters in a cave. 31The firstborn said to the younger: “Our father is getting old, and there is not a man in the land to have intercourse with us as is the custom everywhere. 32Come, let us ply our father with wine and then lie with him, that we may ensure posterity by our father.” 33So that night they plied their father with wine, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; but he was not aware of her lying down or getting up. 34The next day the firstborn said to the younger: “Last night I lay with my father. Let us ply him with wine again tonight, and then you go in and lie with him, that we may ensure posterity by our father.” 35So that night, too, they plied their father with wine, and then the younger one went in and lay with him; but he was not aware of her lying down or getting up.
36Thus the two daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37The firstborn gave birth to a son whom she named Moab, saying, “From my father.”#From my father: in Hebrew, me’abi, similar in sound to the name “Moab.” He is the ancestor of the Moabites of today.#Dt 2:9. 38The younger one, too, gave birth to a son, and she named him Ammon, saying, “The son of my kin.”#The son of my kin: in Hebrew, ben-ammi, similar in sound to the name “Ammonites.” He is the ancestor of the Ammonites of today.#Dt 2:19.
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1 And the two Angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting at the gate of the city. And when he had seen them, he rose up and went to meet them. And he reverenced prone on the ground.
2 And he said: "I beg you, my lords, turn aside to the house of your servant, and lodge there. Wash your feet, and in the morning you will advance on your way." And they said, "Not at all. But we will lodge in the street."
3 He pressed them very much to turn aside to him. And when they had entered his house, he made a feast for them, and he cooked unleavened bread, and they ate.
4 But before they went to bed, the men of the city surrounded the house, from boys to old men, all the people together.
5 And they called out to Lot, and they said to him: "Where are the men who entered to you in the night? Bring them out here, so that we may know them."
6 Lot went out to them, and blocking the door behind him, he said:
7 "Do not, I ask you, my brothers, do not be willing to commit this evil.
8 I have two daughters who as yet have not known man. I will bring them out to you; abuse them as it pleases you, provided that you do no evil to these men, because they have entered under the shadow of my roof."
9 But they said, "Move away from there." And again: "You have entered," they said, "as a stranger; should you then judge? Therefore, we will afflict you yourself more than them." And they acted very violently against Lot. And they were now at the point of breaking open the doors.
10 And behold, the men put out their hand, and they pulled Lot in to them, and they closed the door.
11 And they struck those who were outside with blindness, from the least to the greatest, so that they were not able to find the door.
12 Then they said to Lot: "Do you have here anyone of yours? All who are yours, sons-in-law, or sons, or daughters, bring them out of this city.
13 For we will eliminate this place, because the outcry among them has increased before the Lord, who sent us to destroy them."
14 And so Lot, going out, spoke to his sons-in-law, who were going to receive his daughters, and he said: "Rise up. Depart from this place. For the Lord will destroy this city." And it seemed to them that he was speaking playfully.
15 And when it was morning, the Angels compelled him, saying, "Arise, take your wife, and the two daughters that you have, lest you also should perish amid the wickedness of the city."
16 And, since he ignored them, they took his hand, and the hand of his wife, as well as that of his two daughters, because the Lord was sparing him.
17 And they brought him out, and placed him beyond the city. And there they spoke to him, saying: "Save your life. Do not look not back. Neither should you stay in the entire surrounding region. But save yourself in the mountain, lest you also should perish."
18 And Lot said to them: "I beg you, my lord,
19 though your servant has found grace before you, and you have magnified your mercy, which you have shown to me in saving my life, I cannot be saved on the mountain, lest perhaps some misfortune take hold of me and I die.
20 There is a certain city nearby, to which I can flee; it is a little one, and I will be saved in it. Is it not a modest one, and will not my soul live?"
21 And he said to him: "Behold, even now, I have heard your petitions about this, not to overturn the city on behalf of which you have spoken.
22 Hurry and be saved there. For I cannot do anything until you enter there." For this reason, the name of that city is called Zoar.
23 The sun had risen over the land, and Lot had entered into Zoar.
24 Therefore, the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire, from the Lord, out of heaven.
25 And he overturned these cities, and all the surrounding region: all the inhabitants of the cities, and everything that springs from the land.
26 And his wife, looking behind herself, was turned into a statue of salt.
27 Then Abraham, rising up in the morning, in the place where he had stood before with the Lord,
28 looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and the entire land of that region. And he saw embers rising up from the land like smoke from a furnace.
29 For when God overthrew the cities of that region, remembering Abraham, he freed Lot from the overthrow of the cities, in which he had dwelt.
30 And Lot ascended from Zoar, and he stayed on the mountain, and likewise his two daughters with him, (for he was afraid to stay in Zoar) and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters with him.
31 And the elder said to the younger: "Our father is old, and no man remains in the land who can enter to us according to the custom of the whole world.
32 Come, let us inebriate him with wine, and let us sleep with him, so that we may be able to preserve offspring from our father."
33 And so they gave their father wine to drink that night. And the elder went in, and she slept with her father. But he did not perceive it, neither when his daughter lay down, nor when she rose up.
34 Likewise, the next day, the elder said to the younger: "Behold, yesterday I slept with my father, let us give him wine to drink yet again this night, and you will sleep with him, so that we may save offspring from our father."
35 And then they gave their father wine to drink that night also, and the younger daughter went in, and slept with him. And not even then did he perceive when she lay down, or when she rose up.
36 Therefore, the two daughters of Lot conceived by their father.
37 And the elder gave birth to a son, and she called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites, even to the present day.
38 Likewise, the younger gave birth to a son, and she called his name Ammon, that is, 'the son of my people.' He is the father of the Ammonites, even today.