The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
1And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2and he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 4But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5and they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. 10But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 11And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
12And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 13for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. 14And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons-in-law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons-in-law.
15And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 16#2 Pet 2.7. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. 17And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 18And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 19behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 20behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: O, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 21And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 22Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zo´ar.#19.22 That is, Little. 23The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zo´ar.
24 # Matt 10.15; 11.23,24; Luke 10.12; 17.29; 2 Pet 2.6; Jude 7. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomor´rah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26#Luke 17.32. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord: 28and he looked toward Sodom and Gomor´rah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.
29And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.
30And Lot went up out of Zo´ar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zo´ar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 32come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 34And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 37And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. 38And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Ben–am´mi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.
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The Wickedness of Sodom
1That evening, the two angels came to Sodom # 19:1 Sodom means “scorched” or “burnt region.” while Lot was sitting at the city’s gateway. # 19:1 A city gateway usually consisted of towers, guardrooms, and a meeting area where people could sit. Often, the city leadership would conduct meetings there (see Ruth 4:1–12). Recent archeological discoveries at Tel-Dan revealed a stone bench that was fifteen feet long connected to the wall of one of its towers. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed with his face to the ground. 2He said, “Please, my lords, come to your servant’s house to spend the night and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way.”
“No,” they answered. “We will be fine to spend the night in the town square.”
3But Lot was so insistent they finally agreed to go to his house. Lot had unleavened bread baked for them and prepared a feast, and they ate. 4But before they retired for the night, the men of the city, men young and old, from every part of the city of Sodom, to the last man, surrounded the house. 5They shouted out to Lot, “Where are the men who came to your house tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them!” # 19:5 Or “that we may know [yada’] them.” This word is used frequently for sexual relations. They surrounded the house, not simply to introduce themselves to the men, but to sexually abuse them. See Gen. 13:13; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 23:18; Judg. 19:22; Rom. 1:18–32; 1 Cor. 6:9–10.
6Lot went outside, shutting the door behind him, 7and said to them, “No! My brothers, I beg you, don’t sink to such depravity! 8Look, I have two virgin daughters; I’ll bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you please. Only don’t do anything to these men, for they are guests in my house.” # 19:8 Or “they have come under the shadow of my roof.”
9“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This guy comes as a foreigner to live among us, and now he dares to judge us! We’ll inflict more harm on you than on them!” Just then they lunged at Lot and tried to break down the door, 10but the two angels reached out and pulled Lot safely back into the house and bolted the door. 11They struck the men outside the house, young and old, with one blazing flash of light # 19:11 The Hebrew word sanverim is found only here and in 2 Kings 6:18. The word indicates more than sightlessness (Hb. invaron), but a sudden immobilizing and dazzling flash of light. See the Aramaic Targums; Yoma 22b.; H. M. Orlinsky, Notes on the New Translation of the Torah (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1969), 93ff.; E. A. Speiser, “The ‘Elative’ in West-Semitic and Akkadian,” JCS 6 (1952): 81ff. so that they could not find the door!
12Then the visitors said to Lot, “Who else lives here? Do you have any other family here—sons or daughters, sons-in-law or daughters-in-law who live in Sodom? Get them all out of the city, 13because we are about to destroy this place. A tremendous outcry against the people has come before Yahweh, and he has sent us here to destroy it!”
14So Lot went out to find the two men who were pledged to marry his daughters and told them, “Hurry, leave the city, for Yahweh is about to destroy it!” But they thought he was only joking and paid him no attention.
15At dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Go! Take your wife and your two daughters and leave or you will be consumed in the judgment about to come to the city!” 16But Lot hesitated, so the angels grabbed his hands and the hands of his wife and daughters and brought them outside the city, because Yahweh was merciful to them. 17Once they were safely outside the city, the angels said to them, “Run for your lives! Don’t stop anywhere in the plain until you’ve reached the mountains. And don’t even look back, or you’ll die!”
18Lot replied, “Oh no, my lords. 19You’ve been so gracious to your servant, and you’ve been so kind to save our lives, but I can’t make it to the mountains. It’s so far from here; disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die! 20Look, over there is a village close enough to run to, and it’s a small one. # 19:20 Or “Zoar,” a wordplay in Hebrew. The word for “small” sounds like Zoar. Let me escape there instead. You can see that it’s such a small village. Let my life be spared!”
21“All right,” he replied. “I will grant this request too. # 19:21 Or “I have lifted up your face,” a figure of speech for showing favor. I will not destroy that village. 22Now, you must hurry. Run to that village, for I can’t do anything until you are there.” (That is why the village was called Zoar.)
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
23By mid-morning, # 19:23 Or “When the sun had risen upon the earth.” Lot arrived at the small village of Zoar, 24And Yahweh’s fire from heaven fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah. 25He completely destroyed the cities of the plain, and all their inhabitants and whatever grew in the valley. # 19:25 Jesus made it clear that if the miracles he did in Israel had been seen in Sodom, the people of Sodom would have repented. Therefore, it will be more tolerable for them in the Day of Judgment than for the cities of Galilee (see Matt. 11:20–24). Knowing that God will soon judge the corrupt world, it is vital that we live holy lives (see 2 Peter 3:11–15). 26But Lot’s wife turned and gazed longingly on the city and turned into a pillar of salt. # 19:26 See Luke 9:62; 17:32. Perhaps there really was a salt-pillar that resembled a human. In the book the Wisdom of Solomon 10:7, which was included in the Septuagint, it says, “A pillar of salt stands as a memorial to an unbelieving soul,” and Josephus claimed to have seen it in his day (Ant. 1.203).
27That morning, # 19:27 Or “The next morning.” It is unclear whether Abraham saw the moment of the destruction of the cities or if he viewed the smoke rising the next day. Abraham hurried back to the place where he had stood before Yahweh. # 19:27 See Gen. 18:22. The implication from Gen. 18:16 and 18:33 is that this high point may have been some distance from Abraham’s camp. 28Looking down toward all the land of the plain, he saw columns of smoke billowing up from Sodom and Gomorrah # 19:28 Gomorrah means “a ruined heap” or “to chastise.” —like the smoke of a furnace!
29So before God destroyed the cities of the plain where Lot had settled, he remembered his affection for Abraham # 19:29 That is, he honored Abraham’s request. God had not forgotten Abraham and then suddenly remembered him, but rather showed his affection for Abraham by fulfilling his request to spare the righteous. and spared Lot from all the destruction.
Lot and His Daughters
30Afraid to remain in Zoar, Lot left there and settled in the hill country and lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31One day, his firstborn suggested to the younger, “Our father is getting old, and there isn’t a man anywhere who could impregnate us in the normal way. 32Come, let’s get our father drunk with wine and have sex with him. That way we can at least have children through our father.”
33That night, they got their father drunk with wine, and the firstborn went in and slept with him. Lot was so drunk he didn’t have a clue about what had happened. # 19:33 Or “he did not know when she lay down and when she arose.” See v. 35. This chapter opens with Lot sitting at the gate of Sodom, the seat of authority, and ends with him drunk in a cave—from councilman to caveman! Lot could have returned to his uncle, Abraham, but instead he fled to a cave. 34The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “I slept with my father last night. Tonight, it’s your turn. We’ll get him drunk with wine, and you can sleep with him and we can preserve our family line through our father.”
35So they got their father drunk the second time; and the younger went in and slept with him. He was once again so drunk he had no clue what had happened. 36As a result, both Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37The older daughter had a son named Moab, # 19:37 Or “from my father,” a wordplay which in Hebrew sounds like “[conceived] from my father.” who is the ancestor of the Moabites of today. # 19:37 Jewish tradition views these two daughters as righteous women whose motives were noble. Perhaps they presumed the entire world had been destroyed and that Zoar was spared only while they were there, leaving no other living male except their father. Regardless, one day a descendant of Moab, Ruth, would be included in the roots of the Jewish monarchy as David’s great-grandmother (see Ruth 4:17–22) and listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (see Matt. 1:5). There is no sin or evil that can hinder God’s grace from shining through even the darkest cloud of human failure. 38The younger also had a son named Ben-Ammi, # 19:38 Or “son of my relative,” a wordplay which in Hebrew sounds like “son of my [paternal] relative.” the ancestor of the Ammonites of today.
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