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Genesis 19

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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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Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed
1#Ge 18:22; 18:1–5Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them he rose up to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. 2#Ge 18:4; Heb 13:2Then he said, “Here, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet; and then you may rise early and go on your way.”
They said, “No, we will stay in the open square all night.”
3#Ge 18:6–8But he strongly insisted, so they turned aside with him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4#Ge 13:13; 18:20Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. 5#Jdg 19:22; Isa 3:9They then called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may have relations with them.”
6#Jdg 19:23So Lot went out through the door to them and shut the door behind him. 7Then he said, “Please, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8#Jdg 19:24Look, I have two daughters who have not been with a man. Please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
9#Ex 2:14; Ge 13:12But they replied, “Stand back!” Also, they said, “This man came here as an alien, and he keeps acting like a judge. We will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against Lot, and came close to breaking down the door.
10But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11#2Ki 6:18; Ac 13:11Then they struck the men that were at the door of the house, both small and great, with blindness so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.
12#Ge 7:1; 2Pe 2:7Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, take them out of this place! 13#Ge 18:20For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has grown great before the presence of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”
14#Nu 16:21; 16:45So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.
15#Rev 18:4When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Otherwise you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.”
16And while he lingered, the men took hold of his and his wife’s hands, along with the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and brought him out and set him outside the city. 17#Ge 19:26; Mt 24:16–18When they had brought them out, one of them said to them, “Escape for your lives! Do not look behind you or stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountain, lest you be destroyed.”
18Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! 19Your servant has found grace in your eyes, and you have shown your mercy, which you have shown to me by saving my life. However, I cannot escape to the mountain. Otherwise some evil will overtake me, and I will die. 20Look, this city is close enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Please, let me escape there (is it not a little one?), and my life will be saved.”
21He said to him, “I have granted your request in this matter also. I will not overthrow this city of which you have spoken. 22#Ge 14:2; 13:10Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
23The sun had risen over the land when Lot entered Zoar. 24#Dt 29:23; Isa 13:19Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was from the Lord out of heaven. 25#Ps 107:34So He overthrew those cities, all the valley, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26#Ge 19:17But his wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27Now Abraham got up early in the morning and went to the place where he stood before the Lord. 28#Rev 18:9Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw the smoke of the land going up like the smoke of a furnace.
29#Ge 8:1; Dt 9:5So it was that when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the middle of the destruction, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.
Lot and His Daughters
30#Ge 19:19Then Lot left Zoar, and lived in the mountains, along with his two daughters who were with him, for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31#Ge 16:2; 16:4And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to have relations with us after the manner of all the earth. 32Let us make our father drink wine and let us lie with him, so that we may preserve the lineage of our father.”
33So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn went in and had relations with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
34On the next day the firstborn said to the younger, “Indeed, last night I had relations with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also, so that you may go in and have relations with him, so that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” 35So they made their father drink wine that night also. Then the younger arose and lay down with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
36Therefore both the daughters of Lot were pregnant by their father. 37#Dt 2:9The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38#Dt 2:19The younger also gave birth to a son and called his name Ben-Ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.