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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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Lot’s Guests Are Assaulted
1The two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gateway. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed with his face touching the ground. 2He said, “Please, gentlemen, why don’t you come to my home and spend the night? ⌞You can⌟ wash your feet there. Then early tomorrow morning you can continue your journey.”
“No,” they answered, “we’d rather spend the night in the city square.”
3But he insisted so strongly that they came with him and went into his home. He prepared a special dinner for them, baked some unleavened bread, and they ate. 4Before they had gone to bed, all the young and old male citizens of Sodom surrounded the house. 5They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to ⌞stay with⌟ you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
6Then Lot went outside and shut the door behind him. 7“Please, my friends, don’t be so wicked,” he said. 8“Look, I have two daughters who have never had sex. Why don’t you let me bring them out to you? Do whatever you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, since I’m responsible for them.”
9But the men yelled, “Get out of the way! This man came here to stay awhile. Now he wants to be our judge! We’re going to treat you worse than those men.” They pushed hard against Lot and lunged forward to break down the door. 10The men ⌞inside⌟ reached out, pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11Then they struck all the men who were in the doorway of the house, young and old alike, with blindness so that they gave up trying to find the door.
Lot Leaves Sodom, and the Cities Are Destroyed
12Then the men asked Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—any in-laws, sons, daughters, or any other relatives in the city? Get them out of here 13because we’re going to destroy this place. The complaints to the Lord against its people are so loud that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”
14So Lot went out and spoke to the men engaged to his daughters. He said, “Hurry! Get out of this place, because the Lord is going to destroy the city.” But they thought he was joking.
15As soon as it was dawn, the angels urged Lot by saying, “Quick! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you’ll be swept away when the city is punished.” 16When he hesitated, the men grabbed him, his wife, and his two daughters by their hands, because the Lord wanted to spare Lot. They brought them safely outside the city. 17As soon as they were outside, one ⌞of the angels⌟ said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look behind you, and don’t stop on the plain. Run for the hills, or you’ll be swept away!”
18Lot answered, “Oh no! 19Even though you’ve been so good to me and though you’ve been very kind to me by saving my life, I can’t run as far as the hills. This disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20Look, there’s a city near enough to flee to, and it’s small. Why don’t you let me run there? Isn’t it small? Then my life will be saved.”
21The angel said to him, “Alright, I will grant you this request too. I will not destroy the city you’re talking about. 22Run there quickly, because I can’t do anything until you get there.” (The city is named Zoar [Small].)
23The sun had just risen over the land as Lot came to Zoar. 24Then the Lord made burning sulfur and fire rain out of heaven on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25He destroyed those cities, the whole plain, all who lived in the cities, and whatever grew on the ground. 26Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a column of salt.
27Early the next morning Abraham came to the place where he had stood in front of the Lord. 28When he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land in the plain, he saw smoke rising from the land like the thick smoke of a furnace.
29When God destroyed the cities on the plain, he remembered Abraham. Lot was allowed to escape from the destruction that came to the cities where he was living.
Lot’s Daughters Have Sons by Their Father
30Lot left Zoar because he was afraid to stay there. He and his two daughters settled in the mountains where they lived in a cave. 31The older daughter said to the younger one, “Our father is old. No men are here. We can’t get married as other people do. 32Let’s give our father wine to drink. Then we’ll go to bed with him so that we’ll be able to preserve our family line through our father.” 33That night they gave their father wine to drink. Then the older one went to bed with her father. He didn’t know when she came to bed or when she got up. 34The next day the older daughter said to the younger one, “I did it! Last night I went to bed with my father. Let’s give him wine to drink again tonight. Then you go to bed with him so that we’ll be able to preserve our family line through our father.” 35That night they gave their father wine to drink again. Then the younger one went to bed with him. He didn’t know when she came to bed or when she got up. 36So Lot’s two daughters became pregnant by their father. 37The older one gave birth to a son and named him Moab. He is the ancestor of the Moabites of today. 38The younger daughter also gave birth to a son and named him Ben Ammi. He is the ancestor of the Ammonites of today.