After the LORD left Abraham, the narrative shifted to Abraham’s nephew, Lot, who dwelled in Sodom. While the angels of the LORD announced the judgment upon the city, they, too, delivered Lot and his family from the destruction. The account also teaches us about the punishment of the wicked, the mercy of God and the struggle of one’s faith upon the influence of the worldly values.
Did You Know...?
- Sitting in the gate (19:1): The city gate among the Hebrews was the usual place for dispute settlement, business transaction or social interactions. It was probably an arch with deep recesses where chairs for judges or city magistrates were placed and seats or benches for citizens to transact their business. [ref]
- Zoar (19:22): The original name of the city was Bela (Gen 14:2) and now it has been identified with Zi’ara, at the northern extremity of the lake in the Ghor-el-Mezraa. [ref]
- All the land of the plain (19:28): The cities of the plain are commonly believed to have been situated at the southern extremity of the Dead Sea. [ref]
- Moabites (19:37) originally occupied the territory between the Jabbok and the Arnon but were afterwards driven by the Amorites south of the Arnon.
After the conquest of the Canaanites, the Moabites maintained hostile relations with the Israelites and frequently harassed them in war (Judg 3:12-30). The Moabites also worshipped Chemosh, “the abomination of Moab” (1 Kgs 11:7).
- Ammonites (19:38) were the people who occupied the territory of Ar, the boundary of Moab, also known as the land of giants (Deut 2:18-20). According to the book of
2nd Samuel, the people of Ammon dwelled in Rabbah until all Israel destroyed them (2 Sam 11:1). The Ammonites were also the worshippers of Molech, “the abomination of the people of Ammon” (1 Kgs 11:7).
How was Lot’s reaction similar to his uncle Abraham’s, in receiving the two strangers?
Why did Lot insist on having the guests spend the night at his place?Hide Answer
Lot knew the wickedness of the men of Sodom (Gen 19:7). Even when the guests were already inside Lot’s house, all the people of Sodom from every quarter surrounded Lot’s house, demanding him to bring the guests out so they may know them carnally (Gen 19:4, 5). According to Genesis 19:9, the men of Sodom did planned on dealing badly with the guests. Imagine if the guests were to spend the night in the open square, how much evil and wickedness would the men of Sodom have imposed upon them!
How was the city of Sodom viewed through the eyes of: Lot;
The LORD and the angels;
The writer of
How did the people of Sodom view: Lot;
Who surrounded the house of Lot? What does this behavior tell us about the nature of the men of Sodom?
The writer of
2nd Peter describes Lot as a righteous man (2 Pet 2:7). The consideration of Lot’s righteousness is based on the comparison with the filthy conduct of the men of Sodom, whom Lot dwelt with among them. Although Lot lived among the lawless men of Sodom, he did not follow their wickedness. The writer of 2nd Peter tells us that Lot was oppressed by the wicked’s filthy conduct and his righteous soul was tormented from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds (2 Pet 2:7, 8). Lot’s torment is supported by the rejection of the men of Sodom who were being judged for their evil deeds to Lot’s guests (Gen 19:9). Though it was not justified, Lot’s decision to give out his two daughters to the men of Sodom was the result of the oppression of the lawless men of Sodom.
The angels extended the warning of Sodom’s destruction to whom?
Who heard and disregarded the warning extended by the angels?
Who were saved from the destruction of Sodom?
Why did Lot still linger to escape Sodom even though the angels had urged Lot to hurry?Hide Answer
Lot’s hesitation to leave the city of Sodom could have been due to several reasons:
The sons-in-law’s reply;
The night when Lot received the warning directly from the angels, he hurriedly went out and told his sons-in-law about the impending doom. But they thought he was joking (Gen 19:13, 14). Ashamed by the sons-in-law joking reply, Lot refused to become a laughing stock. Lot wanted to keep his pride in front of the sons-in-law. Thus, Lot hesitated to leave the city of Sodom.
The future of his two daughters;Hide Answer
Genesis 19:14 says that Lot’s sons-in-law had married his two daughters. Escaping Sodom without his sons-in-law meant that Lot would jeopardize his two daughters’ marriage. Suddenly leaving their lawfully wedded husbands would not only cause the two daughters to face a social stigma but would also cause the father of the daughters—Lot, who initiated the escape— to cope with the social pressure.
Lot’s house;Hide Answer
When Lot separated himself from Abram, he pitched his tent even as far as Sodom (Gen 13:12). But now in Sodom, Lot was living in a house (Gen 19:2). Turning from a nomadic-lifestyle to a settled-lifestyle and back to a nomadic-lifestyle was something that Lot did not look forward to in his life.
Lot’s position in the gate of Sodom;
The treasure of Lot’s heart;Hide Answer
Lot was hesitant to escape from Sodom because his heart was at Sodom. For Lot, Sodom was the culmination of his achievement throughout his life. In Genesis 19:17, the LORD warned Lot, ”Do not…stay anywhere in the plain.” But back in Genesis 13:10-11, the writer had shared how Lot saw “all the plain of Jordan” and “chose for himself all the plain of Jordan.” Although Lot “dwelt in the cities of the plain,” he eventually moved to Sodom (Gen 13:12). When the LORD commanded him to escape to the mountains, Lot strongly refused (Gen 19:19) and he pleaded with the LORD to be sent to a little city in the plain (Gen 19:20). Even in a matter of life and death (Gen 19:17), Lot still bargained with the LORD and anchored his heart in the city of the plain.
Compare Lot’s sons-in-law’s reaction to Sodom’s judgment with the Ninevites’ reaction to their judgment. See also Jonah 3.Hide Answer
The book of Genesis tells us that when it was time to lay down before morning dawned, Lot went out to his sons-in-law and told them to get up because the LORD would destroy the city (Gen 19:4, 14). Such a warning, given by Lot in urgency at the middle of the night showed that the impending doom was serious and was at hand. Nevertheless, the sons-in-law considered Lot to be joking. In other words, the sons-in-law did not believe or willfully disregard God’s warning of Sodom’s judgment.
In the book of Jonah, the prophet Jonah warned the Ninevites about the impending doom that the great city Nineveh would be overthrown. Hearing such a stern warning from a stranger, instead of sneering or disregarding the prophet’s words, the Ninevites believed in God. They proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. When the king of Nineveh heard about the prophecy, he covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. He also proclaimed that every man and beast must be covered with sackcloth while crying mightily to God and turning from one’s evil way and from violence so that they might not perish (Jon 3:4-9).
What can we learn from the contrast reaction between Lot’s sons-in-law and the Ninevites toward the warning of an impending doom?Hide Answer
Both the Sodomites and the Ninevites received warning of their impending doom, yet they reacted differently toward the warning. While the Sodomites scoffed at the judgment, the Ninevites repented from the evil deeds thoroughly and cried for God’s mercy.
Similarly, the Lord through the Scriptures has warned us today about His coming and the physical destruction of this world (2 Pet 3:10). On one hand, the Scriptures warn us that in the last days, there will come in scoffers who walk according to their own lusts and willfully disregard the words of the Lord (2 Pet 3:3-5). On the other hand, we as believers ought to be in holy conduct and godliness and ought to be diligent to be found by the Lord in peace (2 Pet 3:11, 14). In other words, the two reactions between the scoffers and the repenters teach us that if we still continue to live in our sinful lusts, though we already know beforehand about the upcoming destruction, we are no different than the scoffers who willfully disregard the words of God and who will be judged. Therefore, we should consider the longsuffering of the Lord as our salvation and a chance to come to repentance.
List the comparisons of the patriarch Abraham’s attitude toward Sodom’s destruction with the prophet Jonah’s attitude toward Nineveh’s judgment. See also Jonah 3 and 4.Hide Answer
After received the warning of judgment from the LORD regarding the sinful cities, both the patriarch Abraham and the prophet Jonah went to see the fate of the cities. Yet the two of them went with different motives. Abraham went early in the morning to see the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, with the hope that the LORD would have spared the city due to the righteous man who dwelt in it (Gen 18:22-25). However, Jonah went out and sat on the east side of the city to see what would become of the city (Jon 4:5). He did not pity the Ninevites and hoped to see God overthrow it. Thus, when God relented after seeing the repentance of the Ninevites, Jonah insisted on his right to be angry with God, even to death (Jon 3:10, 4:9).
What can we learn from the different attitudes of the patriarch Abraham and the prophet Jonah toward the judged cities about judgment and repentance.Hide Answer
In both instances, the Lord was going to execute His judgment upon the city of Sodom and the city of Nineveh for their wickedness. While the prophet Jonah hoped for the destruction of the Ninevites despite their sincere repentance and outcry to God, the patriarch Abraham pleaded with the Lord for Sodom’s delivery and His righteous judgment not to slay the righteous along with the wicked.
The prophet Jonah was hoping to see the downfall of those who were judged by the Lord, thinking that the Ninevites deserved what befell upon them because of their sinful deeds. On the contrary, the patriarch Abraham did not hope for the destruction of Sodom but pleaded with the Lord to spare it because of the righteous.
These two different attitudes of the prophet Jonah and the patriarch Abraham teach us about our attitude toward judgment and repentance. When calamities befall upon others, we ought not to feel that they are worse sinners than others. Once, in the gospel of Luke, the Lord Jesus reminds us not to think of those who suffered or killed are worse sinners than any other people. Instead, if we do not repent from our evil doings, we too will suffer the same fate as them and we will perish just like them (Lk 13:1-5). Therefore, the judgment that befalls upon other people will also befall upon us if we do not repent according to God’s way.
Why did the Lord Jesus warn us to remember Lot’s wife? See also Lk 17:31-33.Hide Answer
Before the Lord destroyed the city of Sodom, the angels had already warned Lot and his family to escape and not to look back, lest they would be destroyed. But on their escape, Lot’s wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt (Gen 19:17, 25-26).
In the gospel of Luke, the Lord Jesus warns us to remember Lot’s wife lest we become like her (Lk 17:32). In the book of Genesis, Lot’s wife was already delivered by the angels from the destruction of Sodom. But at the end, she was destroyed because she deliberately disobeyed the angels’ warning and looked back toward Sodom. She was saved from the destruction yet her heart still longed for Sodom and all that was in it.
In the gospel of Matthew, the Lord Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21). Here, the Lord Jesus advises us that if we focus only on laying up treasures on earth and not the treasures in heaven, then our heart—our focus of life—will only set on earthly things and not the heavenly things. Thus, the Lord Jesus continues, “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Lk 17:33). By looking back toward the destroyed Sodom, Lot’s wife sought to save her life at Sodom—the treasures, the status, the environment and the lifestyle. But at the end, she lost her life for she became a pillar of salt.
The Lord Jesus’ warning in the gospel of Luke serves as a reminder for us. The Lord Jesus likens the judgment of Sodom with the day of the coming of the Son of Man (Lk 17:29-30). In preparing ourselves for His coming, we—the ones who are called and being delivered from the condemnation of sin—ought not to look back to our worldly lifestyles and treasures on earth, but we ought to set our heart on the heavenly things. By losing or leaving behind the life of the world, we will preserve our lives for the heavenly kingdom.
According to the prophet Ezekiel, why did the Lord destroy the city of Sodom? See also Ezek 16:49.Hide Answer
The writer of the book of Ezekiel described several reasons why the Lord destroyed the city of Sodom. First, the prophet Ezekiel mentions the iniquity of Sodom, such as pride, haughtiness and deeds of abomination before the Lord. Second, the city refused to strengthen the hand of the poor and needy though they had fullness of food and abundance of idleness (Ezek 16:49-50).
From Genesis 19:15-30, compare Lot’s successive replies with the angels’ successive warnings.Hide Answer
The first instance, the angels urged Lot to hurry and take his wife and two daughters to leave Sodom to avoid the punishment of the city. But Lot lingered so the angels grabbed Lot and his families’ hands, bringing them outside the city (Gen 19:15-16). Then, the angels told Lot not to stay anywhere in the plain but to escape to the mountains. Yet, Lot insisted on fleeing to a little city, Zoar, for his fear of evil in the mountains (Gen 19:17-19). Finally, the angels favored his plea of escaping to Zoar and told him to flee there. However, Lot and his two daughters later went up out of Zoar and dwelt in a cave due to his fear in dwelling in Zoar (Gen 19:21-22, 30).
What can we tell about Lot’s faith through his successive replies to the angels?Hide Answer
Through Lot’s successive replies to the angels, we can learn several things about Lot’s faith. First, Lot’s hesitation to act after hearing the angels’ urging to leave Sodom reflects his doubt at the angels’ warning of the destruction of the city. Second, Lot’s fear of evil in the mountains and fear of dwelling in Zoar reflect his disbelief toward the Lord’s providence of his life.
In the book of Genesis 9:21, after Noah survived from the flood, he became a farmer, drank wine and became drunk. Because of Noah’s drunkenness, he was uncovered in his tent and his younger son saw the nakedness of him (Gen 9:22). Then in the book of Genesis 19:32, after Lot escaped from the brimstone and fire rain of the Lord which destroyed the city of Sodom and all the land of the plain, Lot dwelled in a cave together with his daughters. At night, Lot drank wine and unknowingly lay with his two daughters that they were with child by their father (Gen 19:33, 35-36).
Regarding a sexual relation between a father and his daughter, the book of Leviticus 18:6 says, “None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness.” The LORD warned the Israelites not to defile themselves with the abominations of the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan (Lev 18:3). To those who commit such abominations, the book of Leviticus mentions a severe punishment: to be cut off from among their people (Lev 18:29).
What was the reason used by the oldest daughter of Lot to justify her deed recorded in Genesis 19:34?Hide Answer
To justify her deed in laying with her own father, the oldest daughter influenced her sister with a reason: to preserve the lineage of their father. Since there was no man on the earth to come in to them as in the custom of all the earth, the oldest daughter argued that they must obtain the lineage through the only one man who dwelt with them—their own aged-father (Gen 19:31-32).
The deeds of Lot’s two daughters, laying with their own father to preserve a lineage, reflected their faithless and godless lives.
The deeds of Lot’s two daughters teach us several things. Living in the world means we are constantly faced with godless manners and customs of the world. But the writer of the book of
1st John reminds us that the world consists of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 Jn 2:16). Therefore, the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans urges the reader not to be conformed to this world (Rom 12:2).
Furthermore, the writer of the book of
1st John warns us that if we love the world, then the love of the Father is not in us (1 Jn 2:15). In other words, the words of God do not abide in us and we are no longer able to prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God (1 Jn 2:14; Rom 12:2). Conforming and loving the world will affect our spiritual life, disabling us of our ability to discern what is right and wrong and hindering us to put our hope and trust in God.