- Locate the passage
Abraham was successful in bargaining with the Lord for a reduced minimum number of righteous people required before the Lord would destroy the city, but was still unsuccessful in saving the city. In this passage, the messengers of the Lord came to Sodom for one final act of grace before God brought judgment.
The passage is narrative. It records conversations between Lot and the angels, the men of Sodom and Lot, Lot and his sons-in-law, and Lot’s daughters among themselves.
- Determine the structure of the passage
19:1-3 – Lot welcomes angels into his home
19:4-11 – The men of Sodom reveal the reason for God’s judgment on the city
19:12-23 – Lot and his family are instructed to leave Sodom
19:24-26 – The Lord’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah
19:27-29 – The Lord remembered Abraham
19:30-38 – Lot’s daughters reveal how much living in Sodom affected them
- Exegete the passage
This passage bears striking similarities to the corruption in Gibeah in Judges 19:13-26: guests in a city welcomed into one man’s home, the men of the city surround the home insisting that the guests be brought out to them, the intended homosexual molestation is clear in both passages, the unheeded plea of the host not to harm his guests, and the offer of the host to appease the men of the city by offering his virgin daughter (s).
The two “men” from 18:2 are here clarified to be “angels.” The use of the definite article on the word “angels” and also the proximity of the passages confirms the connection of the “angels” with the “men.”
19:1 – The angels appeared to Lot
- The Lord’s grace exceeded Abraham’s request. While God would still destroy the city, here, He moves to preserve even the few (less than the 10 for which Abraham pled) who were righteous.
- Lot was at the gate of the city. The gate of the city functioned as a public square and was also the place where the elders of the city would meet to conduct business (Cf. Ruth 4:1-11).
- The fact that Lot was “sitting” at the gate suggests his prominence in the city
- Lot, like Abraham (18:2) immediately recognizes the significance of the visitors and bows before them.
19:2-3 – “Turn in to your servant’s house”
- Here is a great picture of kindness in an unkind city
- The value of hospitality
- Like Abraham, Lot desires to serve the honored guests
- Not only did both Abraham and Lot bow before the angels(18:2; 19:1), but both offered to wash their feet (18:4; 19:2), both made them bread and a meal which the angels ate (18:6-7; 19:3)
- Both Abraham and Lot prove to be worthy hosts
- It also suggests that Lot was aware of the dangers of Sodom and Gomorrah
- Unlike with Abraham, here the angels initially deny Lot’s offer of hospitality
- Lot does not begin his conversation with the angels, as Abraham did, “if I have found favor in your sight.” However, the angel’s refusal of Lot’s offer should not be interpreted that Lot had not “found favor” with them. Their presence clearly suggests otherwise.
- The angel’s refusal of Lot’s hospitality is worded similar to the angel’s strong response to Sarah’s lie about laughing.
- Both passages are phrased, “ לֹּ֔א כִּ֥י” (“ki lo;” lit. “no, indeed”)
- Lot’s response to their initial refusal is equally emphatic
- “he urged (or pressed) them exceedingly”
- This is another indication that Lot had reason to be suspicious of the people of Sodom and their treatment of guests in the city square.
- “he urged (or pressed) them exceedingly”
19:4 – Before they lay down … the men of Sodom … surrounded the house
- It was customary to go to bed soon after eating
- The men of Sodom “both young and old” suggests that the homosexuality and culture of corruption was multigenerational, and the phrase, “all the people” suggests that the debauchery was pervasive.
- The “men” are mentioned 3 times in this verse (the men of the city, the men of Sodom, all the people of the city) emphasizing the prevalent corruption
19:5-8 – The men of the city demand that Lot release his guests to them to sexually molest them. Inexplicably, Lot offers to them his two virgin daughters instead. Undoubtedly, Lot is attempting to be a good host and protect them since “they have come under the shadow of my roof.” However, his offer of his daughters suggests that he may have been more affected by Sodom’s corruption than he realized.
- To be sure, the Scripture commands the care of guests (Ex. 22:21; Lev. 19:3-34; Deut. 10:19). However, it also commands parents to care for their children. Lot seems to be attempting to avoid one sin by committing another (by “condoning” the gang rape of his daughters).
- Ironically, these two daughters whom Lot offers to the mob to rape them eventually rape their father, Lot, and both eventually become pregnant by him (19:30-38).
19:10-11 – The angels pulled Lot into his home and shut the door protecting him from the mob. Next, the angels “struck” (Hb. “nakah”) them with blindness. This word usually refers to a physical beating (Ex. 2:11-13; 5:14, 16), but it was as God “struck” Egypt with the plagues (Ex. 3:20; 8:12; 9:15; 12:12).
19:12-16 – The angels warned Lot to rescue his family, but Lot was unable to convince his sons in law to flee with him. When Lot hesitated, the angels physically brought him outside the city. This emphasizes the Lord’s clear intention on rescuing Lot. The narrator reminds the reader that Lot’s rescue was due to “the Lord being merciful to him.”
19:19-21 – Lot is aware that he is a recipient of the “favor” (Hb. “chen”) and “mercy” (Hb “chesed”). Yet, he fears that “evil” might still come to him, so he requests to be given time to flee to a nearby city. Thus, in this way, Lot is rescuing the people of that city, since the Lord “will not overthrow this city.”
19:24 – The Lord rained brimstone and fire and “overthrew” the city.
- The Hb. “haphak” literally means, “to turn this way and that.”
19:26 – Lot’s wife looked back
- Lot’s unnamed wife seems to long for Sodom. The reason for her judgment seems more than a curious glance back, but a longing to return.
- “nabat” means to “gaze” and carries the idea of longing.
- Jesus instructed the people in Luke 17:32 to “remember Lot’s wife” with the application that “whoever seeks to save his life will lose it.”
19:27 – Abraham returned to the place where he had previously met the Lord (18:16-33)
- Abraham “looked down” – see comments on 18:16 above
19:29 – The Lord “remembered” Abraham
- God’s rescue of Lot was because He remembered Abraham
- This is the 2nd time Abe saved Lot (14:1-6)
19:30-38 – This passage shows the impact Sodom had on Lot’s family. It also reflects the fear of Lot’s daughters and may even reflect their awareness of Lot’s previous offer of them to the mob. Their sexual abuse of their father mirrors the offer Lot made to the mob to sexually abuse them. Lot’s getting drunk with his daughters two nights in a row may suggest his own fear of their future.
- The children born to Lot’s two daughters as a result of their incestuous relationship with their father become perennial enemies of Israel (Ammonites and Moabites).
- The daughters note the fact that Lot is “old.” This likely reflects their fear that they are the only people still alive and since Lot is old, he would not be able to participate the earth’s repopulation much longer.
- There is a lesson here on the dangers of alcohol. This substance twice apparently rendered Lot so incapacitated that he was completely unaware of the fact that he was being raped by his own daughters. Moreover, the daughters seemed to know in advance that it would have that effect on their father. That’s a substance we should avoid.
- The way to avoid the toxic culture is not by getting intoxicated
- Perhaps this is symptomatic of an unhealthy way of escape for Lot (i.e. drinking to forget about it).
- Let the structure of the text drive the sermon
- Beware of Sodom’s impact
- Lot seemed to know of its danger
- Lot seemed to be aware of it as he feared for the angels
- Lot’s seemed to be impacted by it as he offered his virgin daughters to the mob to be sexually assaulted
- Lot’s wife seems to have been enticed by it
- Lot’s daughter’s seem to have been infected by it
Exp. 2 Tim. 2:22 – Sometimes, we need to get our family out
App. The harmful effects of a malignant culture on our family
Exp. That sin can have lasting consequences (Ammonites, Moabites)
- Don’t let Sodom:
- Influence your actions (Lot was still a good host)
- Corrupt your mind (Lot’s offer of his daughters)
- Attack your family (wife and daughters affected)
- Weaken your faith (Lot still trusted in the mercy and grace of the Lord)
- Compromise your Witness (drunk and debased)
- Lot seemed to know of its danger
- Live a life worthy of being remembered by God
- God’s grace to Abraham was in saving Lot
- Abe returned to the place where he had interceded before God for the people