1 “And there came two angels to
toward the ground;” And there came two angels - literally, the two angels, i.e. the
two men of the preceding chapter who accompanied Jehovah to Mamre; οἱ δύο
angelloi – the two angels (Septuagint) - to
(having left the tent of Abraham
shortly after noon); and
the narrative as captured by the Asiatic kings, and delivered by his uncle
14:12, 16) - sat in the gate of
· the gateway or entrance of a camp (Exodus 32:26-27),
· of a palace (Esther 2:19),
· of a temple (Ezekiel 8:5),
· of a land (Jeremiah 15:7), or
· of a city (Joshua 2:7).
Corresponding to the ancient forum of the Romans, or agora of the Greeks, the
city gate among the Hebrews was the customary place of resort for the settlement
of disputes, the transaction of business, or the enjoyment of ordinary social
intercourse (compare ch. 34:20; Deuteronomy 21:19; 22:15; Ruth 4:1; Proverbs
31:23). It was probably an arch with deep recesses, in which were placed chairs
for the judges or city magistrates, and seats or benches for the citizens who had
business to transact. So Homer describes the Trojan elders as sitting at the Scaean
gate (3. 148). In what capacity
was on the outlook for travelers on whom to practice the hospitality he had learned
from his uncle (Peele, Calvin, Willet, Lange) is perhaps to form too high an ideal
of his piety (Kalisch); while the explanation that he had been promoted to the
dignity of one of the city judges, though not perhaps justified as an inference
from v. 9, is not at all unlikely, considering his relationship to Abraham. And Lot
seeing them (and recognizing them to be strangers by their dress and looks) rose up
to meet them; - having not yet abandoned the practice of hospitality, or forgotten,
through mingling with the Sodomites, the respectful courtesy which was due to
strangers, since the writer adds - and he bowed himself with his face toward the
ground (compare ch. 18:2). (In
by Abram [ch. 13:7-9] we may assume that his declension was associated with
* Lot pitched his tent towards
* Lot dwelt in
* Lot sat in the gate of
* Lot was unhappy -
* Lot lingered when warned to flee - had to be drug
Apparently the sojourn in
"But the men of
exceedingly" (ch. 13:13)
2 “And 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.”
And he said, Beheld now, my lords, - Adonai
(see ch. 18:3). As yet
recognized them as men - turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and
tarry all night, and wash your feet (compare ibid. v. 4) and ye shall rise up early,
and go on your ways. Though
an act of kindness on the part of
was not accepted by the angels obviously with a view to try his character (compare
Luke 24:28). And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. Literally,
for in the broad open spaces (i.e. the streets of the town) we will pass the night;
no great hardship in that climate.
3 “And 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.” And he pressed upon them greatly. Being himself sincerely desirous
to extend to them hospitality, and knowing well the danger to which they would be
exposed from the violence and licentiousness of the townsmen. And they turned
in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, - mishteh,
from shathah, to drink, is rightly rendered πότον – poton (Septuagint), a drink,
or refreshing beverage (compare Esther 5:6; 7:7) - and did bake unleavened bread –
literally, bread of sweetness, that is, bread not soured by leaven. The banquet was
thus of the simplest kind, chiefly, it may be hoped, for the sake of dispatch. And
they did eat.
4 “But before they lay down, the men of the city,
even the men of
compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every
quarter:” i.e. of the town, as in Jeremiah 51:31 (Lange); from the extremity, or
extremities, of the town (Kalisch); from the extremities, i.e. all the population
contained within the extremities (Rosenmüller); all the citizens to the last man
(Keil). The text probably conveys the writer's idea.
5 “And they called unto
came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.”
And they called unto
in to thee this night? Josephus supposes them to have been of beautiful
caused them to assault
that we may know them. The sin here euphemistically referred to (compare Judges
19:22) was exceedingly prevalent among the Canaanites (Leviticus 18:22) and other
heathen nations [and unfortunately,
now the United States of
countries of the world can be added to these – hopefully not as prevalent
though, as “fake news” portrays them to be! CY – 2019] (Romans 1:26-27).
Under the law of Moses IT WAS PUNISHABLE BY DEATH!
7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8 Behold 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.”
(pethach, from pathach, to open; compare pateo, Latin; πρόθυρον – prothuron –
, (Septuagint); in which the gate or hanging door (deleth, from dalai, to be pendulous)
swings, and which it closes (see Gesenius, p. 201) - and shut the door (deleth, as above;
θύρα – thura - door, Septuagint) after him, - to protect his visitors, which he also
sought to accomplish by personal exhortation - and said, I pray you, brethren, do
not so wickedly - and also by an infamous proposal which nothing can extenuate
and the utmost charity finds difficult to reconcile any pretence of piety on the part of
(compare ch. 4:1), though, according to some, already betrothed to two Sodomites
(v. 14) - let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good
in your eyes. The usual apologies - that in sacrificing his daughters to the Sodomites
instead of giving up his guests to
their unnatural lust.
(1) selected the lesser of two sins (Ambrose);
(2) thereby protected his guests and discharged the duties of hospitality incumbent
on him (Chrysostom);
(3) believed his daughters would not be desired by the Sodomites, either because of
their well-known betrothal (Rosenmüller), or because of the unnatural lust of the
(4) acted through mental perturbation (Augustine).
None of these are insufficient to excuse the wickedness of one who in attempting to
prevent one sin was himself guilty of another (Delitzsch), who in seeking to be a
faithful friend forgot to be an affectionate father (Kalisch), and who, though bound
to defend his guests at the risk of his own life, was not at liberty to purchase their
safety by the sacrifice of his daughters ('Speakers Commentary'). Only unto these men –
הָאֵל, an archaic form of הָאֵלֶּה, a proof of the antiquity of the Pentateuch (compare
v. 25; 26:3-4; Leviticus 18:27; Deuteronomy 4:42; 7:22; 19:11) - do nothing
(i.e. offer to them neither violence nor dishonor); for therefore (see ch. 18:5)
came they under the shadow of my roof - in order to find protection.
9 “And 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,
break the door.” And they said, Stand back. Ἀπόστα ἐκεῖ - Aposta ekei
(Septuagint); recede illuc (Vulgate); "Make way," i.e. for us to enter (Keil, Knobel,
Gesenius); Approach hither (Baumgarten, Kalisch); Come near, farther off ('Speaker's
Commentary'). And they said again, This one fellow (literally, the one, an expression
of the Sodomites' contempt) came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: -
literally, and shall he judge, judging; shall he continually play the judge, referring
II Peter 2:7-8) - now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed
sore upon the man, even Lot
sturdy resistance to their violence no less than to their clamors), and came near
to break (שָׁבַר, to break to pieces, to shiver) the door.
10 “But the men (i.e. the angels) put forth their hand, and pulled
the house to them, and shut to the door.” (deleth – see v. 6)
11 “And 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.”
And they smote the men that were at the door - the pethaeh, or opening (ibid.) –
of the house with blindness, - סַגְוֵרִים (sanverim), from an unused quadrilateral
signifying to dazzle, is perhaps here intended not for natural blindness, but for
confused or bewildered vision, involving for the time being loss of sight, and
accompanied by mental aberration; what Aben Ezra calls "blindness of eye
and mind" (compare II Kings 6:18) - both small and great: so that they wearied
themselves to find the door - which they would hardly have done had it been
natural blindness only (Augustine).
Warning Lights in
the light of
subjected to the moral contamination of the licentious Pentapolis, is
apparent from —
Ø The practice of hospitality, which he appears to have maintained,
having probably learned it while in his uncle s tent. So men often
cling to the outward forms of religion when its living power is ceasing
to exert an influence upon the heart; and though adherence to the
former is not to be mistaken for the latter, yet it renders the decline
of the latter less rapid and disastrous than it would otherwise be.
Ø The kindly reception which he extended to his celestial visitors. If
scarcely so elaborate as the sumptuous entertainment of Abraham at
the banquet of
unaffectedly sincere and earnest. It clearly testified that
become insensible to the practical duties of religion, as at that time
understood. Early religious training is exceedingly difficult to
eradicate. (Proverbs 22:6)
Ø The courageous defense which he made of his threatened guests. At
the risk of his personal safety he endeavored to repel the violence with
which the citizens assailed them; and by the proffer of a sacrifice, the
greatest surely that a parent could make, he sought to beguile the
infamous designs which the townsmen cherished. Whatever may
towards the angels proved that the life of grace within his soul was
not quite extinct.
the light of
be gathered from the circumstances:
Ø That he had remained so long among the Sodomites. Unless a process
deterioration had been going on within the soul of
among a people so depraved would eventually have become impossible.
Instead of being merely vexed (II Peter 2:7) in his righteous soul while in
Ø That he had betrothed his daughters to two of Sodom’s citizens. That
his prospective sons-in-law were infected by the bad taint of the city may
be inferred from their subsequent behavior, as well as from the preceding
judgment of God on the universal corruption of the city’s inhabitants.
them to enter into matrimonial engagements with ungodly suitors.
Ø That he actually offered to sacrifice his daughters’ purity to the lust of
the Sodomites. Whatever apology may be offered for so extraordinary a
on the part of
strange obliquity of moral vision, and a serious deadening of fine moral
feeling. It was a clear proof that the immoral contagion had begun to affect
Lot, and that it was high time for him to leave
known as to its character, the wickedness of
all its revolting features and frightful dimensions. The history of that last
night in the doomed city proclaimed the sin of
Ø Unnatural. In the unbridled license of their appetites they had far
outstripped common sinners; even the natural brute beasts they had left
behind; they had sunk to a monstrosity of wickedness of which shame
forbids to speak. Paul enumerates their sin amongst the forms of impurity
by which the heathen world has at times defiled itself. (Romans 1:26-28 –
And of which
Ø Shameless. Disgusting and repulsive as their wickedness was, instead of
shrinking into darkness and doing it in secret, they openly proclaimed their
filthiness, and would have gratified their lusts in public. It is a lower deep
in moral degradation when one not only does “those things which are not
convenient,” but glories in his shame (Philippians 3:19).
Ø Violent. This marked a third degree in the wickedness of
rather than be balked of their lewd design, the citizens were prepared to
set at naught the laws of hospitality, which insured the safety of strangers
within their city, and, if need were, the rights of property, by breaking into
on the objects of their unhallowed lusts. Ordinary sinners are satisfied if
they can gratify an unholy impulse without an undue expenditure of crime;
these were ready to trample on all laws of God and man to accomplish
their desire, “adding sin to sin” (Isaiah 30:1).
Ø Obdurate. Even when struck with blindness they did not discontinue
their impious attempt. They wearied themselves groping about in the
darkness, but it was still in an endeavor “to find the door.” Common
sinners pause when confronted with the just judgments of Heaven; these
were only maddened into greater fury. And, to complete the picture,
this appalling wickedness was:
Ø Universal. From all quarters and of all ages they clustered and clamored
dissension in the multitude. They were all of one mind. (Also the
so-called Progressive-Left in society today – going so far as to attempt
to educationally contaminate primary grade children with graphic sex
education, for which they are not mentally or emotionally ready for;
consider homosexual couples, barred from having children, wanting
to adopt; ad nauseam – CY – 2019) Could anything more signally
CY – 2019)
1. How rapidly a good man can deteriorate in evil company.
2. How completely a nation can resist the ameliorating influences of its
3. How disgustingly repulsive sin is when fully developed.
12 “And the men said unto
sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of
this place: 13 For 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.”
And the men said unto
the Codex Samaritanus reads "angels" - Hast thou here any besides? (i.e. any other
relatives or friends in the city in addition to the daughters then present in the house)
son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever (not of things, but of
persons) thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: for we will destroy this
place (literally, for destroying this place are we, i.e. we are here for that purpose),
because the cry of them - not "the outcry on account of them," i.e. which the men
heaven, the cry for vengeance on their iniquities (compare ch. 4:10; 18:20 –
is waxen great before the face of the Lord (compare ch. 6:11; 10:9); and the Lord
(Jehovah) hath sent us (language never employed by the Maleaeh Jehovah) to
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
same evening), and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, - literally,
those taking his daughters, meaning either those who had taken them (Septuagint,
Targums, Knobel, Delitzsch), or more probably those intending to take them, their
affianced husbands (Josephus, Vulgate, Clericus, Rosenmüller, Ewald, Keil, Kalisch) –
and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord (Jehovah) will destroy this (literally,
the) city. But (literally, and) he seemed as one that mocked - as one that made laughter;
from the same root as the word Isaac (ch.17:19; compare Judges 16:25) - unto his sons
15 “And when the morning arose, then the angels
thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the
iniquity of the city. 16 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.” And when the morning arose, - literally, as soon as the dawn (from שָׁחַר,
to break forth as the light) went up, i.e. on the first appearance of the morning twilight –
then the angels hastened
which are here; - literally, which are found; not implying the existence of other
daughters (Knobel), but contrasting with the sons in law (Keil, Kalisch) lest thou be
consumed in the iniquity (or punishment, as in Isaiah 5:18) of the city. And while
he lingered, -
His heart manifestly clung to the earthly possessions he was leaving. The angels
made no mention of his attempting to save a portion of his great wealth - 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 to him: - literally, in the mercy, or
gentleness, of Jehovah to him; the primary idea of the verb from which the noun
is derived being that of softness (compare Isaiah 63:9) - and they brought him
forth, and set him without the city.
17 “And 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.” And it came to pass, when they
had brought them (i.e.
that he - one of the angels (Rabbi Solomon, Jarchi, Rosenmüller, Lange, 'Speaker's
Commentary'); the one that had taken
the angel (Delitzsch); the angel speaking in the name of God (Keil, Kalisch); Jehovah
Himself, who, though not mentioned, had now appeared upon the scene (Ainsworth,
Candlish) - said, Escape for thy life (literally, for thy soul; and clearly in this case
the loss of the soul in the higher sense must have been involved in the destruction
of the life); look not behind thee. From the event it may be inferred that this
injunction was also given to
in the fiery judgment from mortal vision (Knobel), but more likely to express
detestation of the abhorred city (Bush), to guard against the incipience of any
desire to return (Lange), and to stimulate their zeal to escape destruction. Neither
stay thou in all the plain - or "circle" (see ch. 13:10). Once so attractive for its
beauty, it must now be abandoned for its danger. Escape to the mountain (the
be translated Lord; whence it would
almost seem as if
was Jehovah. Keil
and Lange speaks of a miraculous report of the voice of God coming to him along
with the miraculous vision of the angels. That the historian uses "them" instead of
"him" only proves that at the time Jehovah was accompanied by the angels, as He
had previously been at Mamre (see ch. 18:1).
19 “Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified
thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape
to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:” Behold now, thy servant hath
found grace in thy sight (compare ch. 18:3), and thou hast magnified thy mercy
(language inappropriate to be addressed to the angels, though exactly suitable
if applied by
life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil (more correctly,
the evil, i.e. the destruction
Behold now, this city is near to flee unto(literally, thither), and it is a little one:
Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.”
it would not be a great demand on God's mercy to spare it, and it would save him
from further exertions for his safety. A singular display of moral obtuseness (slow
to understand) and indolent (lazy)selfishness on the part of
21 “And 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.” And He
said unto him, See, I have accepted thee (literally, I have lifted up thy face,
the petitioner usually supplicating with his face toward the ground, so that the
elevation of his countenance expressed the granting of his request) concerning
this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.
22 “Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither.
Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.” .I.e. "The Little;" obviously from
of the city was Bela (ch. 14:2). It has been sought for in the Wady Zuweirah, a pass
leading down from
in the Ghor-el-Mezraa, i.e. upon the southern peninsula, which projects a long way
of the see, at the opening of the Wady-el-Raumer (Keil); but has now been identified
at the northern extremity of the lake (Tristram, '
see v.. 28, on the site of cities of the plain).
23 “The sun was risen upon
the earth when
The sun was risen upon the earth - literally, the sun went forth, i.e. it was now
above the horizon. Lot had left
lingered, it was clear morning - when
Zoar," i.e. when the angel left him (Keil).
24 “Then the LORD rained upon
and fire from the LORD out of heaven;” Then the Lord rained - literally,
and Jehovah caused it to rain; καὶ κύριος ἔβρεξε – kai kurios ebrexe –
then Yahweh rained - (Septuagint), which latter term is adopted by Luke in
describing this event (Luke 17:29)
upon Admah and Zeboim (Deuteronomy 29:23; Hosea 11:8), Bela, or Zoar, of the
five cities of the
גָּפְרִית; properly pitch, though the name was afterwards transferred to other inflammable
materials (Gesenius); וָאֵשׁ, and fire, which, though sometimes used of lightning, as in
I Kings 18:38; II Kings 1:10, 12, 14; Job 1:16, may here describe a different sort of
igneous agency. Whether this Divinely-sent rain was "burning pitch" (Keil), of lightning
which ignited the bituminous soil (Clericus), or a volcanic eruption which overwhelmed
all the region (Lynch, Kitto), it was clearly miraculous in its nature, and designed as
a solemn punitive infliction on the cities of the plain - from the Lord - i.e. Jehovah
(the Son) rained down from Jehovah (the Father), as if suggesting a distinction of
persons in the Godhead (Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Athanasius, et alii, Delitzsch,
Lunge, Wordsworth); otherwise the phrase is regarded as "an elegancy of speech"
(Aben Ezra), "an emphatic repetition" (Calvin), a more exact characterization of
the storm (Clericus, Rosenmüller) as being out of heaven.
The Judgment of Fire (v. 24)
Ø Mercifully warned. The intimation conveyed by the angels was:
o Explicit; the city was to be destroyed. The cry for vengeance could no
longer be resisted. The cup of its iniquity was full.
o Emphatic; there was no dubiety about the announcement. Already the
doom had been decreed, and they had come to be the ministers of its
o Merciful; it was designed to secure the escape of himself and friends
from the impending overthrow. “Whatsoever thou hast, bring them out of
o Timely; there was still ample opportunity for not only getting clear out
of the perilous region himself, but for alarming his daughters’ intended
husbands. So are sinners warned:
§ graciously, and
in the gospel to flee from the wrath to come, to escape from
the city of destruction.
Ø Urgently hastened. Notwithstanding the angel s warning, it is obviou
of time, if not from any secret dubiety as to the need for the celestial
exhortation; and so do sinners dally yet with the solemn announcement of
the gospel, which necessitates that they Be
vehemently pressed, like
o Earnest admonition. “Arise!” “Up!” “Get thee out of this place!”
o Serious caution, “Lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.”
Ø Graciously assisted. Even the urgency displayed by the angels would
not have sufficed to rescue
worldly-minded partner a helping hand. Hankering after
thinking of the wealth they had to leave, the good man and his wife still
lingered, and were at last only dragged forth by main force beyond the
precincts of the doomed city. It reminds us that few, probably none, would
ever escape from the city of destruction if Divine grace were not practically
to lay hold of them and drag them forth; and even this Divine grace would
not do unless
the Lord were specially
merciful to them, as
he was to
Ø Minutely directed. To the further prosecution of their journey they were
not left without most careful instructions as to how they might secure their
safety; and neither are awakened sinners, who have-been aroused to see
their peril and to start upon the way of life, permitted to struggle on
without celestial guidance as to how to make their calling and election
sure. Like the fleeing
o to be in earnest, seeing it is their life for which they flee;
o to beware of backsliding, since he who looketh back is not fit for the
o to indulge in no delay, since so long as one continues in the plain of his
natural condition he stands in imminent peril; and
o to persevere until he reaches the mount of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Ø Supernatural. Whatever the natural forces employed in the destruction
of the fair
cities of the
and at such a time, viz., precisely at the moment when the moral
degradation of the people showed them to be ripe for judgment, was a
signal demonstration of the miraculous character of the catastrophe;
as indeed the narrative alleges it to have been a phenomenon altogether, out
of the common course of events: “Jehovah rained down fire from Jehovah.”
Unexpected. It does not appear that the inhabitants of
were warned of the
approaching fire-storm, though, if
may be accepted as an indication of the temper in which the people at that
time were, any such announcement would only have been listened to with
mocking incredulity. So was it in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:38);
so will it be in the end of the world (II Peter 3:3-4).
Ø Complete. The cities with their inhabitants, the fields with their
vegetation, were engulfed in the sulfurous baptism and “turned into ashes.”
As overwhelming in its kind, though not as sweeping in its extent, as had
been the previous submergence of the world by a flood of water, the
upon the fair Pentapolis of the
shadow and premonition of that vengeance of eternal fire which shall yet
devour the ungodly (II Thessalonians 1:8).
Ø Righteous. It was a just judgment which had been richly merited, as the
visit of the angels had convincingly demonstrated. Indeed that previous
of the filthiness of
as having been designed to supply a visible justification of the
righteousness of the great Judge in consigning them to so disastrous an
overthrow. And so before the infliction of the great day of wrath upon the
impenitent and the ungodly there will be a revelation of the secret
characters of all hearts and lives, that “thou mightest be justified when thou
speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4).
Ø Public. In particular, besides being experienced by the unhappy sufferers
and observed by the trembling fugitives who had sought refuge in Zoar, it
was witnessed by Abraham, who gat him up early, and, looking towards
furnace to heaven — a fit emblem of the terrible publicity which will
invest the final judgment of a sinful world (Matthew 25:31-46;
II Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 18:9).
Ø Intensely melancholy. Overtaken by the sulfurous storm, she was
transfixed where she stood, and in a moment after wrapped in a sheet of
saline incrustation. Affecting in itself, her doom was rendered all the more
impressive from the circumstance that she had so nearly escaped. Alas,
nearly saved means wholly lost!
Ø Truly deserved. Contrary to the angel’s instructions, she had looked
behind. Thus she had brought her tragic fate upon herself. Obedience
would have saved her; disobedience proved her ruin, Whether she was lost
eternally it is not safe to say, but her temporal destruction had been
Ø Solemnly suggestive. It was doubtless designed to teach many lessons,
o the danger of disobedience,
o the folly of delay,
o the severity of the Divine judgments, and
o the intensity of the Divine displeasure against sin.
1. The difficulty of saving a good man (I Peter 4:18).
2. The ability of God to punish sin (Hebrews 10:31).
3. The danger of looking back (ibid. vs. 26-27, 38).
4. The possibility of being nearly saved, yet wholly lost (Mark 12:34).
25 “And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants
of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” And He overthrew –
literally, turned over, as a cake'; whence utterly destroyed (compare
Deuteronomy 29:23; κατέστρεψεν– katestrepsen - overthrew, Septuagint;
subvertit, Vulgate). In Arabic "the overthrown' is a title applied, κατ ἐξοχὴν –
kat exochaen, to
καταστροφή - katastrophae – an overthrow (II Peter 2:6), Wordsworth thinks an
earthquake may have accompanied the burning - those cities, - that they were
submerged as well as overthrown (Josephus) is a doubtful inference from ch. 14:3
(see v. 28, on the site of cities of the plain). The archaic הָאל is again employed
(compare v. 8) - and all the plain, - kikkar, circle or district (ch. 13:10) - and all
the inhabitants of the cities, - a proof of their entire corruption (ch. 18:32) –
and that which grew upon the ground - literally, that which sprouts forth from
the ground, the produce of the soil; thus converting "a fruitful land INTO
BARRENNESS for the wickedness of them that dwell therein" (Psalm 107:34).
The Righteousness of God Revealed (vs. 23-25)
The judgment of God upon
contrast to that of the three by Abraham. The scene of the Divine judgment
suggestive. The plain of the
its beauty and promise. Early civilization gathered about such spots, but
civilization without religion is a blasting influence. There are hidden
fountains of judgment ready to burst forth and pour the fire of Divine
wrath upon the sinners. The man who “pitched his tent towards
(ch. 13:12) became at last a townsman, “vexed with the filthy conversation,”
(II Peter 2:7) yet, but for Divine mercy, involved in its punishment. The whole
narrative teaches important lessons, especially on the following points:
ITS APPROPRIATE PLACE AND SURROUNDINGS.
CIRCLE IN WHICH TO MANIFEST SINCERITY AND
FAITHFULNESS, yet must we take heed that our house is well defended
against the invasions of the corrupt world.
SMALL BEGINNING OF ERROR! The selfishness of
of his residence was the seed of evil which multiplied into all the
subsequent suffering and wrong.
judgment and mercy, not mingled in a confused manner, but with perfect
order. The man who had joined with Abraham in the covenant with
Jehovah, who with all his faults was yet a believer, is warned, rescued by
angels; able by his intercession to obtain mercy for others.
BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD is also revealed in the
sphere of HOUSEHOLDS and families.
and becomes involved in the destruction of the wicked. His sons-in-law
mock at the Divine warning. His daughters become the incestuous
originators of nations which afterwards greatly trouble the history of the
people of God.
ASPECTS OF IT.
was risen upon the earth when
Zoar.” The same day, while the sun was serenely smiling on the city of
refuge, the storm of fire and destruction from heaven was gathering over
the doomed people and ready to burst upon them. “When God destroyed
the cities of the plain, God remembered Abraham, and sent
midst of the overthrow.”
26 “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”
But his wife looked back from behind him, - i.e. went behind him and looked back;
ἑπέβλεψεν – epeblepsen – looked back (Septuagint), implying wistful regard; respiciens
(Vulgate); an act expressly forbidden by the angel (v. 17) - and she became (literally,
she was, conveying an idea of complete and instantaneous judgment) a pillar of salt.
נְעִיב מֵלַח; στήλη ἀλός – staelae alos – a pillar of salt (Septuagint); a statue or column
of fossil salt, such as exists in
the neighborhood of the
transformed into a pillar of salt (Josephus, Calvin, Rosenmüller, Kalisch, Wordsworth),
though not impossible, is scarcely likely. A more probable interpretation is that she was
killed by the fiery and sulphurous vapor with which the atmosphere was impregnated,
and afterwards became encrusted with salt (Aben Ezra, Keil, Lange, Murphy, Quarry),
though against this it has been urged:
(1) that the air was not filled with "salt sulphurous rain," but with fire and brimstone; and
(2) that the heaven-sent tempest did not operate in the way described on the other
A third explanation regards the expression as allegorical, and intimating that the fate of
Lord, either as a covenant of salt signifies a perpetual
reference to the salt pillars which, in a similar manner, attest the destruction of the
The Danger of Falling Back (v. 26)
“But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of
salt.” Every part of this narrative is suggestive of lessons. Reminded how
“the righteous scarcely saved,” and of the danger of an amiable weakness.
Ezekiel 20:49; James 1:24). In his wife, one convinced, but not
converted; seeking safety, but with a divided aim (James 1:8). In the
angel’s help, God’s watchful care, even where the need is unknown. (In our
ignorance and self-will – CY – 2019) The text teaches the responsibility of
those who hear the gospel. There are dangers surrounding us, but there is a
a way of safety (Psalm 101:1; II Corinthians 2:16). But not enough to be roused
(Matthew 10:22; Hebrews 12:1). Many are awakened to flee, yet look back
but really believed; felt the danger, and fled (II Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 18:4).
But the sun rose; the valley beautiful; home attractive; no signs of danger. Must she
leave all; and at once? She paused. THAT PAUSE WAS DEATH!
(compare Matthew 12:43-45). Some, intent on the world, think not of the future.
Preaching seems only a venerable form; prayer a proper homage to God.
But as to anything more, no hurry. But a time of anxiety comes. Perhaps a
wave of revival, or some special occurrence — illness, bereavement, care.
Eternity is brought near, false confidence dispelled (Isaiah 28:17). Then
in earnest to seek the true refuge (Hebrews 6:18). The Bible read;
prayer a real pleading. But the sun arises. The immediate cause passes
away. Fears fade away. Then a looking back. Surely some of you can
remember times of earnestness. Perhaps in hours of anxious watching, or in
preparation for communion, or God has spoken directly to the soul and
made you feel His presence (ch. 28:16-17). Then the blessedness
of accepted salvation was felt. The message was not a parable then. The
Bible and prayer were precious then. But time went on. The immediate
influence, gone. All as before. Old ways asserted their power; hard to give
them up. In mercy the call once more. Awake; the storm is at hand, though
thou, seest it not. Pray that the Holy Spirit may transform thy heart.
She felt her husband’s earnestness, and went with him, but so far only. We
know the power of example. When we see those we love affected, we are moved
to be as they. So at the preaching of John the Baptist. So at times of
missions. Have any felt this influence; been stirred to read and pray? It is
well. But has it lasted? For a real saving change there must be a personal
transaction with the Lord as a living Savior; a laying hold of Him, a real
desire and effort that the will and whole nature be submitted to Him.
pleads urgently. One refuge after another is swept away. Call upon call, sign
upon sign, till the will seems conquered. But all is not done (Philippians
3:13). Such pleadings neglected, cease. Observe, God led
question is not as to the past, but as to the present. It will not save a man
that he was once anxious. Look not back. LOOK TO JESUS! (Hebrews
12:2). Let earnestness in every part of Christian life testify that you are not
looking back (ibid. ch. 10:39).
27 “And Abraham gat up early in the morning (of the catastrophe) to the place
(i.e. and went to the place) where he stood before the LORD:” (see on Genesis 18:22).
28 “And he looked toward
plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a
furnace.” And he looked toward - literally, towards the face, or visible side (compare
ch. 18:16 where the same phrase is employed to describe the act of the angels on leaving
The cities of the plain are commonly believed to have been situated at the southern
extremity of the
stated (but see arkdiscovery.com. – CY – 2019)
1. Josephus and Jerome, the one representing Jewish, and the other Christian,
tradition, both speak of a Zoar as existing in that locality.
2. The difference of level between the northern and southern ends of the lake,
the one according to Lynch being 1300 feet, and the other not more than 16 feet,
seems to favor the idea that the latter is of recent formation, having been, in fact,
submerged at the time of the overthrow of the cities.
3. A ridge of rock-salt on the west of the Yale of Salt is called by the name
Jebel Usdum, in which a trace of
pillars of salt that in that region have from time to time been detached from the
cliffs have been designated by the name of
4. The statement
of ch. 14:3 appears to imply that the
was originally the vale of Siddim.
5. The expression
is suggestive rather of the southern than of the northern extremity of the lake
as the site of the Pentapolis. It may be added that this opinion has received the
sanction of Robinson, Stanley, Porter, Thomson (The Land and the Book), and
other eminent geographers.
On the other hand, there are reasons for believing that the true site of the cities
was at the north, and not the
south, of the
1. The circle of
southern extremity of the
2. From the
"yet the depression between the nearer hills and those of
and Abraham could at once identify the locality whence the smoke arose," after
3. Chedorlaomer's route (ch. 14:7-14) was from Kadesh to Hazezon-tamar, midway
the western shore of the
and from Siddim to Dan, the natural conclusion being that on reaching
Hazezon-tamar he did not turn southward, but continued marching northwards.
4. Moses from
the valley of
if Zoar was in the line of vision with the plain and
the city of
but as certainly impossible if it was at the southern extremity of the lake This
view has been advocated by Grove (Smith's 'Biblical Dictionary,' art. ZONE)
by Tristram ('
has been adopted by Drew ('Imp.' 'Bible Dict.,' art.
the Friend of God,' p. 185), and Inglis ('Genesis, p. 168). And beheld, and, lo,
the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a (literally, of the) furnace.
Thus the appalling catastrophe proclaimed its reality to Abraham; to subsequent ages
it stamped a witness of its severity (“.....
example,suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” - Jude 1:7)
(1) upon the region itself, in the bleak and desolate aspect it has ever since possessed;
(2) upon the page of inspiration, being by subsequent Scripture writers constantly
referred to as a standing, warning against incurring the Almighty s wrath
(Deuteronomy 29:22; Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 49:18; Lamentations 4:6; Amos 4:11;
II Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7); and
(3) upon the course of ancient tradition, which it powerfully affected. Cf. Tacitus,
'Hist.,' 5:7: "Hand procul inde eampi, quos ferunt olim uberes, magnisque
urbibus habitatos, fulminum jaetu arsisse; et manere vestigia; terramque
ipsam specie torridam vim frugiferam perdidisse; nam cuncta atra et inania
velut in cinerem vanescunt. Ego, sicut inelitas quondam urbes igne celesti
flagrasse concesserim." For traditional notices of this event by Diodorus
Siculus, Strabo, Pliny, Ovid,
&c. vide Rosenmüller (Scholia
29 “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God
remembered Abraham, and sent
He overthrew the
cities in the which
pluperfect (Rosenmüller), as if a direct continuation of the preceding narrative,
but a preterit, being the commencement of a new subdivision of the history in
which the writer treats of
as a fragment of the original Elohist's composition, the present verse is by the
pseudo-criticism connected with ch.17:27 (Ilgen, Tuch, Block); but "a greater
abruptness of style and a more fragmentary mode of composition" than this
would indicate "could not easily be imagined" (Kalisch). The change in the
Divine name is sufficiently explained by the supposition that the destruction
of the cities of the plain was not at the moment viewed by the writer in its
connection with the Abrahamic covenant and intercession, but as a sublime
vindication of Divine justice (cf. Quarry, p. 444) - destroyed (literally, in He
destroying, by Elohim, or in Elohim s destroying) the cities of the plain, that
God remembered Abraham. If the narrative containing the intercession of
Abraham and the overthrow of
earlier author to know anything about those events? The obvious allusions to
them in the present verse could only have been made by one acquainted with
them. Either, therefore, the present verse proceeded from the hand of the so-called
Jehovist, or it requires explanation how in the original document this should be the
first and only occasion on which they are referred to (cf. Quarry, p. 445). And –
in answer to Abatham's
prayer (ch. 18:23) - sent
overthrow (there is no reason to suppose that Abraham was aware of his nephew's
escape), when he overthrew - literally, in the overthrowing of the cities, the inf.
being construed with the case of its verb (see Gesenius, § 133) - the cities in the
which - one of which (compare
Judges 15:7) -
The Last Days of
The terror of Divine judgment. The appalling
overthrow had no doubt filled him with alarm. And so are God s
judgments in the earth designed to put the souls of men in fear
(Psalm 9:20; 46:8-10; 119:120).
Ø The terror of men. Dwelling in Zoar, he apprehended an outburst of
wrath from the citizens, who probably regarded him as the cause of the
ruin which had
overtaken by the fear of man (II Samuel 22:5; Psalm 18:4), though
they should not (Isaiah 51:12).
The terror of conscience. That
undisturbed repose of heart and mind is scarcely supposable. Rather it may
be safely conjectured that after the storm and the fire and the earthquake
through which he had lately passed, the still small voice of conscience
spoke to him in awe-inspiring accents, unveiling his past life, reproving him
of sin, and piercing him through with many sorrows; and that under the
agitations produced by its accusations and reproaches he became afraid,
and withdrew to the mountains. “Thus conscience doth make cowards of
Ø Descending into unbelief. God had promised to spare Zoar for him, and
him in Zoar, and one would have
of the sin of distrusting God. Yet he is scarcely established in the city
which God had granted in response to his own prayer than he begins to
think it hardly safe to remain within its precincts. How inveterate is
Plunging into sin. The details of the present story clearly show that
when he went to the mountain cave, endeavored to escape from his terrors
not by carrying them to God’s throne, but by drowning them in dissipation.
The wretched man, who had once been a saint in God’s Church, must have
been in the habit of drinking to excess, else his daughters would never have
thought of their abominable stratagem. Only one little gleam of virtue can
be detected as
entitled to be laid to
apparently believed that unless their father was drunk he would never be
brought to assent to their lewd proposal.
Ø Sinking into shame. Twice overcome by wine, he is twice in succession
dishonored by his daughters; and twice over, while in his drink stupor, he
to commit an act which almost out-Sodoms
what depths a saint may fall when once HE TURNS HIS BACK ON
mark the Divine disapprobation with
this he was suffered —
Ø To live an unrecorded life, being never heard of again in the pages of
Ø To die an unnoticed death. Where and how he met his end the historian
does not condescend to state.
Ø To sink into an unknown grave. Whether buried in his mountain cave or
entombed in the
Ø The danger of turning aside from God and good men (Hebrews 3:12;
Ø The melancholy end of a worldly life (I Corinthians 10:6;
Philippians 3:19; II Timothy 4:10).
Ø The bitter fruits of parental neglect (I Samuel 2:27-36; Proverbs 29:15-17)
Ø The reason.
Ø The instrumentality.
Ø The reality.
Ø The lessons of the overthrow.
overthrow.” To Abraham this was:
Ø A great mercy.
Ø A mercy granted in answer to prayer. But —
Ø An unknown mercy, there being no reason to believe that
Abraham ever saw
Ø That God always mixes-mercy with His judgments.
Ø That His mercies are not always so perceptible to the eye of sense
and reason as His judgments.
Ø That God’s people get more mercies poured into their cups than
they are at all times cognizant of.
daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave,
he and his two daughters.” And
and dwelt in the mountain
two daughters -
step-daughters, it has been suggested, if
who was the mother of the two girls (Starke) - with him; for he feared to dwell in
Zoar - from which the panic-stricken inhabitants may have fled towards the
mountains (Murphy), either because at that time it was shaken by an earthquake
(Jerome, Rosenmüller); or because he dreaded the conflagration which devoured
the other cities might spread thither (Peele, Kalisch, Wordsworth), or the rising
waters of the
apprehensions which were groundless and unbelieving, since God had granted
Zoar for an asylum (Lange); or because he saw the wickedness of the inhabitants,
who had not been improved by
because he was driven by "a blind anxiety of mind" (Calvin). And he dwelt in a cave,
- i.e. in one of those cavernous recesses with which the Moabitish mountains abound,
and which already had been converted into dwelling-places by the primitive
inhabitants of the region (compare ch. 14:6) - he and his two daughters
31 “And 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:”
And the firstborn said unto the younger, - showing that she had not escaped the
pollution, if she had the
the cities of the plain. No wealth could compensate for the moral degradation
into which his family had sunk" (Inglis) - Our father is old, - an indirect
confirmation of the inference (see Genesis 11:26) that Abram was younger than
not in the entire world (Origen, Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Kalisch), which is scarcely
probable, since they knew that Zoar had been spared; but either in the district
whither they had fled (Calvin, Willet), being under the impression that, living
in so desolate a region, they could have no more intercourse with mankind;
or in the
godly men with whom they might marry; or perhaps they meant that no man
would now care to unite himself with them, the remnant of a curse-stricken
region (Knobel, Keil) - to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth.
32 “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that
we may preserve seed of our father.” Come, let us make our father drink wine, -
either, therefore, Lot had not left
time had elapsed after his escaping to the mountain cave, since his daughters are
provided with this intoxicating beverage - and we will lie with him. Considering
the town in which the daughters of
were the offspring, and the example they had received from their father (v. 8),
"we can understand, though we cannot cease to abhor, their incestuous conduct"
(Kalisch). Their proposal was revolting and unnatural in the extreme. By subsequent
Mosaic legislation a transgression of such enormity was rendered punishable by
death. Even in the present instance the perpetrators were not wholly unconscious
of the wickedness of their conduct. The fact that they required a stratagem for the
attainment of their purpose shows that at least they could not calculate on their
father going along with it. That we may preserve seed of our father. Literally,
quicken or vivify seed (compare v.
whatever virtue may be supposed to reside in this motive for their conduct.
33 “And 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.” And they made their father drink wine that night - which
was sinful both in them and him (see Isaiah 5:11; Proverbs 20:1; Habakkuk 2:15) –
and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she
lay down, nor when she arose. That it was his own daughter quacum concumberet
(Rosenmüller), being so intoxicated that he could not discern who it was to whom
he had approached, or even what he was doing (Keil). The reading, "when he lay
down and when he arose (Septuagint)
is incorrect, and the explanations that
a mere unconscious instrument in this disgraceful transaction (Kalisch), that he
was entirely ignorant of all that had taken place (Chrysostom, Cajetan), that he
was struck on account of his intemperance with a spirit of stupor (Calvin),
are not warranted by the text.
34 “And 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.
35 And 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.”
And they made their father drink wine that night also. The
facility with which
allowed himself to be inebriated by his daughters Clericus regards as a sign that
before this the old man had been accustomed to over-indulgence in wine. The
inference, however, of Kalisch, that because "
wine is no more blamed than it was in Noah," "the narrative exempts him from all
serious reproach," can scarcely be admitted. And the younger arose, and lay with him
(following the bad example of her sister); and he perceived not when she lay down,
nor when she arose (like in v. 33).
36 “Thus were both the daughters of
37 “And the firstborn bare a son, and called his
father of the Moabites unto this day. And the firstborn bare a son, and called his
which adds λέγουσα ἐκ τοῦ πατρός μοῦ - legousa ek tou patros mou - while I
say indeed the father of me - Augustine, Jerome, Delitzsch, Keil); though Mo (water,
an Arabic euphemism for the semen virile) and ab has been advanced as a more
correct derivation (Rosenmüller). The same is the father of the Moabites - who
originally inhabited the country
northeast of the
and the Arnon (Deuteronomy 2:20), but were afterwards driven by the Amorites
south of the Arnou - unto this day. This phrase, indicating a variable period from
a few years to a few centuries (compare Exodus 10:6), cannot be regarded as a
trace of post-Mosaic authorship (De Wette, et alii), since in Genesis it is always
used of events which had taken place several centuries before the time of Moses,
as in ch.26:33; 35:30; 47:26.
38 “And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi:
the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.”
And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Ben-ammi. I.e. son
of my people (Septuagint, Jerome, Augustine), meaning that her child was the
offspring of her own kind and blood (Rosenmüller), or the son of her relative
(Kalisch), or of an unmixed race ('Speaker's Commentary'). The same is the
father of the children of Ammon - an unsettled people who occupied the territory
between the Jabbok and the Arnon, from which they had ejected the Rephaims
or Zamzummims (Deuteronomy 2:22), and in which they possessed a strong city,
Rabbah (II Samuel 11:1); in their habits more migratory and marauding than the
Moabites (Isaiah 15, 16; Jeremiah 48.), and in their religion worshippers of Molech,
"the abomination of the Ammonites" (I Kings 11:7) - unto this day.
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