Genesis 18:16 – 19:38

Sodomite.  Sodomy.  The name of the city of Sodom has become a word for anal sex.  However, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not isolated to one night where men wanted to have anal sex with Lot’s angelic guests.  It seems that Abram knew the reputation that these cities enjoyed.  He knew that the majority were evil.  He asks the question of justice, “How many unrighteous citizens can be saved by a righteous one?”  That is what his questioning of the angels means.  Lot is unable to persuade the men of Sodom that they don’t want to gang rape his guests.  The emphasis here is not on the nature of the sin, but the dull-minded pursuit of sin.  In the Hebrew it seems Lot’s future son-in-laws mock him for encouraging them to leave.  Even Lot’s wife’s exit is half-hearted.  The answer to Abram’s badgering is that only Lot is truly righteous and he has no transforming influence on Sodom or Gomorrah.

Genesis 18:16 – 19:38

Abraham Pleads for Sodom

 16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

 20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

 22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. <SUP class=footnote value='[a]’>[a] 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare <SUP class=footnote value='[b]’>[b] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge <SUP class=footnote value='[c]’>[c] of all the earth do right?”

 26 The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?”
      “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

 29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
      He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

 30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
      He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

 31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
      He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

 32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
      He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

 33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Genesis 19

Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed

 1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
      “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

 3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

 9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

 10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

 12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry <SUP class=footnote value='[d]’>[d] his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

 15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

 16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

 18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, <SUP class=footnote value='[e]’>[e] please! 19 Your <SUP class=footnote value='[f]’>[f] servant has found favor in your <SUP class=footnote value='[g]’>[g] eyes, and you <SUP class=footnote value='[h]’>[h] have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”

 21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar. <SUP class=footnote value='[i]’>[i] )

 23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

 27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.

 29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

Lot and His Daughters

 30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father.”

 33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

 34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I lay with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

 36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab <SUP class=footnote value='[j]’>[j] ; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi <SUP class=footnote value='[k]’>[k] ; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

Questions

  1. What question does the LORD ask himself?
  2. For the sake of how many righteous men will God not destroy the cities?
  3. How many of the men from Sodom come by Lot’s house that night?
  4. How does God show grace to Lot?  Describe Lot’s pain.
  5. How do pressures from a wicked culture press in on you?  How do you resist?

Going Deeper

Questions

  • To whom does God reveal his plan first?
  • How many exchanges about the number of righteous occur between the LORD and Abraham?
  • Who of the people is saved?
  • With whom does Lot sleep?
  • Which two neighbouring nations are born as a result?

Interpretation

  • Why did God bother having this discussion with Abram if the city was doomed?
  • Would Lot have been saved if Abraham weren’t his uncle?
  • In Luke 17: 28-32 is Jesus telling us that Lot’s wife actually went back and was turned to salt as part of the destruction of the city?
  • How was sleeping with your daughters viewed at this time?
  • Are Moab and Ammon blessed by the intervention of Abraham?

Application

  • Why talk to God when he knows the future?
  • How do your talks (prayers) with God ‘work’?
  • How can you see someone else’s destruction coming and be their advocate?
  • How could you pray an ‘intercessory’ prayer today for a friend or relative?
  • What are your opinions about God’s justice and grace?

Extra:  Why did God choose to reveal the truths of Genesis before Jesus came to earth?  Why not just reveal the grace and salvation of the New Testament first?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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