by Robert Brow    (

Brow Publications, Kingston, Ontario (e-mail: 2004

Introduction | Genesis 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11| 12| 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30

31 | 32 | 33| 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41| 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50| PostScript

Table Of Contents:

Genesis 19:1 Genesis 19:21
Genesis 19:2-5 Genesis 19:24-25
Genesis 19:6-7 Genesis 19:26
Genesis 19:8 Genesis 19:27-28
Genesis 19:9-10 Genesis 19:29
Genesis 19:11 Genesis 19:30
Genesis 19:12-13 Genesis 19:31-36
Genesis 19:14 Genesis 19:37
Genesis 19:15 Genesis 19:38
Genesis 19:16-17  
Genesis 19:18-20  

GENESIS 19:1-11   (Lot attacked by the Men of Sodom)

19:1   The men who had appeared with the LORD (18:1), and been welcomed by Abraham (18:3-8), had now arrived by the gates of Sodom.  They are identified as malaakim (messengers, representatives, angels).  

A malaak could be a human message bearer (as in Genesis 32:3, 6; Numbers 20:14; 22;5; 1 Samuel 6:21; 1 Kings 19:2).  The malaak could also be sent to spy out the land (Joshua 6:25), or to kill someone (1 Samuel 19:11; 2 Kings 6:32),  bring a woman to the palace (2 Samuel 11:4), or go on a diplomatic mission (Judges 11:12-14; 2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Kings 20:2). 

God also has malaakim.  Prophets were viewed as messengers speaking for God  (2 Chronicles 36:15; Haggai 1:13).   But there were also angels (messengers) sent on errands directly from God (Genesis 32:1;  Zechariah 1:9; 5:5).  Abraham assured his servant that the LORD would send his malaak with him to find a bride for Issac.  And the children of Israel were promised a malaak to help them into the promised land (Exodus 23:20).  A malaak could be sent to exercise wrath  (2 Samuel 24:16-17). 

The fact that Lot was sitting by the gate of the city identifies him as having a recognized status in the community (Ruth 4:1, Job 29:7-8).  He  had foolishly linked himself to the iniquity of Sodom  (13:12-13; 18:20), but Abraham had specially interceded for him (18:23-32).   So the two malaakim (angelic messengers)  had come to persuade Lot and his family to leave Sodom (19:15-16) when they were about to destroy the city (19:14).

19:2-5   The messengers hesitated to stay with Lot, but he insisted on giving them the required hospitality.   But before the messengers could settle for the night every man of the city had gathered at the door.  They demanded that Lot bring them out to be abused.  The gang rape of strangers was designed to discourage foreigners by inflicting terrible pain and humiliation (see a similar enormity in Judges 19:22). 

19:6-7   Lot went out to them, and bravely had the door locked behind him.   He pleaded with them not to engage in this enormity.

19:8  We cannot conceive of a man offering his own daughters to be gang raped to save the guests he had welcomed, but this was the astonishing extent of Middle Eastern hospitality.

19:9-10   But the men did not accept this offer, and they complained that Lot was an alien, who now wanted to act as judge to protect the two strangers.  Lot would have been lynched,  and the door broken down if the heavenly messengers had not intervened to save him.

19:11   The angelic visitors had the authority and power to blind the men at the door, and the men of Sodom  groped around unable to find the way in to seize Lot and his visitors.   Elisha asked God to inflict temporary blindness on his enemies (2 Kings 6:18-19).   And in our day there are accounts of similar interventions to save missionaries under attack.


GENESIS 19:12-23   (Lot and his Wife and two Daughters escape from Sodom)

19:12-13    The two men told Lot to bring any relatives out from the city.  The cry of the surrounding people for justice from brutal oppression  (18:20-21) was so great that  LORD had decided to destroy the city of Sodom.

19:14   That evening Lot went into the city to ask the two men who were betrothed to his daughters to get out as soon a possible (19:2, a betrothal was a binding marriage arrangement, so the two men were counted as sons-in-law).  He told them the LORD was about to destroy the city, but they viewed this  as a great joke.

19:15   The angelic visitors evidently lodged that night with Lot.   In the morning they warned him to move right away from the conflagration that would soon destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. 

19:16-17   When they delayed,  the two angels took the hands of Lot and his wife and their two daughters, and ordered them to move right away and never look back till they were up in the mountains high above the cities of the Plain.

19:18-20   Lot was perhaps afraid of danger from unknown enemies in the hills, so he asked for permission to settle in the small town of Zoar (13:10; 14:2) which was 5 miles, 8 km, to the south of the area of Sodom and Gomorrah now covered by the southern part of the Dead Sea.  It was probably near the mouth of the Wadi Zered which was the southern border of what was later called Moab (Numbers 21:12, Deuteronomy 2:13-14).  Zoar survived the destruction of the other cities of the plain, and Moses was able to see it from the top of Mount Nebo four hundred years later (Deuteronomy 34:1-3, see Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:34). 

19:21   Here the verb changes from the plural of the two angels to the singular of the LORD himself (see 18:1-2, 13, 17, 22:19:1).  It is as if the LORD overruled the strict orders of the two angels (19:17).  And he delayed the destruction of the city till Lot and his wife and daughters arrived near the city of Zoar. 

In the New Testament we have the comment that “by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes God condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly;  and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the lawless,  then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial” (2 Peter 2:6-9).


GENESIS 19:24-29   (The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah)

19:24-25   The destruction could have been from an earthquake fissure that threw up huge quantities of sulphur (brimstone was a Middle English term for sulphur, as in the KJV, Psalm 11:6; Isaiah 30:33;  Ezekiel 38:22)  that caught fire and rained all over the cities of the plain and the fields around them. 

19:26   Lot’s wife had escaped from the destruction, but she disobeyed the order not to look back  (19:17).   She must have been covered with burning sulphur and salt water that spurted out from the Dead Sea.  Perhaps her heart still longed to be back in Sodom.  Jesus mentioned her in his warning to leave the city when Jerusalem was going to be destroyed in AD 70  (Luke 17:31-32).

19:27-28 Abraham may have heard the noise of the destruction, and went to where he had stood to pray for his nephew Lot (18:22-23).   As he looked down he could see the smoke going up from the destroyed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

19:29   Later he must have heard that Lot and his two daughters had survived the catastrophe as he had prayed. 


GENESIS 19:30-38   (Lot’s incest resulting in the Moabite and Ammonite Nations)

19:30   Having seen the horrendous destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot decided it was too dangerous to stay in Zoar and he moved up into the mountains of what is now Transjordan to live in a cave with his daughters.

19:31-36   The men they were betrothed to marry had died in the destruction of Sodom (19:14).  And the two daughters had no prospect of being able to find mates to continue Lot’s family line.   Living alone with him in the isolated cave up in the hills above the Dead Sea, Lot’s two daughters got him drunk on successive nights, and both became pregnant by him.

19:37   The son born to the older daughter became the ancestor of the Moabite nation.  They eventually occupied the mountainous area from the wadi Zered north to the Wadi Arnon in the 3000 feet, (915 meter) hills along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.  After the Exodus wanderings the children of Israel traveled around the area of Moab (Deuteronomy 2:9).    Later there were frequent wars between the Jews and the Moabites  (Numbers 22:1-6; Joshua 24:9; Judges 3:12-30; 1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:11-12; 2 Kings 3:4-27).   The Jewish people were descended from Jacob, but all other branches of the family related to Abraham including the Moabites became Arabs, and they were eventually united by war and marriage under the children of Ishmael (see under BOOKS, Ishmael the Arab)

19:38   The son born to the younger daughter became the ancestor of the Ammonites.   Their territory was north of Moab from the Wadi Arnon to the east of the River Jordan (Deuteronomy 2:19; Joshua 12:2-4; 13:10).   Like the Moabites, the Ammonites were often at war with the children of Israel (Judges 3:13; 10:7-9; 1 Samuel 11:1-2; 2 Samuel 10:6-8; 11:1; 12:26-28).  The Ammonites together with other Arabs related to Abraham  were eventually united by war and marriage under the children of Ishmael.   Their name is preserved in the city of Amman, the capital of the state of Jordan.

Next Chapter... Table Of Contents

Model Theology Homepage | Essays and Articles | Books | Sermons | Letters to Surfers | Contact Robert Brow