Genesis 19:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 19:28, NIV: "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."

Genesis 19:28, ESV: "And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace."

Genesis 19:28, KJV: "And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace."

Genesis 19:28, NASB: "and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the surrounding area; and behold, he saw the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace."

Genesis 19:28, NLT: "He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace."

Genesis 19:28, CSB: "He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of the plain, and he saw that smoke was going up from the land like the smoke of a furnace."

What does Genesis 19:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After securing from the Lord a promise not to destroy the city where his nephew lives if ten righteous people can be found there (Genesis 18:32), Abraham returns the next morning to the place where he and the Lord stood looking out over the plain the night before. What he sees is smoke. Abraham sees so much smoke rising from the valley where Sodom and Gomorrah once had been that it looks like the smoke of a furnace rising into the air.

Abraham would have understood, of course, that the Lord had destroyed the cities and the region. He would have understood that the Lord did not find even ten righteous men there. He may not have known yet, though, that the Lord did spare his nephew Lot and Lot's two daughters in the town of Zoar.

This is an important, often overlooked aspect of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham worried that God's wrath was too extreme—the lack of righteous people proved this was untrue. Abraham was likely worried about the fate of his nephew, Lot—God's provision to rescue Lot proved that to be unfounded, as well. This story not only teaches us that God will judge sin and evil, but that He will do so in ways which are both fair and just, even though limited human beings cannot see all of the details He does.

This makes the story of Sodom and Gomorrah crucially relevant to the infamous story of Abraham and his son, Isaac. When God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis chapter 22, we need to remember the context of this very story. God proved to Abraham that He would not only act justly, but that He would provide for Abraham's welfare in ways Abraham himself had not considered. This earned trust, not blind faith, is what drives Abraham's obedience in that upcoming event.