Genesis chapter 19

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

1Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he stood up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2And he said, 'Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.' They said, 'No, but we shall spend the night in the public square.' 3Yet he strongly urged them, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4Before they lay down, the men of the city—the men of Sodom—surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; 5and they called to Lot and said to him, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.' 6But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, 7and said, 'Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. 8Now look, I have two daughters who have not had relations with any man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do not do anything to these men, because they have come under the shelter of my roof.' 9But they said, 'Get out of the way!' They also said, 'This one came in as a foreigner, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them!' So they pressed hard against Lot and moved forward to break the door. 10But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11Then they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, from the small to the great, so that they became weary of trying to find the doorway.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

New King James Version

What does Genesis chapter 19 mean?

Chapter 19 is one of the most dramatic and shocking chapters in Genesis—which is saying something! The events recorded here reveal the utter wickedness of the people of Sodom. They display God's grace to Abraham in rescuing Lot and his family. They show God's readiness and ability to judge the sins of humanity. And, these verses display the lasting consequences of sin in the hearts of Lot and his daughters.

In the prior chapter, God humors Abraham by discussing the conditions which Sodom must meet in order to avoid destruction. While God has no need to justify His actions to anyone, this conversation is permitted for our benefit. By allowing Abraham to set a standard for God's justice, which Sodom abjectly fails, chapter 18 leaves no doubt that the fate of Sodom is unquestionably deserved.

In this chapter, two angels come to Sodom to destroy the city. These seem to be the same angels who had been speaking with Abraham in chapter 18. Lot greets them at the gates to the city and insists they stay in his house for the night. Based on what happens in the next few verses, Lot likely knows that travelling strangers will not be safe in the streets.

Even inside Lot's home, however, these strangers are not out of harm's way. The men of the city surround Lot's house and demand the "men" be sent out so the mob "may know them." The text is clear—both in terms of language, interpretation, and context—that a crowd of men from Sodom has gathered to homosexually rape these two strangers.

Lot pleads with them. He offers them his virgin daughters instead. Whether this is a symbolic gesture of middle-eastern hospitality, or an actual solution being proposed by Lot, the men of Sodom will not relent. The angels intervene and physically remove Lot and his family from the city. They give clear instructions to run for the hills and not look back. Lot says no, and they allow him to go to Zoar instead.

Then God's judgment falls in the form of sulfur and fire. God destroys Sodom, Gomorrah, the region around it, all the people, and all the vegetation. Lot's wife disobeys, looks back, and is turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his two daughters have been spared, but they have lost everything. The following morning, Abraham sees the smoke rising from all the land of the valley as from a furnace. Everything has been utterly destroyed.

Though they are safe in Zoar, Lot is afraid to stay there. He takes his daughters and runs for the hills, settling in a cave. It's unclear why Lot didn't run to the household of his uncle Abraham.

In one of Scripture's most tragic embarrassments, Lot's daughters decide they have lost all hope of ever being married or having children. They take matters into their own hands. Reflecting the all-but-nonexistent morality of the Sodomite culture in which they were raised, they get their father blindly drunk on two consecutive nights, each having sex with him in his stupor.

Both daughters become pregnant, and the resulting sons become the fathers of the Moabite and Ammonite peoples, respectively. Lot's story, so far as the Bible is concerned, ends here, in ruin, shame, and humiliation.
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