What does Genesis 19:1 mean?
ESV: The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth
NIV: 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.
NASB: Now 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.
CSB: The two angels entered Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in Sodom's gateway. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them. He bowed with his face to the ground
NLT: That evening the two angels came to the entrance of the city of Sodom. Lot was sitting there, and when he saw them, he stood up to meet them. Then he welcomed them and bowed with his face to the ground.
KJV: And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
Verse Commentary:
In the previous chapter, the Lord revealed to Abraham that He was going to investigate the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The outcry about their grave sins had reached Him. God, of course, was not literally "investigating" in order to find out something He did not know. Rather, this language and the conversation which followed were meant to show how justified God's wrath was against Sodom. The implication was that judgment was coming to these cities for their wickedness. Abraham had pushed back. His nephew Lot and his family lived in the city. The Lord assured Abraham that if as many as ten righteous people were to be found in Sodom, no judgment would fall.

Now the two angels who were with the Lord in the previous chapter arrive at Sodom. When last we saw them, they were walking away from the Lord and Abraham and toward the city. The distance from Abraham's home at Mamre, near Hebron, to Sodom was at least 20 miles. Either the angels were arriving on the following evening or, possibly, they had transported themselves to the city supernaturally.

They are still disguised in human form. As was the case when they appeared to Abraham, it is not clear when Lot realizes these two men are supernatural beings. In any case, the culture of the day required for good citizens to show great hospitality to travelers. Lot does so now, bowing low before them to welcome them to Sodom. Lot's actions on behalf of these visitors, here and in the next verses, reflect this cultural view of care for visitors.

The gate of a city is often where the elders and leaders of a town would gather to discuss the issues of the day and provide wisdom and guidance. Though Lot is an immigrant to this region, his seat in the city gate and his welcoming of these visitors shows that he clearly holds a place of importance in Sodom. This speaks volumes about Lot's relationship to the culture he chose to live in—those who openly challenged the sins of Sodom would not have been respected enough to sit at the city gate.
Verse Context:
Genesis 19:1–22 describes what happens following the Lord's assurance to Abraham that He will not destroy Sodom if He finds ten righteous people there. Despite such a low standard, Sodom fails the test. Every man in the city attempts to rape two of the Lord's angels who are in human form. The angels intervene, eventually removing Lot and his family from the city by force, and out of God's mercy. The angels instruct the family to run to the hills, but Lot asks if they can flee to the tiny town of Zoar instead. The angels allow this.
Chapter Summary:
Two angels, disguised as men, visit Abraham's nephew, Lot, in the city of Sodom. After the men of Sodom attempt to rape the angels in Lot's home, the angels rescue Lot and his family, forcibly removing them from the city. Then God sends fire and sulfur from heaven. This destroys all of the land and people in and around the cities. As stated in earlier verses, this is the result of their great and ongoing wickedness. Lot's wife is turned to a pillar of salt when she disobeys the angels by looking back on the destruction. Lot and his daughters flee first to Zoar, then to a cave in the hills. There, Lot's confused and frightened daughters get him drunk, have sex with him, and each become pregnant.
Chapter Context:
In the previous chapter, Abraham had bargained with God on behalf of his nephew Lot and the people of Sodom. The Lord assured Abraham He would not destroy the cities if He found ten righteous people there. Chapter 19 immediately demonstrates no righteous people are to be found. Every man of Sodom attempts to attack two visitors, who are God's angels in human form. As the angels rescue Lot, God's judgment falls, utterly destroying everything in the area around Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot and his daughters end up in a cave in the hills, where the daughters scheme to conceive children by making their father drunk. This ends Lot's role in the story of Genesis, with future chapters focusing exclusively on the life and descendants of Abraham.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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