What does Genesis 19:16 mean?
ESV: But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
NIV: 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.
NASB: But he hesitated. So the men grasped his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, because the compassion of the Lord was upon him; and they brought him out and put him outside the city.
CSB: But he hesitated. Because of the Lord's compassion for him, the men grabbed his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters. They brought him out and left him outside the city.
NLT: When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful.
KJV: And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
NKJV: And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
Verse Commentary:
Lot lingers. Even with a mob out to destroy him and those with him, Lot lingers. Even with powerful angels telling him to run to escape the wrath of God, Lot lingers. Why? We're not told, but lingering seems to be what has gotten Lot into this danger in the first place. He could have taken his family and left Sodom long ago, but he stayed. He waited. The wickedness grew worse and worse all around him, and he just didn't leave. Even in these last moments before judgment fell, Lot finds it difficult to force himself to leave behind the evil place he called home.

The angels, however, will not wait any longer. They grab all four members of Lot's family by the hand and seemingly drag them outside of the city to a safe distance. Why do they force Lot to go? We're told it's because the Lord is merciful.

In the previous chapter, Abraham had raised the question of God's character when it came to judging the righteous and the wicked. This chapter clearly reveals God's mercy toward Lot and, by extension, Abraham, even in the face of such rebellious wickedness nearby. That mercy even includes dragging a man like Lot by the hand, quite literally, in order to rescue him despite his own foolish actions.
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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