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Strange incident in the life of Lot


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#1 The

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 09:14 PM

I'm bermused by this incident in the life of Lot. He was going to give his daughters to the men of Sodom.

Gen 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

He tried to protect the men, but was prepared to chuck his daughters out. He doesn't seem to value his daughters much.

Any thoughts on why he might do that?

Edited by The, 31 July 2011 - 10:12 PM.


#2 nsr

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 09:19 PM

I've often wondered that too.

One possibility is that he wasn't a particularly good man, but this seems to be ruled out by the fact that God was willing to save him, and the NT talks about "righteous Lot" being upset by the conduct of those in Sodom.

Another possibility is that he knew the crowd were homosexual and wouldn't be interested in his daughters anyway, so he knew they weren't in danger of being taken, and was either hoping they'd lose interest and go away, or was deliberately pointing out their evil conduct. This might make sense of the fact that they then angrily demand what right he has to judge them.

Or it might be that there was some custom that male visitors had to be protected at all costs even if it meant sacrificing the women of the family. There's a similar instance in Judges with the concubine at Gibeah.

I don't know, really. I'd love to know if anyone has any more concrete thoughts.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#3 The

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:04 AM

Here's a few thoughts I have:

It was the custom in those days for men to give their daughters to others in marriage, Gen34v8. Men owned their children and could give them in marriage to other people. A daughter couldn’t marry of her own freewill.

It would seem that these daughters were of an age where they could marry, but Lot hadn’t given them to any man in marriage. I can imagine how reluctant Lot would have been to give his daughters to the men of Sodom, and now he offers his ‘out of bounds’ daughters to them.

They don't solve the problem, but I thought they were helpful bits of information.

Edited by The, 31 July 2011 - 10:13 PM.


#4 nsr

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:56 AM

Weren't his daughters already married, or at least betrothed? His sons in law were in the house but laughed when he told them to get out.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#5 Mark Taunton

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 12:09 PM

Weren't his daughters already married, or at least betrothed? His sons in law were in the house but laughed when he told them to get out.

No, his sons in law weren't in the house. Gen 19:14 says he went out, in order to speak to them.

So he must have had at least four daughters - two who were virgins, with him in the house, plus at least two who were already married and lived elsewhere in the city. The angels also mention Lot's sons, suggesting he had at least two.

A detail of the Hebrew of Gen 19:15 in what the angels say (the word for "here" in English translations actually has the sense of being "found") suggests that Lot had searched for other members of his family who were willing to leave with him, but no-one outside his own house was.

Specifically on The's original question:

My approach is that Lot was wrong to say what he did, but he said it in panic or desperation. He would know that such an offer would not be of interest to the men of the city; so it seems perhaps to be just a way of buying a little time while they considered it. In this I think he made a mistake.

Nevertheless, Lot was definitely a righteous man. Not only does Peter clearly say so (2 Pet 2:7), as nsr mentioned, but Abraham also speaks of there being righteous people in Sodom and God does not dispute his assessment (Gen 18:23-33).

Of course, as for Abraham and indeed all of us, who also make mistakes ourselves in what we say and do, the righteousness reckoned to Lot was based on faith, a faith which undoubtedly he had. He was willing to defend two strangers against the wickedness of the men of the city, and to believe them and go with them - in stark contrast with his sons-in-law - when they told him to leave.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 26 July 2011 - 12:50 PM.


#6 nsr

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 02:05 PM

So he must have had at least four daughters - two who were virgins, with him in the house, plus at least two who were already married and lived elsewhere in the city. The angels also mention Lot's sons, suggesting he had at least two.


Not necessarily. If the daughters were betrothed but not actually married, which is how most translations render it, they'd still be virgins.

Did he have sons, or did the angels just say "If you have any sons, get them out"?
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#7 Richie

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 02:56 PM

Lot was a righteous man but even righteous men can make mistakes in the heat of the moment.
"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett.

#8 Mark Taunton

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 03:46 PM


So he must have had at least four daughters - two who were virgins, with him in the house, plus at least two who were already married and lived elsewhere in the city. The angels also mention Lot's sons, suggesting he had at least two.


Not necessarily. If the daughters were betrothed but not actually married, which is how most translations render it, they'd still be virgins.

Perhaps. I don't think the NET's "who were going to marry" is directly justified by the Hebrew. Putting it as directly as I can, it says he spoke to "his sons-in-law, the takers of his daughters", which has no explicit tense, as to whether they had already taken=married them, or not. So it's their interpretation of the text, rather than what it says unambiguously. However, it might still be correct.

(On the other hand, being someone's son-in-law, as that term comes elsewhere in scripture, seems to mean you have actually married his daughter, rather than just being betrothed to her.)

Did he have sons, or did the angels just say "If you have any sons, get them out"?

The angels' question/instruction is obviously deliberately open - anyone connected with Lot would be rescued if they were willing to come. I've previously taken mention of "your sons" to imply he did have some, but they didn't respond to the call. However, since there's no other mention in scripture of them, then maybe it was meant in the way you suggest.

#9 Biblaridion

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 02:40 AM

Hello,

The story has to be put in an ANE context. Fundamental to the Orient is the law of hospitality.............even to strangers.......or enemies. Especially in times when food and water are scarce and people have travelled long distances. The widow woman provided Elijah with a meal even though she had no food. When a stranger is taken in they are under your protection and treated with the utmost curteousy and given your best food and the best place to sleep - to do otherwise would be shameful and would bring dishonour to your family/tribe. Even if it means that you must suffer personal injury your guest must be treated with utmost respect and protected. This enabled people to travel long distances in the certainty that they would always be treated well. It was completley taboo to treat geusts shamefully.........look what happened when David asked Nabal for hospitality. The incident of homosexuality is in some ways peripheral to the narrative.........Sodom had degenerated to such an extent and was such a disfunctional society that they broke all the norms and taboos of the Ancient Near East. So Lot was faced with a terrible choice......and in his eyes he chose the lesser of two evils. Rather suffer personal hurt than see his guests molested. This demonstrates that Lot was honourable and righteous.....it does not mean that he did not love his daughters. In western society we would probably make the other choice..........throw the guests out.........

Regards,

Paul

#10 nsr

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 07:24 PM

Hi Paul,

You make a good point there - we do sometimes look at Scriptural events and make judgements through the eyes of 21st century Western society.

However when you say:

This demonstrates that Lot was honourable and righteous


do you mean by the standards of ANE cultural practices, or by the standards of God, or both?
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#11 The

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 01:19 PM

Hello,

The story has to be put in an ANE context. Fundamental to the Orient is the law of hospitality.............even to strangers.......or enemies. Especially in times when food and water are scarce and people have travelled long distances. The widow woman provided Elijah with a meal even though she had no food. When a stranger is taken in they are under your protection and treated with the utmost curteousy and given your best food and the best place to sleep - to do otherwise would be shameful and would bring dishonour to your family/tribe. Even if it means that you must suffer personal injury your guest must be treated with utmost respect and protected. This enabled people to travel long distances in the certainty that they would always be treated well. It was completley taboo to treat geusts shamefully.........look what happened when David asked Nabal for hospitality. The incident of homosexuality is in some ways peripheral to the narrative.........Sodom had degenerated to such an extent and was such a disfunctional society that they broke all the norms and taboos of the Ancient Near East. So Lot was faced with a terrible choice......and in his eyes he chose the lesser of two evils. Rather suffer personal hurt than see his guests molested. This demonstrates that Lot was honourable and righteous.....it does not mean that he did not love his daughters. In western society we would probably make the other choice..........throw the guests out.........

Regards,

Paul


Interesting thoughts. Lot prepared a feast for his visitors and treated them well. Then he put himself in danger to protect them by going outside to the men of Sodom.

I'm not so sure that what Lot did was "honourable and righteous". As a father, Lot is responsible for caring and looking after his family, but he was prepared to throw his daughters out of his house to a mob. He looked after his guests well but not his family. Perhaps he should have looked after them both.

Edited by The, 28 July 2011 - 01:20 PM.


#12 The

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 01:41 PM



So he must have had at least four daughters - two who were virgins, with him in the house, plus at least two who were already married and lived elsewhere in the city. The angels also mention Lot's sons, suggesting he had at least two.


Not necessarily. If the daughters were betrothed but not actually married, which is how most translations render it, they'd still be virgins.

Perhaps. I don't think the NET's "who were going to marry" is directly justified by the Hebrew. Putting it as directly as I can, it says he spoke to "his sons-in-law, the takers of his daughters", which has no explicit tense, as to whether they had already taken=married them, or not. So it's their interpretation of the text, rather than what it says unambiguously. However, it might still be correct.

(On the other hand, being someone's son-in-law, as that term comes elsewhere in scripture, seems to mean you have actually married his daughter, rather than just being betrothed to her.)


I thought that Lot had married daughters and unmarried daughters. If the "sons-in-law" were betrothed to Lot's two virgin daughters that were in his house, I can imagine the sons-in-laws would have had a different reaction to Lot in v14. He had just offered their wives-to-be to a mob.

Edited by The, 28 July 2011 - 01:41 PM.


#13 Curt

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 01:34 AM

Abraham in his conversation with the LORD, asks in continually decreasing numbers, Will you spare the city if you find 50,45 .. on down to 10 righteous people. The Lord says yes. Gen 19:12 says "Have you anyone else here? sons in law (that would be 2 sons in law and 2 daughters of Lot, making four people)sons, (at least 2, since this is plural)daughters (the two still at home) ... With Lot and his wife that would total 10 people, the number that Abraham had requested might be spared.

#14 nsr

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 07:51 AM

Hmm, but the city wasn't spared, which suggests there weren't 10, and there's no mention of Lot trying to take anyone with him besides his wife, two daughters, and the daughters' fiances/husbands.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#15 Jeremy

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 10:35 PM

But it provides an explanation for Abraham settling on ten. Assuming he knew of Lot's family, I can imagine Abraham thinking (or hoping) that Lot had at least converted his immediate family. He was wrong.
And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

#16 nsr

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 02:16 PM

Hmm, perhaps. But why would he start off with fifty if he knew Lot's family was only ten big?

And as I said before, there's no mention of anyone other than Lot, Mrs Lot, two daughters and two present/future sons-in-law in the rush to get out. If there are other sons/daughters, why doesn't Lot try to get them?
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#17 Richie

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 02:10 AM

Fifty was probably a quite conservative guess on the part of Abraham based on the numbers Lot would have taken with him in Genesis 13. In Genesis 14 Abraham had 318 armed men in his household so he probably thought Lot's ecclesia would be fairly sizeable.
"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett.

#18 nsr

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 08:42 AM

That's what I thought as well. So if he finally settled on ten, he could still have been thinking immediate family plus closest servants.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#19 Biblaridion

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 12:42 PM

Hello everyone,

Sorry for the late response but I have not checked the forum for a while. Well, Lot was considered righteous by God;

NKJ 2 Peter 2:7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked

But he would have also been considered righteous by the standards of his day regarding the practices of offering hospitality to strangers.

We are told that ..........." Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom (in the evening)".........therefore Lot was deliberately looking out for travellers who arrived late in the day for the "protection" afforded by the city walls. Nice and safe in the city.......no trouble with bandits.......and we are sure to offered some good old fashioned hospitality... Lot obviously anticipated trouble and wanted to avoid it by offering his home as a safe haven......he might have thought that this would go unnoticed......or perhaps he hoped that the inhabitants of the city would respect his boundaries. I don't think Lot had a chance of saving his family and his guests....he had to make a choice because the mob would break down his door. He knew that he had to appease the mob...........he chose personal hurt and grief rather than dishonour his guests


Paul

#20 Biblaridion

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 12:57 PM

Hi,

I'm not so sure that what Lot did was "honourable and righteous". As a father, Lot is responsible for caring and looking after his family, but he was prepared to throw his daughters out of his house to a mob. He looked after his guests well but not his family. Perhaps he should have looked after them both.


Lot did not have a choice in the matter it was either his guests or his family. He chose to save his guests. In other words he chose self-sacrifice and personal hurt over self-preservation......isn't this what Christ did? Suffer personal hurt for others rather than preseve his own [life]? I would call that righteous and honourable. It was a terrible choice.....let us hope that we never have to make one like it.

On the other hand.........the subsequent behaviour of his daughters makes you wonder if "saving his family" rather than his guests would have been worth it. It seems to me that he made the right choice.


Paul

#21 Biblaridion

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:08 PM

Ha Ha........got the quote box wrong

#22 Biblaridion

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:56 AM

Hello,

One more thought............notice how Abraham treated the three strangers (angels) who visited him unexpectedly in Genesis 18........with overwhelming hospitality. This is obviously meant to contrast with the reception of the strangers (angels.....the same ones?) who entered Sodom in Genesis 19.

Paul

#23 The

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 09:17 AM

Hi,

I'm not so sure that what Lot did was "honourable and righteous". As a father, Lot is responsible for caring and looking after his family, but he was prepared to throw his daughters out of his house to a mob. He looked after his guests well but not his family. Perhaps he should have looked after them both.



Lot did not have a choice in the matter it was either his guests or his family. He chose to save his guests. In other words he chose self-sacrifice and personal hurt over self-preservation......isn't this what Christ did? Suffer personal hurt for others rather than preseve his own [life]? I would call that righteous and honourable. It was a terrible choice.....let us hope that we never have to make one like it.

On the other hand.........the subsequent behaviour of his daughters makes you wonder if "saving his family" rather than his guests would have been worth it. It seems to me that he made the right choice.


Hey Paul,

I'm not sure about that. Lot did have a choice. He could have gone inside, shut the door, bolted it, and prayed to God to help him. Instead, he tried to deal with the situation himself and offer his daughters to the mob. Offering anyone, that is under your care, to a mob is not "honourable and righteous".

Lot is an example of someone who shows good character at the same time as showing bad character. He treated his guests well, but he didn't treat his family well. I think your over focusing on the good that Lot did, and not considering the bad.

Christ did choose self-sacrifice over preserving himself. But Christ sacrificed himself, not someone else.

#24 nsr

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 09:57 AM

Good points there. I don't think Lot can be compared with Christ in this incident. A true personal sacrifice would be to offer himself to the (apparently) homosexual mob.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#25 Biblaridion

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 01:01 PM

NKJ 2 Peter 2:7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked

#26 The

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 05:44 PM

NKJ 2 Peter 2:7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked


I agree. Lot was righteous. Righteous men sin and do wrong things.

#27 Biblaridion

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 11:50 AM

I agree. Lot was righteous. Righteous men sin and do wrong things




No one would contest that righteous people can sometimes do sinful things (cf. King David) but the question here is the Sodom incident and the offering of Lot's virgin daughters. I already remarked that this incident cannot be judged by modern western standards but by oriental practice were the code of hospitality is extremely important. The hospitality code is a traditional part of Semitic cultures. This rule was so strict that no one might harm even an enemy who had been offered shelter for the night. So doing what was right, following God's law as he understood it, Lot refused to expose his guests to the abuse of the men of Sodom. To do so would have violated the law of sacred hospitality. The importance of the hospitality code is highlighted by the fact that in the previous chapter Abraham offers hospitality to the "strangers" that would on to visit Lot at Sodom (Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels Heb.13:2). The whole episode in chapter 19 is framed in an elegant series of parallels and antitheses to Abraham's hospitality scene at the beginning of chapter 18. Judges 19 tells another story that is an obvious parallel to the story of Sodom. A Levite who was travelling with his servant and concubine needed shelter for the night. He sat in the town square at Gibeah. No one offered him hospitality except a foreigner who was living in that town. When they were all inside, the men of the town assaulted the house and demanded to have sex with the Levite. Just as Lot did, the host protested, "No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Since this man is my guest, do not do this vile thing." The host offered his virgin daughter to the townsmen, but they did not want her. Then the Levite pushed out his concubine, and the townsmen raped her all through the night. In the morning, she lay dead on the doorstep of the house. In punishment, all the tribes of Israel collected an army and destroyed the town of Gibeah. Scholarly opinions differ over the choice that Lot made. As Plaut notes, "Lot's offer of his daughters to protect his guests may seem fantastically disproportionate. The implication in the text, however, is that Lot is a model host who will go to extreme lengths to honour the hospitality code." (The Torah: A modern Commentary, Genesis 19:8 n.) Alter disagrees, seeing the offer as "rash" and justly punished by the demeaning episode of incest that follows Lot's expulsion from Sodom (Five Books of Moses, p.92). However, this incident need not be understood as a commentary on Lot's behaviour but rather as reinforcing the decision that Lot made his daughters were already corrupt and rightly belonged in Sodom.



Lot's concern was for his guests, not for his family. Perhaps Lot believed that God would protect his daughters as Sarah had been protected when Abraham, in order to preserve his life, lied about his marital status. Sarah was not touched in the harem of Pharaoh/Abimelech (God sent plagues on Pharaoh). Maybe Lot believed that because his daughters were betrothed to citizens of Sodom, who were also in the mob, that they would be treated circumspectly. Maybe, he thought that the offer of his daughters would cause division in the mob, with the families of the betrothed siding with Lot and his daughters.



In any case the mob was not pacified by the offer they wanted the guests. Neither Lot nor his daughters would do. They could have forced Lot or his daughters at any time because they lived in the city. The abuse of Lot's guests would be the ultimate humiliation for Lot who was resented because he was a man with morals (which is why he had been waiting to intercept any visitors to the city to offer hospitality this was obviously Lot's normal practice). It was only when he refused to hand over the guests that they threatened Lot himself: "This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them." (Gen.19:9). The judgement of Scripture is that Lot acted righteously and I am inclined to agree with that.




Paul




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