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The Depravity of Sodom


The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2He said, “Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the square.” 3But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; 5and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them.” 6Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, 7and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 9But they replied, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down. 10But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door.

Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed

12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city—bring them out of the place. 13For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the L ord, and the L ord has sent us to destroy it.” 14So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up, get out of this place; for the L ord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

15 When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the L ord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and left him outside the city. 17When they had brought them outside, they said, “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, or else you will be consumed.” 18And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; 19your servant has found favor with you, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me and I die. 20Look, that city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” 21He said to him, “Very well, I grant you this favor too, and will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22Hurry, escape there, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” Therefore the city was called Zoar. 23The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.

24 Then the L ord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the L ord out of heaven; 25and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the L ord; 28and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the Plain and saw the smoke of the land going up like the smoke of a furnace.

29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had settled.

The Shameful Origin of Moab and Ammon

30 Now Lot went up out of Zoar and settled in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; so he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the world. 32Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father.” 33So they made their father drink wine that night; and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose. 34On the next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Look, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father.” 35So they made their father drink wine that night also; and the younger rose, and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she rose. 36Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab; he is the ancestor of the Moabites to this day. 38The younger also bore a son and named him Ben-ammi; he is the ancestor of the Ammonites to this day.

1. And there came two angels to Sodom. The question occurs, why one of the three angels has suddenly disappeared, and two only are come to Sodom? The Jews (with their wonted audacity in introducing fables) pretend that one came to destroy Sodom, the other to preserve Lot. But from the discourse of Moses, this appears to be frivolous: because we shall see that they both assisted in the liberation of Lot. What I have before adduced is more simple; namely, that it was granted to Abraham, as a peculiar favor, that God would not only send him two messengers from the angelic host, but that, in a more familiar manner, he would manifest himself to him, in his own Son. For (as we have seen) one of the messengers held the principal place, as being superior to the others in dignity. Now, although Christ was always the Mediator, yet, because he manifested himself more obscurely to Lot than he did to Abraham, the two angels only came to Sodom. Since Moses relates, that Lot sat in the gate of the city about evening, many contend that he did so, according to daily custom, for the purpose of receiving guests into his house; yet, as Moses is silent respecting the cause, it would be rash to affirm this as certain. I grant, indeed, that he did not sit as idle persons are wont to do; but the conjecture is not less probable, that he had come forth to meet his shepherds, in order to be present when his sheep were folded. That he was hospitable, the courteous invitation which is mentioned by Moses clearly demonstrates; yet, why he then remained in the gate of the city is uncertain; unless it were, that he was unwilling to omit any opportunity of doing an act of kindness, when strangers presented themselves on whom he might bestow his services. What remains, on this point, may be found in the preceding chapter Genesis 17:1

2. Nay, but we will abide in the street. The angels do not immediately assent, in order that they may the more fully investigate the disposition of the holy man. For he was about to bring them to his own house, not merely for the sake of supplying them with a supper, but for the purpose of defending them from the force and injury of the citizens. Therefore the angels act, as if it were safe to sleep on the highway; and thus conceal their knowledge of the abandoned wickedness of the whole people. For if the gates of cities are shut, to prevent the incursions of wild beasts and of enemies; how wrong and absurd it is that they who are within should be exposed to still more grievous dangers? Therefore the angels thus speak, in order to make the wickedness of the people appear the greater. And Lot, in urging the angels to come unto him, for the purpose of protecting them from the common violence of the people, the more clearly shows, how careful he was of his guests, lest they should suffer any dishonor or injury.

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