The arrival of the angels. — V.1. 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. The two angels, having left Hebron about noon, reached the city of Sodom about sundown. Lot was sitting in the gate, within the arched entrance to the city, where deep recesses on either side furnished seats, and where commercial and political business was transacted. With true Oriental hospitality, Lot arose to meet the approaching travelers, bowing himself down to the ground in token of the fact that they might consider him their servant in the matter of finding them a place of lodging. V.2. And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early and go on your ways. In all sincerity, Lot would have accounted it an honor to have the travelers turn aside and enter his house. They were welcome to make use of the comforts of his home, and he would not detain them on the morrow. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. Having come to the city for the purpose of investigating conditions thoroughly, the angels would have preferred to remain in the open, wide space just inside the entrance of the city. V.3. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. Lot did his duty as Oriental host. His invitation becoming so very urgent, the angels consented to remain in his house overnight, where he personally superintended their entertainment. This is one of the instances to which the writer to the Hebrews has reference when he writes: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Heb. 13, 2.
The evil intention of the sodomites. — V.4. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter; v.5. and they called unto Lot and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us that we may know them. The evening meal having been eaten, the people of Lot’s household, together with their guests, were about to retire for the night, when they were rudely disturbed. Emphasis is laid upon the fact that all the people, even down to the last man, took part in this shameless demand, openly stating that they wanted to abuse the guests of Lot in a violation of nature which was one of the greatest curses of heathenism, the sin of pederasty. All the men of Sodom were guilty of this lustful abomination, of this demonic error. Cp. Rom. 1, 27. V.6. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, v.7. and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. This was the consequence of Lot’s having settled in the midst of a godless and wicked people. Lot, having gone out and locked the door behind him in order to protect his guests, confronted a mob that had gone crazy with unnatural lust. His plea, in which he addressed them as brethren and begged them not to act in such a wicked manner, fell on deaf ears. V.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. So sacred were the persons and the lives of his guests in the eyes of Lot that he was willing to set aside even his fatherly feeling and duty and to sacrifice his daughters to the lust of the brutes out in the street, if the latter would but be satisfied. As for the guests, he reminds the mob of the duty of hospitality; for it was in order to be sheltered against danger and wickedness that they had entered his house. To try to hinder a sin by committing sin can never be excused, and the fact of Lot’s offer may be accounted for only by the fact of his extreme consternation. V.9. And they said, Stand back, that is, stand aside, make room for us to enter. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge. Now will we deal worse with thee than with them. Their coarse objection is that this single man, the one that had come and was living as a stranger among them with their permission, now was passing a verdict upon their behavior, as he had undoubtedly done often before, 2 Pet. 2, 7. 8. Crazed with lust, they now pressed forward to kill Lot and then to carry out their intention upon his guests. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. It was a moment of the greatest danger. V.10. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. V.11. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves to find the door. The angels interfered when the danger was at its height. With a quick movement they drew Lot into the house and locked the door. And the members of the crazed mob were stricken with blindness; they were deprived of their sight and, at the same time, confused in their minds. Although they continued their efforts to find the door which led through the arched entrance into the interior of the house, they were unable to do so, and finally grew tired and desisted. This incident proved to the angels that all the inhabitants of Sodom were steeped in the vices which cried to heaven, for Sodomitic lewdness cries to heaven, as the sinners of our days will also find out to their eternal sorrow. And let us not forget that there is a sin which is even worse than that of the Sodomites, namely, that of rejecting Christ, His Word, and His grace, Matt. 11, 24.
The rescue of Lot. — V.12. And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? Son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place; v.13. for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. In their capacity of protecting servants to the children of God, the angels now bid Lot bring any relatives that he may have in the city out as quickly as possible, in case there should be a son-in-law, and then any sons and daughters. This order they substantiate with a definite reference to the destruction of the city which they had been given charge of. V.14. And Lot went out and spake unto his sons-in-law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. The two daughters of Lot were still living in his house, but they were engaged to be married, their husbands to-be being designated as Lot’s sons-in-law, since before the Lord a valid betrothal is equal to a marriage, so far as its obligation is concerned. Lot urged these two men to flee out of the city, since the Lord was about to destroy it. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons-in-law. They laughed at him for his foolish fears, since they, in their fleshly security, did not believe that the judgment of God was near. Cp. Luke 17, 28. 29. V.15. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife and thy two daughters which are here, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. The new day dawned, and Lot was still busy with his affairs or felt loath to leave the associations of the city where he had his wealth. But the angels urged him to arouse himself and to lead forth the relatives who were present with him in the house, as there was no time to lose. Lot showed the weakness of the flesh which finds its delight in the things of this world. V.16. 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. Lot was preserved in the general destruction almost by force, since the angels, by virtue of the fact that God intended to spare him in mercy, took hold of him, of his wife, and of his two daughters and drew them out of the city. V.17. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life. Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. The angels, having attended to their duty of bringing the fugitives forth out of the city, left them for other work, and the Lord took charge of their flight by bidding them escape to the mountains in the east, later those of Moab. Leave the valley, look straight ahead of you, hide in the mountains, those were the orders of the Lord. V.18. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord! V.19. Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in Thy sight, and Thou hast magnified Thy mercy which Thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me and I die. V.20. Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one; oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. Whether the Lord had again joined the angels after Lot had left Sodom, or whether Lot spoke these words to the angels as Jehovah’s representatives before they turned back to their gruesome work, is immaterial. But his prayer shows that fear, confusion, terror had reduced him to a state of gibbering helplessness, which caused him to appeal to the grace and mercy of the Lord in permitting him to flee into the little town of Bela. Lot’s argument was that the city was so very small; surely, to save it from destruction would make little difference. V.21. And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city for the which thou hast spoken. V.22. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. Thus did the Lord have compassion on Lot’s weakness and magnify His grace upon him, even to the extent of delaying the entire judgment of destruction until Lot reached the haven of Zoar (little). Thus the believers are often full of doubt and timidity when they are placed before the necessity of renouncing everything that this world offers. But God bears patiently with their weakness and helps them in spite of themselves.
The destruction of the cities of the plain. — V.23. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Whether it was mere weariness after a night without rest, or whether the unexampled terror of the impending destruction prevented Lot’s hurrying, — at any rate, the sun had already risen over the earth when Lot reached Zoar, the city of refuge. V.24. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. The Lord, that is, the Son of God on earth, who had charge of this sentence of wrath, caused fire and brimstone to rain upon the doomed cities from the Lord out of heaven. This is no poetic description of a severe electrical storm, but the narrative of an actual event, of a cataclysm brought upon the sinful cities by a special act of God’s avenging justice. V.25. And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. It was a total destruction of the people with their cities and all their property, 2 Pet. 2, 6. 7. And not only were all things above the ground consumed, together with all vegetation, but the very ground, which contained many asphalt pits and naphtha deposits, was burned out. It seems also that the Sea of the Plain sank together with the surrounding country, forming, with its extension, what is now known as the Dead Sea. To this day that entire country is a picture of utter desolation, with hardly a trace of animal or vegetable life. Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, are an example of warning to the godless of all times. If they will not heed the Lord’s call to repentance, they will find themselves engulfed on the last day in a cataclysm which will be a thousand fold greater than that of the vale of Siddim, casting them into everlasting destruction. V.26. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. In the case of Lot’s wife female curiosity and the longing for her home in Sodom caused her to lag behind him and finally to look back. This was against the plain command of the Lord, and so His punishment was immediate: she became, she was turned into, a pillar of salt. Cp. Luke 17, 31. 32. He that has escaped the dangers of this world should not permit himself to be turned back to its vanity. V.27. And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord. His anxiety concerning the fate of Lot and of the five cities would not permit him to rest, so he hurried to the place where he had interceded with the Lord on the day before, whence one had a distant view of the former beautiful valley. V.28. And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. He had the evidence of his eyes that the Lord had not even found ten righteous people in the cities. V.29. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. So it was due not only to his own righteousness, but especially to the intercessory prayer of Abraham that Lot was saved in the midst of the utter destruction which consumed the cities of the valley where he had made his home. Christians must never grow weary in sending their supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks to the Throne of Mercy, 1 Tim. 2, 1.
The sin of Lot and his daughters. — V.30. And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar; and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. The terrible catastrophe had completely unnerved Lot, causing him to doubt even the plain promise of the Lord to preserve the city of Zoar for his sake. As soon as possible he left the city and made his home in a cave of the mountains, very likely in what was afterward known as the country of Moab. V.31. And the first-born said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth; v.32. come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. Even if it was not lewd voluptuousness which caused the two daughters of Lot deliberately to plan this sin of incest, it shows that they had imbibed freely of the poison of Sodom and were acquainted with the most unnatural vices. The desire for children and for the propagation of their family cannot excuse their revolting act, even if their supposition of the general destruction of men had been true. V.33. And they made their father drink wine that night; and the first-born went in and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down nor when she arose. Lot was in such a drunken stupor that he was not fully conscious of his actions. V.34. And it came to pass on the morrow that the first-born said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father; let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. V.35. And they made their father drink wine that night also; and the younger arose and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down nor when she arose. V.36. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. Lot was guilty as well as his daughters, first, because he gave way to dull despair instead of trusting in the Lord, and then also, because he did not watch and pray, but permitted his daughters to make him drunk. V.37. And the first-born bare a son, and called his name Moab (from father); the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. V.38. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi (son of my generation, begotten of my father); the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day. Thus Moses recorded the origin of the Moabites and Ammonites, which had become mighty nations in his day. Both nations subsequently played an important role in the history of Israel, Deut. 2, 9. 19; 23, 4. 5. We hear no more of Lot, since he was no longer of any influence in the history of the chosen people. And still he is mentioned in the New Testament as a type of a just man, 2 Pet. 2, 7. 8, whom Christians, in his righteous acts, may well imitate.