Bible Study Notes on Genesis 19 – 20161030

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 19:1  “…the two angels…”
Since this is the continuation of the narrative from the previous chapter, these are most likely the two angels that continued on toward Sodom after speaking with Abraham.  In that case, the three that spoke with Abraham may have been these two and a pre-incarnate Christ, or an Archangel through which God spoke in the first person.  Either way, the essence of God would have been present.

1-2  “…Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom…your servant’s house…”
He’s no longer just living in the area.  He has moved into the city, has his own place there, and has become part of the population.

1  “…Lot saw them, he rose to meet them…”
It doesn’t say, but I wonder if he saw something different about them as Abraham had.  He obviously knew they weren’t from there.

2-3  “…we will spend the night in the open square…he insisted strongly…”
It’s hard to know since I know the whole story, but I’ve always had the impression that Lot insisted because he knew how wicked the people were and what would happen to the men if they stayed in the square.  How sad that he knew the evil of the city and yet chose to live there and have his family there.

4-5  “…men of Sodom, both old and young…from every quarter…Bring them out to us that we may know them…”
Of all the wickedness that could have been mentioned about a people, the one that is recorded, and thus assumed to be the greatest, is their homosexuality.  From what we read in the book of Romans, a civilization’s downward spiral toward total depravity ends with the acceptance and promotion of homosexuality.  Sodom is the first to be recorded, both in their sins and in God’s response to it.  The fact that they came from every quarter shows that there wasn’t even ten righteous people in the city.  It has been six thousand years, and man has learned nothing.  America is now at the point of Sodom.  What can we expect except the same fate that befell them.

8  “…I have two daughters…you may do to them as you wish…”
It is beyond imagination that a father would have been so far gone in his ability to reason that he would offer his own daughters to whatever vile behavior the men chose.
This raises some questions.  Lot obviously knew their behavior was wrong and didn’t participate in it.  From the reaction the men had toward him, it appears he may have been speaking out against the wickedness in the city.  Commentary suggests the fact that it was his uncle Abraham that saved the people from the Chaldean raiders may have been why he and his family hadn’t been assaulted thus far.  So, the question arises, as James will say, how to be in the world and not of it.  If Lot’s intention had been to be a witness to the people, it would have been better to have lived in a tent outside the city.  We must recognize the point at which we move from standing against evil to becoming a participant in it.

9  “…This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge…”
Sounds like Lot was speaking out in some fashion.  How familiar that argument sounds.  Don’t judge me.  Don’t tell me that my actions are sin.

12  “…whomever you have in the city…”
We know at this point that Lot only had his wife and two daughters as blood relatives.  Yet the mercy of God allowed him to gather anyone that he cared for within the city for evacuation.  Abraham was right.  It isn’t God’s intention to destroy the righteous with the wicked, but the righteous must get out of the way.

13  “…the LORD has sent us to destroy it”
Power of God is absolute and has no boundaries.  Only two angels, but the power to completely destroy not only Sodom, but all of the evil cities.

14  “…his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters…to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking”
Several things here.  Checked on the commentaries for confirmation and found some question as to the state of the sons-in-law.  Some interpret it as two that he had made marriage arrangements with as his daughters were still virgins and were living with him.  Others suggest that Lot could have had two other daughters who were already married to these men.  The angel will tell him to take his wife and the two daughters who are here with him.  Could be referring to all that are with him or could be designating these two daughters from others.  If he did have other daughters, they perished in the destruction.  Perhaps this explains why he lingered when the angels told him to leave.  While the majority of the men were outside wanting to commit evil, here are at least two who were not, though that wouldn’t have made them righteous.  Unfortunately, Lot’s influence on them regarding things of God wasn’t very great.  They wouldn’t even listen and thought he was joking.  Living too close to the wickedness had destroyed his witness even to his family.

17  “…Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain…”
One wonders why the command not to look behind at the destruction.  Lot is being mercifully saved from the destruction of great wickedness.  He must wake up and realize the severity of the situation and choose to completely leave it behind.  Turn away and don’t look back.  As Jesus would say, don’t put your hands to the plow and look back.  It’s a matter of choice of direction.  It must be decisive and concrete.

17-22, 30  “…Escape to the mountains…I cannot escape to the mountains…this city is near enough to flee to…I will not overthrow this city…Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains…he was afraid to dwell in Zoar…”
Such a mess.  Lot is so confused by his sin, he can’t let go of his own reasoning even though angels from God are telling him what to do and are having to physically lead him.  He’s told to escape to the mountains which obviously would have been safe for him as the angels told him to do it.  But he insists on being in a nearby city.  The angel allows him to do it, but says that he won’t destroy that city.  Does this infer that Zoar was on the list to be destroyed?  Lot is simply going from one bad spot to another.  After the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed, he leaves Zoar and goes to the mountains as he was instructed to do in the first place.  And it says he did so because he was afraid to dwell in Zoar.  Could he have discovered that Zoar was just as wicked as Sodom?  So much lost that could have been saved by simply listening to what God told him.

22  “…I cannot do anything until you arrive there…”
We speak of people being saved by the skin of their teeth, but God’s timing is perfect.  The angel tells Lot that he can’t commence the destruction until he knows Lot is safe.  Lot’s safety wasn’t just a happenstance or luck, but was determined.

24  “…rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens”
Most commentaries follow the idea that God used natural means to cause the destruction, in this case meaning volcanic activity.  Probably the case, but it doesn’t discount the fact that God could have simply rained down anything He wanted.  Using natural means is certainly within His character and in no way diminishes the fact that He was behind it.  He used a flood to destroy the world, he can certainly use a volcano eruption to destroy cities.  Volcanic material as well as seismic activity are found in the area of the Dead Sea.  It is suggested that the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah, along with anything else destroyed at the time, may be under the water of the Dead Sea.

26  “But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”
Sad note on the consequences of refusing to obey God.  May not have been just a quick look.  Commentaries suggest she may have stopped to look back, longing for what she had lost, and was caught by the elements of the destruction.  The pillar of salt could refer to her being encased with sulfuric lava or an eruption of salt flow from the Dead Sea.  Either way, disobedience has consequences, always bad.

31-38  The sadness of the end of Lot’s story.  He fled the city of Zoar to live in the mountains with his two daughters.  Apparently he hasn’t been such a Godly influence on them any more than the people of Sodom.  They decide that they are stuck forever in the mountains with no hope of a future, so they concoct an incestuous plan to carry on their line.  They have sexual relations with their father, and the oldest has a child who becomes the father of the Moabites while the younger has a child who becomes the father of the Ammonites.  Commentaries suggest that they acted in a way they thought commendable under the circumstances and that they were possibly unaware of any crime or detestable behavior on their part.  Hard to say, but it is clear they have not been influenced toward God’s righteousness.  Such a sad example of not passing on Godly values to one’s descendants.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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