The sun was risen on the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) The sun was risen.
—As Lot started at dawn, he had thus had about an hour for his flight.
19:1-29 Lot was good, but there was not one more of the same character in the city. All the people of Sodom were very wicked and vile. Care was therefore taken for saving Lot and his family. Lot lingered; he trifled. Thus many who are under convictions about their spiritual state, and the necessity of a change, defer that needful work. The salvation of the most righteous men is of God's mercy, not by their own merit. We are saved by grace. God's power also must be acknowledged in bringing souls out of a sinful state If God had not been merciful to us, our lingering had been our ruin. Lot must flee for his life. He must not hanker after Sodom. Such commands as these are given to those who, through grace, are delivered out of a sinful state and condition. Return not to sin and Satan. Rest not in self and the world. Reach toward Christ and heaven, for that is escaping to the mountain, short of which we must not stop. Concerning this destruction, observe that it is a revelation of the wrath of God against sin and sinners of all ages. Let us learn from hence the evil of sin, and its hurtful nature; it leads to ruin.
The visitors now take steps for the deliverance of Lot and his kindred before the destruction of the cities. All that are related to him are included in the offer of deliverance. There is a blessing in being connected with the righteous, if men will but avail themselves of it. Lot seems bewildered by the contemptuous refusal of his connections to leave the place. His early choice and his growing habits have attached him to the place, notwithstanding its temptations. His married daughters, or at least the intended husbands of the two who were at home ("who are here"), are to be left behind. But though these thoughts make him linger, the mercy of the Lord prevails. The angels use a little violence to hasten their escape. The mountain was preserved by its elevation from the flood of rain, sulphur, and fire which descended on the low ground on which the cities were built. Lot begs for a small town to which he may retreat, as he shrinks from the perils of a mountain dwelling, and his request is mercifully granted.
22. Haste … for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither—The ruin of Sodom was suspended till he was secure. What care God does take of His people (Re 7:3)! What a proof of the love which God bore to a good though weak man!
This phrase may note, either the time of the day when this was done; or rather the nature and quality of the day, that the sun appeared and shone forth that morning in great lustre and glory; which is well noted as a very considerable circumstance of the history, and a great aggravation of the ruin, which came when they least expected it.
And the sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Which is observed partly to point at the time of his entrance into the city, and of the burning of Sodom, which began at the same time; and partly to show what a fine morning it was, and what little appearance there was of such a tempest rising as quickly did; so that the inhabitants of Sodom, who were up so early, little thought of so sudden a catastrophe, and those that were in their beds were at once surprised with it: it was a morning of light and joy to Lot, who was so wonderfully delivered, but a dreadful one to the men of Sodom and the rest of the cities of the plain, with whom the scene was soon altered; likewise from hence it appeared, that the following tempest was extraordinary, and did not proceed from natural causes. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 23.
- The sun was risen upon the earth
- literally, the sun went forth, i.e.
it was now above the horizon. Lot had left Sodom with the first streak of dawn; but, having lingered, it was clear morning - when Lot entered into Zoar
- or "went towards Zoar," i.e.
when the angel left him (Keil).
When they left him here (הנּיח, to let loose, and leave, to leave to one's self), the Lord commanded him, for the sake of his life, not to look behind him, and not to stand still in all the plain (כּכּר, Genesis 13:10
), but to flee to the mountains (afterwards called the mountains of Moab). In Genesis 19:17
we are struck by the change from the plural to the singular: "when they brought them forth, he said." To think of one of the two angels - the one, for example, who led the conversation - seems out of place, not only because Lot addressed him by the name of God, "Adonai" (Genesis 19:18
), but also because the speaker attributed to himself the judgment upon the cities (Genesis 19:21
, Genesis 19:22
), which is described in Genesis 19:24
as executed by Jehovah. Yet there is nothing to indicate that Jehovah suddenly joined the angels. The only supposition that remains, therefore, is that Lot recognised in the two angels a manifestation of God, and so addressed them (Genesis 19:18
) as Adonai (my Lord), and that the angel who spoke addressed him as the messenger of Jehovah in the name of God, without its following from this, that Jehovah was present in the two angels. Lot, instead of cheerfully obeying the commandment of the Lord, appealed to the great mercy shown to him in the preservation of his life, and to the impossibility of his escaping to the mountains, without the evil overtaking him, and entreated therefore that he might be allowed to take refuge in the small and neighbouring city, i.e., in Bela, which received the name of Zoar (Genesis 14:2
) on account of Lot's calling it little. Zoar, the Σηγώρ of the lxx, and Segor of the crusaders, is hardly to be sought for on the peninsula which projects a long way into the southern half of the Dead Sea, in the Ghor of el Mezraa, as Irby and Robinson (Pal. iii. p. 481) suppose; it is much more probably to be found on the south-eastern point of the Dead Sea, in the Ghor of el Szaphia, at the opening of the Wady el Ahsa (vid., v. Raumer, Pal. p. 273, Anm. 14).
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