Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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;
Ge 19:1-38. Lot's Entertainment.
1. there came two angels—most probably two of those that had been with Abraham, commissioned to execute the divine judgment against Sodom.
Lot sat in the gate of Sodom—In Eastern cities it is the market, the seat of justice, of social intercourse and amusement, especially a favorite lounge in the evenings, the arched roof affording a pleasant shade.
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. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
2. turn in, I pray you … tarry all night—offer of the same generous hospitalities as described in Ge 18:2-8, and which are still spontaneously practised in the small towns.
And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night—Where there are no inns and no acquaintance, it is not uncommon for travellers to sleep in the street wrapped up in their cloaks.
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.
3. entered into his house—On removing to the plain, Lot intended at first to live in his tent apart from the people [Ge 13:12]. But he was gradually drawn in, dwelt in the city, and he and his family were connected with the citizens by marriage ties.
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:
4. men of Sodom, compassed the house—Appalling proofs are here given of their wickedness. It is evident that evil communications had corrupted good manners; otherwise Lot would never have acted as he did.
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.
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
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.
And they said, Stand back. 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. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
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.
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:
12, 13. Hast thou here any besides? … we will destroy this place—Apostolic authority has declared Lot was "a righteous man" (2Pe 2:8), at bottom good, though he contented himself with lamenting the sins that he saw, instead of acting on his own convictions, and withdrawing himself and family from such a sink of corruption. But favor was shown him: and even his bad relatives had, for his sake, an offer of deliverance, which was ridiculed and spurned (2Pe 3:4).
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.
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. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
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.
15-17. The kindly interest the angels took in the preservation of Lot is beautifully displayed. But he "lingered." Was it from sorrow at the prospect of losing all his property, the acquisition of many years? Or was it that his benevolent heart was paralyzed by thoughts of the awful crisis? This is the charitable way of accounting for a delay that would have been fatal but for the friendly urgency of the angel.
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.
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.
And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:
18, 19. Lot said … Oh, not so, my Lord … I cannot escape to the mountain—What a strange want of faith and fortitude, as if He who had interfered for his rescue would not have protected Lot in the mountain solitude.
Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:
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.
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.
21. See, I have accepted thee concerning this … also—His request was granted him, the prayer of faith availed, and to convince him, from his own experience, that it would have been best and safest at once to follow implicitly the divine directions.
Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
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!
The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
24. Then the Lord rained … brimstone and fire from … heaven—God, in accomplishing His purposes, acts immediately or mediately through the agency of means; and there are strong grounds for believing that it was in the latter way He effected the overthrow of the cities of the plain—that it was, in fact, by a volcanic eruption. The raining down of fire and brimstone from heaven is perfectly accordant with this idea since those very substances, being raised into the air by the force of the volcano, would fall in a fiery shower on the surrounding region. This view seems countenanced by Job [Job 1:16; 18:15]. Whether it was miraculously produced, or the natural operation employed by God, it is not of much consequence to determine: it was a divine judgment, foretold and designed for the punishment of those who were sinners exceedingly.
And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
26. Lot was accompanied by his wife and two daughters. But whether it was from irresistible curiosity or perturbation of feeling, or that she was about to return to save something, his wife lingered, and while thus disobeying the parting counsel, "to look not back, nor stay in all the plain" [Ge 19:17], the torrent of liquid lava enveloped her so that she became the victim of her supine indolence or sinful rashness.
And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:
27. Abraham gat up early in the morning, &c.—Abraham was at this time in Mamre, near Hebron, and a traveller last year verified the truth of this passage. "From the height which overlooks Hebron, where the patriarch stood, the observer at the present day has an extensive view spread out before him towards the Dead Sea. A cloud of smoke rising from the plain would be visible to a person at Hebron now, and could have been, therefore, to Abraham as he looked toward Sodom on the morning of its destruction by God" [Hackett]. It must have been an awful sight, and is frequently alluded to in Scripture (De 29:23; Isa 13:19; Jude 7). "The plain which is now covered by the Salt or Dead Sea shows in the great difference of level between the bottoms of the northern and southern ends of the lake—the latter being thirteen feet and the former thirteen hundred—that the southern end was of recent formation, and submerged at the time of the fall of the cities" [Lynch].
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.
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.
29. when God destroyed the cities, &c.—This is most welcome and instructive after so painful a narrative. It shows if God is a "consuming fire" to the wicked [De 4:24; Heb 12:29], He is the friend of the righteous. He "remembered" the intercessions of Abraham, and what confidence should not this give us that He will remember the intercessions of a greater than Abraham in our behalf.
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.
And the firstborn 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:
Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn 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.
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.
Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.
And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.