Genesis (Part 78)

Welcome back to my study/review of Genesis. If you missed the previous parts of this study, you can find them HERE.

Genesis: 19:12-16

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. 13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 

And here we see the section of verses where Lot makes preparations to leave. Thi sis also the moment, when as they say, push comes to shove. Lot has to leave his wealth behind. He has to leave his home behind. He leaves behind people he knows. He seems to also leave family behind. Lot’s heart was divided between the things of God and things that are evil. Rescuing him from that divided loyalty – and the judgment coming therefrom – means a lot of heartbreak.

In verse 12, the two men (the two angels) present Lot with an opportunity to save as many people as he can. The angels might know what the outcome of Lot’s efforts in the next few verses will be, but it is notable that they do not tell him to limit his fleeing group to ten. We know that there are not even ten righteous people in Sodom, based on God’s agreement with Abraham and His decision to destroy the city, but the text here implies that God will allow Lot to save perhaps even more than ten people if any of the unrighteous are willing to go with him out of the city based on Lot’s warnings. God here is showing Lot a lot of mercy.

From The Pulpit Commentaries:

And the men said unto Lot,—after the incident recorded in the preceding verses. Lot by this time had doubtless recognized their celestial character; accordingly, the Codex Samaritanus reads “angelsHast thou here any besides? (i.e. any other relatives or friends in the city in addition to the daughters then present in the house) son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever (not of things, but of persons) thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: for we will destroy this place (literally, for destroying this place are we, i.e. we are here for that purpose), because the cry of them—not “the outcry on account of them,” i.e. which the men of Sodom extort from others (Gesenius), but the cry against them which ascends to heaven, the cry for vengeance on their iniquities (cf. Genesis 4:10Genesis 18:20—is waxen great before the face of the Lord (cf. Genesis 6:11Genesis 10:9); and the Lord (Jehovah) hath sent us (language never employed by the Maleach Jehovah)to destroy it.

And from David Guzik’s Commentary:

a. Have you anyone else here? The angels were not omniscient, knowing everything. Knowing the members of Lot’s family was something that spiritual beings could easily observe, but at this point even these angels did not know it apart from Lot’s answer.

b. To his sons-in-law: Lot’s daughter were unmarried and had not known a man (Genesis 19:8). These men were sons-in-law by the ancient practice of binding betrothal, not yet by marriage.

c. We will destroy this place…the Lord has sent us to destroy it: For the first time, Lot heard of the work of these supernatural guests. Sodom was destined for judgment, but God wanted to spare Lot and his family.

Guzik’s Commentary clears up the issue of son-in-laws that we see. We know that Lot has virgin daughters – he offered them up to the mob in place of his celestial guests – but the fact that Lot also has son-in-laws does not mean his daughters are married just yet. The English translation here says that they are to marry his daughters – meaning that they have not yet done so.

HOWEVER, this is not a universally held belief. From Ellicott’s Bible Commentary:

(14) Which married his daughters.—Heb., the takers of his daughters—a present participle, for which reason Ewald, Tuch, and others translate “who were to marry his daughters.” The traditional view is that given in our Version, and is confirmed by Genesis 19:15, where the words—“thy two daughters which are here,” Heb., which are found—certainly suggest the idea that Lot had other daughters, besides the two which escaped with him.

As one that mocked.—Heb., as one that was laughing, or joking, and so not in earnest.

were to marry / married = לָקַח lâqach, law-kakh’; a primitive root; to take (in the widest variety of applications):—accept, bring, buy, carry away, drawn, fetch, get, infold, × many, mingle, place, receive(-ing), reserve, seize, send for, take (away, -ing, up), use, win.

Lot is unable to convince his sons-in-law to flee with him because they believe him to be joking. From Guzik:

d. He seemed to be joking: The effect of Lot’s life of compromise was clear. When he spoke with utmost seriousness to his sons-in-law about the judgment of God, they did not believe him. Not even they would be saved from the judgment to come.

i. The life of Lot shows us that it is possible to have a saved soul and a wasted life. Lot would be saved, but his life would accomplish nothing, as in 1 Corinthians 3:15If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Take a minute and think back to the verses before this section. We are told that every man in Sodom – young and old – were at Lot’s door and part of a mob trying to break down his door. Did that mob also include Lot’s own son-in-laws? It might have. Was Lot reaching out to son-in-laws after they were inflicted with a temporary blindness?

Returning to Ellicott then:

(15) When the morning arose.—Lot had thus the night for making his preparations, but part of this he spent in his visits to his sons-in-law.

Consumed.—Heb., swept away; and so in Genesis 19:17. See Genesis 18:23-24, where it is rendered “destroy.”

(16) And while he lingered.—Heb., and he lingered. Lot still clung to his wealth, and could not make up his mind to leave it, and so at length the angels took him by the hand and compelled him to quit the doomed city.

The Lord being merciful unto him.—Heb., in Jehovah’s pity for him. (Comp. Isaiah 63:9.)

And from the Pulpit Commentaries:

And when the morning arose,—literally, as soon as the dawn (from שָׁחַר, to break forth as the light) went up, i.e. on the first appearance of the morning twilight—then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here;—literally, which are found;not implying the existence of other daughters (Knobel), but contrasting with the sons in law (Keil, Kalisch) lest thou be consumed in the iniquity (or punishment, as in Isaiah 5:18) of the city. And while he lingered,—Lot’s irresolution would have been his ruin but for his attendant. His heart manifestly clung to the earthly possessions he was leaving. The angels made no mention of his attempting to save a portion of his great wealth—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 to him:—literally, in the mercy, or gentleness, of Jehovah to him;the primary idea of the verb from which the noun is derived being that of softness (cf. Isaiah 63:9)—and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

Even after all he has seen, Lot still needs a gentle push out of the door. Leaving behind loved ones, knowing what awaits them when he goes, is difficult. Through Lot we see an extreme example of the difficulty in doing God’s will when that will creates discord within a family. The lesson to be learned then is that one should not put himself, or his family, in a situation wherein the family will become divided over their faith. How different would things have gone for Lot if he had decided not to move into the city of Sodom? Quite different. His daughters might have found different husbands. His family might have avoided the corrupting influence of the people in the wicked city.