I just realized I’m not even halfway through Genesis. This is such a long book.
I’m going to start organizing my schedule so that I can wake up and do this in the morning again; doing it in the evening is not so good for my productivity. I feel like I wrote this already, but I need to keep reminding myself.
I think Genesis 19 is the longest chapter yet. It begins in Genesis 19:1 by clarifying that yes, indeed, those men who went to Sodom were angels. They meet Lot at the gate, and he bids them enter and come to his home. Lot knows that it is not so safe out at night, due to the roaming ravenous rapists. When night falls, all the men of Sodom, it seems, “old and young… surrounded the house” (Genesis 19:4).
They haven’t had fresh meat in so long that they want those men outside so they can “know them carnally” (Genesis 19:5). Wow. I’m wondering if Lot hasn’t been dealt his share of this knowing. He tries to appease them with old fashioned female rape, by offering his daughters, but this does not satisfy the crowd of butt-hungry rapists. That is quite probably the worst sentence I’ve ever had to write.
The men rush forward but the angels grab Lot and bring him inside. They blind the men at the door, who keep searching for the door. This city is so wicked it’s almost cartoonish.
Also, as an aside, apparently these angels have the form of men, and are mistaken as such by the wicked. Perhaps they cannot see them for who they are, as Abraham can.
The angels tell Lot to take his family and GTFO.
“For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”
— Angels, Genesis 19:13
Lot gets his family, except for his sons-in-law, to whom “he seemed to be joking” (Genesis 19:14). Morning comes, Lot gets his family together to leave, and out they go. The angels hold hands with his family and take him out of the city, setting him down outside. Whether they flew or teleported or whatever is unclear, but they got him out. The angels and Lot have a brief discussion regarding where he is supposed to go: the angels tell him to go to the mountains in Genesis 19:17, but Lot fears for his life and tells them that he must go to a nearby city instead. The angels cut him a break and tell him to get to the city, but one says, “I cannot do anything until you arrive there” (Genesis 19:22).
So the sun rises… Lot reaches Zoar, and…
“Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens.”
— Genesis 19:24
God straight demolishes Sodom and Gomorrah, and no one ever sinned again. But seriously, the whole nature of Sodom and Gomorrah’s sins are the subject of a great deal of debate. The “carnally,” in NKJV’s Genesis 19:5 seems to have been added or something to make the narrative clearer. Some people say that the men of Sodom wanted to mistreat the angels, harm them, interrogate them, or rape and dominate them, but that this has nothing to do with loving sexual relationships. Readers interested in sources and details of this debate, as well as various claims over time regarding the historical accuracy and locations of Sodom and Gomorrah will direct their attention to the Wikipedia article here.
Before Lot left, the angels told him to not look back, but as he and his family get to Zoar, “his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).
This reminds me of the Greek myth of Orpheus, who goes to Hades to rescue his lover. He is given the command to not look back at her until they are completely out and away from the Underworld, but he cannot contain himself and turns around to make sure she is there. As a consequence, he loses her forever.
As far as the rest of this chapter goes, Lot and his daughters escape to the mountains, have some drunken incestuous sex, and that’s pretty much that.
For as significant and memorable an event as Sodom and Gomorrah, even Matthew Henry has little to say about this chapter. Regarding the deception and incest committed by Lot’s daughters, Matthew Henry once again warns about drinking, as “many a man does that, when he is drunk, which, when he is sober, he could not think of without horror.” He also makes the following somber comment:
“From the silence of the Scripture concerning Lot henceforward, learn that drunkenness, as it makes men forgetful, so it makes them to be forgotten.”
Lot escaping to the mountain, “higher ground,” as it were, seems to be representative of man reaching toward God and moving away from sin. Matthew Henry makes the point that, as Lot is saved from the fate of the wicked by the angels, so too are we “saved by grace.” Henry says “the salvation of the most righteous men is of God’s mercy, not by their own merit,” which to me sounds a little weird under the traditional concept of God.ª
The idea that God “pulls strings,” so to speak, and leads some men to salvation rubs me the wrong way. However, taking a more abstract view of God, we should always be thankful for God’s love and the joy that He brings us and becomes to us through the Holy Spirit. God is joy and salvation, and when we feel these things and realize this power, we are truly blessed by God. But we have to be willing to receive the blessings; the surrender and acceptance are the hardest parts.
The time has come for me to rest now, so I hope all of you have a wonderful evening. I have another long day ahead of me, but at least during this time, while I am writing, I am at peace.
With luck, this energy and this peace will transfer throughout my life, and God willing it shall be so.
Good night, all, and peace be upon you.
² Dogma. 1999, View Askew Productions and Lionsgate Films. Image retrieved from http://www.rottentomatoes.com/quiz/quotes-from-the-movie-dogma/
ª Henry, Matthew. http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=1&c=19