Categories: Abraham and Sarah, Men in the Old Testament
- Lot is Abraham's nephew; he is the son of Haran, who had died before the family moved from Ur.
- When Abraham moves his family to Canaan, he takes Lot along.
- Lot also accompanies Abraham to Egypt and is with him when they leave.
- Because of his association with Abraham, Lot also has flocks, herds, and tents.
- He is sharing in the blessings that have been promised to Abraham.
- But soon both he and Abraham are so prosperous that the land can no longer support both of them.
- Lot's people begin to quarrel with Abraham's people.
- Abraham's solution is: "Let there be no strife between you and me, between my herdsmen and yours, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you go to the left, I will go right; and if you go to the right, I will go left."
- Abraham is asking Lot to choose from the whole land of Canaan which portion he wants.
- Lot is still the only possible heir that Abraham has. He is given first choice of the land.
- Up to this point Lot has been pretty quiet. Here, however, he has an opportunity to act, and his actions say a lot about Lot's character.
- "He lifted his eyes" and took a good, hard look around. He sees that the "Jordan Valley is well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar." This land lies due east.
- It is beyond the land of promise, and that's the land he wants because it's the most fertile land he can see.
- Lot imagines his prospects to be akin to living in paradise; instead, his decision will bring him closer to the depths of hell.
- But for now, Lot sees, he chooses, and he goes.
- He pitches his tents near Sodom, but "the people of Sodom were wicked and sinned greatly against God."
- In removing himself from the land of promise, Lot has also separated himself from Abraham, from the source of blessing.
- When warring kings plunder the city of Sodom, they capture Lot.
- Yet Abraham is able to rescue Lot and return him to Sodom.
- Years later, three angels visit Abraham and Sarah to give them a birth announcement. After the meal, the visitors look toward Sodom, and two of them go there.
- It is evening by the time the two heavenly visitors arrive.
- Lot is sitting at the gate, and upon seeing them, he greets them and bows.
- People who sit at the gate are generally the leaders of the community.
- Initially, his response to the visitors is very similar to Abraham's. He rises, offers them lodging, and provides water for their feet.
- He offers a place for them to rest.
- At this moment, Lot is demonstrating hospitality.
- The text takes great pains to stress that all the men of Sodom came to Lot's door — young and old, from every quarter of the city, every last one of them — demanding that the visitors be brought out so they could "know" them, or be intimate with them.
- This violates the code of all civilized men who ascribe a sacred duty to the "stranger within the walls," to anyone who takes refuge within the city.
- To his credit, Lot takes his duty very seriously. He goes out to intercede for his guests and shuts the door behind him.
- He begs his fellow citizens not to do this wicked thing, but then makes a most outrageous offer.
- While attempting to protect his guests, Lot offers his two unmarried daughters to the crowd for them to abuse at their will. The offer of his daughters can only be seen as an act of wickedness.
- The townspeople, however, reject his offer and turn on Lot, calling him an alien, an interloper, and threaten to do worse to him than to the guests.
- Then the angels intervene. They pull Lot inside and strike the townspeople with confusion.
- They tell Lot of their intentions to destroy the city and their reason for doing so.
- Despite the angels' warnings of imminent destruction, Lot "lingers." It is hard for him to leave Sodom.
- Finally, the angels simply take Lot and his family by the hand and bring them out of the city.
- When the sun comes up, the Lord rains down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Lot and his daughters are safe, but his wife is not. She perished on the way to Zoar by stopping to look back. The text says that she became "a pillar of salt."
- As it turns out, Lot is afraid to stay in Zoar.
- So, after a while he and his daughters go to the hills and live in a cave.
- After settling into the cave, his daughters think they are the only ones left in the world.
- They get their father drunk, and while he is drunk, they use him to get pregnant.
- The offspring of this incestuous relationship will become the ancestors of two nations, Moab and Ammon. These nations will harass Abraham's descendants throughout much of their history.
- This is the last we know of Lot.