Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Genesis 19:26

But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
New American Standard Version
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Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Disobedience to God;   Gomorrah;   Lot;   Miracles;   Pillar;   Salt;   Sodom;   Women;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Thompson Chain Reference - Blindness-Vision;   Disobedience;   Helps-Hindrances;   Hindrances;   Looking Backward;   Lot;   Lot's Wife;   Obedience-Disobedience;   Salt;   Vision;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Pillars;   Salt;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jordan;   Lot;   Miracle;   Sodom;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Earthquake;   Palestine;   Sodom;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Family Life and Relations;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   He-Ass;   Salt;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Plains;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Cities of the Plain;   Lot;   Remnant;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Admah;   Ammon, Ammonites;   Ben-Ammi;   Greek Versions of Ot;   Israel;   Moab, Moabites;   Plain, Cities of the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Brimstone ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Sodom, Sodoma ;   Zoar ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Lot;   Salt;   Sodom;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Lot;   Sodom;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Gomor'rah;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Salt;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Lot;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Gomorrah;   Lot (1);   Pillar;   Plow;   Salt;   Zoar;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Joseph ben Isaac Bekor Shor of Orleans;   Letter-Writing and Letter-Writers;   Lot;   Pillar;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for March 20;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

She became a pillar of salt - The vast variety of opinions, both ancient and modern, on the crime of Lot's wife, her change, and the manner in which that change was effected, are in many cases as unsatisfactory as they are ridiculous. On this point the sacred Scripture says little. God had commanded Lot and his family not to look behind them; the wife of Lot disobeyed this command; she looked back from behind him - Lot, her husband, and she became a pillar of salt. This is all the information the inspired historian has thought proper to give us on this subject; it is true the account is short, but commentators and critics have made it long enough by their laborious glosses. The opinions which are the most probable are the following:

  1. "Lot's wife, by the miraculous power of God, was changed into a mass of rock salt, probably retaining the human figure."
  • "Tarrying too long in the plain, she was struck with lightning and enveloped in the bituminous and sulphuric matter which abounded in that country, and which, not being exposed afterwards to the action of the fire, resisted the air and the wet, and was thus rendered permanent."
  • "She was struck dead and consumed in the burning up of the plain; and this judgment on her disobedience being recorded, is an imperishable memorial of the fact itself, and an everlasting warning to sinners in general, and to backsliders or apostates in particular."
  • On these opinions it may be only necessary to state that the two first understand the text literally, and that the last considers it metaphorically. That God might in a moment convert this disobedient woman into a pillar or mass of salt, or any other substance, there can be no doubt. Or that, by continuing in the plain till the brimstone and fire descended from heaven, she might be struck dead with lightning, and indurated or petrified on the spot, is as possible. And that the account of her becoming a pillar of salt may be designed to be understood metaphorically, is also highly probable. It is certain that salt is frequently used in the Scriptures as an emblem of incorruption, durability, etc. Hence a covenant of salt, Numbers 18:19, is a perpetual covenant, one that is ever to be in full force, and never broken; on this ground a pillar of salt may signify no more in this case than an everlasting monument against criminal curiosity, unbelief, and disobedience.

    Could we depend upon the various accounts given by different persons who pretend to have seen the wife of Lot standing in her complete human form, with all her distinctive marks about her, the difficulty would be at an end. But we cannot depend on these accounts; they are discordant, improbable, ridiculous, and often grossly absurd. Some profess to have seen her as a heap of salt; others, as a rock of salt; others, as a complete human being as to shape, proportion of parts, etc., etc., but only petrified.

    This human form, according to others, has still resident in it a miraculous continual energy; break off a finger, a toe, an arm, etc., it is immediately reproduced, so that though multitudes of curious persons have gone to see this woman, and every one has brought away a part of her, yet still she is found by the next comer a complete human form! To crown this absurd description, the author of the poem De Sodoma, usually attributed to Tertullian, and annexed to his works, represents her as yet instinct with a portion of animal life, which is unequivocally designated by certain signs which every month produces. I shall transcribe the whole passage and refer to my author; and as I have given above the sense of the whole, my readers must excuse me from giving a more literal translation: -

    - et simul illic

    In fragilem mutata salem, stetit ipsa sepulchrum,

    Ipsaque imago sibi, formam sine corpore servans

    Durat adhuc etenim nuda statione sub aethra,

    Nec pluviis dilapsa situ, nec diruta ventis.

    Quinettam, si quis mutilaverit advena formam,

    Protinus ex sese suggestu vulnera complet.

    Dicitur et vivens alio sub corpore sexus

    Munificos solito dispungere sanguine menses

    Teetulliani Opera, vol. ii., p. 731. Edit. Oberthur.

    The sentiment in the last lines is supported by Irenaeus, who assures us that, though still remaining as a pillar of salt, the statue, in form and other natural accidents, exhibits decisive proofs of its original. Jam non caro corruptibilis, sed statua salis semper manens, et, per naturalla, ea quoe sunt consuetudinis hominis ostendens, lib. iv., c. 51. To complete this absurdity, this father makes her an emblem of the true Church, which, though she suffers much, and often loses whole members, yet preserves the pillar of salt, that is, the foundation of the true faith, etc. See Calmet.

    Josephus says that this pillar was standing in his time, and that himself had seen it: Εις στηλην ἁλων μετεβαλεν, ἱοτορηκα δ ' αυτην· ετι γαρ και νυν διαμενει . Ant. lib. i., c. xi. 3, 4.

    St. Clement, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. 2, follows Josephus, and asserts that Lot's wife was remaining even at that time as a pillar of salt.

    Authors of respectability and credit who have since traveled into the Holy Land, and made it their business to inquire into this subject in the most particular and careful manner, have not been able to meet with any remains of this pillar; and all accounts begin now to be confounded in the pretty general concession, both of Jews and Gentiles, that either the statue does not now remain, or that some of the heaps of salt or blocks of salt rock which are to be met with in the vicinity of the Dead Sea, may be the remains of Lot's wife! All speculations on this subject are perfectly idle; and if the general prejudice in favor of the continued existence of this monument of God's justice had not been very strong, I should not have deemed myself justified in entering so much at length into the subject. Those who profess to have seen it, have in general sufficiently invalidated their own testimony by the monstrous absurdities with which they have encumbered their relations. Had Lot's wife been changed in the way that many have supposed, and had she been still preserved somewhere in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea, surely we might expect some account of it in after parts of the Scripture history; but it is never more mentioned in the Bible, and occurs nowhere in the New Testament but in the simple reference of our Lord to the judgment itself, as a warning to the disobedient and backsliding, Luke 17:32; : Remember Lot's wife!

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/genesis-19.html. 1832.

    Bridgeway Bible Commentary

    Sodom and Gomorrah (19:1-38)

    Meanwhile the two messengers arrived in Sodom. Lot, knowing the danger that strangers faced in the streets of Sodom at night, welcomed them into his house (19:1-3). Although Lot did not agree with the immoral practices of Sodom (2 Peter 2:7-8), he apparently did not have the courage to oppose them. He was even prepared to allow the sexual perverts of the city to rape his daughters, in order to protect his two guests from homosexual assault. In a blinding judgment, God showed his hatred of sexual violence and perversion (4-11; cf. Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10).

    God's messengers then told Lot and his family to escape, because Sodom was about to be destroyed (12-14). Yet Lot had become so much at home in Sodom that God's messengers had almost to drag him from the city. Even then he asked a special favour from God that would allow him to carry on his former way of life in another city (15-22).

    The region around the Dead Sea where Sodom and Gomorrah were situated contained tar pits, sulphur and natural gases (cf. 14:10). A combination of an earthquake and lightning could have caused an explosion similar to that of a volcano, resulting in burning sulphur raining down over the cities (and over Lot's wife). At the same time it was a direct judgment by God, happening at the time and in the place God had announced (23-29).

    So horrifying was the destruction, that Lot decided he could no longer live in safety inside the city. So he took his family out to the hills and lived in a cave. But his two daughters, still affected by the evil influences of Sodom, forced their father into immoral sexual relations with them. The two children that were born through this immorality produced respectively the Ammonites and the Moabites, peoples who later became a source of trouble to Israel (30-38).

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/genesis-19.html. 2005.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    "But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."

    All kinds of reasons are alleged for the action of Lot's wife here, and even what she did is grossly misunderstood. God's command to "look not behind thee" is not to be understood as any prohibition whatever against merely "glancing backward." It referred to a purposeful "returning back" to the doomed city. This is perfectly clear from the use that Jesus made of this episode in the passages quoted at the head of the chapter. Therefore, we must reject as nothing short of ridiculous the rendition of these words in The Anchor Bible: "As Lot's wife glanced backward, she turned into a pillar of salt."[16] We hope we are wrong, but it seems to us that such "translations" are for the purpose of making the narrative unreasonable.

    Referring again to the use Jesus made of this episode (Luke 17:31,32), our Lord mentioned the conduct of Lot's wife as an example of what NOT to do, having just admonished his hearers, "He that shall be on the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away." The inference is clear enough that the "looking back" done by Lot's wife was that of interrupting her flight long enough to return to their house in order to remove something she had left behind. It was a fatal mistake. The terrible destruction of the cities fell upon her also.

    "She became a pillar of salt ..." It is a mistranslation to make this read, "She was changed into a pillar of salt." Such a rendition turns the event into a vengeful retribution executed upon this poor woman, but it was no such thing. God was doing everything He could to save her, even sending angels to take her by the hand and lead her out of the place. The awful destruction, having already been commanded and in progress, was not sent upon Lot and his wife, but upon Sodom. Lot's wife entered the disaster zone contrary to the will of God and against His specific commandments. Thus, God did not "change her" into a pillar of salt, as in some magical tale; "she BECAME a pillar of salt," as a result of her own rash decision to enter the disaster zone. There are enough miracles in this episode without making another one out of this. We believe Keil's analysis of this is correct:

    "Lot's wife, having been killed by the fiery and sulfurous vapour with which the air was filled, was afterward encrusted with salt, resembling an actual statue of salt; just as, even now, from the saline exhalation of the Dead Sea, objects near it are quickly covered with a crust of salt.[17]"

    For ages, there was a specific "pillar of salt" in the area that was designated "Lot's Wife," and it continued to exist until the times of Jesus Christ and his personal ministry. Josephus declared, "I have seen it, and it remains at this day."[18] That it still stood in those times is also attested by Clement of Rome and later by Irenaeus.[19]


    REMEMBER LOT'S WIFE (Luke 17:32)

    1. She is a warning to all who are tempted to sacrifice their safety in order to win or keep more of this world's goods.

    2. If we strive to possess the best of both worlds, we are likely to lose both.

    3. She is a reminder that being "near safety" is not enough.

    4. She is a warning that having begun to follow the Lord's Word, one may still turn back from the way and be lost.

    Copyright Statement
    Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
    Bibliographical Information
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/genesis-19.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    - The Destruction of Sodom and Amorah

    9. גשׁ־<הלאה gesh -hāl'âh “approach to a distant point,” stand back.

    11. סנורים sanevērı̂ym “blindness,” affecting the mental more than the ocular vision.

    37. מואב mô'āb Moab; מאב mē'āb “from a father.” בן־עמי ben -‛amı̂y Ben-‹ammi, “son of my people.” עמון ‛amôn ‹Ammon, “of the people.”

    This chapter is the continuation and conclusion of the former. It records a part of God‘s strange work - strange, because it consists in punishment, and because it is foreign to the covenant of grace. Yet it is closely connected with Abraham‘s history, inasmuch as it is a signal chastisement of wickedness in his neighborhood, a memorial of the righteous judgment of God to all his posterity, and at the same time a remarkable answer to the spirit, if not to the letter, of his intercessory prayer. His kinsman Lot, the only righteous man in Sodom, with his wife and two daughters, is delivered from destruction in accordance with his earnest appeal on behalf of the righteous.

    Genesis 19:1-3

    The two angels. - These are the two men who left Abraham standing before the Lord Genesis 18:22. “Lot sat in the gate,” the place of public resort for news and for business. He courteously rises to meet them, does obeisance to them, and invites them to spend the night in his house. “Nay, but in the street will we lodge.” This is the disposition of those who come to inquire, and, it may be, to condemn and to punish. They are twice in this chapter called angels, being sent to perform a delegated duty. This term, however, defines their office, not their nature. Lot, in the first instance, calls them “my lords,” which is a term of respect that may be addressed to men Genesis 31:35. He afterward styled one of them Adonai, with the special vowel pointing which limits it to the Supreme Being. He at the same time calls himself his servant, appeals to his grace and mercy, and ascribes to him his deliverance. The person thus addressed replies, in a tone of independence and authority, “I have accepted thee.” “I will not overthrow this city for which thou hast spoken.” “I cannot do anything until thou go thither.” All these circumstances point to a divine personage, and are not so easily explained of a mere delegate. He is pre-eminently the Saviour, as he who communed with Abraham was the hearer of prayer. And he who hears prayer and saves life, appears also as the executor of his purpose in the overthrow of Sodom and the other cities of the vale. It is remarkable that only two of the three who appeared to Abraham are called angels. Of the persons in the divine essence two might be the angels or deputies of the primary in the discharge of the divine purpose. These three men, then, either immediately represent, or, if created angels, mediately shadow forth persons in the Godhead. Their number indicates that the persons in the divine unity are three.

    Lot seems to have recognized something extraordinary in their appearance, for he made a lowly obeisance to them. The Sodomites heed not the strangers. Lot‘s invitation; at first declined, is at length accepted, because Lot is approved of God as righteous, and excepted from the doom of the city.

    Genesis 19:4-11

    The wicked violence of the citizens displays itself. They compass the house, and demand the men for the vilest ends. How familiar Lot had become with vice, when any necessity whatever could induce him to offer his daughters to the lust of these Sodomites! We may suppose it was spoken rashly, in the heat of the moment, and with the expectation that he would not be taken at his word. So it turned out. “Stand back.” This seems to be a menace to frighten Lot out of the way of their perverse will. It is probable, indeed, that he and his family would not have been so long safe in this wicked place, had he not been the occasion of a great deliverance to the whole city when they were carried away by the four kings. The threat is followed by a taunt, when the sorely vexed host hesitated to give up the strangers. “He will needs be a judge.” It is evident Lot had been in the habit of remonstrating with them. From threats and taunts they soon proceed to violence. His guests now interfere. They rescue Lot, and smite the rioters with blindness, or a wandering of the senses, so that they cannot find the door. This ebullition of the vilest passion seals the doom of the city.

    Genesis 19:12-23

    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.

    Genesis 19:24-26

    Then follows the overthrow of the cities. “The Lord rained brimstone and fire from the Lord from the skies.” Here the Lord is represented as present in the skies, whence the storm of desolation comes, and on the earth where it falls. The dale of Siddim, in which the cities were, appears to have abounded in asphalt and other combustible materials Genesis 14:10. The district was liable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions from the earliest to the latest times. We read of an earthquake in the days of king Uzziah Amos 1:1. An earthquake in 1759 destroyed many thousands of persons in the valley of Baalbec. Josephus (De Bell. Jud. iii. 10,7) reports that the Salt Sea sends up in many places black masses of asphalt, which are not unlike headless bulls in shape and size. After an earthquake in 1834, masses of asphalt were thrown up from the bottom, and in 1837 a similar cause was attended with similar effects.

    The lake lies in the lowest part of the valley of the Jordan, and its surface is about thirteen hundred feet below the level of the sea. In such a hollow, exposed to the burning rays of an unclouded sun, its waters evaporate as much as it receives by the influx of the Jordan. Its present area is about forty-five miles by eight miles. A peninsula pushes into it from the east called the Lisan, or tongue, the north point of which is about twenty miles from the south end of the lake. North of this point the depth is from forty to two hundred and eighteen fathoms. This southern part of the lake seems to have been the original dale of Siddim, in which were the cities of the vale. The remarkable salt hills lying on the south of the lake are still called Khashm Usdum (Sodom). A tremendous storm, accompanied with flashes of lightning, and torrents of rain, impregnated with sulphur, descended upon the doomed cities.

    From the injunction to Lot to “flee to the mountain,” as well as from the nature of the soil, we may infer that at the same time with the awful conflagration there was a subsidence of the ground, so that the waters of the upper and original lake flowed in upon the former fertile and populous dale, and formed the shallow southern part of the present Salt Sea. In this pool of melting asphalt and sweltering, seething waters, the cities seem to have sunk forever, and left behind them no vestiges of their existence. Lot‘s wife lingering behind her husband, and looking back, contrary to the express command of the Lord, is caught in the sweeping tempest, and becomes a pillar of salt: so narrow was the escape of Lot. The dashing spray of the salt sulphurous rain seems to have suffocated her, and then encrusted her whole body. She may have burned to a cinder in the furious conflagration. She is a memorable example of the indignation and wrath that overtakes the halting and the backsliding.

    Genesis 19:27-29

    Abraham rises early on the following morning, to see what had become of the city for which he had interceded so earnestly, and views from afar the scene of smoking desolation. Remembering Abraham, who was Lot‘s uncle, and had him probably in mind in his importunate pleading, God delivered Lot from this awful overthrow. The Eternal is here designated by the name Elohim, the Everlasting, because in the war of elements in which the cities were overwhelmed, the eternal potencies of his nature were signally displayed.

    Genesis 19:30-38

    The descendants of Lot. Bewildered by the narrowness of his escape, and the awful death of his wife, Lot seems to have left Zoar, and taken to the mountain west of the Salt Sea, in terror of impending ruin. It is not improbable that all the inhabitants of Zoar, panic-struck, may have fled from the region of danger, and dispersed themselves for a time through the adjacent mountains. He was now far from the habitations of people, with his two daughters as his only companions. The manners of Sodom here obtrude themselves upon our view. Lot‘s daughters might seem to have been led to this unnatural project, first, because they thought the human race extinct with the exception of themselves, in which case their conduct may have seemed a work of justifiable necessity; and next, because the degrees of kindred within which it was unlawful to marry had not been determined by an express law. But they must have seen some of the inhabitants of Zoar after the destruction of the cities; and carnal intercourse between parent and offspring must have been always repugnant to nature. “Unto this day.” This phrase indicates a variable period, from a few years to a few centuries: a few years; not more than seven, as Joshua 22:3; part of a lifetime, as Numbers 22:30; Joshua 6:25; Genesis 48:15; and some centuries, as Exodus 10:6. This passage may therefore have been written by one much earlier than Moses. Moab afterward occupied the district south of the Arnon, and east of the Salt Sea. Ammon dwelt to the northeast of Moab, where they had a capital called Rabbah. They both ultimately merged into the more general class of the Arabs, as a second Palgite element.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/genesis-19.html. 1870.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    wife. Compare Luke 17:32.

    looked back: i.e. curiously. Compare Isaiah 63:5 and Genesis 19:28. Same word as in Genesis 19:17.

    became. Same word as Genesis 1:2, "the earth became. "

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/genesis-19.html. 1909-1922.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    26.But his wife looked back. Moses here records the wonderful judgment of God, by which the wife of Lot was transformed into a statue of salt. But under the pretext of this narrative, captious and perverse men ridicule Moses; for since this metamorphosis has no more appearance of truth, than those which Ovid has feigned, they boast that it is undeserving of credit. But I rather suppose it to have happened through the artifice of Satan, that Ovid, by fabulously trifling, has indirectly thrown discredit on this most signal proof of Divine vengeance. But whatever heathens might please to fabricate, is no concern of ours. It is only of importance to consider, whether the narrative of Moses contains anything absurd or incredible. And, first, I ask; Since God created men out of nothing, why may he not, if he sees fit, reduce them again to nothing? If this is granted, as it must be; why, if he should please, may he not turn them into stones? Yea, those excellent philosophers, who display their own acuteness, in derogating from the power of God, daily see miracles as great in the course of nature. For how does the crystal acquire its hardness? and — not to refer to rare examples — how is the living animal generated from lifeless seed? how are birds produced from eggs? Why then does a miracle appear ridiculous to them, in this one instance, when they are obliged to acknowledge innumerable examples of a similar kind? and how can they, who deem it inconsistent, that the body of a woman should be changed into a mass of salt, believe that the resurrection will restore to life, a carcass reduced to putrefaction? When, however, it is said, that Lot’s wife was changed into a statue of salt, let us not imagine that her soul passed into the nature of salt; for it is not to be doubted, that she lives to be a partaker of the same resurrection with us, though she was subjected to an unusual kind of death, that she might be made an example to all. However, I do not suppose Moses to mean, that the statue had the taste of salt; but that it had something remarkable, to admonish those who passed by. It was therefore necessary, that some marks should be impressed upon it, whereby all might know it to be a memorable prodigy. Others interpret the statue of salt to have been an incorruptible one, which should endure for ever; but the former exposition is the more genuine. It may now be asked, why the Lord so severely punished the imprudence of the unhappy woman; seeing that she did not look back, from a desire to return to Sodom? Perhaps, being yet doubtful, she wished to have more certain evidence before her eyes; or, it might be, that, in pity to the perishing people, she turned her eyes in that direction. Moses, certainly, does not assert that she purposely struggled against the will of God; but, forasmuch as the deliverance of her, and her husband, was an incomparable instance of Divine compassion, it was right that her ingratitude should be thus punished. Now, if we weigh all the circumstances, it is clear that her fault was not light. First, the desire of looking back proceeded from incredulity; and no greater injury can be done to God, than when credit is denied to his word. Secondly we infer from the words of Christ, that she was moved by some evil desire; (Luke 17:32;) and that she did not cheerfully leave Sodom, to hasten to the place whither God called her; for we know that he commands us to remember Lot’s wife, lest, indeed, the allurements of the world should draw us aside from the meditation of the heavenly life. It is therefore probable, that she, being discontented with the favor God had granted her, glided into unholy desires, of which thing also her tardiness was a sign; for Moses intimates that she was following after her husband, when he says, that she looked back from behind him; for she did not look back towards him; but because by the slowness of her pace, she was less advanced, she, therefore, was behind him. And although it is not lawful to affirm any thing respecting her eternal salvation; it is nevertheless probable that God, having inflicted temporal punishment, spared her soul; inasmuch as he often chastises his own people in the flesh, that their soul may he saved from eternal destruction. Since, however, the knowledge of this is not very profitable, and we may without danger remain in ignorance, let us rather attend to the example which God designs for the common benefit of all ages. If the severity of the punishment terrifies us; let us remember, that they sin, at this days not less grievously, who, being delivered, not from Sodom, but from hell, fix their eyes on some other object than the proposed prize of their high calling.

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/genesis-19.html. 1840-57.

    James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

    AN OLD-WORLD BEACON

    ‘But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.’

    Genesis 19:26

    This is the whole of the record. The offence consisted only in a look; and that a look directed towards a city which may have been her birthplace, and which contained many that were dear to her by relationship and by friendship. The vengeance taken was most signal and appalling. Here is a case in which there seems a want of proportion between the sin and its recompense. But the fact that our Lord uses the admonition ‘Remember Lot’s wife’ shows that a moral end was to be subserved by the Divine interference. Lot’s wife was meant to be an example to the men of every generation.

    I. God’s moral government required the interference.—The punishment took its measure, not so much from the greatness of the sin, as from the nature of the lessons to be given.

    II. Consider the sin committed by Lot’s wife.—She looked back; it may be she attempted to turn back. She, a rescued one, had no right to pause and grieve for such sinners as were left behind in Sodom. She was guilty of a positive act of disobedience, for the parting injunction of the angel had been ‘Look not behind thee.’

    III. Her fate teaches a great lesson as to the duty of decision in religion.—Deliverance is conditional. If we flee as those who hear behind them the tramp of the destroyer, if we rush as those who see the daylight hastening away, we shall be saved; but if our heart is with the stuff, or the friends that remain behind in Sodom, then ‘Remember Lot’s wife.’ ‘No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of heaven.’

    —Canon H. Melvill.

    Illustrations

    (1) ‘The moral lessons which this narrative suggests are of deepest interest and importance. The world in which we live presents to us the same attractions which the well-watered plains of Jordan presented to the eyes of Lot; and beguiled, like him, by its fair external aspect, we refuse to take heed of the wickedness in which it lies. Too readily those who profess to be “not of the world” adopt its customs, and become conformed to its spirit. Like Lot’s wife, they see no symptoms of its impending doom, and if when warned of the speedy advent of the Judge, and the dissolution which then awaits the earth and its inhabitants, they refrain from mocking openly with their lips, they say in their hearts, “My Lord delayeth His coming”; and having once put their hands to the plough, they look back with envious gaze upon the world.’

    —Canon C. J. Elliott.

    (2) ‘In the East, when men or women leave their house, they never look back, as “it would be very unfortunate.” Should a husband have left anything which his wife knows he will require, she will not call on him to turn or look back; but will either take the article herself, or send it by another. Should a man, on some great emergency, have to look back, he will not then proceed on the business he was about to transact. When a person goes along the road (especially in the evening), he will take great care not to look back, “because the evil spirits would assuredly seize him.” When they go on a journey they will not look behind, though the palankeen or bandy would be close upon them; they step a little on one side, and then look at you. Should a person have to leave the house of a friend after sunset, he will be advised in going home not to look back: “As much as possible keep your eyes closed; fear not.” Has a person made an offering to the evil spirits? he must take particular care, when he leaves the place, not to look back.’

    Copyright Statement
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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/genesis-19.html. 1876.

    Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

    Now this is an area that Satan is constantly seeking to make a case against God. How can a God of love--or would a God of love condemn a man to eternal hell who has never heard of Jesus Christ? What about that person who lives over in Africa, who lived and died never knowing of Jesus Christ? Is he going to have to suffer forever in hell because he lives in Africa, and never had a chance to hear? It is interesting the Bible doesn"t give us the answer directly, but the Bible does give us an indirect answer and that is that God is totally fair.

    When God judges, it will be absolutely just. And Abraham"s argument with God was, "Shall not the Lord of the earth be fair, or be just?" When God spoke of the judgment that was going to come, now Abraham saw an inequity if God would judge the righteous with the wicked. That wouldn"t be fair. That"s the premise and the basis of Abraham"s argument with the Lord, that it wouldn"t be fair to judge the righteous with the wicked.

    Now Jesus said to His disciples, "In this world you"re going to have tribulation: but [He said] be of good cheer; I"ve overcome the world" ( John 16:33 ). The church has had tribulation. The church today is under great persecution. In Romania, they"re tightening again their Communistic hold and they are again beginning to really persecute the church in Romania. Many of the pastors have been imprisoned in the past few weeks.

    Christians have been persecuted in China, in Russia, and in those Communist dominated countries, as well as the Moslem dominated countries. Communism is not the only foe of Christianity; Moslem Islamism is perhaps the greatest foe of Christianity. In the Islam countries, it is a capital crime to seek to convert an Islamic person to Christianity. You"d be put to death for that, causing him to change his religious beliefs. And so the church has always experienced persecution from the world.

    The Bible says don"t count it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing has happened unto you. In fact, if the world loves you then you better examine your position. "But if the world hates you," don"t be alarmed, "Jesus said, It hated me. The servant is not greater than his lord" ( John 15:18, John 15:20 ). So the persecution that the church experiences though has as its source or origin the world and the worldly system.

    The Great Tribulation that is coming or the judgment of God, whenever that comes, then the church is not a victim because God will be fair in His judgment. "And if there be fifty righteous", the Lord said, "Sure I"ll spare it for fifty righteous". Abraham finally talked Him down to ten. And God said He would spare it for ten righteous.

    And the angels of the Lord came unto the city of Sodom. We"ll get into that as we get into the nineteenth chapter. But they could not find even ten righteous. Lot, that righteous man, the only truly righteous person they could find in the city was Lot himself and not even his family was thoroughly righteous. But being merciful, God let his family out with him.

    Now twice in the New Testament, once by Jesus and once by Peter, is this used as an example of the last days. Jesus said, "As it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man" ( Luke 17:28, Luke 17:30 ), and how that the judgment did not come until the day that Lot was taken out of the city and then God rained upon the city fire and brimstone. Jesus uses that but points out the fact that Lot was delivered before the judgment came.

    And Peter also points out to the deliverance of Lot showing how that "God knows how to deliver the righteous, but to reserve the ungodly for the Day of Judgment" ( 2 Peter 2:9 ). Delivering that righteous man Lot who was vexed by the manner of life of those around him. So taking the same argument of Abraham, "Shall not the Lord of the earth be just?" Would it be just that God would bring His great wrath and judgment upon the church, along with the unbelieving world? No.

    And even as God delivered Lot, God shall deliver His church before the great period of judgment and the wrath of God comes upon the earth. It"s just a matter of God"s principle in judgment.

    So in the nineteenth chapter,

    And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot was bidding them to come into his home; as he bowed himself in the oriental custom towards the ground ( Genesis 19:1 );

    Now hospitality was something that was extremely important in that eastern culture. And here Lot sitting in the gate of the city, it is interesting that in that culture also the women did most of the work. The women would go out and plow the fields. The women would go out and plant the fields. The women would go out and harvest the fields while the men attended to the more important things of sitting in the gate of the city and talking about the weather, whether or not it"s going to rain tomorrow, you know.

    Also, sitting in the gate of the city was a place of prominence. All of the judgments were done in the gates of the city. If there were conflicts between people, problems, they would come to the elders, the elder men, who would sit in the gate of the city and the elder men would give judgments concerning the conflicts that had arisen. And thus, it was a place of honor and distinction to sit in the gate of the city. And so Lot sitting in the gate of the city saw these two men as they were coming at evening. Bowing down to them in the oriental custom.

    He invited them to turn into the servant"s house, and tarry all night, to wash your feet, rise up early, and you can go on your way. And they said, No, we will abide in the street tonight ( Genesis 19:2 ).

    But Lot knowing the conditions of the city and knowing that danger of such a thing,

    Pressed upon them [or constrained them] greatly; and so 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. But before they were able to lie down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both old and young, and all of the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and they said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee tonight? bring them out to us, that we may know them ( Genesis 19:3-5 ).

    And this is to know them in an intimate sexual way.

    And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And he 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 ( Genesis 19:6-8 ).

    Now this, of course, first of all shows what low esteem the woman was held in, in that particular culture. Lot was willing to sacrifice his own two daughters unto this mob, their virginity and all. He was willing to turn his own two daughters over to the mob that they might do what they would to his two daughters, and yet seeking to protect the two men who are strangers to him. But yet if you would take a visitor in your home, then you took the responsibility for them to really take care of them completely. But women were held in extremely low esteem in that day, in that culture and in many of the primitive cultures.

    Women, be thankful for Jesus Christ and for Christianity because Jesus is the One who brought really the elevation of womanhood and the honor to the women. And that equalizing of the honor and blessing and all, and it"s really through Christianity that women have been able to rise and to take their proper place, not as a subservient or not any way subservient to men but on an equal basis with men. But you won"t find that in any culture outside of where the Christian gospel has gone. And where the Christian culture has gone, there always has the state of the woman been elevated. Where there is not a strong Christian gospel, the state of the woman is always that of a subservient state. And if you study your history, you"ll find that this is so.

    In Greece, in the Greek culture, which was supposed to be such a cultured nation, the women had a very low place, especially the wife. She was considered just one step above the slave. So it is the gospel of Jesus Christ, which has declared there is no difference, male nor female, bond or free, but has given us all an equal status in Christ. "For Christ is all, and in all" ( Colossians 3:11 ), and in and through Him the equal status has been established.

    But here Lot, and again I believe that secondly, it shows that even Lot himself in his own morals, in his own values, had been corrupted by his living in Sodom. I do not see how you can live in the midst of such corruption and it not have some influence upon you.

    Living as we do in this day and age in which we live, we are under constant bombardment and constant pressure to accept evil, to tolerate evil, and to accept perversion as natural. And if you dare say something against the homosexuals, you have a parade going on out in front. They"ll file suits and everything else. And it"s got to the place where people become sort of cowered into a position of just not stating your beliefs.

    If you would dare say in a university class what Jesus is the only way to salvation, they make fun of you. They put you down. They call you narrow, bigoted and everything else. If you make any affirmation of faith and a belief in living a moral, pure, righteous life, then you"re accused of being, you know, a Victorian and living in the past, and all of this, because of the tremendous pressures. And so it"s hard to live in the midst of a society that is so corrupt without it rubbing off a little on us. At least we don"t speak out on the issues in which we should be speaking out because we feel sort of threatened.

    Now Lot"s own morals had been corrupted to the extent that he was willing to give his daughters over to be abused by these men. The gesture was not a fine gesture of Lot. It was a gesture that showed his own moral depravity as the result of living in Sodom. Lot made the choice of moving into the plains. He pitched his tent toward Sodom. That was the beginning of it. But now he has his house in Sodom.

    There is a danger in pitching your tent towards the world. It is interesting, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful" ( Psalm 1:1 ). There"s a progression there. First of all, you"re listening to the counsel of the ungodly. Next of all, you"re standing around with them and the next thing you find yourself sitting in their company. Lot moved toward Sodom. Next he was living in Sodom. But it had its effect upon his own life and upon his own moral values, the offering of his daughters to this crowd of men.

    But they weren"t interested in his daughters. They were desiring these men that had come to Lot. And so Lot said, "Don"t do this wickedness, to these men. They came unto the shadow of my roof. They"re under my protection".

    And they said, Stand back. And then they began to say, This fellow came in to live with us as a stranger, and now he"s going to try to judge over us: they said we"ll deal worse with you, than with them. And they pressed sore upon Lot, and they came near to break the door. But the men [that is, the angels] put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house, and they shut the door. And they smote the men that were outside the door with blindness, all of them: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. And the men said unto Lot [that is, the angels], Have you have any here besides? Do you have sons, or daughters, whatsoever you have in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxed 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 had married his daughters, and said, Up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law ( Genesis 19:9-14 ).

    Now though Lot did not escape the pollutions of Sodom entirely, and the Bible gives testimony of him in Peter, "that righteous man" referring to Lot, and it speaks about how he was vexed by the way people were living around him, though he was strong enough because of his early background and experiences with his uncle Abraham to survive in this corrupt society, yet his living in the midst of the corrupt society cost him his family and the morals of his children.

    Now there are some times I hear people say, "Well, I have my own philosophy that I live by. I don"t need Christianity; it"s just a crutch". I remember sitting one night with a man who was a plumber and he was just one of these hard, hard guys and "I don"t need any crutches", you know, and <br> "Christianity is just a crutch and I don"t need it". Going on and on, you know, how he was a self-made man. He had his own philosophy and he could get by and all of this. Of course he was drinking the whole while he was talking to me. But I watched the three sons of that man, that particular man, as they all got into drugs. And I saw his sons totally destroyed by drugs. So where he might have been able to maintain in a society with his booze, his sons weren"t able to maintain. And they all really just destroyed themselves with drugs.</br>

    Many times a man will say, "But I am able to do it. I"m able to stand. I"m strong" and all this. But really, unless you set a strong example, a spiritual example in your home, your children cannot withstand the pressures of the society in the day and the age in which we live, and you"re really sacrificing your children to this corrupt world. You may have a philosophy. You may have that by which you can stand. But your children are facing ungodly pressures and they need more than just a philosophy. They need the power of the Holy Spirit within their lives. And thus, you, for their sakes need to get right with God and set a strong spiritual example because they"ll never survive.

    Lot was able to, but his children weren"t. And so as he went to his daughters and said, "Get out of here. This place is going to get destroyed. God"s going to destroy this city", they just mocked him, and he was as one who mocked them. And thus, he lost his family to the corrupted morals of Sodom.

    And when the morning arose, the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters, which are here; lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city ( Genesis 19:15 ).

    And so they were hurrying them. Said, "Get out of here now".

    And while he lingered ( Genesis 19:16 ),

    There was a reluctance to leave the place. Even with Lot, he was reluctant to leave. Just sort of lingering around.

    the angels took hold of their hands, and upon the hand of his wife, and the two daughters; and the LORD being merciful unto him: they brought him forth, and set him outside the city. And it came to pass, when they have brought them forth, that he said, Escape for your life; don"t look behind you, neither stay at all in the plain; escape to the mountains, lest you be consumed ( Genesis 19:16-17 ).

    The word "don"t look behind" can be translated "don"t lag behind" or "do not turn back," "don"t stay in the plain."

    And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord ( Genesis 19:18 ):

    Perfect example of those who pray, "Not Thy will, mine be done". How inconsistent we are even in our language. "Not so, my Lord". Wait a minute. Lord is a title. And even he says thy servant. He calls himself a servant, Lord. And now he"s arguing with the Master. You don"t argue with your master. If He"s your Lord, you do what He says. If you"re doing what he said, He is your Lord. If you"re not doing what He said, He"s not your Lord. And I don"t care how much you say, "O Lordy, Lordy" or "my Lord" or whatever. If you"re not doing what He said to do, He"s not really your Lord. Jesus said, "Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and yet you don"t do the things I command you" ( Luke 6:46 )?

    And so here is Lot in this perfect inconsistency. As they say "flee to the mountains, don"t stay in the plains". He says, "Oh, not so, my Lord".

    Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die ( Genesis 19:19 ):

    Now he realized the Lord had delivered him out of the city before it"s to be destroyed, but he can"t trust the Lord to preserve him there in the mountains, and so

    Let me go to this little city over Zoar ( Genesis 19:20 ).

    It"s the smallest of the five cities there in the plain; it"s just a little city. In fact, the word "Zoar" means little. "Let me go and stay in Zoar". And so the angels granted his request that he might flee to the little city that was nearby, the city of Zoar.

    And the angel said, I have accepted you concerning this thing, I will not overthrow this city, of which you have spoken. So hurry, escape there; for I cannot do any thing till you have come within that city ( Genesis 19:21-22 ).

    There was the impending judgment but yet it was to be withheld until Lot was safely out of danger. Even as there is an impending judgment of God hanging over the earth today, but it cannot come until the church has been safely placed out of danger. Hurry.

    And therefore the name of the place was called Zoar ( Genesis 19:22 ).

    Which means small.

    And the sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. And then the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground ( Genesis 19:23-25 ).

    Now this destruction could have been by volcanic action. Very possible because there is evidence of volcanic eruptions in that area, a lot of evidence of that. There, of course, are tremendous salt deposits in that area. I mentioned this morning there is a-on the southern end of the west of the Dead Sea there on the western side, there is a mountain of salt that is five hundred feet; no, beg your pardon, it"s seven hundred feet high and five miles long. A mountain of salt; it isn"t sodium chloride, your table salt. It"s more of the potassium nitrate, sodium nitrate, vast deposits of salt. Mountains of salt in that area that cannot be explained by slow sedimentation. But have to be explained by deposits through eruptions of some kind; a great overthrowing.

    Now potassium nitrate is a particular salt if mixed with potassium permanganate. All you need is just a little glycerin poured upon it and you"ve got fire and brimstone. You got a Fourth of July display. You"ve got fire shooting and spouting and all it needs is just a little glycerin upon it to really set the whole thing off. The heavy water will respond upon the potassium permanganate and the potassium nitrates will keep the thing really going and sputtering and sparking. And it"s like a flare, it sputters and all. But all of the potassium nitrate in the area, potassium permanganate in the area, and of course, the area did have great asphalt deposits.

    Josephus calls the area rather than the Dead Sea, he called it the Asphalt Sea because of the tremendous asphalt deposits. So all it needed was just a spark from heaven to set things off. And so the whole valley turned into a furnace, a cauldron, and the judgment of God came upon these cities and they were destroyed.

    But his wife looked back from behind him ( Genesis 19:26 ),

    Now notice, she was behind him. She was still lagging back. The word "look back" can be translated "lag back" or "turn back." And the "turn back" is the preferable translation. Lot"s wife actually began to turn back towards Sodom and in turning back, she was caught in this great conflagration and the bubbling, boiling spewing salts covered her.

    and she became a pillar of salt ( Genesis 19:26 ).

    Now there are many pillars of salt in that particular area that in different times have received the name Lot"s wife. And there are some even today that the guide will point out as Lot"s wife. Pillars of salt there in the southern end of the Dead Sea region.

    Now the southernmost part of the Dead Sea, the southern ten miles is only about ten to twenty feet deep. In fact, it"s less than that. Now it"s extremely shallow, and many Bible scholars believe that the city of Sodom actually lies under the southern end of the Dead Sea. The northern end of the Dead Sea is thirty miles long and ten miles wide and has a depth of up to fourteen hundred feet.

    But as the result of the silt that has settled through the Jordan entering into the Dead Sea for so many years, the silt has filled up the bottom and has thus raised the level of the sea until the sea extended southward over this plain area of ten miles square covering it. And that is more recent in time. So that they believe that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah probably lie under the southern end of the Dead Sea.

    We know of the silting process that is taking place where the Colorado enters into the area of Lake Mead. In fact, we are now quite concerned about this silting up of Lake Mead, how that the volume of water that it contains is less because of all of the silt that is building up, and the silt is actually forming a dam of its own in the upper end of Lake Mead. Already it is creating quite a problem in the Aswan Dam which, is a relatively new dam, and thus, the silting process. Of course the Jordan is a very muddy river and the silting process of the Jordan, filling up the Dead Sea and causing it to overflow in the southern end covering the plains and thus covering perhaps the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    However, in the last ten years they have discovered five cities on the eastern bank of the Dead Sea in the southern end. And they now believe that maybe these were the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and Zoar there on the eastern side. But we, of course, are not certain on that. It doesn"t really make that much difference to the scriptural record, except that there is evidence of volcanic action. There is evidence of this great destruction of God as He rained fire and brimstone and salt upon this area.

    And Abraham gat up early in the morning from the place where he stood before the LORD in his intercession: he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and he beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace ( Genesis 19:27-28 ).

    Now Abraham was living in Hebron, which is just about due west from the Dead Sea. And so in looking down it isn"t that many miles, maybe ten, fifteen miles from Hebron. As the crow flies to the Dead Sea, he saw the smoke coming up from the area of the plain like a great furnace.

    And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham by sending Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt ( Genesis 19:29 ).

    So the indication here is that it was because of Abraham that God spared Lot more than for Lot"s sake himself.

    Now again, turning to the New Testament Jesus takes this incident and declares of His second coming, "As it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man" ( Luke 17:28, Luke 17:30 ), when God overthrew the cities of the plain. And then Jesus said "Remember Lot"s wife. For he who will seek to save his life shall lose it" ( Luke 17:32, Luke 17:33 ). Now she was seeking to hold on to the old life of the world. She was turning back to the old life of the world, seeking to save it she lost her life.

    And so the warning of Jesus, "Remember Lot"s wife." turning back to the world, seeking to save the old life of the world will only destroy you. "But he who will lose his life", Jesus said, "the same will save it. Lose his life for my sake". And so the reference of Jesus. Peter again refers to this and it is also referred to in the book of Jude, how that God destroyed the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, them suffering the vengeance of everlasting fire.

    So Lot went up out of Zoar ( Genesis 19:30 ),

    He asked permission to stay in Zoar but when he saw this judgment of God destroying the other cities, he became frightened and he left Zoar.

    and he went ( Genesis 19:30 )

    Where the Lord told him to go in the first place.

    up into the mountains ( Genesis 19:30 ).

    He fled on up then into the mountains.

    and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, with his two daughters ( Genesis 19:30 ).

    Now we see the moral corruption of the two daughters that were saved.

    The firstborn said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is no more men left upon the eaRuth ( Genesis 19:31 )

    They thought that the whole earth was destroyed and thus man is going to be civilization, man is going to be wiped out. So,

    Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the seed of our father. And so they made their father drunk that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the next day, that the firstborn said to the younger, I was with my father last night: let"s make him drink wine again tonight; that you might lie with him, that we may preserve life, the life of our father, the seed of our father. And so 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. And thus were both of the daughters pregnant from their father Lot. The firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: and he became the head of the nation of Moab or of the people known as the Moabites. And the other daughter bare a son, and called him Benammi: and the same is the father of the children of Ammon ( Genesis 19:32-38 ).

    And so two nations, the Ammonites and the Moabites came from Lot and this relationship with his two daughters, of which he was unaware. But again, it shows the moral corruption had its effect upon Lot"s family and we see its effects all the way through, the effect of a polluted society. It"s awfully hard to live in it and not be touched somewhere or another.

    Now we leave Lot, that"s the end of him. We see that he has-he does father a couple of nations, Moab and Ammon. It is interesting that Moab inhabited this same area, the high country that he has east of the Dead Sea that was the area of the Moabites. The Ammonites moved northward and were in the same range of mountains, only north of the Moabites. They became important nations and Ruth was a Moabite who-or she was a girl from Moab who came into the lineage of Jesus Christ later on. So they are the descendants of Lot through his two daughters.

    "

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    Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/genesis-19.html. 2014.

    John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible


    The Destruction of the Cities of the Plain

    1. The visit of the two angels (who are 'the men' of Genesis 18) may be regarded as the final test of Sodom. If they were hospitably received and honourably treated they might still be spared.

    In the gate] The entrance gate of walled Eastern cities is a great place of resort. In front of it the market was held and justice administered. See Ruth 4; 2 Samuel 15:2; Amos 5:10-15; Job 31:21; Deuteronomy 21:19; Jeremiah 38:7.

    2. We will abide in the street all night] To sleep out of doors is no hardship in a hot climate. Lot shows that he retained, at all events, the virtues of hospitality and of bravery in the defence of strangers.

    3. Unleavened bread] bread made quickly without yeast: cp. Exodus 12:39.

    4, 5. The causes which led to the fall of Sodom are alluded to in Ezekiel 16:49, Ezekiel 16:50. See also Christ's comparison of the punishments of Sodom and Capernaum (Matthew 11:20).

    7. Do not so wickedly] So St. Peter speaks of 'just Lot vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked,' 2 Peter 2:7. But Lot himself was only relatively righteous.

    8. Lot's sense of the sacred duty of hospitality was no excuse for neglecting his still greater duty of caring for his daughters' honour.

    9. He will needs be a judge] Evidently Lot had reproved them before this.

    11. Blindness] probably confused or indistinct vision: cp. 2 Kings 6:18.

    14. Sons in law] By comparing this expression with Genesis 19:8 and Genesis 19:16 it seems that the men were only betrothed, not married, to Lot's daughters. Indeed, RV has 'were to marry' instead of 'married.'

    17. The mountain] the mountains of Moab, E. of the Dead Sea.

    18-22. The motive of Lot's request is uncertain. He either feared that there would not be time to reach the mountain, or he was reluctant to leave the place where he had long lived; the latter view seems perhaps most in accordance with his character.

    21. Zoar was spared, not because its insignificant size excused its sinfulness, but as a refuge for Lot.

    22. Zoar] 'littleness,' perhaps at the SE. end of the Dead Sea, but position disputed. It is called Bela in Genesis 14:2.

    24. A consideration of the probable nature of this awful visitation will explain the vivid statement of the text. As was pointed out in Genesis 14, the whole neighbourhood of the Dead Sea abounds in sulphur and bitumen, furnishing the materials for the terrible conflagration which ensued. Probably a convulsion of the earth released some springs of naphtha which flowed through the cities and ignited. In our own days when the petroleum springs at Baku in the Caspian become accidentally ignited, they burn for days. The note on Genesis 14:3 explains in what sense the site of the guilty cities can be said to be covered by the waters of the Dead Sea. Their destruction was due to the agency of fire, not of water. The latter condition of this once fertile and populous district is referred to in Deuteronomy 29:23; Deuteronomy 29:2 Esther 2:8; Esther 2:2 Esther 2:9.

    On the religious significance Dean Payne Smith says: 'Though God used natural agencies in the destruction of the cities of the plain, yet what was in itself a catastrophe of nature became miraculous by the circumstances which surrounded it. It was thus made the means not merely of executing the divine justice, of strengthening Abraham's faith, and of warning Lot, but also of giving moral and religious instruction for all time.'

    26. She became a pillar of salt] This may mean that she was overwhelmed in the rock salt of the district which was thrown up by the earthquake: see on Genesis 14:3. The story of Josephus that this particular 'pillar' of salt was still to be seen in his day may be explained by the presence of cones of salt which are to be seen standing detached from the salt mountain of Usdum at the SW. end of the Dead Sea: see on Genesis 14:13. Our Lord alludes to the fate of Lot's wife as a warning to His followers against clinging too closely to the world (Luke 17:32).

    29. God remembered Abraham] i.e. his intercession for Lot: see Genesis 18.

    30-38. The only explanation of the shameful conduct of Lot's daughters, if understood literally, is to be found in their motive, which was probably based on the strong views entertained by Orientals regarding childlessness and the extinction of the family; they seem also, from Genesis 19:31, to have really thought that they were the sole survivors of the terrible catastrophe just narrated. The Moabites and Ammonites settled to the E. of the Dead Sea. They afterwards became bitter enemies of Israel who first came into contact with them when nearing Canaan at the end of the wanderings. See Numbers 21-25, also Judges 3; 1 Samuel 11; 1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 20; Isaiah 15 Jeremiah 48 Zephaniah 2:8. Some scholars, however, look upon this story as the expression of the Hebrews' hatred of their two neighbours and enemies. Many of the customs of these people were doubtless abhorrent to the purer-minded Israelites; and their feelings are expressed in this account of a current belief among the people of a later age.

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    Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/genesis-19.html. 1909.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    Probably the burning sodium sulfate that was raining down covered Lot"s wife as she lingered behind ( Genesis 19:26). [Note: Kidner, p135. See Deborah Aufenson-Vance, "Lot"s Wife Remembers," Adventist Review163:8 (Feb20, 1986), p5.]

    "The heaven"s rain cannot be explained solely as a natural phenomenon, such as earthquake; it was exceptional, never again repeated, providing the parade illustration of the fiery eschatological judgment against the wicked (e.g, 2 Peter 2:6-9). The twin calamities of Noah and Lot illustrate Jesus" teaching on the suddenness of the coming of the Son of Man ( Luke 17:26-30)." [Note: Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26, p241.]

    All that Lot had gained by living in Sodom burned up like wood, hay, and stubble (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). The Apostle Peter cited Lot as an example of the Lord"s deliverance of the godly from trials that He uses to punish the ungodly ( 2 Peter 2:6-10). John called believers not to love the world or the things in the world because they will pass away ( 1 John 2:15-17).

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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/genesis-19.html. 2012.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (26) His wife looked back from behind him.—In Oriental countries it is still the rule for the wife to walk behind her husband. As regards the method of her transformation, some think that she was stifled by sulphureous vapours, and her body subsequently encrusted with salt. More probably, the earthquake heaped up a mighty mass of the rock-salt, which lies in solid strata round the Dead Sea, and Lot’s wife was entangled in the convulsion and perished, leaving the hill of salt, in which she was enclosed, as her memorial. Salt cones are not uncommon in this neighbourhood, and the American Expedition found one, about forty feet high, near Usdum (Lynch, Report, pp. 183 et seq.). Entombed in this salt pillar, she became a “monument of an unbelieving soul” (Wisdom of Solomon 10:7).

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/genesis-19.html. 1905.

    F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary

    LOT AND HIS DAUGHTERS RESCUED

    Genesis 19:24-29

    God had mercy on Lot for Abraham’s sake. A missionary told me that when, on writing home to his mother, he narrated his miraculous deliverance from an infuriated mob, she replied by quoting a special entry in her diary to the effect that, during those exact hours, she was detained before God in a perfect agony of intercession for him. Lot was saved from Sodom, but took Sodom with him. He was saved so as by fire, but his life-work was burned up. See 1 Corinthians 3:15. Even his wife might have been saved, but her heart was inveterately wedded to the city. In modern cities there are traces of the sins that doomed Sodom. Let us bear witness against them, that we may arrest inevitable judgment. Jude tells us that in the fate of these cities we have an example of eternal fire. Have a place where you stand before God. Only from that eminence can you venture to look out on the awful retribution of human rebellion.

    For Review Questions on Genesis see the e-Sword Book Comments.

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    Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbm/genesis-19.html. 1914.

    Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

    CHAPTER 19 The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

    1. The angels visit (Genesis 19:1-5)

    2. Lot and the Sodomites (Genesis 19:6-11)

    3. The destruction of Sodom announced (Genesis 19:12-13)

    4. Lot and his sons-in-law (Genesis 19:14)

    5. Lot brought forth (Genesis 19:15-17)

    6. Lot’s request (Genesis 19:18-20)

    7. The escape (Genesis 19:21-25)

    8. Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:26)

    9. Abraham looks on (Genesis 19:27-29)

    10. Lot’s shame (Genesis 19:30-38)

    This is a chapter of judgment. How great the contrast with the preceding one! There Abraham sat under the tent door and the Lord appeared unto him; here two angels come to Sodom at even and Lot sits in the gate of Sodom. Joyfully Abraham had run to meet the heavenly visitors and willingly the Lord and His companions had entered in to be comforted by Abraham. Lot invites the angels likewise but they say “Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.” Only after Lot pressed upon them greatly “did they enter his house.” The feast was not like Abraham’s feast of fine meal and a calf, but only unleavened bread. Poor, selfish Lot! He had gone down to Sodom; from the tent pitched toward Sodom he had landed in Sodom and there he had no longer a tent, but he had a house. He had settled down and given up his character as pilgrim. His daughters had become perfectly at home in Sodom and married unbelieving Sodomites. More than that Lot had taken a position in Sodom. “He sat in the gate of Sodom” and the mob said “This fellow came in to sojourn and he will be judge” (Genesis 19:9). He held an influential position there and most likely attempted the reformation of Sodom. That he was greatly troubled is learned from the New Testament. “he was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked” (2 Peter 2:7). Lot is the picture of thousands of Christian believers, who are carnally minded and worldly. There are many who have settled down in the world, from which they have been separated and delivered by the death of Christ and like Lot they will be saved “so as by fire.”

    From the fourth verse to the eleventh in this chapter (Genesis 19:4-11) we find a short description of the awful wickedness of Sodom. Its gross immoralities, the fearful fruits of the lust of the flesh have since then become proverbial. In this connection we may well remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot ... even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man cometh” (Luke 17:28-30). This Christian age will not end in universal righteousness; it will end in apostasy from God and His Word, in iniquity and lawlessness, and these will be followed by a fiery judgment. Indications of such an ending of this age of boasted progress are numerous and becoming more pronounced. Among these immoralities, the looseness of the marriage ties, and adulteries are prominently in the lead. The great cities of Christendom are modern Sodoms and the immorality in them is perhaps worse than in the ancient, lewd cities of the valley of Jordan. This will be getting worse and worse and the end will be judgment. And now the angels give the message of the impending judgment. Sodom was to be destroyed by fire. Lot believed the message, but when he had spoken the word to his two sons-in-law, “Up get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city,” they took it as a joke and believed not. They might have been saved if they had believed. They perished in Sodom. Even so it is now at the end of this age. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter 3:3-4). If one preaches and teaches the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8), he is laughed at and scorned, called a pessimist. Perhaps the two sons-in-law called Lot a pessimist.

    Notice Genesis 19:24. “Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven.” Here was a Jehovah on earth and He called to Jehovah in heaven.

    Lot’s history ends in shame. Moab and Ammon begotten in wickedness have a history of shame. No record is given of the death of Lot.

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    Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/genesis-19.html. 1913-1922.

    G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

    Here the story of the visit of Jehovah and the angels is continued. Here we see the two angels coming to Lot. By this time Lot had attained to a position of eminence in Sodom. The phrase, "sitting in the gate," indicates that. The three Visitors sat and ate with Abraham. The two would hardly enter the dwelling of Lot. Whereas he was anxious to deliver them from the known wickedness of the citizens, it is evident how he had failed in the life of faith. The man who had attempted to compromise with principle is here seen hated of the world, having lost his personal peace, his testimony paralyzed, and utterly unable to influence his city toward righteousness.

    The revelation of his failure is most clearly seen in his inability to influence his own family. Moreover, the deterioration of his own character is vividly portrayed. Here, in sight of judgment, he lingered and was saved only as angel hands laid hold on him and practically forced him forth.

    The destruction of the cities of the Plain was due to corruption, following godless prosperity. Their cup of iniquity was full. Their unutterable pollution flamed forth in their attitude toward the supernatural Visitors. Over against this terrible failure of Lot, Abraham is seen as the man of faith. He had interceded for Sodom and now stood at the place where he met Jehovah, looking toward the cities of the Plain. Were his prayers unanswered? Nay, verily, for "God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow."

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    Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcm/genesis-19.html. 1857-84.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    But his wife looked back from behind him,.... That is, the wife of Lot, whose name the Jewish writersF24Pirke Eliezer, c. 25. say was Adith, or as others IrithF25Baal Hatturim in loc. ; and, according to the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, she was a native of Sodom: now, as they were going from Sodom to Zoar, she was behind Lot, his back was to her, so that he could not see her; this was a temptation to her to look back, since her husband could not see her; and this she did, either, as the above paraphrases suggest, that she might see what would be the end of her father's house and family, or whether her married daughters, if she had any, were following her, after whom her bowels yearned; or being grieved for the goods and substance left behind, and for the people of Sodom in general, for whom she had too much concern; however, be it on what account it may, she was severely punished for it:

    and she became a pillar of salt; was struck dead at once, either by the immediate hand of God, or by the shower of fire and brimstone; and her body was at once changed into a metallic substance, a kind of salt, hard and durable, such as PlinyF26Nat. Hist. l. 31. c. 7. speaks of, cut out of rocks, with which houses were built, and hardened with the sun, and could scarcely be cut with an iron instrument; so that she did not fall to the ground, but stood up erect as a pillar, retaining very probably the human form, JosephusF1Antiqu. l. 1. c. 11. sect. 4. says, this pillar continued to his times, and that he saw it; IrenaeusF2Adv. Haeres. l. 4. c. 51. and TertullianF3In Carmine Sodoma. speak of it as in their times, a thing incredible; and Benjamin of Tudela saysF4ltinerarium, p. 44. , it stood in his times two parsas from the sea of Sodom; and though the flocks were continually licking it, yet it grew again to its former size. RauwolffF5Travels, par. 3. c. 21. p. 313. by Ray. relates something of the same kind by information, but not on his own testimony; that the pilgrims who visit it used to beat off some small pieces, and yet was found whole again; nay, which is beyond all credit, that they once knocked off a whole hand and took it away, and when they returned found it whole again: and oneF6Baumgarten. Peregrinatio, l. 3. c. 12. p. 96. that travelled in those parts in the beginning of the sixteenth century affirms, that almost in the midway to Zoar is seen to this day the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned; he does not say indeed that he saw it, but leaves his reader to think so; and the Jerusalem Targum says, it will remain until the resurrection; but modern travellers of credit and intelligence could never see it; and when they have inquired of the country people about it, they either tell them there is no such thing, or say it stands in the mountains, where it cannot be come at, because of the Arabs, or because of wild beastsF7Universal History, ib. p. 124. Witsii Miscellan. Sacr. tom. 2. p. 195. : but no doubt there was such a statue, but how long it continued cannot be said; nor should it be thought incredible, when there are similar facts affirmed by authors of the best credit and reputation: AventinusF8Annal. Bojor. apud Heidegger. Hist. Patriarch. tom. 2. exercitat. 8. p. 270. & Witsii Miscellan. tom. 2. exercitat. 7. p. 201. reports, that in Bavaria, in 1348, more than fifty peasants, with the cows they had milked, at the time of an earthquake were struck with a pestilential air, and stiffened into statues of salt, and which he himself saw, and the chancellor of Austria: and Bisselius relatesF9Argonaut. Americ. l. 14. c. 2. apud Witsium, ib. p. 202. , that Didacus Almagrus, who was the first person that with his army penetrated through the cold countries from Peru into Chile, lost abundance of his men, through the extremity of the cold and a pestiferous air; and that, returning to the same place five months afterwards, he found his men, horse and foot, standing unmoved, unconsumed, in the same situation, form, and habit, the pestilence had fastened them; one lying on the ground, another standing upright, another holding his bridle in his hand, as if about to shake it; in short, he found them just as he left them, without any ill smell or colour, common to corpses: indeed, the very fables of the Heathens, which seem to be hammered out of this history, serve to confirm the truth of the whole of it: as the fable of Jupiter and Mercury coming to a certain place in Phrygia, where they were hospitably entertained by Baucis and Philemon, when the doors were shut against them by others; wherefore they directed their guests, after being entertained by them, to leave the place and follow them to the mountains, when they turned the town into a standing lakeF11Ovid. Metamorph. l. 8. fab. 8. : and also that of Niobe being changed into a marble stone while weeping for the death of her children: and of Olenus and Lethaea, turned into stones alsoF12Ib. l. 6. fab. 4. & l. 10. fab. 1. Apollodor. de Deorum Orig. l. 3. p. 146. . But, leaving these, and passing by other instances that might be observed, we are directed to remember this wonderful case by our Lord himself, Luke 17:32; and it should be an instruction to us not to look back nor turn back from the profession of the true religion we have made, but to follow Christ, and abide by his truths and ordinances.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/genesis-19.html. 1999.

    Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

    Lot and His Family

    Any doubt one has about God keeping wicked under his protective care is removed by this story. The angels delivered Lot, his wife and their two daughters safely from the city before its destruction. Unfortunately, Lot"s wife ignored the angels" instruction. She was turned to a pillar of salt for looking back (; 2 Peter 3:6-9).

    Lot"s daughters also involved him in sin. They got him drunk on two consecutive nights and lay down with him. Both conceived a child by their father. Perhaps the evil which had surrounded them had influenced his daughters to think of such a plan ().

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    Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/genesis-19.html. 2014.

    Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

    The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah - gives us the famous story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We see in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah how careful Abraham and Lot were in their lives to entertain strangers. The Scriptures tell us to be careful to entertain strangers, because they may be angels ( Hebrews 13:2).

    Hebrews 13:2, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

    Extra-biblical References to Sodom and Gomorrah- I find it amazing in the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah how Abraham would find it within himself to intercede for such a wicked people. Yet somehow, Abraham found enough compassion to pray for them. Perhaps he was able to do this because he understood the eternal aspects of a man's soul.

    Homosexuality - We read in about the three-fold progression of man's depravity. Mankind start out in idolatry, he moves into fornication and finally into homosexuality. Thus, there was no more remedy for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. They had become utterly depraved and the only remedy left was their destruction.

    Lot - Since the time that Lot parted from Abraham, he does not seem to walk in the blessings of Abraham. He is taken captive by the kings of the East and rescued by Abraham ( ). He now lives in the midst of a wicked city, gives his daughters in marriage to the men of that city ( Genesis 19:14), and his soul is grieved day by day ( 2 Peter 2:7-9). He eventually lives in a cave and impregnates his two daughters. The point is that a man is blessed while dwelling in the household of a man of faith like Abraham. In like manner, when a young minister leaves the covering of his spiritual father prematurely, and is now out of God's will, the anointing will cease and this young minister will become like any other man.

    Genesis 19:1 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;

    Genesis 19:1"And there came two angels to Sodom at even" - Comments- Genesis 19:1 mentions that two angels visit the city of Sodom. In Genesis 18:2 there were three individuals mentioned, with one was the Lord. God cannot dwell in the midst of sin, so that is perhaps He sent the angels to the wicked city.

    Genesis 19:1 — "and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom" - Comments- The fact that Lot sat in the gate is an indication that Lot was a man of influence in the city of Sodom, for it was here that judgment was made by the city elders ( 2 Samuel 19:8, 1 Kings 22:10, Proverbs 31:23, Daniel 2:49). It is very possible that they respected him after his uncle Abraham delivered them from the hands of kings of the East.

    2 Samuel 19:8, "Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent."

    1 Kings 22:10, "And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them."

    Proverbs 31:23, "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land."

    Daniel 2:49, "Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king."

    Genesis 19:1 — "and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground" - Comments- The Mosaic Law later requires the Jews to treat the stranger with love ( Deuteronomy 10:18-19).

    , "He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

    Genesis 19:2 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.

    Genesis 19:3 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.

    Genesis 19:3Comments- The unleavened bread indicates that the meal was prepared in haste, with no time to work the yeast into the bread.

    Genesis 19:4 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:

    Genesis 19:4"But before they lay down" - Comments- Sinners are children of darkness, thus the people led an active nightlife, as homosexuals still do today.

    Genesis 19:4 — "the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter" - Comments- God will judge all homosexuality.

    Leviticus 20:13, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

    , "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good."

    Jude 1:7, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

    A similar story is found in Judges 19:22.

    Judges 19:22, "Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old Prayer of Manasseh, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him."

    Genesis 19:5 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.

    Genesis 19:6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

    Genesis 19:7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

    Genesis 19:8 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.

    Genesis 19:9 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 Prayer of Manasseh, even Lot, and came near to break the door.

    Genesis 19:9Comments- The world accuses Christians of judging them, but God's Word is doing the judging. This is how the world reacts when they are reproved by God's Word.

    Genesis 19:14Comments- In the phrase "sons in law," Genesis 19:14 may imply that Lot had several other married daughters beside his virgin daughters. However, it is also possible that they were married to the two daughters he brought with him out of the city and by whom he eventually fathered two sons.

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    Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/genesis-19.html. 2013.

    Geneva Study Bible

    But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a n pillar of salt.

    (n) Concerning the body only: this was a notable monument of God's vengeance to all who passed that way.
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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/genesis-19.html. 1599-1645.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    And his wife. As a standing memorial to the servants of God to proceed in virtue, and not to look back to vice or its allurements. (Challoner) --- His, Lot's wife. The two last verses might be within a parenthesis. --- Remember Lot's wife, our Saviour admonishes us. Having begun a good work, let us not leave it imperfect, and lose our reward. (Luke xvii; Matthew xxiv.) --- A statue of durable metallic salt, petrified as it were, to be an eternal monument of an incredulous soul, Wisdom x. 7. Some say it still exists. (Haydock) --- God may have inflicted this temporal punishment on her, and saved her soul. (Menochius) --- She looked back, as if she distrusted the words of the angel; but her fault was venial. (Tirinus)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/genesis-19.html. 1859.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    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” [Genesis 19:17 ], the torrent of liquid lava enveloped her so that she became the victim of her supine indolence or sinful rashness.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/genesis-19.html. 1871-8.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

    But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. This phrase, "pillar of salt," is perhaps to be accounted for by the peculiarity of oriental metaphor. Salt, which was variously emblematical, was, with eastern people, especially a symbol of incorruptibility, and hence, to denote the validity and continuance of a covenant, it is frequently called in Scripture a covenant of salt (Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5). Conformably to this interpretation, "a pillar of salt" will signify a perpetual pillar. It is deserving of notice, that the text does not say she was metamorphosed into a pillar of salt, but that she became a pillar of salt - i:e., having not only 'looked behind,' but actually turned back (our Lord's admonition, Luke 17:32, is founded on the fact of her attempting to retrace her steps) - she was suffocated and then overwhelmed by the torrent of bituminous and sulphureous matter; which, as it formed an increasing incrustation over her body, rendered her a lasting monument of the fatal effects of a too deeply rooted affection for worldly attractions, and of wilful disobedience to the divine instructions. Josephus asserts ('Antiquities,' b. 1:, ch. 12, ˜4) that this pillar was still standing in his day. Clement of Rome, a contemporary of Josephus, bears a similar testimony, as also does Irenaeus, who lived in the century following (Whiston's Josephus, note).

    Many travelers in succeeding ages also attested the sight of this archaic monument; and the mystery was not cleared up until the American Expedition, under Captain Lynch-during their explorations of the Dead Sea-discovered an immense pillar near the base of the salt mountain ridge of Usd-m. This salsuginous pillar, which was cylindrical in front, and pyramidical behind, being attached to the rock by a prop, was 40 feet in height, and stood on a pedestal which was about 40 or 50 feet above the level of the sea. It was one entire mass of crystallization.

    The following year it is described by De Saulcy, who saw it as greatly changed, until it disappeared. But numerous pyramidical columns of salt appeared in many other places of this region, the original formation and mutable appearances of which, as they are detached from the general mass of the salt mountain, are now well known; but which, in an earlier and less observant age, might easily be mistaken for the pillar into which Lot's wife, the victim of her supine indolence or sinful temerity, was supposed to be transformed.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/genesis-19.html. 1871-8.

    James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary

    SODOM AND GOMORRAH

    THE SODOM MOB (Genesis 19:1-11)

    What leads to the belief that Lot did not recognize the nature of his visitors (Genesis 19:2-3)? (Compare Hebrews 13:2.) The following verses show that the Sodomites sought acquaintance with these supposed men for those vile purposes which have ever been associated with the name of their city. It was for this that Lot, at the risk of his life, came to their defense, for the duty of protecting a guest has always been accounted among orientals as the most sacred obligation. Lot’s offer concerning his daughters is inexplicable, and yet it shows what Sodom had done for him. How does (Genesis 19:9 show Lot’s unpopularity with his neighbors? What suggests that he had testified against them? (Read here 2 Peter 2:6-9.) Who rescued Lot, and how (Genesis 19:10)? What physical judgment was visited upon his antagonists (Genesis 19:11)?

    LOT’S ESCAPE (Genesis 19:12-26)

    How does (Genesis 19:12 illustrate our responsibility for the salvation of our relatives? And (Genesis 19:14 the indifference with which they often hear our testimony? How does (Genesis 19:16 illustrate the preventing grace of God to lost sinners? What elements of Lot’s character are illustrated (Genesis 19:18-20)? How does (Genesis 19:30 show his folly a second time in selecting an abiding place? How do Genesis 19:21-22 show God’s regard for the people of His choice, notwithstanding their unworthiness? The prophets of the Bible speak of tribulation coming upon the earth at the close of this age such as was never seen before, but they speak also of the deliverance of the saints out of it and a removal of them by translation (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) before the judgments fall (Revelation 3:10 to Revelation 7:14), and this dealing with Lot illustrates it in certain ways. By what means were Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed? “Overthrew,” (Genesis 19:25, indicating upheavals and submersions of the ground, perhaps the result of natural causes, but under divine control. The explosion of gas might account for it when the soil, soaked with bitumen, would easily convey the fire until all the cities were destroyed. It used to be thought that the Dead Sea covered the site of these cities, but this opinion is now contradicted.

    What judgment befell Lot’s wife, and why? Her motives for looking back are not hard to conceive and we need not dwell upon them now, but observe how Jesus applies this circumstance to the end of the age (Luke 17:31-33), and note that He thus not only warns us concerning that period but guarantees the authenticity of this whole story.

    ORIGIN OF THE MOABITES AND THE AMMONITES (Genesis 19:30-38)

    It must not be supposed that the conduct of Lot’s daughters recorded here is endorsed by God. Its record is an incidental evidence of the truth of the Bible, for an imposter palming off a so-called revelation would have omitted such a circumstance reflecting upon them whom God in His mercy had separated unto Himself. The purpose of the record is doubtless to give us the origin of the Moabites and the Ammonites, who figure so largely at a later time as the implacable enemies of Israel, whose vile character is here foreshadowed. They ultimately met the fate at God’s hands which their history deserved.

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    Gray, James. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/genesis-19.html. 1897-1910.

    The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

    The Destruction of Sodom

    There must have been some very strong justification for an act so terrible. This right of destruction may, I think, be fairly inquired into by human reason, and ought to be well studied as a fact that has been repeatedly realised in human history. Understand, if you please, that there is a Power above us which can utterly devour and consume our life. It is important to feel the whole force of this truth, especially as showing that life is not independent and irresponsible; and as showing that we hold it at the will of God, on certain distinct and intelligible conditions, the violation of which simply necessitates our utter destruction. I wish to point out this the more clearly because it might seem as it in giving life God has put it absolutely out of his own power to reclaim or withdraw it: having once given you life you are as immortal as he himself Isaiah, and you can defy him to interfere with his own work! The doctrine seems to me to involve a palpable absurdity, and hardly to escape the charge of blasphemy. Throughout the whole Bible, God has reserved to himself the right to take back whatever he has given, because all his gifts have been offered upon conditions about which there can be no mistake. He takes back the life of the body; he takes away the power of reason; he Revelation -claims our physical strength; by many a severity he asserts that the earth is his own and the fulness thereof; yet we are to suppose that he cannot put an end to our whole existence; it has grieved him, mocked him, defied him, abandoned his sanctuary, violated his laws, slain his Song of Solomon, quenched his Spirit, given the lie to his promises and heaped up the measure of its iniquity in his very face, but he cannot put an end to it! Not such is the doctrine! find in the Word of God. There the Lord is King; his power is infinite; he only has the right to live; he only does live, and if we live it is because we abide in him, "as a branch abideth in the vine." I believe that the sovereignty of God is as absolute at the end as at the beginning; that "he can create, and he can destroy"; and that we live by his will alone. Furthermore, I can see the infinite reasonableness and justice of this sovereignty; it subdues all things under the Lord"s feet, and gives him an undivided throne.

    In this case we have an instance of utter and everlasting destruction. We see here what is meant by "everlasting punishment," for we are told in the New Testament that "Sodom suffered the vengeance of eternal fire," that is of fire, which made an utter end of its existence and perfectly accomplished the purpose of God. The "fire" was "eternal," yet Sodom is not literally burning still; the smoke of its torment, being the smoke of an eternal fire, ascended up for ever and ever, yet no smoke now rises from the plain,—"eternal fire" does not involve the element of what we call "time": it means thorough, absolute, complete, final: that which is done or given once for all.

    As I look over those burning cities, and see the "smoke of the country go up as the smoke of a furnace"; as I see the sharp, keen tongues of flame piercing the gloomy cloud here and there, and catch a faint breath of the poisoned air, I ask myself, Is this right? Is God himself justified in sending this horrible desolation upon the earth? If this were only an intellectual speculation I would not care to spend a moment upon its settlement. It Isaiah, however, an inquiry which proceeds from the conscience, and therefore its settlement is needful to give rest and satisfaction to the moral life that is in every one of us. To find out whether the judgment is right we must find out the moral conditions which called it forth. And first, it is important to observe that this judgment was preceded by an inquiry of the most unquestionable completeness and authority. Hear this: "And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know." You see, therefore, that we are only following the Lord"s own example, in asking for information as to moral conditions. It Isaiah, then, deeply satisfactory to know that the judgment was preceded by inquiry.

    In the next place, the revelation made respecting the moral condition of Sodom is appalling and revolting, beyond the power of words to describe. Let us put the case before ourselves in this way: Given a city that is full of corruption which may not be so much as named; every home a den of unclean beasts; every imagination debauched and drunk with iniquity; every tongue an empoisoned instrument; purity, love, honour, peace, forgotten or detested words; judgment deposed, righteousness banished, the sanctuary abandoned, the altar destroyed; every child taught the tricks and speech of imps; prizes offered for the discovery of some deeper depth of iniquity or new way of serving the devil;—given such a city, to know what is best to be done with it? Remonstrate with it? Absurd! Threaten it? Feeble! What then? Rain fire and brimstone upon it? Yes! Conscience says Yes; Justice says Yes; concern for other cities says Yes; nothing but fire will disinfect so foul an air, nothing but burning brimstone should succeed the cup of devils. Just as we grasp the moral condition with which God had to deal do we see that fire alone could meet wickedness so wicked or insanity so mad.

    This view is important not only historically as regards Sodom, but prospectively as regards a still greater judgment. It would hardly be worth while to hold inquest upon a deed that took place innumerable years ago if that deed stood alone; but it docs not stand alone; it is part of a great system of providence under which we ourselves live; and it is an illustration of the working of the law by which we ourselves have to be judged. Hence our interest in it. This is no local tragedy. The fire and brimstone are still in the power of God: not a spark has been lost: it is true today and for ever that "our God is a consuming fire"! A careful inquiry into the principles which determined the local and partial judgments of God will give us a clear view of the judgment which is to come upon the whole world. The principles are clearly these: We hold life as God"s gift; we hold that gift upon certain conditions; we can choose good or we can choose evil; God loves us, cares for us, has given his Son to save us, and is watching us every moment; he wishes all men to be saved; he promises pardon to the penitent, and foretells the death of the impenitent sinner; by these principles he will judge us, and by these will the wicked go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal. The human conscience must answer, This is right! Such a judgment gives us a sense of rest. With such a judgment to come, the presumption is that the Providence which leads up to it is as equitable and as sublime as itself. I call you, too, to witness that as God is to judge us, he also himself appeals to our judgment! He asks us to consider his ways, and challenges us to tell what iniquity we have found in him. Hence in many parts of the Bible, notably in the Psalm, we have judgments pronounced by man upon the Lord, as if the Lord had placed himself at our bar and asked us to acquit or condemn his providence. He proceeds upon reasons. His principles are ascertainable, and such as can be judged; hear what he says to Jerusalem—"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good." And in remembrance of all his ways, severe and gentle, the pouring out of the Flood and the visitation of Fire, the Psalmist says, "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy"; "The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works"; "The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all bis works." In heaven and earth the testimony is the same. "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." "The Lord preserveth all them that call upon him, but all the wicked will he destroy." Wonderful is this, that God should allow us to judge his way! He does not silence the Psalmist, nor does he reprove the acclaiming angels; he will be judged by all who are honest in soul. And beautiful, too, is this, that notwithstanding the severity and awfulness of his judgments, the Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works! It does not seem so at the time of the infliction of his judgments. With Sodom and Babylon, Egypt and Tyre, Nineveh and Jerusalem, before us, it does not seem so. But we must look at God"s purpose and at great breadths of history, even from the beginning to the end of his ways, and as we see ravages repaired, verdure growing upon the slopes of the volcano, and the blade rising from the dead seed, we too shall say in many a song of thankfulness and joy, "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." In the sum total of things we shall see that mercy has rejoiced against judgment, that righteousness and peace have kissed each other, and that all experience says with mighty voice, distinct and far-sounding, God is Love.

    Returning to the narrative, Lot was saved from the burning, and in truth I cannot but wonder what he was saved for. Compared with the Sodomites he was indeed a man of "righteous soul." I will not question the goodness of his intentions or detract from the almost Divinity of his relative character; but he was a selfish Prayer of Manasseh, little and mean in his notions, and fickle and timid in general bearing. Poor was the bargain he made when he chose the well-watered plain of Jordan! He did not see his mistake at the time. But as he took to his heels that hot morning when the lightning was astir, and as he was nearly choked with the sulphur that rolled in clouds around the skirts of Zoar, he began to think how foolish he had been and how true it is that "it is not all gold that glitters."

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    Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/genesis-19.html. 1885-95.

    Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

    Genesis 19:1. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom, as a magistrate, no doubt, for the wicked accuse him of making himself a judge or elder. The main gate of a city was the usual place of hearing causes, and administering justice. There is no intimation that he sat there merely for hospitality.

    Genesis 19:4. Old and young. The whole inhabitants of Sodom were utterly corrupted, and they wished all the world to know the perfection of their wickedness.

    Genesis 19:5. Know them. This most abominable crime, since called Sodomy, is mentioned in other places, and often with the highest horrors of God and man. Leviticus 18:22. Romans 1:23-24. 19:22.

    Genesis 19:11. Blindness, or dimness of sight. 2 Kings 6:18. The sin began with their eyes, which had been full of adultery; and with them the punishment began.

    Genesis 19:14. He seemed as one that mocked. Lot’s error in taking refuge with the wicked in Sodom and forming matrimonial connections there, instead of dwelling in tents, cost him all his substance, and an infinitude of grief and trouble. The prohibition from marrying with unbelievers has often been supported and guarded by signal acts of providence. The males of David’s house were eventually all cut off, by marrying Jezebel’s daughter, except Joash, an infant.

    Genesis 19:24. Jehovah rained—fire and brimstone from Jehovah. Whole councils of christian fathers have cited this text as demonstrative of the Godhead of Christ, and the distinction of persons in the Holy Trinity. So the early fathers by general consent: all admit Jehovah, the Angel, to be the Christ. Why then should any man accounted orthodox start a difficulty?

    Genesis 19:26. Pillar of salt. The analysis of the human body coincides with the qualities of lime, and there were slime or salt pits in the vale of Siddim. Chap. 14. This pillar was a monument of “the wickedness of a foolish people.” Wisdom of Solomon 10:7.

    Genesis 19:28. The smoke of a furnace. The district forming the dead sea, so called, because it was long before fish were discovered in it, extends about 76 miles by 18 or 20. It contained much bitumen, coally matter, and sulphur, covered with a fertile soil. Hence pride, idleness, and fulness of bread were the sins of Sodom. When their measure was full, God came down to enquire and to judge, teaching monarchs not to execute vengeance in a summary way, but wait for some investigation of character. He collected against them a dark cloud, composed probably of nitre, from which our fiery meteors or shooting stars are chiefly composed, and rained “snares” of fire and brimstone on the wicked. Yea, snares, for when they ran crying into the streets, the fire was there, and when they ran into the fields, the fire was there also. Thus “the heavens revealed their iniquity, and the earth rose up against them.” The fire burned as deep into the earth as the strata or masses of combustible matter extended, and continued burning on the shores of the lake for ages afterward. Deuteronomy 29:23. The lake of Sodom has a saltness superior to that of the sea, which may account for the paucity of fish; and for a sulphureous saline matter, often observed to collect and float on the waves, and which occasionally ignites and explodes. Thus Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, with nine other towns perished in the fire.

    Genesis 19:31. There is not a man. The case of Lot’s daughters is perfectly unique. They had recently seen their sisters destroyed in Sodom, by marrying the men of that city. That was a sin they durst not repeat. They had no brother, nor relative, nor hope out of their own family. Moses simply mentions their situation.

    Genesis 19:38. Ben ammi; that is, son of my people, or of my own race. By this name Lot’s daughter seems to justify the deed on the ground of necessity, there being no other man, Genesis 19:31.

    REFLECTIONS.

    How awfully great is the depravity of man, if it be capable of acquiring so great a growth of wickedness, and in defiance of conscience, of law and of judgments; and how wise and equitable the law of nations, which punishes the crime of Sodomy with death and abhorrence. By making a victim of one delinquent, a whole nation may be saved from destruction.

    Sin has yet a more atrocious character: it never ceases to tempt and allure the less guilty, till they are initiated into all the mysteries of vice; it then throws off restraint and shame. The men of Sodom seemed desirous that strangers should publish to all the world the greatness of their shame. Ah, how like to the grand enemy will a course of crimes soon render a man, whose youth afforded the fairest hopes, and was adorned with many virtues.

    We learn further, after men have gone a certain way in the awful route, that tears, arguments, and entreaties have no avail; they become the more violent for opposition, the judgment being hurried by passion to the abyss of destruction. Though Lot in the excess of grief, offered his daughters, not doubting for decency’s sake but the offer would be rejected; yet he could not prevail. If then at a certain crisis of sin men are thus given up to a reprobate mind, let us train up our children in the utmost modesty, and in all possible virtue. Let us support and improve the recent institution of Sunday schools, hoping thereby that the next age will be more generally reformed and converted to God: and let us encourage missions to the heathen, who are in a very awful state of wickedness.

    Let all good men be warned not to give their daughters in marriage to the unregenerate. Lot married a woman of Sodom, and he either engaged his daughters to the men of Sodom, or, as is more probable, he had other daughters married in that city; and these connections pierced his soul with grief, lost his property, and brought his family to the verge of destruction.

    In the charge delivered to Lot, sinners have the way of salvation pointed out. Escape for thy life. It is safest to conquer the snares of the world by flight. The great and precious promises are given to us, that we might be made partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust. Samson, mighty Samson, fell by feasting with the Philistines. Oh that the lingering soul might be taken by the hand, and led into the good way. Look not behind thee at any glare of pleasures, nor at any companion who despises God’s warning, and will not follow thee to heaven. Nor stay, christian, in all the plain; while we are beguiled by the world, the judgments of God may overtake us. Escape to the mountain; the holy hill of Zion, the mountain of refuge and hope is right before us; let us hasten thither.

    But did Lot’s wife look back; and was she instantly changed into a pillar of salt, either by falling into a saline, or changed into that substance by the immediate hand of God? And have the first transgressors of any covenant been often punished on the spot, to show what every sinner shall soon receive, as appears from Ham, who was accursed; from the blasphemer and the sabbath-breaker, who were stoned; and from Ananias and Sapphira, who dissembled? Then let all christians be cautious of presumptuously violating their covenant with God, and let us dread the idea of backsliding, Christ having said, Remember Lot’s wife.

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    Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/genesis-19.html. 1835.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Genesis 19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

    Ver. 26. But his wife looked back.] Whether out of curiosity, or foolish pity, or as loath to leave so sweet a country, she turned her about, and she was turned. Some think she was a Sodomite, and some tell us her name was Tytea. (a) Her sin, seem it never so light, was a compound of many sins. And her punishment was part of the plague of Sodom, which was "brimstone and salt," [Deuteronomy 29:23] so that it became a sea of salt. And all this to season us, saith Augustine; to caution us, saith our Saviour, that we look not back. The fable of Eurydice, lost by her husband’s looking back upon her, was devised by the devil to elude this holy history. The "pillar of salt," into which Lot’s wife was turned, stands yet, saith Benjamin in his "Itinerary," about two miles from the Dead Sea; and if, by the rubbing or licking of cattle, it be any whit diminished, it groweth again forthwith, to its former size.

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-19.html. 1865-1868.

    Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

    On the way, Lot's wife, notwithstanding the divine command, looked “ behind him away, ” - i.e., went behind her husband and looked backwards, probably from a longing for the house and the earthly possessions she had left with reluctance (cf. Luke 17:31-32), - and “ became a pillar of salt .” We are not to suppose that she was actually turned into one, but having been killed by the fiery and sulphureous vapour with which the air was filled, and afterwards encrusted with salt, she resembled an actual statue of salt; just as even now, from the saline exhalation of the Dead Sea, objects near it are quickly covered with a crust of salt, so that the fact, to which Christ refers in Luke 17:32, may be understood without supposing a miracle.

    (Note: But when this pillar of salt is mentioned in Wis. 11:7 and Clemens ad Cor . xi. as still in existence, and Josephus professes to have seen it, this legend is probably based upon the pillar-like lumps of salt, which are still to be seen at Mount Usdum (Sodom), on the south-western side of the Dead Sea.)

    - In Genesis 19:27, Genesis 19:28, the account closes with a remark which points back to Genesis 18:17., viz., that Abraham went in the morning to the place where he had stood the day before, interceding with the Lord for Sodom, and saw how the judgment had fallen upon the entire plain, since the smoke of the country went up like the smoke of a furnace. Yet his intercession had not been in vain.

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    Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/genesis-19.html. 1854-1889.

    Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

    Sodom and Gomorrah Overthrown

    When Lot arrives in Zoar, the LORD "rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone" and "He overthrew those cities, and all the valley". Lot's wife did go with Lot, but she does not mind the order given not to look behind her (Gen 19:17). She does look behind her and becomes a pillar of salt, a continuous memorial, a beacon of remembrance.

    This is how the Lord Jesus applies it: "Remember Lot's wife" (Lk 17:32). He says that as a warning not to put the heart on the things of the world and not to waste our time and attention and energy by filling our lives with food and drink and buying and selling, with planting and building. We can't take anything of it with us in the day of judgment. It all comes to an end.

    Thus saith the Lord in the verses which precede the warning example of the wife of Lot in Luke 17: "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back" (Lk 17:28-31).

    The Lord Jesus also said that if the miracles He did in Capernaum had happened in Sodom, Sodom would have converted and "it would have remained to this day" (Mt 11:23). Why, we might ask ourselves, did He not do that? Because according to the wisdom of God, Sodom and Gomorrah had a testimony of God's revelation, perfectly fitting to them.

    They have had God's testimony in creation (Rom 1:19-20). But they have not bowed before God. They acted according to their corrupt nature, and did not take any notice of God's revelation in creation. They will be judged on the basis of this rejection of God's testimony. Thus, each people are subjected to a test of their obedience to God in a way that fully matches their responsibility.

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    de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Genesis 19:26". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kng/genesis-19.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

    The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

    The destruction of the Cities of the Plain

    v. 23. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Whether it was mere weariness after a night without rest, or whether the unexampled terror of the impending destruction prevented Lot's hurrying,—at any rate, the sun had already risen over the earth when Lot reached Zoar, the city of refuge.

    v. 24. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. The Lord, that is, the Son of God on earth, who had charge of this sentence of wrath, caused fire and brimstone to rain upon the doomed cities from the Lord out of heaven. This is no poetic description of a severe electrical storm, but the narrative of an actual event, of a cataclysm brought upon the sinful cities by a special act of God's avenging justice.

    v. 25. And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. It was a total destruction of the people with their cities and all their property, 2Pe_2:6-7. And not only were all things above the ground consumed, together with all vegetation, but the very ground, which contained many asphalt pits and naphtha deposits, was burned out. It seems also that the Sea of the Plain sank together with the surrounding country, forming, with its extension, what is now known as the Dead Sea. To this day that entire country is a picture of utter desolation, with hardly a trace of animal or vegetable life. Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, are an example of warning to the godless of all times. If they will not heed the Lord's call to repentance, they will find themselves engulfed on the last day in a cataclysm which will be a thousand fold greater than that of the vale of Siddim, casting them into everlasting destruction.

    v. 26. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. In the case of Lot's wife female curiosity and the longing for her home in Sodom caused her to lag behind him and finally to look back. This was against the plain command of the Lord, and so His punishment was immediate: she became, she was turned into, a pillar of salt. Cf Luk_17:31-32. He that has escaped the dangers of this world should not permit himself to be turned back to its vanity.

    v. 27. And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord. His anxiety concerning the fate of Lot and of the five cities would not permit him to rest, so he hurried to the place where he had interceded with the Lord on the day before, whence one had a distant view of the former beautiful valley.

    v. 28. 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. He had the evidence of his eyes that the Lord had not even found ten righteous people in the cities.

    v. 29. 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. So it was due not only to his own righteousness, but especially to the intercessory prayer of Abraham that Lot was saved in the midst of the utter destruction which consumed the cities of the valley where he had made his home. Christians must never grow weary in sending their supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks to the Throne of Mercy, 1Ti_2:1.

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    Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/genesis-19.html. 1921-23.

    Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

                 See Genesis 18:1 ff for the passage quote with footnotes.

    3. The entrance and sojourn of the two angels in Sodom, and the completed manifestation of its corruption in opposition to the better conduct of Lot ( Genesis 19:1-11).—And there came two angels.—Stier: מַלְאָכים without the article; the peculiar personal angels who here first appear definitely in the history of the kingdom of God, although the idea of the angel, in its wider sense, had been in existence since Genesis 3. They arrive at Sodom at evening, having left Hebron after midday. The idea of an actual human journey from place to place is thus complete; but the inmost central points of the narrative are the two great manifestations, of which the first was given to Abraham about midday, and now Lot shares the second at evening. But here the objective character of the manifestation is far more prominent than the possession and extent of the power to perceive the vision, for Lot did not recognize them at first as angels, and they appear to have been seen by the Sodomites, unless we prefer the supposition that they had learned from Lot’s household of the two shining youthful forms who had turned in there for the night. [The term which Lot uses in his address, אֲדנַי, shows that he regarded them as men.—A. G.]—And Lot sat in the gate of Sodom.—Knobel well says: “Jehovah, as the most holy, will not enter the unholy city,” while Delitzsch asserts “that Jehovah came in them to Sodom.” That Lot sat in the gate of Sodom, is mentioned rather to his reproach than to praise his hospitality. [It is a reproach to him that he is in Sodom at all, but his sitting in the gate is not mentioned here as his reproach.—A. G.] He sits at the gate in order to invite approaching travellers to a lodging for the night, and is thus hospitable like his uncle. Knobel remarks, Genesis 19:1 : “This polite hospitality is still practised among the Arabians; they count it an honor to entertain the approaching stranger, and often contend with each other who shall have the honor. Tavernier, ‘Travels,’ i. p125; Burckhardt, ‘Bedouins,’ p280, and ‘Travels in Syria,’ p 641 ff.; Buckingham, ‘Syria,’ i. p285; Seetzen, ‘Travels,’ i. p400.” “The gate in the East is usually an arched entrance, with deep recesses upon both sides, which furnish an undisturbed seat for the observer; here below and at the gate they gather, to transact business, as there are usually also stands for merchandise in these recesses, and to address narrower or wider circles upon the affairs of the city ( Genesis 34:20; Deuteronomy 21:19).” Delitzsch.—Behold now, my lords (אֲדנַי).—He does not recognize them immediately as angels, which is the less remarkable since the doctrine of angels must first make its way into the world through such experiences, and which is not excluded by the disposition or fitness to perceive visions (comp. Hebrews 13:2).—Nay, but we will abide in the street [i.e., the open, wide place in the gate.—A. G.] (comp. Luke 24:29).—It appears to have been the object of the angels to ascertain the state of the city from the street; but Lot’s hospitable conduct seems, on the other hand, to them a favorable sign for the city, which they will follow.—But before they lay down.—The wickedness of the city immediately develops itself in all its greatness. That the old and young should come; that they should come from every quarter of the city [literally the end; see Jeremiah 51:31. Keil: “As we say, to the very last man.”—A. G.]; that they assault the house, notwithstanding the sacred rights of guests; that they so shamelessly avow their pederastic purpose; that they will not even be appeased by Lot, to whom they once owed their salvation ( Genesis 14), and (as one may say, preferred their demonic, raging, unnatural lusts, to natural offences) that they did not cease to grope for the door, after they were stricken with blindness; this is the complete portraiture of a people ripe for the fiery judgment.—That we may know them.—A well-known euphemism, but, therefore, here an expression of shameless effrontery. It is the mark of their depravity that they seek pleasure in the violation of nature, and have their vile passions excited by the look or thought of heavenly beauty (see Göthe’s “Faust,” ii. division, at the close). “The lustful abomination, according to Romans 1:27 the curse of heathenism, according to Judges 7. a copy of demonic error, according to the Mosaic law ( Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13) an abomination punishable with death, here had no mask, not even the æsthetic glory with which it was surrounded in Greece.” Delitzsch. The vice of pederasty was reckoned among the abominations of Canaan, and even the Israelites were sometimes stained with it ( Judges 19:22).—Behold now, I have two daughters.—“The Arab holds his guest who lodges with him as sacred and inviolable, and if necessary defends him with his life (see Russel, ‘Natural History of Aleppo,’ i. p334, etc).” Knobel. “He commits sin, seeking to prevent sin through sin.” Delitzsch. Keil remarks, “his duty as a father should have been held more sacred.” But it may be questioned whether there is not to be brought into account in Lot an element of cunning—a kind of irony—since he could reckon with certainty upon the taste for unnatural lust in the Sodomites (he so speaks because he knew his people); or whether, rather, the important thing is not found in the supposition that he acted in the confusion of the greatest amazement and anxiety. [Which would naturally be increased if he had discovered by this time that they were heavenly visitors.—A. G.] We must take into account, in this whole history, that a premonitory feeling of the destruction of Sodom rested upon their minds, which had released in Lot the spiritually awakened disposition or preparedness for desperate acts of virtue, as it had in the Sodomites the demonic rage in wickedness; as the same influence has elsewhere appeared during earthquakes and similar events. In any case Lot could not have miscalculated in the thought of a stratagem in which he relied not only upon the opposition of his sons-in-law, but much more upon the unnatural lusts of the Sodomites.[FN1]He will needs be a Judge (Judge and Judge).—See the original text. “We may thus see that there is a sting in the words of Lot, because he would now reprove their unnatural passions, as he had indeed done before (see 2 Peter 2:7).[FN2]We will deal worse with thee than with them.—“They would smite and kill him, but abuse his guests.” Knobel. In the words, they pressed sore upon the man, the narrator intimates more than lies upon the face of the words. They at the same time attempt to break through the door. The angels interfered, and the Sodomites were stricken with blindness. It is not natural blindness which is meant, but the blinding in which the spiritual power of the angels works together with the demonic fury of the Sodomites. [סַנְוֵרִים, a blindness produced by dazzling light, probably combining total privation of sight and a confusion or wandering of mind.—A. G.] It marks the excess of their wickedness, the continuance of their abomination until the very midst of the judgment, that they do not, even in this condition, cease from seeking the door.

    4. Lot’s comparative unfitness for salvation, his salvation with difficulty, and the entrance of the judgment ( Genesis 19:12-29).—And the men said unto Lot.—They reveal themselves now as heavenly messengers; and no less distinctly their calling to destroy the city and their mission to save him and his household (any one related by marriage— Song of Solomon -in-law). We regard the usual construction, hast thou here any besides? Song of Solomon -in-law and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast, etc, as incorrect1. Because then Song of Solomon -in-law would precede the sons and daughters, and is used in the singular2. Because in the words “whatsoever thou hast,” sons-in-law, as well as sons and daughters are included. [The probable reference is to those in the city and not in the house—any one related to him.—A. G.]—And the Lord hath sent us.—The Angel of the Lord never speaks in this way.—And Lot went out and spake, etc.—There are two explanations: 1. Those taking his daughters, i.e., who had taken his daughters to wife. Thus the Septuagint, the Targums, Jonathan, Jewish interpreters, Schumann, Knobel, Delitzsch. According to this explanation, Lot had, besides his married daughters in the city, two unmarried daughters2. לֹקְחִים, those about to accept or take, bridegrooms. Thus Josephus, the Vulgate, Clericus, Ewald, Keil, and others. Knobel quotes (חַנִּמְצָֹאת) Genesis 19:15 in favor of the first explanation; but Keil remarks that this does not designate an opposition between the unmarried and married daughters, but between these and the sons-in-law who remained behind. We may add, moreover, that there is no intimation that Lot had warned married daughters to rise up.—The angels hastened Lot.[FN3]—Since they were sent to execute the destruction, there does not seem any occasion for the haste, as if it proceeded from some fate—from an agency beyond themselves. But there is a threefold reason for their haste: 1. The zeal of the righteousness of God, since the measure of the iniquity of Sodom was full; 2. their own holy affection; 3. the connection of their mission with the preparation of the judgment in the natural relations of Sodom.—And while he lingered.—It is clear in every way that Lot, from his spiritless, half-hearted nature, which made it difficult to part from his location and possessions, was rescued with the greatest difficulty. [The Lord being merciful to him, literally, by the mercy of Jehovah upon him, i.e., which was exercised towards him.—A. G.]—And set him down.—This completes the work of the two angels in saving Lot, and their work of destruction now begins.—That he said (see the remarks upon the Angel of the Lord, Genesis 12)—It is “Jehovah speaking through the angel,” says Delitzsch. But why then does this form occur first here? Before, the angels had said, Jehovah has sent us. Because the approach of Jehovah is not expressly mentioned, Keil also admits here “that the angel speaking, speaks, as the messenger of Jehovah, in the name of God.” Upon the ground of the miraculous help given to him, Jehovah calls him now to personal activity in his own salvation. But Lot, on the contrary, clings to the receding forms of the two angels, and it cannot surprise us, that in his agitation he should confound their appearance and the voice of Jehovah.—For thy life.—Life and soul are here one, not merely according to the verbal expression, but in the very idea of the situation; it includes the thought: “Save thy soul.”—Look not behind thee.—The cause is given in Lot’s wife. It is the religious expression for the desire to return, the hesitation, the lingering, as if one could easily hasten from the divine judgment (see Luke 9:62). Knobel draws analogies from the sphere of heathen religions. “In order not to see the divine providence, or working, which is not permitted the eye of mortals. For similar reasons the ancients in completing certain religious usages did not look around them (p173).” Certainly the Lord might take into account the holy horror in Lot at the spectacle of the fiery judgment. Still the first word is explained by the second: Neither stay thou in all the plain; and the second by the third: Escape to the mountain.—It is the mountains of Moab, on the other side of the Dead Sea, which are intended.—And Lot said unto them: Oh, not Song of Solomon, my Lord.—He could not distinguish the miraculous vision of the appearance of the angels and the miraculous report of the voice of Jehovah which now came to him. He pleads in excuse for his want of energy that fear presses heavily upon him; and fear weighs upon him because, while he was free from the abominations of Sodom, he was not free from its worldly mind. [The evil, i.e., the destruction which was to come upon Sodom. He feared that he could not reach the mountain.—A. G.] Lot also now becomes, in his own interest, an intercessor for others. He points to the little Bela, the smallest of the cities of the pentapolis, and thinks it is a small matter for the Lord to grant him this as a place of refuge, because it is so small, and therefore exempt it from destruction. The name Zoar was derived from these events. “Zoar is not to be sought in the Ghor el Mezráah, i.e., upon the peninsula which here stretches into the Dead Sea (see Isaiah 15:5), but rather in the Ghor el Szaphia, at the south-eastern end of the Sea, in the outlet of the Wady el Ahhsa. This locality is well watered and covered with shrubs and trees at the present time, but is unhealthy. It is inhabited and well cultivated by the Bedouins, who have here a permanent settlement; and in the winter it is the gathering place for more than ten tribes. Thus Seetzen, Burckhardt, Robinson.” Knobel. For further references to Zoar, see in Knobel, p174; Keil, p165; and the Bible-Dictionaries. [Robinson, “Researches,” ii. p480, 648, 661.—A. G.]—The sun was risen upon the earth.—According to Keil, Lot was now just on the way, but the text says expressly, that he had entered Zoar. For the distances in the vale of Siddim see Knobel, p175.—Then the Lord rained [Heb. caused it to rain.—A. G.] fire from the Lord.—The antithesis which lies in this expression, between the manifestation of Jehovah upon the earth, and the being and providence of Jehovah in heaven, is opposed by Keil. The מֵאֵת יְהוָֹה is according to Calvin an emphatic repetition. This does not agree with Keil’s explanation of the Angel of the Lord. Delitzsch remarks here: There is certainly in all such passages a distinction between the historically revealed, and the concealed, or unrevealed God (comp. Hosea 1:7), and thus a support to the position of the Council of Sirmium: “the Son of God rains it down from God the Father.” The decisive execution of the judgment proceeds from the manifestation of Jehovah upon the earth, in company with the two angels; but the source of the decree of judgment lies in Jehovah in heaven. The moral stages of the development of the kingdom of God upon the earth, correspond with the providence of the Almighty in the heavens, and from the heavens reaching down into the depths of cosmical nature.—Brimstone and fire.—Keil, in the interest of the literal interpretation, misses here the religious and symbolical expression. “The rain of brimstone and fire was no mere thunder-storm, which kindled into a fire the ground already saturated with naphtha. [Whatever may be the explanation of this catastrophe, whether we suppose, as seems most probable, that God used natural agencies, or make more prominent and exclusive the storm from heaven, it is clear on either supposition that the event was miraculous, the result of the direct interposition of God. Upon the Dead Sea, the ‘Notes’ of Bush and Jacobus; the ‘Dictionaries’ of Smith and Kitto; Robinson: ‘Researches’; Stanley on ‘Palestine’; and the numerous books of travels may be consulted.—A. G.] For it cannot be proved from such passages as Psalm 11:6 and Ezekiel 38:22 that lightning is ever called in the Scriptures brimstone and fire, since these passages evidently refer to the event narrated here. The words must be understood in an entirely peculiar sense, that brimstone with fire, i.e, the burning brimstone, fell from heaven, etc.” But the words are not thus peculiarly understood, brimstone with fire, i.e, burning brimstone, but brimstone and fire. Brimstone cannot mix with fire, in the air, without becoming fire. We might, indeed, think of burning meteors, which stood in reciprocal relations and efficiency with the burning ground. Knobel adopts the explanation of Josephus: “Antiq.” i11, 4; “Bell Jud.” iv8, 4; and Tacit.: “History,” v7. Fire and brimstone appear also elsewhere as the instruments of divine punishment ( Psalm 11:6; Ezekiel 38:22). The author does not point out more fully what was the concern of the two angels in the destruction. But in analogous cases, when God was about to send evil diseases or pestilences, he used the angels as his instruments ( 2 Samuel 24:16; Isaiah 37:36). Delitzsch: “Not only Sodom and Gomorrah, but, with the exception of Zoar, the other cities of the pentapolis ( Genesis 14:2), as is stated Deuteronomy 29:23 (comp. Hosea 11:8), or as it is here, the whole circle, all the plain, was submerged in fire and brimstone; a catastrophe which also Strabo, Tacitus, and Solinus Polyhistor, fully attest, and which is constantly referred to in the later literature, e.g., Psalm 11:6 (see Hupfield upon this passage), even down to the Revelation.”—But his wife looked back from behind him.[FN4]—Some conclude from this expression, that she went behind Lot, and thus looked back. But the looking back is plainly not more to be understood in a strict literal sense than the account that she became a pillar of salt. Female curiosity, and the longing for her home at Sodom, led her to remain behind Lot, and delay, so that she was overtaken in the destruction (see Luke 17:31-32). Keil even departs from the literal interpretation in the term, pillar of salt, when he explains: she was encrusted with salt; resembled a pillar of salt, just as now objects in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea, are soon encrusted from its salty evaporations. This salt-pillar is mentioned as still existing in the “Book of Wisdom of Solomon,Genesis 11:7, and in Clemens of Rome to the “Cor.” 11; Josephus:“Antiq.” i11, 4, as that which they had seen. The biblical tradition has here passed into a mere legend, which points out a pillar-like salt-cone, about forty feet high, at the lower end of the Dead Sea, as this pillar of salt (see Knobel, p176, Seetzen: “Travels,” ii. p240; Lynch: “Report,” p 183 ff.). This salt-cone is connected with the salt-mountain of Usdum (Sodom). Robinson: “Researches,” ii. p481–485. [Also Grove’s article on the “Salt Sea,” in Smith’s Dictionary.—A. G.]—And Abraham gat up early in the morning. [That Isaiah, the morning of the destruction.—A. G.]—The catastrophe of the judgment was soon completed. The destruction, viewed from its universal aspect and relations, is ascribed to Elohim. But it is God, as Elohim also, who saves Lot, for Abraham’s sake (see the remarks upon his intercession).—Out of the midst of the destruction.—A vivid description of the salvation of Lot from the extremest peril, in a place which itself lay in the skirts of the overthrow,—a statement which Knobel, without the least ground, attempts to prove differs from the earlier account.

    The destination of this judgment, whose preconditions lay in the terrestrial volcanic character of the vale of Siddim (see Genesis 14:10), for an eternal warning to the descendants of Abraham, i.e, all the members of the kingdom of God, appears clearly in the constant quotation in the Holy Scriptures. Sodom is alone named, as the most important city ( Isaiah 3:9; Lamentations 4:6; Ezekiel 16:48; Matthew 11:23), Sodom and Gomorrah as the two greatest ( Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 1:13; Isaiah 1:19, and in other passages), Admah and Zeboim ( Hosea 11:8), and in the “Book of Wisdom” the five cities are named in a vague and general way.

    The catastrophe, conditioned through the nature of the ground, corresponds with the divine decree of judgment. The fundamental idea is the burning of the earth, through the fire from heaven; but that an earthquake, which are frequent in Palestine, may have been in action, and that volcanic eruptions might have wrought together with this, is intimated in the expression: All the plain was overthrown. The Dead Sea was formed through the flowing in of the Jordan, in connection with the sinking of the ground.

    But there are two views concerning the Dead Sea. According to one (Leake, Hoff, and others), the Jordan before this flowed through the vale of Siddim to the Ailanitic gulf of the Red Sea. In the other view (Robinson and others), there was an inland sea, before the catastrophe of Sodom, which forms part of the Dead Sea. For the reasons in favor of the latter view, see Knobel, p177. A principal reason is found in the fact that the northern part of the Dead Sea has a depth throughout of nearly1300 feet, while the southern is only15 feet deep, is rich in asphaltum, has hot places, and is hot at the bottom. Bunsen: “That northern basin, according to Ritter’s statement (xv767, 778), is due to the falling in of the ground; the local elevation of the southern part, to the peculiar character of the ground.” Upon the Dead Sea, see Knobel, p177; Keil, p165; Delitzsch, p398; and the Dictionaries, especially the article “Salt Sea,” in the “Bible Dictionary for Christian People.” [“The earlier view is now abandoned, and it has no decisive ground in the sacred history.” Delitzsch, p289. See also Grove, in S. D. p1339.—A. G.]

    5. Lot’s departure, and his descendants ( Genesis 19:30-38).—And Lot went out of Zoar.—[“Lot’s rescue is ascribed to Elohim, as the judge of the whole earth, not to the covenant God, Jehovah, because Lot in his separation from Abraham was removed from the special leading and providence of Jehovah.” Keil, p166.—A. G.] After he had recovered from the paralyzing terrors which fettered him in Zoar, a calculating fear took possession of him and drove him from Zoar further into the mountains of Moab, in the east. It was an unbelieving fear, for the Lord had granted Zoar to him as an asylum; he could not trust that divine promise further. The result Isaiah, that, poor and lonely, he must dwell with his two daughters in a cave in those cavernous chalk mountains. Lot is thus now a poor troglodyte. “There are in that region now those who dwell in caves and grottoes (Buckingham and Lynch).” Knobel, p178.—And the first-born said to the younger.—[Our father is old. This confirms the assertion of St. Stephen, in which it is implied that Abraham was not the oldest son of Terah; for Lot was now old, and he was the son of Haran, and Haran was Abraham’s brother. Thus one part of Scripture confirms another, when perhaps we least expect it. Wordsworth, p89.—A. G.] The desire for posterity led her to the iniquitous thought of incest, which she believes excusable because there is not a man in the earth, etc. According to Keil and Knobel, they did not think that the human race had perished, but only that there was no man who would unite himself with them, the remnant of a region stricken with the curse. Their idea of the world, according to the terms of the narrative, appears to have been sad and gloomy. What did they know of the world, in their mountain solitude? This deed was worthy of Sodom, says Keil. But there is a distinction and a wide difference between incest and pederasty (see introduction). Knobel thinks that they were represented by the writer as moulded by the mother, who was probably a Sodomite; and, on the other hand, that Lot, as the nephew of Abraham, was more favorably (i.e, partially) represented. Every one of these points is fiction! The narrative, Knobel remarks, lacks probability. It assumes that Lot was so intoxicated both times that he should know nothing of what took place, and still, an old man should, with all this, be capable of begetting seed. Keil, on the contrary, says it does not follow from the text that Lot was in an unconscious state during the whole interval, as the Rabbins have, according to Jerome, described this as an incredible thing, taken in connection with the issue of the event. Indeed, the narrative says only that Lot was in an unconscious state, both when his daughters lay down, and when they rose up; in the evening perhaps through intoxication, in the morning through profound, heavy sleep. In any view, a certain measure of voluntariness must be assumed, according to the degree in which he was conscious, and therefore his intoxication can only be urged as an excuse, and this a wretched excuse, since the intoxication was, like the deed itself, immediately repeated. Psychologically, the reaction from great mental effort and tension is to be taken into account in pronouncing upon the pleasures of rest in an indolent and sensual nature.—Moab.—There are two derivations: מֵאָב, from the father, or מוֹ, water (as the semen virile is euphemistically called in Arabic), for semen and אָב. Keil decides in favor of the first derivation, from a reference to the explanatory expressions ( Genesis 19:32; Genesis 19:34; Genesis 19:36). [And also the analogy of the בֶּנ־עַמִּי.—A. G.]Ammon.—בֶּנ־עַמִּי, son of my people. According to Delitzsch, the form עַמּוֹן designates simply the descendants of the people. For the character of the Moabites and Ammonites, especially in reference to their origin, see Knobel, p178, who, however, in his usual method, draws the inference as above remarked, that this narrative has its origin in Jewish animosity. Besides the reply of Keil [See Deuteronomy 2:9; Deuteronomy 2:19; Deuteronomy 23:4. Lot here disappears from the history, and, as Kurtz remarks, it is the design of this narrative to give a support for the later records of the relation of these tribes with the Israelites.—A. G.] Delitzsch also may be consulted (p401). Knobel himself recognizes the fact of the descent of both of these peoples from Lot. The nomadic hordes of Lot gradually extended themselves east and northeast, and partly subdued and destroyed, and partly incorporated among themselves, the original tribes of the Emim and Susim.

    DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

    See the preliminary and Exegetical remarks.

    1. Upon the manifestation in the oak grove of Mamre compare Genesis 12. We observe, however, that the manifestation which was given to Abraham, was complex, because it had reference in part to him and the birth of Isaac, and in part to Lot and Sodom. Hence it resolves itself, in the course of the history, into two manifestations.

    2. The connection of the promise of redemption and the announcement of judgment, which is peculiar to this section, runs throughout the whole sacred Scripture.

    3. The oriental virtue of hospitality appears here in the light of the theocratic faith, and so likewise its blessing, which is proclaimed throughout the whole Scripture, down even to the epistle to the Hebrews ( Hebrews 13:2.) It is a contradiction in the natural custom of the Arabs, that they will rob the pilgrim in the desert before he enters their tents, but receive him with the greatest hospitality, as it is generally true that the natural virtues of people are tainted by contradictions. Hospitality, however, is the specific virtue of the Arab, his inheritance from his father Abraham. But in Abraham himself this virtue is consecrated to be the spiritual fruit of faith.

    4. The feast of God with Abraham. [How true it is that Abraham has now become the friend of God, James 2:23. And what light this history casts upon the meaning of that term.—A. G.] A New Testament and heavenly sign, whose later reflection is the table of shew-bread in the temple, the Lord’s Supper in the New Covenant, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in the new world.

    5. The distinction between the laughing of Abraham and Sarah (see above). In Genesis 26:6 there appears still another, a third laugh, in order to determine the name Isaac (comp. Genesis 5:9). The laughter of a joyful faith, the laughter of a doubting little faith, and the laughter of astonishment or even of the animosity of the world, appear and participate in the name of the son of promise, as indeed at that of every child of the promise.

    6. The initiation of Abraham into the purposes of God. In Genesis 18:17, “the Scripture has the addition of τοῦ παιδός μου (עבדי) to ἀπὸ ’Αβραὰμ, for which Philo reads τοῦ φίλου μου (comp. James 2:23). There is scarcely any passage in which this עַבְדִּי or אֹהֲבִי ( Isaiah 41:8; 2 Chronicles 20:7), would be more fitting than in this. Abraham is the friend of Jehovah (among the Moslems it has become a surname; chalíl Allah, or merely el-chalil, from which Hebron is also called Beit-el-chalîl, or simply El-chalîl), and we have no secrets from a friend.” Delitzsch (comp. John 15:15 ff.). The first reason Isaiah, that God has chosen Abraham, and that Hebrews, as the chosen, has the destination to found in his race for all time, a tradition and school of the revelation of God, of righteousness and judgment. The doctrine of the election first appears here in its more definite form. [God says, I know him, but also that he will command, &c. We ought not to overlook how early family relations, instructions and discipline, assume an important place in the progress of the kingdom of God; and what a blessing descends upon those who are faithful as parents. “Family religion is God’s method for propagating his church. This would lead him to exercise a careful parental authority for controlling his house in the name of God.” Jacobus.—A. G.]

    7. A further and more peculiar reason, why God reveals to Abraham the impending judgment upon Sodom, lies in this, that not only the history of Sodom, but also the Dead Sea, should be for all time a constituent part of the sacred history, a solemn warning for the people of God, and for all the world. At the same time this history should make illustrious the justice of God, according to which a people are ripe for judgment, when a cry of its iniquity ascends to heaven.

    8. Abraham’s intercession, in its strength and in its self-limitation, is an eternal example of the true position of the believer to the corruption of the world. Upon the self-limitation of intercession see 1 John 5:16. Intercession even falls away from faith and becomes mere fanaticism or frenzy, when it oversteps the limits of truth. Abraham’s excuses in his intercession, his prudent progress in his petitions, his final silence, prove that even the boldest intercourse is morally conditioned. On the other hand, the whole power of intercession and the full certainty that prayer will be answered, appear here most clearly. [See the 29 th verse, which makes it clear that Araham’s intercession was not fruitless.—A. G.]

    9. It is evident from the intercession of Abraham, that the father of the faithful had a very different idea of righteousness from that which regards it as consisting only in the non plus ultra of punishment. See upon the idea of δίκαιος, Matthew 1:19. Moreover, in the reflection, the prudence, and the constancy of the intercession, the Abrahamic or even the Israelitish character appears here in its true worth and in its sanctified form, as it enters afterward in the life of Jacob at first less sanctified, but at the same fitted for sanctification. But in regard to the thought of Abraham’s intercession, we would make the following remarks: 1. His intercession takes more and more the form of a question2. He does not pray that the godless should be freed from punishment, but for the sparing of the righteous, and the turning away of the destructive judgment from all, in case there should be found a sufficient salt of the righteous among them3. His prayer includes the thought that God would not destroy any single righteous one with the wicked, although the number of the righteous should be too small to preserve the whole. [The righteous, of course, are not destroyed, although they are often involved in the punishment of the wicked.—A. G.]

    10. This history makes the truth conspicuous for all time, that the whole depraved world is preserved through a seed of believing and pious men, and that indeed, not according to a numerical, but according to their dynamic majority. Ten righteous would have saved Sodom. But when even the salt of the earth ( Matthew 5:13) does not avail to save a people or a community, then still God cares for the salvation of his chosen, as is seen in the history of Noah, the history of Lot, and the history of the destruction of Jerusalem. But the relative mediators who are given to the world in the “salt of the earth,” point to the absolute mediator, Christ, who is the central saving pivot in the history of the world. [We stand here on the verge of a most striking type of the judgment. We know that the storm is gathering and ready to burst, but in the awful silence which precedes it we hear the voice of the intercessor. Thus while the final judgment is preparing, the voice of the true intercessor is heard.—A. G.]

    11. The Angels in Sodom. In all such cases there must come a last final decision. See above.

    12. The manifestation which was given to Lot, corresponds with that which was given to Abraham, in a way similar to that in which the vision of the centurion, Cornelius, at Cæsarea, corresponds to the vision of Peter, at Joppa ( Acts 10). The precondition for this connection of the revelations was, doubtless, in both cases, the mysterious bond of a common premonition or presentiment of great events.

    13. The sin of Sodom runs, as a general characteristic, through the heathen world (see Romans 1:24); still, in this aspect some nations are far more innocent or guilty than others. Church history also, in this connection, preserves sad remembrances. Among the causes of the ruin of the Osmanic kingdom, this sin stands prominent whose analogue is found in the sin of Onan ( Genesis 38:8).

    14. The description of the night scene in Sodom is a night piece of terrible aspect and impressiveness. It is plain (from the little prospect of the mass for the gratification of personal lusts, and from the probability that the inhabitants of the city only knew indirectly of Lot’s mysterious guests), that the uproar of the Sodomites was more than half an uprising against the judgment of Lot which they had already experienced, and a tumultuous manifestation that their abominable immorality must be held as a public custom, of which we have a purely analogous event in the uproar of the heathen at Ephesus ( Acts 19:28 ff). All the spirits of villainy, wantonness, and scoffing unbelief are to be regarded as unfettered. The ripeness of the city for destruction, however, is not to be viewed directly as a ripeness of the Sodomites for damnation (see Matthew 11:23).

    15. The demonic and bestial nature of sin appears in this history in frightful, full life, or rather death size. , also, its corrupting power. Lot felt its influence, even though he resisted and condemned their vile practices. The offer which he makes to save his guests, although made under great confusion, anxiety and terror, shows its influence.—A. G.]

    16. Lot’s salvation is an image of salvation with the utmost difficulty. But the delay of his faint heartedness is raised to its highest power of double heartedness in the history of his wife. She is the example of a worldly mind, which turns back from the way of salvation, and through its seeking after the world falls into the fire of judgment.[FN5] In this sense the Lord has set Lot’s wife as a warning example ( Luke 17:32). We may perceive that even Lot was sensibly depressed as to the earnestness of his faith, through the ridicule of his sons-in-law, who regarded him as a jester.

    17. The Dead Sea serves to complete the symbolic meaning which is peculiar to the whole land of Canaan. The whole land is an illustration of the divine word, and of sacred history, and thus the Dead Sea in particular, is the glass of the divine judgment. As a monument of the miraculous judgment it stands opposed to the Red Sea, which is the monument of the miraculous deliverance. Song of Solomon, likewise, as the sea of the old covenant, it stands opposed to Genessaret, the sea of the new covenant. In the description of the Dead Sea, however, we must guard against those ancient assumptions, of the apples of Sodom, etc, although some one-sided apologies for these traditions of the Dead Sea have appeared again in recent times. [It is interesting to note how often this event is referred to in the New Testament, not only directly but incidentally. The phrases flee from the wrath to come, unquenchable fire, the description of the suddenness and completeness of the judgment, and its eternal duration in the smoke of their torment, which ascendeth for ever and ever. All have a more or less direct reference to this event.—A. G.]

    18. The early rising of Abraham, his hastening to the place where he stood before Jehovah, and his silent look to the smoking vale of Siddim, is a sublime and impressive picture. There stands the mourning priest, lonely and silent in the morning light, as Jeremiah sat upon the ruins of Jerusalem. Now he saw that there were not ten righteous in Sodom, but knew from the rescue of Noah from the flood, and felt confident indeed that his intercession had not been in vain.

    19. In the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as in the primitive miracles in Egypt, and in the biblical miracles generally, the correspondence between the miraculous divine providence and the intellectual and natural conditions upon the earth must not be mistaken.

    20. Lot and his daughters. It is a psychological fact that, in human nature, especially in beginners in the age of faith or those whose sensuous nature is strong, after a great tension of the life of faith, of spiritual elevation, great and dangerous reactions occur, during which temptation may easily prove corrupting to the man.

    21. Moab and Ammon. See the Bible Dictionaries. “De Wette, Tuch, Knobel, explain the narrative as a fiction of Israelitish national animosity, &c. (See above.) When, however, later debauchery ( Numbers 2:25) and impiety (e.g. 2 Kings 3:26 ff) appear as fundamental traits in the character and cultus of both people, we can at least hold with equal justice, that these inherited sins came with them from their origin, as that the tradition of their origin has moulded their character.”

    22. Lot’s disappearance. The chastising hand of God is seen in the gravest form, in the fact that Lot is lost in the darkness of the mountains of Moab, as a dweller in the caves. But it may be questioned whether one is justified by this, in saying that he came to a bad end, as Delitzsch does in a detailed description, after a characteristic outline by F. C. V. Mosers (p400, comp. Kiel, p167). His not returning poor and shipwrecked can be explained upon better grounds. In any case the testimony for him, 2 Peter 2:7-8, must not be overlooked. There remains one light point in his life, since he sustained the assaults of all Sodom upon his house, in the most extreme danger of his life. [It may be said, moreover, that his leaving home and property at the divine warning, and when there were yet no visible signs of the judgment, and his flight without looking back, indicate the reality and genuineness of his faith.—A. G.] His two-fold intoxication certainly has greater guilt than the one intoxication of Noah. His two-fold sin with his daughters may involve greater difficulty than the act of Judah. Both analogies show, however, that in judging so ancient a character we may easily place them too strictly in modern points of view. True, he appears, in comparison with Abraham, with whom he once entered upon the path of the faith of the promise, in a light similar to that in which Esau appears in relation to Jacob. He might have sufficient piety to save his soul, but he was no man of the future, who could found a line of blessing; he was too much like the mass, too much under the senses, and too much involved in respect to worldly things for such a calling. “With the history of Lot,” Delitzsch remarks, “the side line from Haran is completed, and the origin of two people who are interwoven in the history of Israel is related.”

    23. The destruction of Sodom an example of the later destruction of the Canaanites.

    24. The prudence which, in the life of Abraham, appears as a sinful prudence, and yet susceptible of being sanctified, appears in the lives of his kindred as a family trait of the children of Therah, in Lot and his daughters, as well as in Laban. But it takes on in them the expression of refined cunning, and thus becomes manifoldly and positively ungodly. Thus Lot himself chose the region of Sodom; thus he flatteringly addressed the Sodomites as brethren; thus he offers them his daughters as a substitute, probably from an ironical expression of a prudent foresight that they, controlled by their demonic and unnatural lusts, would reject his proposal: but his daughters use criminal cunning to obtain offspring. This incest, however, appears in a milder light when set in contrast with the sin of Sodom.

    25. Passavant. These cities are represented throughout the old covenant as types of the most severe judgments of God ( Jeremiah 41:11; Jeremiah 50:40, etc.) And there is again another word in the old covenant, a wonderful, mysterious promise, spoken concerning these places, which, at the very least, alleviates the eternity of the pain, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, the only redeemer of all mankind, abbreviates the endurance of the heavy judgments of the poor heathen (see Ezekiel 39:25; Jeremiah 29:14; Jeremiah 48:47; Ezekiel 16). [The passages quoted by no means sustain the inference which is here drawn from them; and the inference lies in the face of the general and constant testimony of the Scriptures. The words of our Lord, Matthew 11:24, place the destiny of these places and of the heathen in its true light.—A. G.] That farther prophetic vision of the seer appears to cast new light upon the farther fate of Sodom, when he says: This water flows out towards the east and down into the plain, and goes into the sea (salt sea), and when it comes into the sea its waters shall become healthful ( Genesis 47:8 ff.; 1 Peter 3:19 f.; Genesis 4:6). [The following learned and impressive note on the destruction of Sodom, kindly furnished me by its author, will be read with the deepest interest.—A. G.]

    Note on the Destruction of Sodom—Its Suddenness—The Deep Impression it made on the Ancient Mind—Its Frequent Mention in the Scriptures—Tacitus—The Arabian Tradition.—“As the subversion by God of Sodom and Gomorrah.” Such is the constant style of reference in the Bible. See Deuteronomy 29:22; Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 49:18; Jeremiah 50:40; Lamentations 4:6; Amos 4:11. Its ever occurring in the same form of words, shows that it was a proverbial or traditional saying; and this reveals to us how vividly the awful event had stamped itself upon the human memory. It is always described in language of its own. The peculiar Hebrew word is used in the same way of no other catastrophe. The word מַהְפֵכָה denotes utter subversion or reversal,—the bringing of a thing, and all that belongs to it, in the direct opposite of its former condition. Land has become water, fertility barrenness and salt, beauty deformity, fragrance and freshness a vile and loathsome putridity. It is not simply decay and ruin, but an overthrow total and remediless.

    These cities are thus referred to as a standing warning—a judgment of God visible from generation to generation. It is a region cursed by the Almighty,—doomed ever to bear the marks of its dreadful visitation, to which Peter refers, 2 Peter 2:6, καὶ πόλεις Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόῤῥας τεφρώσας ΚΑΤΑΣΤΡΟΦΗ κατέκρινεν, ὑπόδειγμα τεθεικώς: “the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah he condemned with an overthrow, when he reduced them to ashes and set them forth as an example.” The Greek word katastrophe is the exact counterpart of the Hebrew מהפכה, having the same peculiar intensity of meaning as used in this connection. In Judges 7. the language is still stronger—πρόκεινται δεῖγμα πυρὸς αἰωνίου: “they are set forth as an example, undergoing (ὑπέχουσαι) the sentence of eternal fire.” This eternal fire does not mean the punishment of the inhabitants in another world (though the event itself may be regarded as the first type of Hell, the first suggestive glimpse to the human mind of that awful doctrine), but has primary reference to their long earthly desolation. The language most graphically expresses the condition of those doomed plains, as showing the signs of their fearful burning, age after age, ἀπ’ αἰῶνος εἰς αἰῶνα.

    These regions were very near to Jerusalem, almost if not quite visible from the highest places; and this accounts for the prophet’s frequent appeal to them, εἰς δεῖγμα, et in terrorem. How fearful is the allusion to it made by Ezekiel 16:46; where the adulterous Judah is told to remember the startling proximity of this her younger or smaller sister, so early buried in volcanic fires: “Thine elder sister, Samaria, that dwelleth on thy left (the N. W.), and thy smaller[FN6] sister, Sodom, and her daughters (the other cities of the plain), that lie upon thy right.” How awful the reminiscence of this lost sister Sodom lying for so many ages under the sulphurous waters of the Dead Sea, with all the burnt district a short distance to the right of Jerusalem, and ever presenting that terrific warning, the δεῖγμα πυρὸς αἰωνίου, to the oft rebellious city.

    We find elsewhere evidence of the deep impression this early divine judgment made upon the ancient mind. The language of Tacitus, Hist. v7, could only have come from some vivid tradition prevailing in the East and brought thence to Rome: Haud procul inde campi, quos ferunt olim uberes, magnis que urbibus habitatos, fulminum jactu arsisse, et manere vestigia terramque ipsam specie torridam vim frugiferam perdidisse; nam cuncta atra et inania velut in cinerem vanescunt. Ego, sicut inclitas quondam urbes igne cœlesti flagrasse concesserim, etc. There is something in the language strikingly resembling that of Peter and Jude. Compare Tacitus’ fulminum jactu arsisse—igne cœlesti flagrasse—manere vestigia, with the δεῖγμα πυρὸς αἰωνίου, and in cinerem with τεφρώσας. They appear to be the set terms in all descriptions. Nothing but an early, most vivid impression could have produced such fixedness and vividness in the language of the tradition.

    The same feature of constancy in terms for which no others could be an adequate substitute, appears remarkably in the notices of the Koran, which strong internal evidence shows must have come from tradition independent of the O. T. scriptures. It manifests itself especially in one word ever found in connection. It is the Arabic العُوٌ تَفاَـا ت, which Isaiah, etymologically, the same with the Hebrew מַהִפֵּכָה, and used in a similar manner as a participial noun. The peculiarity, however, Isaiah, that in the Arabic the primary sense which belongs to it in this connection had long ceased, so that no traces of it are anywhere else found, even in the remains which we have of ante-Mohammedan writing. Both the form and the peculiar sense have become obsolete in all other applications of the root. In this recurring phrase, as used of these ancient cities, it has acquired something like the force of a proper name as a well known appellative, taking its place along with Midian, Egypt, Hud, Thamud, and other names of places that tradition gives as having been specially visited with the divine vengeance. Thus Sodom and Gomorrah are ever called Al-mow-ta-fe-kat, “the overturned.” As in Koran Surat, liii51–55, where it occurs with others given as proper names: “And that he destroyed Ad, and Thamud, and left no remainder; and also the people of Noah before them, and the Mow-ta-fe-kat (the overturned) he cast down, and that which covered them covered them.” The last clause of this passage is meant to be intense in its repetition: that Isaiah, there is no conceiving the horrors under which they lay; “ that which covered them covered them,”—no tongue can tell it. Song of Solomon, also, Koran lxix. Genesis 9 : “thus went on Pharoah and those who were before him, the Mow-ta-fe-kat (the overturned), in their sin.” Thamud and Ad, as usual, had been mentioned just before. The constant introducing of the Mow-ta-fe-kat along with these, which are peculiar Arabic traditions, shows that the story of the “overturned” cities had a common origin with them, and was not derived from the Hebrew scriptures.

    The usage appears still more clearly, Koran ix71, where the term in question occurs in connection with the people of Ad, and the wicked in the days of Abraham, who is the peculiar Mohammedan patriarch: “Did there not come to them the story of those who were before them—the people of Noah and of Ad, and of the people of Abraham, and of the inhabitants of Midian, and of ‘the Overturned’ (the Mow-ta-fe-kat), whose messengers came unto them with their prophecies?” Now what makes this the more striking is the fact (as before indicated) that although the Arabic root, اـفـَك, or دـفـَك, Isaiah, in all other cases (and these are quite frequent), used solely in its secondary meaning of falsehood (coming from the primary sense of subversion, turning upside down, through the intermediate ideas of contrariness or opposition, ab invertendo, pervertendo), in these special usages from the Koran, and others like them, the word ever goes back to its primitive Hebrew sense, being taken precisely as הפך and מהפכה in the Bible. If the Hebrew verb had had a hoth-pa-hel form, its participle, מָתְהַפֵּךְ, moth-hap-pek = motaffek, would be almost identical with the Arabic word so constantly used for this purpose (in this sense) and for no other. Evidently it was an archaism in the days of Mohammed, and this accounts for its being used as a proper name, in which form it had become fixed against change and substitution. The root is used in the same manner throughout the Syriac version, but in this branch of the Shemitic it had, in all its applications, kept nearer to its old primary sense preserved in the Hebrew.

    What shows that it was an antique phrase in Arabic, or that اـفـَك (or הפך) had lost the sense of subversion in all other applications, and that its employment as a proper name in this particular connection came from traditional preservation, is the fact that even in translating the Old Testament, the Jewish Arabic interpreters never use it,—not even in those places where the Hebrew הפך and מהפכה would have immediately suggested it as the more fitting word; and this, too, notwithstanding that they frequently give to an Arabic term a rarer Hebrew sense. Thus Rabbi Saad does not employ it in this very passage, Isaiah 13:19, but uses, instead, the more common Arabic verb, قلب, to express the sense of overturning which is given by מתפכה: كبا تلب الله سل وم وععووة. Now in the Arabic verb اـفـَك, the letter ה (or هـ) of the Hebrew has been softened into א, but there can be no doubt of the two words being etymologically identical. Song of Solomon, too, in the Koran, sometimes, the Hebrew sense of the antique Arabic العو تٌفكة, is clearly given in different and more common Arabic words. As in Surat xv73, 74, where, speaking again of this very judgment, and the manner of it, it says: “And a sudden storm took them at sunrise, and we made the highest parts of it to be the lowest, كعلنا عاليها ساذـا ـها (that Isaiah, we turned it upside down), and we rained upon them stones of burning marl”—a volcanic earthquake and a lava shower.

    This standing epithet occurs, Lamentations 4:6, in the same connection and in the same way; that Isaiah, in the nature of a proper name, though there it has the form of the participle perfect of הפך. It is סְדֹם הַהֲפוּכָה, “Sodom the overturned.” Our English translation of the whole passage is far from being clear: “Greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom which was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her”: לֹא חָלוּ בָהּ יָדָיִם. In this passage there is an uncertainty as to the etymology and meaning of the word חָלוּ, but that interpretation is to be preferred which is most in keeping with the ideas of suddenness, or quick alarm, that make so graphic a feature in all allusions to the event, whether Hebrew or Arabic. Gesenius makes חלו from חול (torquere), and gives it the sense: non immissæ sunt manus, “no hands were sent upon, or against her”—meaning, hands of the enemy. Rabbi Tanchum’s Arabic commentary is to the same effect: “Of Sodom it is said here, that there did not come upon her the hand of Prayer of Manasseh, but she was overturned, at one blow, by the divine command; the word being the same as that in Jeremiah 23:19, ‘on the head of the wicked shall rush (יָחוּל) a rushing tempest, סַעַר מִתְחוֹלֵל (a whirlwind slung or hurled), and also as found Ecclesiastes 5:12; Ecclesiastes 5:15. יֵשׁ רָעָה חוֹלָה, there is a sore evil (an impending or threatening evil) that I have seen under the sun.”

    It may be a question here, however, whether ידים refers to the hands of the enemy, or to the hands of the inhabitants of the doomed city. If we place the accent on the ultimate, חָלוּ may be from חלה, and this would give us the rendering, “when no hands were weak in her”—that Isaiah, suddenly, when they were in their full strength and security. Or the same general idea may be obtained from חול, if we advert to its primary sense, which we find very clearly in the Arabic دـال. It is a curving motion combined with the spiral or oblique. Hence the sense of pain as expressed by twisting, wringing (torquere). It is used to denote the most intense anguish, the wringing of the hands in despair; which is the language employed by the Peschito Syriac version to render ἀπορία (distress or perplexity), Luke 21:25. No hands were wrung in her. So sudden was the storm that there was no time for lamenting over their doom.

    All this, too, is expressed by the way in which the frequent Koranic word, صَيكَة, is used when sudden judgments are described, and especially this particular event. It is rendered sometimes, punishment, or pain. It is also used of the crash of the thunder, fragor tonitru; but in its most literal sense it denotes one sharp cry or shriek. Or it may be rendered, a shock. Thus in the passage before quoted, Surat xv. Genesis 73: “a sudden storm or shock took them at sunrise” (comp. Genesis 19:23). The same, verse 83 of the same Surat, “took them early in the morning.” Though literally denoting one sudden scream of terror, it is taken for the cause, the thunderstorm or earthquake that produces it. Thus is it most impressively employed to represent the suddenness and surprise of the judgment that came upon those people of Lot, as the Sodomites are styled, ها الٌا صيكة واحلة ها لها هن ذـواف, “only one shock; there was in it no waiting,” no recovery. Or it may be rendered, “only one cry, and all was over.” The remedilessness, as well as the suddenness, is still more graphically set forth in the use of similar language, Surat xxxvi. Genesis 25 : “Lo, one cry, and they are all still”—literally, burnt out, خاهل ون, extinguished, dead. Song of Solomon, again, Surat liv. Genesis 31 : “Lo, we sent upon them one shock (one shriek) and they are all burnt stubble.” In the same manner is it used of the day of judgment, xxxvi. Genesis 53: “One shock, or one cry, and they (the risen dead) are all before us.” For other similar passages with similar applications, see Koran, xi70, 97; xxiii43; xxix39; l41; xv73, 83; lxiii3.

    In the most express terms do the Scriptures assign this catastrophe of Sodom and Gomorrah to the judicial action of God, the Lord of nature. No language can be clearer: “Jehovah rained upon them fire from Jehovah out of heaven,” Genesis 19:24. And yet, in perfect consistency with this, may we regard it as brought about by natural causes, though belonging to those great movements in nature which marked the primitive period of our present earth, or before its constitution became settled in that comparative calm which leads the scoffer to say that “all things continue as they were from the beginning.” This fearful מַהְפֵּכָה, or overthrow, has impressed indelible “vestigia” (to use the language of Tacitus) on the region in which it took place; but no less sharp and incisive are the marks it has left in the Oriental traditions, and the peculiar language to which it has given rise in them all. It sent one sharp cry through the ancient Eastern world, and that cry has echoed down to us through other channels than the Hebrew Scriptures. On this account has the peculiar language employed been so minutely traced, as furnishing evidence of the minute credibility of an event so ancient, and of the strong impression it must have made at the time. It was a divine judgment, a divine revelation in the earth, too awful and too unmistakable to allow much diversity of language in describing it, and it is this constant manner of telling the fearful story which separates it widely from the shadowy and changing mythical, with which some would compare it.—T. L.]

    HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

    See the Doctrinal and Ethical paragraphs.

    The xviiith ch. Abraham, the xixth Lot. Prominent points in Abraham’s life: 1. the great vision; 2. the feast of the angels; 3. the faith in the promise; 4. the intercession for Sodom. Prominent points in the life of Lot: 1. the entertaining of the angels; 2. the moral resistance of the assault of the whole city of Sodom; 3. his faith, and his mission to his two sons-in-law; 4. his emigration with his family in distress, before the judgment. The revelation of grace and of wrath.—The connection of the announcement of salvation with the announcement of judgment.—The oak grove of Mamre, and the burning Sodom.—As Abraham saved Lot the first time through war, so the second time through his intercessory prayer.—Abraham and Lot in their different positions.—In their last position with respect to each other (Abraham the friend of God, Lot the fugitive from Sodom, etc.).—The connection of the manifestation to Abraham and Lot.—The great manifestation of God, in the life of Abraham, in its great significance: 1. A revelation of the incarnation of God, of the future Christ, and at the same time of the angelic world; 2. a revelation of the great sign of the coming redemption, and of the coming judgment.

    1. Section. The appearance of Jehovah in the oak grove of Mamre, and the promise of the birth of Isaac ( Genesis 18:1-15). The great manifestation of God, in the life of Abraham, is the most striking sign in the old covenant of the incarnation of God.—The feast in the oak grove of Mamre; a sign of the incarnation of God.—Abraham in the oak grove of Mamre; great in his power of intuition, and great in his activity—Herein, also, a type of Christ.—As in all great characters, the contrasts of nature are here reconciled and removed.—Abraham’s hospitality as to its peculiar traits.—The real method and spirit of hospitality consists alone in this, that in or with the stranger we receive the Lord himself.—How well love and humility qualify Abraham to be the giver of the feast, the one who makes ready the meal and then stands and serves.—Sarah as the housewife.—Sarah’s doubting laughter, and believing astonishment.

    Genesis 19:10, The promise of Isaac: 1. a promise; 2. an endless fulness and succession of promises.—Sacred oak grove: sign of the sacred temples, especially of the Gothic Cathedral,—the sacred feast, sign of the most sacred meals.—Abraham’s friendship with God as hospitality: 1. God as the guest of Abraham in this world; 2. Abraham as the guest of God in the other world (to sit down with Abraham, Abraham’s bosom).—Starke: Genesis 19:1 (The manifestation of the Son of God, at first, is not through a natural nor even through a personal union, but through a voluntary and casual union, since he took from his free love a body, or rather the form of a body, for a time).—To this person are ascribed divine works, omnipotence ( Genesis 19:10; Genesis 19:14), omnipresence ( Genesis 19:13), the power to execute judgment ( Genesis 19:25).—The virtue of hospitality is becoming to Christians, and should be practised especially by believers and the pious ( Hebrews 13:2; Isaiah 58:7; 1 Peter 4:9; Job 31:32; Romans 12:13; Galatians 6:10); but still they must use circumspection here also.—We should not permit strangers to rest in the streets, but receive them and show them kindness and help ( Romans 12:13), to which now innkeepers are in a peculiar sense obliged ( Luke 10:34-35).

    Genesis 19:15. From the fact that Sarah makes no further reply, but receives her rebuke patiently, we may see that she recognizes her fault, and that God had rebuked it, hence she also is graciously preserved, that she should be at the same time the type of the free New Testament Church ( Galatians 4:22; Galatians 4:27; Galatians 4:31) and the mother of believers ( 1 Peter 3:6). How severely, on the other hand, Zacharias was chastised for his unbelief (see Luke 1:20.)—A Christian must never measure the promises of God by what seems good to him, but give to the power of God the preference over his reason ( Zechariah 8:6; Luke 1:37; 1 Peter 3:6).—Gerlach: In regard to Sarah. Even her unbelief which lay concealed within her, must be brought out into the light, since it was now designed to confirm her confidence in the promise, which should not be fulfilled without her faith.—Schröder, (Luther): Now there is hospitality in all places where the church is. She has always a common purse and storehouse, according to Matthew 5:42, and we should all so serve her, and furnish her, not only with doctrine but also with kindness, and that the spirit and the flesh may here at the same time find refreshment and consolation ( Matthew 25:35; Matthew 25:40).—Rambach: Genesis 19:8. As Abraham’s tent is here the house in which the Son of God and his angels are entertained, so is his bosom the common place of rest for the blessed in the other world ( Luke 16:22).—The power and susceptibility for intuition, and the absorbing and even careful attention to business, which were separated in Mary and Martha ( Luke 10:39), are here seen united in the same person.—That they must necessarily eat, would be in opposition to their spiritual nature, but the power to eat was given with the human form.

    Genesis 19:9. Now follows, as Luther says, the table talk, that nothing might be wanting in this description, and that the whole world might know that this feast was not so passed as among the monks, who must keep silence at the table.

    2. Section. The revelation of God concerning Sodom, and Abraham’s intercessory prayer ( Genesis 19:16-33).—1. The communing of God with himself before the revelation ( Genesis 19:18), or the revelation of God throughout the fruit of the highest divine purpose, as the creation of Prayer of Manasseh 1:2. the reason for this revelation ( Genesis 19:19); 3. its contents ( Genesis 19:20-21); 4. its results: a. the departure of the men to the judgment ( Genesis 19:22); b. the intercession of Abraham ( Genesis 19:23-30).—Abraham the friend of God (child of God, servant of God, the intimate confidant of God).—The cry of the sin of Sodom.—The intercession of Abraham for Sodom as the first long prayer and intercession communicated to us: 1. awakened or animated by the consciousness of salvation which was given to him; 2. as a pattern for all intercessory prayers.—The great importance of intercession.—Its features: 1. The boldness of faith; 2. caution in the fear of God; 3. truthfulness of love.—Even the apparently unavailing intercessions are not in vain.—Starke: Genesis 19:20. They (the Sodomites) went so far that the greatness of their sin had become a proverb ( Isaiah 1:9 ff.), and therefore they were destroyed400 years earlier than the Canaanites.—The sins crying to heaven are especially, in the Holy Scriptures: 1. the shedding of innocent blood ( Genesis 4:10; Job 16:18); 2. the sin of Sodom; 3. the oppression of the people of God ( Exodus 3:7), especially of widows and orphans. ( Exodus 22:22; Exodus 22:27; Sirach 35:19); 4. the withholding of the hire of the laborer ( James 5:4).—Therefore he could not understand by the righteous little children; for, although they are not righteous in their natural state, they could not have committed sins crying to the heavens.—They were, however, included with those destroyed, without, it may be hoped, any injury to their blessedness, or (so will it be added by some in an uncertain way) because God saw that they would tread in the footpaths of their fathers. [But the Scriptures never allude to this knowledge of God as the ground of his Acts, either saving or destructive.—The same event bears a very different aspect and meaning as sent to the wicked and the good, e.g, death. So with these judgments.—A. G.] The nearer Abraham comes to God in his prayers and intercession, the more clearly he recognizes his nothingness and entire unworthiness. A glorious fruit of faith.—The people of Sodom, indeed, could not think what was determined in the purpose of the watchers concerning them, and how Abraham stood in the breach.

    Genesis 19:32. This I will is here repeated six times, to intimate the truth of God, his earnest will, that he does not will the death of the sinner, but rather that he should turn unto him and live ( Ezekiel 18:11; Ezekiel 18:32).—Bib. Tub.: Intercession for a brother believer, even for the godless, a Christian duty.—Mark this, ye godless, that ye and the world stand only for the sake of the righteous.—We must come before God with the greatest reverence, and in the deepest humility of heart bow ourselves before his sacred majesty.—The righteous are highly esteemed in the sight of God.—Gerlach: Genesis 19:19. Abraham, I have known him, i.e., chosen in my love. As Amos 3:2; John 17:3. Genesis 19:23. The righteous who dwell together with the godless in any place, restrain the judgments of God.—Zinzendorf: I cannot tell in terms strong enough the blessed privilege of speaking with our Lord.—Calwer Handbuch: But in this prayer lie concealed deep mysteries, which render conspicuous to us the worth and importance, in the sight of God, of the righteous in the world, and on the other hand helps to explain the wonderful patience and long suffering of God towards the evil, and even towards heaven crying sinners.—Schröder: Calvin: If, therefore, oftentimes temptations contend in our hearts, and things meet us, in the providence of God, which seem to involve a contradiction, let the conviction of his righteousness still be unshaken in us. We must pour into his bosom the cares which give us pain and anxiety, that he may solve for us the difficulties which we cannot solve.—Passavant: When I otherwise can do nothing, when I am without any influence, and free access, without any means or any power, then still I may do something through the intercessory prayer.

    3. Section. The entrance and sojourn of the angels in Sodom, and the final manifestation of its depravity, in contrast with the better conduct of Lot ( Genesis 19:1-11). There are parts of this section which do not seem fitted for public reading and homiletical treatment. But the examination of the whole history may be joined, by practical and homiletical Wisdom of Solomon, to the section, Genesis 19:1-3.—How sin is radically a beginning of the most extreme corruption: 1. it is against nature, and tends to the most unnatural abominations; 2. a delusion, which tends to fury and madness; 3. an act of disobedience, which issues in rebellion against God; 4. an impudence and falsehood, tending even to blasphemy.—Hellish night-scenes in the earliest antiquity.—The blinding of the godless that they could not find what they sought.—Starke: (It is incredible that Lot, as the Rabbins think, sat in the gate to judge ( Deuteronomy 16:18) and had been a judge in Sodom.)—A Christian must behave towards every one, especially towards the pious, with humility and reverence ( Romans 12:10).—The holy angels dwell cheerfully with the pious.

    Genesis 19:5. ( Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 18:24; Leviticus 20:13.) Has not experience shown, that if here and there songs and prayers have been offered in a home at evening by devout persons, there have been those who have run together before the windows and made them the matter of sport and ridicule, while on the other hand, in other homes every kind of night revel has been endured and approved.

    Genesis 19:8. The offer of Lot did not spring from evil, but from the greatest confusion and alarm; still he did wrong ( Romans 3:8 ff.). We see from this: 1. that Lot is not to be praised as some have thought (Ambrose, Chrysostom); 2. that he was not guilty of a sin which removes him beyond the grace of God.

    Genesis 19:9. An unreasonable reproach. Had there been now ten such strangers in Sodom, they would not yet have been destroyed.—The gracious requital. Lot ventured all to preserve his guests; now he experiences how he is saved by them.[FN7] It belongs to no man to prevent a greater sin by a lesser.—Whoever will judge and punish the rough world, must be a disturber and excite an uproar.—Godless people are only hardened the more, through kind and gracious warnings.—Woe to him whom God strikes with spiritual blindness.[FN8]—Gerlach: The very nature of the trial which God adopts consists in this, that he honors to the very last the liberty lent by him to the creature, and does not punish to destruction until the most extreme abuse of freedom has been made evident.—Calwer Handbuch: Sins and shameful vices appear in their fullest disgracefulness in the night.—Lot appears, also, to have before rebuked their sinful movements, wherefore they reproach him, the stranger, with a lust of power—The nearer the judgments of God, the greater the security of sinners. [The scriptural signs that the judgment is near are: 1. that God abandons men or communities to out-breaking and presumptuous sins; 2. that warnings and chastisements fail to produce their effect, and especially when the person grows harder under them; 3. that God removes the good from any community—so before the flood, so before the destruction of Jerusalem; and, 4. the deep, undisturbed security of those over whom it is suspended.—A. G.]

    4. Section. Lot’s salvation. Sodom’s destruction ( Genesis 19:12-29). Lot’s rescue from Sodom: 1. his obedience. The first message of deliverance ( Genesis 19:12-14). 2. Then, even, scarcely saved, on account of his delay and fears ( Genesis 19:15-22).—The test of Lot in the judgment of Sodom: 1. Saved, indeed, but, 2. scarcely saved, and that with difficulty. Urged, importuned by the angels. Paralyzed by his terror in the way. His wife lost. [Almost saved, and yet lost.—A. G.] His daughters.—In the history of Lot, also, the unity of the family is again illustrated: 1. In its great importance; 2. in its final extent.

    Genesis 19:15. The danger in delaying the flight out of Sodom, i.e., of conversion, or also of separation from the society of the wicked.—Starke: ( Genesis 19:12. It may be what belongs to thee, and could therefore relate to his possessions, especially his herds. Still, some doubt, and think that he bore away as a gain or spoil only his own life and the lives of his family, while he must have left the herds behind in his haste.)

    Genesis 19:14. Acts 17:18.—Sodom a type of the spiritual Babylon ( Revelation 11:8).—Whoever will not be borne away and crushed with the godless, he must early and cheerfully separate himself from them, while he has time and leisure[FN9] ( Revelation 18:4).

    Genesis 19:16. God shows his goodness not only to the pious, but to those who belong to them.—Upon Genesis 19:21. How God excuses the weakness of the believer, if he walks with God in uprightness.[FN10]—As Zoar was spared at the intercession of Lot, so afterwards the house of Laban was blessed for Jacob’s sake, and Potiphar for the sake of Joseph, the widow’s meal-chest and cruse of oil for the sake of Elijah.—That Zoar was made better by the recollection of the terrible overthrow of the cities may be inferred from the fact that it was still standing at the time of Isaiah ( Isaiah 15:5).—(A comparison between Sodom and Rome in eight particulars: beautiful region; security; iniquities; crying to the heavens; the true faith persecuted; announcement of its judgment (Rev.); the rescuing of the pious; punishment by fire; the rising of the sun; the enlightening of the Jews, etc. H. C. Rambach.)—(The Dead Sea: Troilo and others say: I could compare it only with the jaws of hell.)—The fearful judgment upon Lot’s wife: 1. She died immediately; 2. in her sins; 3. an unusual death; 4. remained unburied, an example of the vengeance of God.— Luke 7:32-33; Luke 9:62.

    Genesis 19:28. It is calm, pleasant weather with the children of God, when it storms with the godless ( Exodus 10:22-23; Psalm 32:10).—Gerlach: A living type of those whom the messenger of the Lord warns before the future punishment ( Luke 17:28-29).—The word: haste and escape for thy life; this is the deep undertone which must be heard through all preaching of the gospel.—Calw. Hand.: The mercy of the Lord saves Lot and his family, as a brand plucked from the burning. Until Lot is saved the Lord himself restrains his hand.—Schwenke: Genesis 19:15. The deep impression which the declaration of the near judgment made upon him was greatly weakened by the mocking words of his sons-in-law; he delays, waits, puts off. Flesh and blood, and the clinging to the beautiful city, struggle with obedience to the revelation from God.—Schröder: The entrance of Lot into the vale of Siddim corresponds to his exodus (Baumgarten).[FN11]—How the first universal judgment of the flood, like the partial judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, serves in the Scriptures as an example and type of all the divine judgments, and especially of the last judgment ( Luke 17:28 ff.; 2 Peter 2:6, etc.).—Heuser: Destruction of Sodom: 1. A judgment from heaven; 2. a sign for the earth.—Taube: The eternal righteousness of God in the judgment upon Sodom and Lot’s wife. The free mercy of God in saving Lot and his family.

    5. Section. Lot’s disappearance and his descendants ( Genesis 19:30-38). The 30 th verse is alone fitted for public use. But from this a faint light may be thrown upon the whole night-scene. Lot’s disappearance as a dweller in caves.—Lot’s history illustrates the truth, that whoever will build a house, must count the cost: 1. His inspired exodus from Haran with Abraham, and journey through Canaan to Egypt, with ever-increasing wealth; 2. his settlement in the valley of Sodom; 3. his asylum in Zoar; 4. his disappearance from the scene in the caves of the mountains.—How should the pious fear temptations when the mind is unbent after extreme spiritual tension.—Man falls easily into the sins of the flesh when the ideals of his intellectual life are dissolved and lose their power.[FN12]—Ruth a Moabitess.—Starke: Lot’s daughters. The reason which moved them was rather a groundless prejudice than wantonness of the flesh. (Anxiety lest the human race should perish. It may be, also, that they were only Lot’s step-daughters, if he had married in Sodom a widow who was the mother of two daughters).—Cramer: Loneliness in retired places allures not only to good, but also, and much more, to great sins ( Ecclesiastes 4:10).—Whoever will avoid sin must avoid the occasions which lead to it.—[Strong drink the fruitful source of untold degradation and sins.—A. G.]—Gregory I.: There was a moral sense in Lot, but it was confused and disturbed. Intoxication deceived Lot, who was not deceived in Sodom; the flames of lust burn him, whom the flames of sulphur did not burn.—Luther: Some think that Lot died soon after, from distress and sorrow, before his daughters were delivered, because otherwise he would not have consented that names should be given them which should constantly remind him of his incest.—He who was not deceived in Sodom, drunkenness deceived; who in Sodom, the very school of unchastity, had lived chastely, in the cave was guilty of incest; suffered shipwreck in the harbor.—Ruth a Moabitess. We may infer from Isaiah 11:14; Jeremiah 48:47; Daniel 11:41, that there-will be, besides, some conversions from the Moabites to Christ.—The children of Ammon were characterized by similar sins with those of their brother Moab, and therefore have a similar future.—Drunkenness is the way to all bestial lusts and acts.—(Holy descendants from polluted beds. Judges 11:1; Hebrews 11:32.)—Schröder: The thought that they should remain alone in case of their father’s early death was one to them very hard to bear. Then, indeed, they would be entirely helpless and without protection in the wide world. If no husband was granted to them, they would at least have children, sons, who could give protection and help.—(Berl. Bibel.: The following riddle has been constructed from the history: My father, thy father, our children’s grandfather; my husband, thy husband, the husband of our mother, and yet one and the same man.)—Baumgarten: This is the crime of Lot’s daughters, that to secure descendants, and those of pure blood, they thought incest a small offence.—Herberger: For one evil hour, one must bear the sword at his side a whole year.—The same: Still even such children (illegitimate and springing from incest) should not despair. God can do great things even through the illegitimate Jephtha ( Judges 11:1 ff.). True repentance makes all well. [But true repentance is never separated from true faith. Faith in Christ and repentance make all well.—A. G.]


    Footnotes:

    FN#1 - Only to these men do nothing. The form of the pronoun used, הָאֵל, is archaic, and is used also in Genesis 19:25; Genesis 26:3-4; Leviticus 18:27; Deuteronomy 4:42; Deuteronomy 7:22; Deuteronomy 19:11. Keil, p163. Therefore came they under my roof; viz., for the purpose of security.—A. G.]

    FN#2 - Baumgarten urges that גֶשׁ הָלְאָהִ should be rendered “come hither,” instead of “stand back,” on the ground that this is the usual meaning of the verb, and that it gives an equally good sense, p211—A. G.]

    FN#3 - At the morning. The dawn, since the sun rose as Lot entered Zoar. Jacobus: “Notes,” vol. ii. p23.—A. G.]

    FN#4 - The word here used for look implies a deliberate contemplation, steady regard, consideration, and desire; see Isaiah 63:5. The Sept. has ἐπέβλεψεν, looked wistfully. Wordsworth, p89. She became, lit, she was a pillar of salt. “The dashing spray of the salt, sulphureous rain, seems to have suffocated her, and then encrusted her whole body.” Murphy.—A. G.]

    FN#5 - The looking back shows, on the one hand, her doubt and unbelief of the divine warning, and on the other, that her heart was still clinging to the lusts of Sodom, and that she was an unwilling follower of the rescuing angels. Kurtz, p195.—A. G.]

    FN#6 - אחותך הקטנה. The term generally denotes juniority, and it may be so literally taken here, since the origin of Jerusalem may have been historically older than that of Sodom.—T. L.]

    FN#7 - God’s people are safe when angels stand sentries at the doors. Bush.—A. G.]

    FN#8 - It is the use of God, to blind and besot those whom he means to destroy. Bp. Hall; Bush.—A. G.]

    FN#9 - “The man who will not consult for his own safety, and who, even being warned to beware, yet exposes himself by his sloth to ruin, deserves to perish.” Calvin.—A. G.]

    FN#10 - It is no new thing for the Lord to grant sometimes, as an indulgence, what he does not approve. Calvin. See Jacobus.—A. G.]

    FN#11 - The beauty and fruitfulness of nature attracted him, and he chose it without thinking whether it would work injury to his soul. The same power now prevents him from earnestly heeding the salvation of his soul. Baumgarten, p213.—A. G.]

    FN#12 - “Those who have been wondrously preserved from temporal destruction, may shamefully fall into sin.” Jacobus.—A. G.]

    Copyright Statement
    These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/genesis-19.html. 1857-84.

    L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

    SODOM'S WICKEDNESS EXPOSED

    Not in the heat of the day, but in the evening, the two angels arrived at Sodom. Lot was sitting in the gate, the place of a judge. He was a believer making an effort to control the evil natures of ungodly men. Many Christians since that time have attempted to make the world better by their entering politics, but the Christian is "not of this world;" rather he has a message of grace that has power to deliver people "out of this present evil world" (Galatians 1:4), and give them an eternal inheritance in heavenly places. For the world is destined to the judgment of God (Acts 17:31): If we are faithful witnesses we shall warn sinners of this and tell them of the only possible escape through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than doing this, Lot settled in Sodom with apparently some hope of improving it. He was a righteous man, but he "tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds" (2 Peter 2:8). He was simply in the wrong place, and rendered himself incapable of warning the people of God's judgment against evil.

    Lot met the angels very respectfully, though not with the refreshing enthusiasm of Abraham. Abraham had run to meet them and bowed himself to the earth: Lot rose and bowed with his face toward the earth, a more stiff, formal greeting. Being a believer, he invited the men into his house to spend the night, suggesting that they rise early and continue their journey. Perhaps he felt it would not be too safe for the men to stay long. His invitation was not a warm one, and the men responded that they would remain outside for the night. However, Lot urged them strongly. No doubt he realized the danger they would be in if they were outside.

    They accepted his invitation and he prepared a feast for them, including unleavened bread which he baked (v.3). Abraham's meal had been simple, wholesome food, though he spoke of it as only "a morsel of bread." Lot evidently prepared city fare, possible rather elaborate, to make an impression. As to the unleavened bread, since leaven symbolizes evil, the scriptural teaching of unleavened bread is separation from evil. Was Lot telling his visitors that he believed in separation from evil? If so, his life style did not back it up.

    But their visit was rudely interrupted by many men of Sodom, both young and old, boldly demanding that the two men who came to Lot's home should come out and be subjected to the horror of homosexual relations (vs.4-5).

    Lot's concern for his guests was commendable. He even went outside, closing the door after him, to plead for the two men who had come under the shelter of his roof (vs.6-8). but his offer to sacrifice his daughters was far from commendable. How could he offer his virgin daughters to men of such vile character? Indeed, he had no right to offer them to anybody, for children are not actually the property of their parents, and besides, they were already engaged to be married (v.14). As to the two men, he says the reason they had come to Lot's home was for protection. How different were Abraham's words in ch.18:5, who realized that his visitors had come to have their hearts comforted by Abraham's fellowship. We may be sure that the two angels would not have allowed Lot to give his daughters to the men of the city.

    However, the men would not even accept Lot's daughters, but spoke defiantly, telling him that he had come as an alien to their city, and now was acting as a judge. Of course there was some truth in this, as Lot would have to recognize. Similarly, a Christian has no proper rights of citizenship in this present evil world, let alone having the right of acting as a judge in the world's affairs. His citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). May we be preserved from unholy mixtures such as that with which Lot became involved.

    When the men threatened to use Lot worse than they had wanted to use the men, then the two men quickly pulled Lot back into the house and closed the door. But besides, they used the power of God to inflict blindness upon the attackers, so that this thwarted their intentions. It is a picture of the way in which God will inflict judicial blindness upon the ungodly who have willingly blinded themselves to the truth of His word and laid themselves open to His dreadful judgment. Such blinding is a warning of greater judgment to come.

    LOT'S ESCAPE FROM SODOM

    With great urgency the men then speak to Lot. No slightest doubt remains as to the enormity of Sodom's wickedness: they have brazenly demonstrated it in public way. The only answer to this whole matter is the well deserved judgment of God. Lot is told to see that all his relatives are rescued from the city, son in law, sons and daughters, "bring them out of this place." (v.12). For they would destroy the city because its iniquity had exceeded all bounds and the Lord had sent them to destroy it. What news of terrible import for Lot!

    Being warned of the imminent judgment of Sodom and strongly urged by the angels, Lot went out to speak to his sons in law who were to marry his daughters (v.14). Why did he not warn his sons? Did he consider it no use to say anything to them? Sad to say, his own life had not been consistent with any warning of judgment he might give, and it is not surprising if his sons received no good, solid instruction from him, backed up by faithful example. But what effect did his words have on his sons in law? They thought he was only joking. They would surely not have thought this if Lot had before shown any serious conviction that the Lord strongly disapproved of the evil of Sodom. Had he made a habit of joking in this way? Let us be deeply serious in our testimony to the fact that God's judgment will fall very soon upon an ungodly world, and that only in Christ Jesus is there any escape.

    Even Lot himself was insensitive to the imminent danger he was in. When morning came the angels had to urge him to leave the city. Yet, still he lingered. Did he want to at least take some of his possessions with him? Then the angels literally took him, his wife and his two daughters by the hand and virtually dragged them out of the house. They had two hands each, so that was all they could take (v.16).

    Bringing them outside of Sodom, the angels told Lot to escape for his life, not even to look behind him nor stay in the plain, but escape to the mountains from the danger of being consumed (v.17). The mountains speak of a level higher than that of the world, typically the presence of God, the only real safety.

    But Lot, though a believer, shows no real faith in the clearly announced word of God. He protests to the angels that, though he appreciates their kindness in actually saving his life, yet he is fearful that there might be some terrible disaster awaiting him in the mountains. He ought to have been so fearful of the judgment of Sodom as to escape from it as far as he could. But he singles out a town not too far away. and asks permission to go there, since it was near and also only small (v.19).

    The angels gave him this permission, saying that that town would be spared when Sodom was destroyed. But he is told to hurry, and moreover that nothing could be done before he arrived there at Zoar. Such is the protecting care of God over one believer! This tells us that Lot was evidently the only righteous inhabitant of Sodom.

    THE OVERTHROW OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH

    By the time Lot entered Zoar the sun had risen (v.23). The people of Sodom and Gomorrah, seeing the bright sunshine, would be happily prepared for another day of sinful pleasure. But what a shock! Judgment from God suddenly falls in the form of brimstone and fire such as a volcanic eruption might produce (v.24), though we are not told the means of this terrible catastrophe. Some would be killed immediately, no doubt others would have time to realize that God was punishing them for their gross wickedness. But it was too late to escape. The judgment and desolation was total. Every inhabitant of the cities and all the vegetation was destroyed. But this is a picture of a greater judgment still: "As it was in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed" (Luke 17:28-30). 1 Thessalonians 5:3 comments on this, "When they say, Peace and safety, "then sudden destruction comes upon them -- and they shall not escape."

    Lot had entered Zoar, but not his wife: she, from behind him, "looked back; and she became a pillar of salt" (v.26). She apparently lagged behind. Her heart was evidently still in Sodom. It seems that Lot had obtained her in Sodom, for we do not read of her before he went there. Such an unequal yoke in marriage might explain why Lot remained there as long as he did when he was continually trouble by "the filthy conversation of the wicked." They had been told not to look back, but the fear of God had not really laid hold of her soul. "Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:32). Salt is a preserving agent, but this is only a preserved testimony to the folly of unbelief.

    Abraham rose early that morning to go to the place where had interceded with the Lord, evidently a point from which he could view the area of Sodom and Gomorrah. How deeply he would be affected in seeing the smoke from the land going up like the smoke of a furnace (v.28). He might well wonder if Lot had been killed in that terrible catastrophe. Yet verse 24 tells us that God remembered Abraham in this case, and delivered Lot, who was evidently the only righteous person in either Sodom or Gomorrah (v.29). We have no information, however, as to whether Abraham ever knew of Lot's escape. He had lost everything except his two daughters, and though in poverty, he may have been too ashamed to try to contact his uncle Abraham.

    LOT'S PATHETIC DEGRADATION

    Lot had pled to go to Zoar, but after Sodom's destruction he became afraid to remain in Zoar, and took the angels' previous advice to flee to the mountains. Abraham walked generally by faith, but Lot had not learned such a lesson: he was moved at this time by fear. He found a cave in which he lived with his daughters. How deeply impoverished he had become! Lot's history is a warning indeed to every child of God, that friendship with the world will lead, not necessarily to material poverty, but always to spiritual poverty.

    The scheming of Lot's daughters to have children by their father is a sad comment on what they had learned in Sodom (vs.31-32). Also, Lot had so sunk down in unconcern about the honor of the Lord that he would allow himself to become so drunk as to not realize what he was doing. Nor was this only once, but a second time on the following night (vs.34-35). We may wonder even at the survival of the children, but the first became the father of the Moabite nation, the second the father of the Ammonites, both of them proving to be troublesome enemies of Israel.

    Nothing more is recorded of Lot after this time, not even his death One writer suggests that this was not necessary because he had practically died long before!

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/genesis-19.html. 1897-1910.

    Wells of Living Water Commentary

    Lot Fleeing from Sodom

    Genesis 19:14-30

    INTRODUCTORY WORDS

    We have before us one of the greatest conflagrations of all history, dual cities and their neighboring villages utterly consumed by fire sent down from Heaven.

    In this great conflagration we have a forecast of the coming great tribulation into which the world now seems about to enter.

    Many are the Scriptures which speak of the terrific judgments which will be upon the earth in those days.

    Joel calls it: "A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness." He goes on to say that a great people and strong will come forth in those days. Then he adds, "A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth."

    Nahum describes the same day as a day when the hills melt, the mountains quake and the earth is burned. Nahum cries out, "Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him."

    Thus do other Prophets describe the same day of judgment that awaits this Satan dominated world.

    The New Testament gives the same story. Christ forewarned the time of His Coming as a time of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. Then He said, "All these are the beginning of sorrows." And in speaking of this tribulation, the Lord spoke of it as a sorrow such as was not since the beginning of the world nor ever shall be. He said, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall tall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken."

    The Book of Revelation concludes the story of the tribulation. First of all we have the seals which are broken and the coming forth of the four horse riders. Next we have judgments intensified as the trumpets are sounded; then, we have the pouring forth of the vials of God's wrath and the completion of the judgments of Almighty God.

    Thus it is that the destruction of Sodom brings before us in graphic portraiture the story of another day of unspeakable tribulation upon an earth made ripe in iniquity.

    I. A SAINT WHO SEEMED AS ONE WHO MOCKED (Genesis 19:14 )

    In our last study we spoke of Lot's appeal to his sons-in-law, and how he seemed unto them as one who mocked. It seems to us, however, that we should place special stress upon this remarkable statement found in Genesis 19:14,

    1. There are many mockers who will rise in the last days. This is the statement of the Apostle Peter, and also of Jude. These mockers, however, are apostates men who deny the faith once delivered.

    They cry out, "Where is the promise of His coming?" Thus they ridicule that Blessed Hope of the Return of our Lord.

    2. There are many mockers of Truth, however, who are supposedly the heralders of Truth. They stand in the sacred desks proposing to proclaim the Truth of God and yet they deny that Truth. They join hands, therefore, with the apostates described above. They sneer at men who preach Christ in His fulness emphasizing the fact of coming tribulation as "little men," "dolts," "untutored," "following fables found in the Word of God which should long ago have been relegated to the theological scrap pile."

    3. There are many also today who seem to mock. Lot had no desire to mock the truth of Sodom's coming judgment. In fact, Lot fully accepted the statements of the angels, and with all concern for the safety of his children he hastened to warn them.

    He who laughs most of the years of his pilgrimage, as though nothing was about to happen, and then suddenly changes his whole attitude as though everything was about to collapse, may easily seem as one who mocks. He who lives in all worldliness and carnality can hardly expect to give an acceptable warning to those who have judged his spirituality an unimportant factor in his life.

    II. A BROKEN FAMILY (Genesis 19:15 )

    How sadly do the words ring out, "Take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here." The real thought which stands embossed before our mind is, "Where are the others?" Some of them were about to go out of the city, others were about to be left to the city's flames.

    1. A divided household bespeaks a divided and weakened testimony. When in the same family and under the same roof there are some who are for God and some who are against Him, there cannot be the same weight given to the testimony to truth that should be given.

    It was for this cause that God commanded that elders or deacons should have their children in submission and well taught in the things of God. The impression on the outside is that a man whose life does not lead his own family into the love of Christ can hardly be right himself. The impression also is that if a man cannot guide his own household aright, he cannot guide aright the larger household of his God.

    2. A divided household bespeaks in most instances, a lack in the lives of those who are supposedly true. We know that Lot vexed his righteous soul because of the ungodly deeds and words of the Sodomites. We know, also, that he did not give a strong and vital witness against their iniquity. He certainly did not warn them of the corning judgment of a righteous God.

    How many there are who live before their children without any seeming convictions of truth and without any particular warnings to them of their evil ways. When some great evangelistic movement sweeps the community such parents may become awakened to their children's danger of being eternally lost. Yet, their efforts to win their children will carry but little weight owing to their past unseemly conduct.

    III. A LINGERING SAINT (Genesis 19:16 )

    2. The things that held Lot back. Some may wish to excuse Lot by urging that he had so many things to hold him to Sodom. His family was anchored there. His business associates were there. His home was there. His money was invested there.

    The difficulty in all of this was that the things which Lot had in Sodom, he had against the command of the Lord. Perhaps unwittingly, and yet just as certainly he had allowed himself to be engulfed in a great sweeping wave of world-centered ambitions. He was looking at the things that are seen, laying up his treasures on earth, and loving the world.

    2. With what difficulty many of our day will face the Coming of the Lord. Some, indeed, will draw back from Him at His Coming. Some are so engrossed in the things terrestrial that they would give half of all they possessed if they could delay the Lord's Coming. They are so much buried in the debris of this world that they have lost their desire for another world. They are set on some earthly city that they have no longings for a city that is Heavenly. They are so in love with men, that they have no longings for the Lord.

    3. Obedience delayed is only obedience made more difficult. Lot, by lingering, and halting did not make it easier for himself to sever connections with Sodom. Indeed we believe that obedience put off is obedience spoiled. The commandments of the Lord require haste. To stand to one side and look at a responsibility only augments the burden of responsibility. Duty postponed is duty made irksome.

    IV. THE MERCIFUL GOD (Genesis 19:16 , l.c.)

    1. What justice apart from kindness might have done. It is only natural for man to meet human frailties with more or less of disgust. If some one delays our call we are liable to leave the delinquent to his. fates not so the Lord. Our God is long-suffering and patient. He remembers that we are dust. He deals with us in all tenderness.

    2. What God did do. As Lot lingered the angels laid their hands in loving urging upon the hands of Lot, Lot's wife, and his two daughters. Then they brought them forth outside the city.

    God does not ask us to go alone, but He goes with us as far as it is necessary. It was a memorable sight to behold the man of large business ability and success being led by the hand out of Sodom, accompanied by his wife and by two of his daughters.

    3. Why God did lead Lot out of Sodom. The Word is plain "The Lord being merciful unto him." Let us stop and consider Where would we be today, if God had not been merciful unto us? Had God dealt with us after our sins we had long ago been banished from His sight. When David sought for any of the house of Saul, David said: "Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" What did David do? He sent down to Lo-debar, the place of no pasture and he fetched Mephibosheth to his palace. He restored unto Mephibosheth all that had belonged to Saul, and he fed him his portion in the king's house.

    This is just what God does for us. He lays His hands upon us, being merciful unto us. Then He lifts us to a standing more effectual than we had ever known, and asks us to eat at His house forevermore.

    4. God is today calling us out of Sodom. Sodom is this world of folly and of shame. Christ died to save us out of it. We are not of the world, for we are other-worldly. Let us give heed to ourselves, whether we are entangled again in the gardens of the world's pleasures.

    V. ESCAPING TO THE MOUNTAIN (Genesis 19:17 )

    1. Sodom stands for the world. There is a verse of Scripture in Galatians which says, that He died to save us from this present evil age or world according to the will of God our Father. This is exactly what we see in the case of Lot. God was delivering him from the powers of darkness which held him in their sway.

    Paul, in the Spirit, spoke of the Cross by which he was crucified unto the world, and the world was crucified unto him. It is this Cross with this double crucifixion which should be our glory.

    Lot was inveigled in the world against the will of God. As long as he was there he might prosper in the things of the flesh, but he could not prosper in the things of the Spirit.

    2. The mountain stands for those higher realms of Christian life to which we are called. We are to set our affection on the things above. In Ephesians, the whole story of how we are to live in the Heavenlies in Christ Jesus is marvelously foretold. We may be upon the earth and in the world, but we are not of the world. Our treasures should be Heavenly, not earthly. Our hope should be on high, not beneath.

    Heavenly people may use the world, but they must not abuse it. They are sent into the world, but they are not constituent parts of the world. Let us each examine our own hearts to discover whether we are living in the low-lands of carnal activities or upon the highlands of spiritual endeavors.

    VI. A SELF-CENTERED VISION (Genesis 19:19 )

    1. Lot preferred the lowlands to the mountain top. When Lot said to the angel, "I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die"; he plainly showed that while he was getting out of Sodom Sodom was not altogether out of him.

    It is not enough to be saved, we need to be sanctified. This is the will of God for us. It is not enough to have life, we want life more abundantly. Too many believers are, apparently, satisfied to be saved as Lot was saved, so as by fire. Too many are willing to go with Christ only part of the way.

    2. Lot put his will against the will of the Lord. Lot said unto the angel, "Not so, my Lord." He pled his way, his ideas, his preference. As an excuse Lot said, "I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die." Lot's whole contention was a lack of trust in the Lord. He was afraid to risk God, to do what God said, to go where God told him to go.

    The fact that the Lord accepted Lot's plea does not mean that God thought Lot's choice better than His own command. God's attitude toward Lot is always His attitude toward His children. He who refuses to take God's first best will receive His second or His third. In this, however, the loss is always ours.

    The Bible says, "Oh, that My people had hearkened unto Me, * * I * * should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat." From the moment that Lot took his own choice and refused God, he passes out of sight. Had he gone to the mountain top, he might have become one of God's great ones, he might have had his name written in God's galaxy of heroes. He chose his own way and suffered thereby.

    VII. LOT'S WIFE (Genesis 19:26 )

    We have been speaking of Lot's carnality, of Lot's perfidy, of Lot's unwillingness to go through with God. We now come to the consideration of Lot's wife.

    1. Lot's wife was saved from Sodom's overthrow. When Lot went out she went with him. She had faith enough to leave Sodom, but she did not have courage enough to go all the way with God. We believe that Lot's wife left Sodom through fear more than through faith. She could not but believe the angel's testimony, and yet, the power that dominated her in her flight was the fear of being consumed.

    We suppose it is always right for any one to flee the wrath to come. Fear of hell may be a just reason for coming to Christ. Fear, however, is a motive that is in danger of leaving us stranded as soon as we are out of the terror of conflagration. Fear as a motive lies far behind gratitude and love. If we do anything because we have to and we are afraid not to, we are not liable to do more than is actually commanded. If, on the other hand, we are prompted by love, our life will be filled with excesses of every kind. We will do more than is required.

    2. Lot's wife became a pillar of salt. I wonder if we can dissect the look of Lot's wife as she turned back to view Sodom. Did she begin to wonder after all if the angels had told the truth? Did she turn to see if Sodom was actually burning? Did Lot's wife turn back because everything that was dear to her heart was there; two of her daughters were there, her sons-in-law were there, her social life was there, her home and its surroundings were all there.

    God has said where your treasure is, there will be your heart also. When we see Christians turning back toward the world and. speaking longingly of their old walk and way, we fear that they love the things which are seen. God help us to go all the way with Him.

    AN ILLUSTRATION

    A LONG LEASE ENHANCES VALUE

    Lot had much in Sodom but he had to lose it.

    "' If a man might have a cottage on a hundred years' lease, he would prize it much more than the possession of a palace for a day.' Of course he would; and this it is which adds so much preciousness to the joys of Heaven, for they are eternal. The pleasures of this world, however bright they seem, are but for this one day of life, which is already half over. If they were all they profess to be, and a thousand times more, they would not be worthy to be mentioned in comparison with 'pleasures for evermore' at God's right hand.

    O Thou who fillest eternity, impress me with the solemn import of that word, and let me feel that all time's fleeting cares and caresses are as dreams; while the things of eternity alone have substance in them. Give me Thy grace that I may 'lay hold on eternal life.' " Spurgeon.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/genesis-19.html.

    Wells of Living Water Commentary

    Where Lookest Thou

    Genesis 13:8-11 ; Genesis 18:20-22 ; Genesis 19:25-28

    INTRODUCTORY WORDS

    Our Scripture today presents four looks toward Sodom. 1. There was the look of Lot, or the look of worldly advantage. 2. There was the look of the Lord, or the look of coming judgment. 3. There was the look of Lot's wife, or the look of folly and of pride. 4. There was the look of Abraham, or the look of compassionate submission. Let us examine these four looks, one at a time.

    1. The look of Lot. There had been a strife betwixt Abraham's herdsmen, and the herdsmen of Lot. Abraham realized that the time for separation had come.

    There are some who may feel that Lot had a keen business vision, and that he could see a dollar a long way off. We agree, but we add that Lot's vision was circumscribed by his own personal advantage, and that, in reality, he was blinded and could not see afar.

    2. The look of the Lord. This was the look of judgment. The Lord saw everything that Lot saw, but he saw more than Lot saw. The Lord beheld in Sodom a city that reeked with sin. He beheld the wreckage that would come to Lot and his family by reason of Lot's foolish choice.

    "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him." Those same eyes, however, look in judgment upon all whose heart wanders from the Lord.

    3. The look of Lot's wife. As they fled from Sodom, Lot's wife turned, and looked back. We can hardly wonder at her folly. Everything she loved was in Sodom. She had left the daughters, who had married Sodomites, and her sons-in-law behind her. She had left her friends of fashion and of pomp behind her. She had left her beautiful home and its luxuries behind her. She had left more than all of this she had left the affections of her own heart behind her.

    When Lot's wife looked toward Sodom, she looked toward her treasures, and toward those things which were dearer to her than life. Let us fear lest we, too, become entangled again in a yoke of bondage, and begin to long after the "flesh pots of Egypt," and thus look back.

    4. The look of Abraham. Abraham had prayed earnestly for Lot. The result of Abraham's prayer was that Lot and his two daughters were saved. God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out.

    I. PRAYER, AND THE UPWARD LOOK (2 Chronicles 20:12 )

    Moab and Ammon came against Jehoshaphat to battle. They were a great multitude, and Jehoshaphat was afraid. Then Jehoshaphat prayed unto the Lord and said, "O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee."

    In answer to Jehoshaphat's prayer, the enemy was overthrown. We need to place our eyes upon God. God has said, "Fret not thyself because of evil doers." To the contrary, we must learn to "rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." When everything seems against us, it is only God's opportunity to show His strength. Sometimes, in earnest prayer, we need to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

    "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Habakkuk came to the place where the fig tree did not blossom, neither was there fruit in the vine; the labour of the olive failed, and the fields yielded no meat; the flock was cut off from the fold, and no herd was found in the stall: yet, the Prophet said, "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."

    It was the clinging prayer of Jacob that made him a victor. It is when we come to the end of ourselves, and lift up our face with beseeching unto God, that He comes to our help.

    God has said, "My grace is sufficient for thee." It is sufficient everywhere. What we must do is to lift up our eyes unto the Lord, and get in touch with His power. We will. always find that there is a larger balance to the credit of faith when we draw upon Heavenly resources.

    II. SERVICE, THE OUTWARD LOOK (John 4:35-36 )

    The Lord told the disciples to lift up their eyes, and to look, for the fields were white unto the harvest. When our eyes were upon the fields for service, His eyes would be upon us for blessing. When the Children of Israel faced the land of Canaan, God told them to enter in, and to possess the land. Then, said God, "I will be with thee."

    We fail to receive from God, because we refuse to undertake for God. He who sits still, and never ventures, in faith, will find God waiting for him to step out, instead of working for Him.

    The eyes of the Lord are looking for men ready to leave father, mother, brother, sister, houses and lands, that they may go forth to reap.

    Do you see the ripened fields? Do you hear the voice of God saying, "Who will go and reap?" God grant that you may say, "Here am I, Lord, send me."

    When the Lord commanded Joshua, saying, "Arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people," there was no time for fear, no time to weigh the difficulties of the wilderness. What mattered if there were difficulties ahead; God had commanded, "Go!" They dared not hesitate.

    The Lord told Philip to go in the road which was desert. Immediately Philip arose and went. Can we not even now hear the voice of God saying to us, even as He said to Israel of old, "Go forward"?

    The Lord Himself has promised, "I will be with thee." We must not cease to go until we have preached the Gospel to every creature; until every stock of ripened grain has been harvested home.

    If barriers lie across our way, they will disappear before our march of faith.

    'Tis the voice of the Master, "Press forward today,

    The fields are all ripened with grain";

    'Tis the voice of the servant, 'I'll haste to obey,

    Not counting the cost, but the gain."

    III. CONFLICT, THE INWARD LOOK (Romans 7:18-24 )

    When we look within and view our human heart, in its sinful estate, we are crushed, even to despair. Paul said, "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Do you marvel that Paul then cried, "O wretched man that I am"? The vision of his own sinful self was enough to cause him to bemoan himself.

    It is always true that when we look within and see the contumely of our old man, we are disturbed and disheartened. What then shall we do? Let us reckon the old man as dead. Let us refuse to listen to its voice, to walk in its ways, or to fulfil its desires.

    On the contrary, let us look away to the Holy Spirit, remembering that He, likewise, dwells within. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. If we walk in the Spirit, our moans of despair will be changed into paeans of victory. Instead of self-condemnation, we will have "no condemnation." Instead of the works of the flesh being made manifest, we will bear the fruit of the Spirit.

    The believer must guard against being overwhelmed by introspection. He must remember that Jesus Christ is stronger than self, that the Holy Spirit will give deliverance from the dominion of the self-life.

    It is unwise for the Christian to boast in the flesh, or to walk by the flesh, or to pamper the flesh. Paul said, "I die daily." There is only one place for the self-life and that is on the Cross, to be crucified with Christ. It we live the life of victory, we must not walk by the old man, but by the new man.

    Christ has said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself." In the Christian experience Christ must be All, and in all, and the old man nothing at all.

    IV. RETROSPECTION, THE BACKWARD LOOK (2 Timothy 4:8 )

    As Paul looked backward over a fruitful ministry, and a faithful life, he could say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." Here is a retrospective that was worth the while.

    We need to look backward now and then, not with the spirit of boastfulness, but with the spirit of honest contemplation.

    At the end of every day it will profit us to study what has been done, and said, and thought. Thus we can profit by our mistakes, and increase our victories. The first will cause us to be more careful; and the second will bring us encouragement by the way.

    In retrospection, however, we must never be overwhelmed or discouraged by reason of our failure; nor, must we be satisfied with our successes. We must watch against resting upon our past accomplishments. We should use what God has done through us in the past, as an incentive to renewed and enlarged undertakings in the future.

    If we would make our final retrospective, at the close of life's day, a cause for thanksgiving and praise, we must be very careful to fill in each day, as it passes, with faithful service; with fidelity to the faith; and with holy living.

    When the Lord Jesus approached the end of His earthly ministry, He said, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do."

    V. THE PERSPECTIVE, THE ONWARD LOOK (Habakkuk 2:3 )

    We like the word spoken by Habakkuk: "For the vision is yet for an appointed time * * though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."

    As we look at present world-conditions we are disheartened. We are walking through a valley of the shadow of death. Sin and sorrow are wreaking out misery everywhere. Satan is renewing every effort against the race.

    The Word of God promises no relief. Unto the end wars are determined. Evil men are to wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Iniquity will abound. God paints no roseate picture of the last days. He tells us, rather, that "perilous times shall come."

    What Habakkuk saw, however, was a vision that looked on far beyond the present hour, far beyond the hour of Jacob's trouble. We know that Habakkuk saw the overthrow of Israel, and the cup of sorrow which she must drink; but he saw also the Lord coming, with His glory covering the Heavens, and he saw the earth full of His praise. He saw Christ coming in judgment against the nations that had despoiled Israel. He saw the sun and moon standing still as the Lord's arrows went forth. He saw the Lord marching through the land in indignation, threshing the heathen in His anger. Then, he saw the salvation of God's people, with the head of the house of the wicked cut down.

    We need a similar vision. We would not be blind to the day of wrath that is about to fall upon the earth, but we would see also another day, a day of peace, a day when men shall beat the swords into plowshares, and the spears into pruninghooks; a day when Christ shall reign in righteousness.

    If we see nothing but the present hour, heading up in the reign and rule of the antichrist, we will become discouraged; but, if we see beyond that hour, the day of "the Lord seated upon His throne," we will become encouraged and full of blessed anticipation.

    VI. DISCOURAGEMENT, THE DOWNWARD LOOK (Genesis 4:5-6 )

    Sin had entered into the Garden, and man had been expelled therefrom. Cain and Abel had been born with the ravages of sin upon them. Abel had placed his faith in the blood of a sacrifice, which anticipated the Cross of Christ. Cain had rejected the atonement, and had placed his faith in a bloodless sacrifice art ethical conception.

    In jealousy Cain rose up and slew his brother. When Cain had seen that God accepted Abel and rejected himself, he was wroth, and his countenance fell. The result of sin is always a downcast look a fallen countenance.

    God made man an "uplooker." He placed his head on the top of him. He gave him as his realm of his contemplation and vision, the things which were high and holy. Sin changed man's perspective; it turned his face from the skies, where God rules; to the earth, where man dwells.

    The sinner looks at the things seen, not at the things unseen; he centers his affections upon the things of the earth, not upon the things of the sky.

    Saints are "uplookers" and not "downlookers." We are looking for that Blessed Hope, and the Glorious Appearing of our Lord. We are building our treasures in Heaven, not upon the earth. We are strangers and pilgrims, journeying toward a City, whose Builder and Maker is God.

    The man who, Cain-like, has his countenance downcast, and is living for this present world, is blind and cannot see afar off. The god of this world hath veiled his eyes lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of God should shine in upon him and convert him.

    VII. ENCOURAGEMENT, THE GOD-WARD LOOK (2 Kings 6:17 )

    Gehazi must have trembled with fear as he saw the enemy closing in upon Elisha, Then it was that the Prophet prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see." What Gehazi saw was the mountain full of God's horses and chariots, giving protection to His Prophet.

    We need the vision which God gave to Gehazi. We need to see all Heaven working in our behalf. When this is before us, we will lift up the hands that hang down and find strength for our feeble knees.

    Instead of looking at our emergencies, we should look beyond them, and above them to God's provision and power. When the Children of Israel saw the mountains on one side, the sea before them, and Pharaoh's hosts coming upon them and closing them in, they needed to look away to God.

    The hosts of the Lord are an innumerable multitude, and they are all working in our behalf. The Lord, Himself, has placed at our disposal all of the power invested in Him, as He sits enthroned above.

    Retreat should never be found in the Christian's vocabulary. We should not even try to go around our difficulties. We should press through them.

    The ten spies came back, saying, "We saw giants." Joshua and Caleb said, "Let us go up at once" they saw God.

    There are giants at every turn. They are in our family life; they are in our business careers; they are in our spiritual walk; they are everywhere. If we see the powers of God around us, we will say, "They be bread for us; we will eat them up." Without the opening of our eyes, and the faith which the vision of God instills, we will be eaten up by our enemies.

    Our God is a God of infinite power. Our battle, therefore, is a battle with a sure conquest at its close. We will prove more than victors, through Him who loved us. We may experience a continuous fight, but we will have a glorious conclusion.

    AN ILLUSTRATION

    BIRDS ON THE WING

    "Birds are seldom taken in their flight; the more we are upon the wing of Heavenly thoughts the more we escape snares." "O that we would remember this, and never tarry long on the ground lest the fowler ensnare us. We need to be much taken up with Divine things, rising in thought above these temporal matters, or else the world will entangle us, and we shall be like birds held with limed twigs, or encompassed in a net. Holy meditation can scarcely be overdone; in this age we fear it never is. We are too worldly, and think too much of the fleeting trifles of time, and so the enemy gets an advantage of us, and takes a shot at us. O for more wing and more use of the flight we have! Communion with Jesus is not only sweet in itself, but it has a preserving power by bearing us aloft, above gun-shot of the enemy. Thoughts of Heaven prevent discontent with our present lot, delight in God drives away love to the world, and joy in our Lord Jesus expels pride and carnal pleasure: thus we escape from many evils by rising above them.

    Up, then, my heart. Up from the weedy ditches and briery hedges of the world into the clear atmosphere of Heaven. There where the dews of grace are born, and the sun of righteousness is Lord paramount, and the blessed wind of the Spirit blows from the everlasting hills, thou wilt find rest on the wing, and sing for joy where thine enemies cannot even see thee."

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    Bibliographical Information
    Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/genesis-19.html.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    Genesis

    THE SWIFT DESTROYER

    Genesis 19:15 - Genesis 19:26.

    The religious significance of this solemn page of revelation is but little affected by any of the interesting questions which criticism raises concerning it, so that I am free to look at the whole narrative for the purpose of deducing its perennial lessons. There are four clearly marked stages in the story: the lingering of Lot in the doomed city, and the friendly force which dragged him from it; the prayer of abject fear, and the wonderful answer; the awful catastrophe; and the fate of the wretched woman who looked back.

    1. Lot’s lingering and rescue by force. Second thoughts are not always best. When great resolves have to be made, and when a clear divine command has to be obeyed, the first thought is usually the nobler; and the second, which pulls it back, and damps its ardour, is usually of the earth, earthy. So was it with Lot. Overnight, in the excitement of the terrible scene enacted before his door, Lot had been not only resolved himself to flee, but his voice had urged his sons-in-law to escape from the doom which he then felt to be imminent. But with the cold grey light of morning his mood has changed. The ties which held him in Sodom reassert their power. Perhaps daylight made his fears seem less real. There was no sign in the chill Eastern twilight that this day was to be unlike the other days. Perhaps the angels’ summons roused him from sleep, and their ‘arise’ is literally meant. It might have given wings to his flight. Urgent, and resonant, like the morning bugle, it bids him be stirring lest he be swept away ‘in the punishment of the city.’ Observe that the same word means ‘sin’ and ‘punishment,’-a testimony to the profound truth that at bottom they are one, sin being pain in the root, pain being sin in the flower. So our own word ‘evil’ covers all the ground, and means both sin and sorrow. But even that pealing note does not shatter his hesitation. He still lingers. What kept him? That which had first taken him there-material advantages. He had struck root in Sodom. The tent life which he had kept to at first has been long given up; we find him sitting in the gate of the city, the place for gossip and friendly intercourse. He has either formed, or is going to form, marriage alliances for his daughters with men of the city who are as black as the rest. Perhaps his wife, whom the story will not name, for pity or for horror, was a Sodomite. To escape meant to leave all this and his wealth behind. If he goes out, he goes out a pauper. So his heart, which is where his treasure is, makes his movements slow. What insanity his lingering must have seemed to the angels! I wonder if we, who cling so desperately to the world, and who are so slow to go where God would have us to be for our own safety, if thereby we shall lose anything of this world’s wealth, seem very much wiser to eyes made clear-sighted with the wisdom of heaven. This poor hesitating lingerer, too much at home in the city of destruction to get out of it even to save his life, has plenty of brothers to-day. Every man who lets the world hold him by the skirts when Christ is calling him to salvation, and every man who is reluctant to obey any clear call to sacrifice and separation from godless men, may see his own face in this glass, and perhaps get a glimpse of its ugliness.

    What a homely picture, full of weighty truth, the story gives us, of the angels each taking two of the reluctant four by the hand, and dragging them with some degree of kindly force from destruction into safety! So, in a great fire, domestic animals and horses seem to find a strange fascination in the flames, and have to be carried out of certain death by main force. They ‘set him’-or we might read, ‘made him rest’-outside the city. It was but a little distance, for these ‘cities’ were tiny places, and the walls were soon reached. But it was far enough to change Lot’s whole feelings. He passes to feeble despair and abject fear, as we shall see. That forlorn group, homeless, friendless, stripped of everything, shivering outside the gate in the cold morning air, may teach us how wise and prudent the man is who seeks the kingdom of God second, and the other things first.

    2. There was a pause outside the city. A new voice speaks now to Lot. ‘They’ brought him forth; but ‘He’ said ‘escape.’ The same ‘Lord’ to whom Abraham had prayed, has now rejoined the mysterious pair whom He had sent to Sodom. And Lot’s entreaty is addressed to Him whom he calls ‘my Lord.’ He uses singular pronouns throughout, although the narrator says that he ‘said unto them.’ There seems to be here the same idea as is embodied in the word ‘Elohim’; namely, that the divine powers are regarded as in some sense separable, and yet all inhering in a personal unity. At all events, we have here a distinct representation of an intercourse between God and man, in which thoughts are conveyed to the human spirit direct from the divine, and desires pass from the human to the divine. The manner of the intercourse we do not know, but the possibility of the fact can scarcely be denied by any believer in a God; and, however we may call this miraculous or abnormal, the essence of the event can be repeated in the experience of each of us. God still speaks to men, and men may still plead with God. Unless our religion is communion, it is nothing.

    The divine voice reiterates the angels’ urgent command in still more stringent words: ‘Escape for thy life.’ There is to be no more angel-leading, but Lot’s feet are to be made as hinds’ feet by the thought of the flaming death that is pursuing. His lingering looks are sternly forbidden, since they would delay his flight and divide his heart. The direction of his flight is for the first time pointed out. The fertile plain, which had lured him down from the safe hills, is prohibited. Only on the mountain-side, probably the eastern mountains, where the morning red was beginning to blush, is there safety.

    Lot’s answer shows a complete change of feeling. He is too fully alarmed now. His fright is so desperate that it has killed faith and common sense. The natural conclusion from God’s mercy, which he acknowledges, would have been trust and obedience. ‘Therefore I can escape,’ not ‘but I cannot escape,’ would have been the logic of faith. The latter is the irrationality of fear. When a man who has been cleaving to this fleeting life of earthly good wakes up to believe his danger, he is ever apt to plunge into an abyss of terror, in which God’s commands seem impossible, and His will to save becomes dim. The world first lies to us by ‘You are quite safe where you are. Don’t be in a hurry to go.’ Then it lies, ‘You never can get away now.’ Reverse Lot’s whimpering fears, and we get the truth. Are not God’s directions how to escape, promises that we shall escape? Will He begin to build, and not be able to finish? Will the judgments of His hand overrun their commission, like a bloodhound which, in its master’s absence, may rend his friend? ‘We have all of us one human heart,’ and this swift leap from unreasoning carelessness to as unreasoning dread, this failure to draw the true conclusion from God’s past mercy, and this despairing recoil from the path pointed for us, and craving for easier ways, belongs to us. ‘A strange servant of God was this,’ say we. Yes, and we are often quite as strange. How many people awakened to see their danger are so absorbed by the sight that they cannot see the cross, or think they can never reach it!

    God answered the cry, whatever its fault, and that may well make us pause in our condemnation. He hears even a very imperfect petition, and can see the tiniest germ of faith buried under thick clods of doubt and fear. This stooping readiness to meet Lot’s weakness comes in wonderful contrast with the terrible revelation of judgment which follows. What a conception of God, which had room for this more than human patience with weakness, and also for the flashing, lurid glories of destructive retribution! Zoar is spared, not for the unworthy reason which Lot suggested-because its minuteness might buy impunity, as some noxious insect too small to be worth crushing-but in accordance with the principle which was illustrated in Abraham’s intercession, and even in Lot’s safety; namely, that the righteous are shields for others, as Paul had the lives of all that sailed with him given to him.

    God’s ‘cannot’ answers Lot’s ‘cannot.’ His power is limited by His own solemn purpose to save His faltering servant. The latter had feared that, before he could reach the mountain, ‘the evil’ would overtake him. God shows him that his safety was a condition precedent to its outburst. Lot barred the way. God could not ‘let slip the dogs of’ judgment, but held them in the leash until Lot was in Zoar. Very awful is the command to make haste, based on this impossibility, as if God were weary of delay, and more than ready to smite. However we may find anthropomorphism in these early narratives, let us not forget that, when the world has long been groaning under some giant evil, and the bitter seed is grown up into a waving forest of poison, there is something in the passionless righteousness of God which brooks no longer delay, but seeks to make ‘a short work’ on the earth.

    3. So we are brought face to face with the grim story of the destruction. There is a world of tragic meaning in the simple note of time given. ‘The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.’ The low-lying cities of the plain would lie in shadow for some time before the sun topped the eastern hills. What a dawn! At that joyous hour, just when the sunshine struck down on the smiling plain, and lake and river gleamed like silver, and all things woke to new hopes and fresh life, then the sky darkened, and the earth sank, and horrible rain of fiery bitumen fell from the black pall, salt mud poured in streams, and over all hung a column of fat, oily smoke. It is not my province to discuss the physical cause of the destruction; but I may refer to the suggestions of Sir J. W. Dawson, in his Egypt and Syria, and in The Expositor for May 1886, in which he shows that great beds of bituminous limestone extend below the Jordan valley and much of the Dead Sea, and that the escape of inflammable gag from these through the opening of a fissure along a great ‘line of fault,’ is capable of producing all the effects described. The ‘brimstone’ of the Authorised Version is probably rather some form of bituminous matter which would be carried into the air by such an escape of gas, and a thick saline mud would accompany the eruption, encrusting anything it reached. Subsidence would follow the ejection of quantities of such matter; and hence the word ‘overthrew,’ which seems inappropriate to a mere conflagration, would be explained.

    But, however this may be, we have to recognise a supernatural element in the starting of the train of natural causes, as well as in the timing of the catastrophe, and a divine purpose of retribution, which turns the catastrophe, however effected, into a judgment.

    So regarded, the event has a double meaning. In the first place, it is a revelation of an element in the divine character and of a feature in the divine government. To the men of that time, it might be a warning. To Abraham, and through him to his descendants, and through them to us, it preaches a truth very unwelcome to many in this day: that there is in God that which constrains Him to hate, fight against, and punish, evil. The temper of this generation turns away from such thoughts, and, in the name of the truth that ‘God is love,’ would fain obliterate the truth that He does and will punish. But if the punitive element be suppressed, and that in God which makes it necessary ignored or weakened, the result will be a God who has not force enough to love, but only weakly to indulge. If He does not hate and punish, He does not pardon. For the sake of the love of God, we must hold firm by the belief in the judgments of God. The God who destroyed Sodom is not merely the God of an earlier antiquated creed. ‘Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yea, of the Gentiles also.’

    Again, this event is a prophecy. So our Lord has employed it; and much of the imagery in which the last judgment is represented is directly drawn from this narrative. So far from this story showing to us only the superstitions of a form of belief which we have long outgrown, its deepest meaning lies far ahead, and closes the history of man on the earth. We know from the lips which cannot lie, that the appalling suddenness of that destruction foreshadows the swiftness of the coming of that last ‘day of the Lord.’ We know that in literality some of the physical features shall be reproduced; for the fire which shall burn up the world and all its works is no figure, nor is it proclaimed only by such non-authoritative voices as those of Jesus and His apostles, but also by the modern possessors of infallible certitude, the men of science. We know that that day shall be a day of retribution. We know, too, that the crime of Sodom, foul and unnatural as it was, is not the darkest, but that its inhabitants {who have to face that judgment too} will find their doom more tolerable, and their sins lighter, than some who have had high places in the Church, than the Pharisees and wise men who have not taken Christ for their Saviour.

    4. The fate of the loiterer. Her backward look must have been more than momentary, for the destruction of the cities did not begin till Lot was safe in Zoar. She must have lingered far behind, and been overtaken by the eruption of liquid saline mud, which, as Sir J. W. Dawson has shown, would attend or follow the outburst of bituminous matter, so that her fate was the natural consequence of her heart being still in Sodom. As to the ‘pillar of salt’ which has excited cavils on the one hand and foolish legends on the other, probably we are to think rather of a heap than of a pillar. The word does not occur in either meaning elsewhere, but its derivation implies something raised above the level of the ground; and a heap, such as would be formed by a human body encrusted with salt mud, would suit the requirements of the expression. Like a man who falls in a snowstorm, or, still more accurately, just as some of the victims at Pompeii stumbled in their flight, and were buried under the ashes, which still keep the outline of their figures, so Lot’s wife was covered with the half-liquid slimy mud. Granted the delay in her flight, the rest is perfectly simple and natural. She was buried in a horrible tomb; and, in pity to her memory, no name has been written upon it. She remains to all generations, in a far truer sense than superstition dreamed of when it pointed to an upright salt rock as her prison and her monument, a warning of the danger of the backward look, which betrays the true home of the heart, and may leave us unsheltered in the open plain when the fiery storm bursts. ‘Remember Lot’s wife.’

    When the angels awoke Lot, the day was breaking. By the time that Abraham had risen ‘early in the morning,’ and reached the place by his tent from which he had yesterday looked on the smiling plain, all was over, and the heavy smoke cloud wrapped the dead with its pall-like folds. So swift and sudden is to be the coming of the Son of man,-as the lightning which rushes in one fierce blinding flash from one side of heaven to the other. Wherefore, God calls to each of us: ‘Escape for thy life; look not behind thee.’

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    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/genesis-19.html.

    Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

    This also is written for our admonition. Our Saviour refers to it (Luke 17:32), Remember Lot's wife. As by the example of Sodom the wicked are warned to turn from their wickedness, so by the example of Lot's wife the righteous are warned not to turn from their righteousness. See Ezekiel 3:18, Ezekiel 3:20. We have here,

    I. The sin of Lot's wife: She looked back from behind him. This seemed a small thing, but we are sure, by the punishment of it, that it was a great sin, and exceedingly sinful. 1. She disobeyed an express command, and so sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, which ruined us all. 2. Unbelief was at the bottom of it; she questioned whether Sodom would be destroyed, and thought she might still have been safe in it. 3. She looked back upon her neighbours whom she had left behind with more concern than was fit, now that their day of grace was over, and divine justice was glorifying itself in their ruin. See Isaiah 66:24. 4. Probably she hankered after her house and goods in Sodom, and was loth to leave them. Christ intimates this to be her sin (Luke 17:31, Luke 17:32); she too much regarded her stuff. 5. Her looking back evinced an inclination to go back; and therefore our Saviour uses it as a warning against apostasy from our Christian profession. We have all renounced the world and the flesh, and have set our faces heaven-ward; we are in the plain, upon our probation; and it is at our peril if we return into the interests we profess to have abandoned. Drawing back is to perdition, and looking back is towards it. Let us therefore fear, Hebrews 4:1.

    II. The punishment of Lot's wife for this sin. She was struck dead in the place; yet her body did not fall down, but stood fixed and erect like a pillar, or monument, not liable to waste nor decay, as human bodies exposed to the air are, but metamorphosed into a metallic substance which would last perpetually. Come, behold the goodness and severity of God (Romans 11:22), towards Lot, who went forward, goodness; towards his wife, who looked back, severity. Though she was nearly related to a righteous man, though better than her neighbours, and though a monument of distinguishing mercy in her deliverance out of Sodom, yet God did not connive at her disobedience; for great privileges will not secure us from the wrath of God if we do not carefully and faithfully improve them. This pillar of salt should season us. Since it is such a dangerous thing to look back, let us always press forward, Philippians 3:13, Philippians 3:14.

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    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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    Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/genesis-19.html. 1706.

    Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

    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.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Bibliographical Information
    Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

    on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/genesis-19.html. 1706.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    His wife looked back, through curiosity, or unbelief, or desire of what she left, or from all these causes; from behind her husband, whom she followed. Which circumstance seems to be mentioned as the reason of this presumption, because she could do it without her husband’s observation or reproof, to which she had a greater regard than to the all-seeing eye of God.

    And she, i.e. her body, by a very common synecdoche,

    became a pillar of salt; either metaphorically, i.e. a perpetual durable pillar, as an everlasting covenant is called a covenant of salt, Numbers 18:19; or properly, for there is a kind of metallic salt which resists the rain, and is hard enough for buildings, as Pliny, Solinus, and others witness. And that salt was here mixed with brimstone, may be gathered from Deuteronomy 29:23. Add to this, that Josephus, Antiq. i. 12, affirms that this pillar remained in his time. And the like is witnessed by others after him.

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    These files are public domain.
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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/genesis-19.html. 1685.

    C. H. Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch

    There are two methods which the Lord graciously adopts, in order to draw the heart away from this present world. The first is, by setting before it the attractiveness and stability of "things above." The second is, by faithfully declaring the evanescent and shakeable nature of "things on the earth." The close of Hebrews 12:1-29 furnishes a beautiful example of each of these methods. After stating the truth, that we are come unto mount Zion, with all its attendant joys and privileges, the apostle goes on to say, "see that ye refuse not him that speaketh: for if they escaped not, who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven; whose voice then shook the earth, but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once I shake, not only the earth, but also heaven. Now this word Once signifieth the removal of the shakeable things, as of things that are made, that the unshakeable things may remain." Now it is much better to be drawn by the joys of heaven, than driven by the sorrows of earth.. The believer should not wait to be shaken out of present things. He should not wait for the world to give him up, before he gives up the world. He should give it up in the power of communion with heavenly things. There is no difficulty in giving up the world when we have, by faith, laid hold of Christ; the difficulty would then be to hold it. If a scavenger were left an estate of ten thousand a year, he would not long continue to sweep the streets. Thus, if we are realising our portion amid the unshakeable realities of heaven, we shall find little difficulty in resigning the delusive joys of earth. Let us now look at the solemn section of inspired history here set before us.

    In it we find Lot "sitting in the gate of Sodom," the place of authority. He has evidently made progress. He has "got on in the world." Looked at from a worldly point of view, his course has been a successful one. He, at first, "pitched his tent toward Sodom." Then, no doubt, he found his way into it; and now we find him sitting in the gate — a prominent, influential post. How different is all this from the scene with which the preceding chapter opens! But, ah! my reader, the reason is obvious. "By faith Abram sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles." We have no such statement, in reference to Lot.* It could not be said, "By faith Lot sat in the gate of Sodom." Alas! no; he gets no place among the noble army of confessors — the great cloud of witnesses to the power of faith. The world was his snare, present things his bane. He did not "endure as seeing him who is invisible." He looked at "the things which are seen, and temporal:" whereas Abram looked at "the things which are unseen and eternal." There was a most material difference between those two men, who, though they started together on their course, reached a very different goal, so far as their "public testimony was concerned. No doubt Lot was saved, yet it was "So as by fire," for, truly, "his work was burned up." On the other hand, Abraham had "an abundant entrance ministered unto him into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

    {*It would furnish a very searching question for the heart, in reference to every undertaking, were we to ask, "Am I doing this by faith?" "Whatever is not of faith is sin;" and, "Without faith it is impossible to please God.}

    Further, we do not find that Lot is permitted to enjoy any of the high distinctions and privileges with which Abraham was favoured. Instead of refreshing the Lord, Lot gets his righteous soul vexed; instead of enjoying communion with the Lord, he is at a lamentable distance from the Lord; and, lastly, instead of interceding for others, he finds enough to do to intercede for himself. The Lord remained to commune with Abraham, and merely sent His angels to Sodom; and these angels could, with difficulty, be induced to enter into Lot's house, or partake of his hospitality: "they said, Nay, but we will abide in the street all night." What a rebuke! How different from the willing acceptance of Abraham's invitation, as expressed in the words, "So do as thou hast said."

    There is a great deal involved in the act of partaking of any one's hospitality. It expresses, when intelligently looked at, full fellowship with him. "I will come in unto him, and sup with him, and he with me." "If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide." If they had not so judged her, they would not have accepted her invitation.

    Hence, the angels' word to Lot contains a most unqualified condemnation of his position in Sodom. They would rather abide in the street all night, than enter under the roof of one in a wrong position. Indeed, their only object in coming to Sodom seems to have been to deliver Lot, and that, too, because of Abraham; as we read: "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 which Lot dwelt." This is strongly marked. It was simply for Abraham's sake that Lot was suffered to escape: the Lord has no sympathy with a worldly mind; and such a mind it was that had led Lot to settle down amid the defilement of that guilty city. Faith never put him there; a spiritual mind never put him there; "his righteous soul" never put him there. It was simple love for this present evil world that led him, first, to "choose," then to "pitch his tent toward," and, finally, to "sit in the gate of Sodom." And, oh! what a portion he chose. Truly it was a broken cistern which could hold no water; a broken reed which pierced his hand. It is a bitter thing to seek, in any wise, to manage for ourselves; we are sure to make the most grievous mistakes. It is infinitely better to allow God to order all our ways for us, to commit them all, in the spirit of a little child, to Him, who is so willing and so able to manage for us; to put the pen, as it were, into His blessed hand, and allow Him to sketch out our entire course, according to His own unerring wisdom and infinite love.

    No doubt, Lot thought he was doing well for himself and his family, when he moved to Sodom; but the sequel shows how entirely he erred; and it also sounds in our ears a voice of deepest solemnity — a voice telling us to beware how we yield to the incipient workings of a worldly spirit. "Be content with such things as ye have." Why? Is it because you are so well off in the world? Because you have all that your poor rambling hearts would seek after? Because there is not so much as a single chink in your circumstances, through which vain desire might make its escape? Is this to be the ground of our contentment By no means. What then? "For he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Blessed portion! Had Lot been content therewith, he never would have sought the well watered plains of Sodom.

    And, then, if we need any further ground of inducement to the exercise of a contented spirit, truly we have it in this chapter, What did Lot gain in the way of happiness and contentment Little indeed. The people of Sodom surround his house, and threaten to break into it; he seeks to appease them by a most humiliating proposition, but all in vain. If a man will mingle with the world, for the purpose of self-aggrandisement, he must make up his mind to endure the sad consequences. We cannot profit by the world, and, at the same time, bear effectual testimony against its wickedness. "This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge." This will never do. The true way to judge is to stand apart, in the moral power of grace, not in the supercilious spirit of Pharisaism. To attempt to reprove the world's ways, while me profit by association with it, is vanity; the world will attach very little weight to such reproof and such testimony. Thus it was, too, with Lot's testimony to his sons-in law;" he seemed as one that mocked." It is vain to speak of approaching judgement, while finding our place, our portion, and our enjoyment, in the very scene which is to be judged.

    Abraham was in a far better position to speak of judgement, inasmuch as he was entirely outside of the sphere thereof. The tent of the stranger at Mamre was in no danger, though Sodom were in flames. Oh! that our hearts longed more after the precious fruits of a realised strangership, so that instead of having, like poor Lot, to be dragged, by main force, out of the world, and casting a lingering look behind, we might, with holy alacrity, bound forward, like a racer, towards the goal.

    Lot, evidently, longed after the scene which he was forced, by angelic power, to abandon; for not only had the angels to lay hold of him, and hasten him away from the impending judgement, but even when exhorted to escape for his life, (which was all he could save from the wreck,) and flee to the mountain, he replies, "Oh! not so, my Lord: behold, now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy which thou hast showed 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 I let me escape thither, (is it not a little one) and my soul shall live." What a picture! He seems like a drowning man, ready to catch even at a floating feather. Though commanded by the angel to flee to the mountain, he refuses, and still fondly clings to the idea of "a little city," — some little shred of the world. He feared death in the place to which God was mercifully directing him — yea, he feared all manner of evil, and could only hope for safety in some little city, some spot of his own devising. Oh! let me escape thither, and my soul shall live." How sad. There is no casting himself wholly upon God. Alas! he had too long walked at a distance from Him; too long breathed the dense atmosphere of a "city," to be able to appreciate the pure air of the divine presence, or lean on the arm of the Almighty. His soul seemed completely unhinged; his worldly nest had been abruptly broken up, and he was not quite able to nestle himself, by faith, in the bosom of God. He had not been cultivating communion with the invisible world; and, now, the visible was passing away from beneath his feet with tremendous rapidity. The "fire and brimstone from heaven" were about to fall upon that in which all his hopes and all his affections were centred. The thief had broken in upon him, and he seems entirely divested of spiritual nerve and self-possession. He is at his wits' end; but the worldly element, being strong in his heart, prevails, and he seeks his only refuge in "a little city." Yet he is not at ease even there, for he leaves it, and gets up to the mountain. He does, through fear, what he would not do at the command of God's messenger.

    And, then, see his end! His own children make him drunk, and in his drunkenness he becomes the instrument of bringing into existence the Ammonites and the Moabites — the determined enemies of the people of God. What a volume of solemn instruction is here Oh! my reader, see here what the world is! see what a fatal thing it is to allow the heart to go out after it! What a commentary is Lot's history upon that brief but comprehensive admonition, "love not the world" This world's Sodoms and its Zoars are all alike. There is no security, no peace, no rest, no solid satisfaction for the heart therein. The judgement of God hangs over the whole scene; and He only holds back the sword, in long-suffering mercy, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    Let us, then, seek to pursue a path of holy separation from the world. Let us, while standing outside its entire range, be found cherishing the hope of the Master's return. May its well-watered plains have no charms for our hearts. May its honours, its distinctions, and its riches, be all surveyed by us in the light of the coming glory of Christ. May we be enabled, like the holy patriarch Abraham, to get up into the presence of the Lord, and, from that elevated ground, look forth upon the scene of wide-spread ruin and desolation — to see it all, by faith's anticipative glance, a smoking ruin. Such it will be. "The earth, also, and the things that are therein, shall be burned up." ALL that about which the children of this world are so intensely anxious-after which they are so eagerly grasping-for which they are so fiercely contending — all — all will be burned up. And who can tell how soon? Where is Sodom Where is Gomorrha? Where are the cities of the plain — those cities which were once all life, and stir, and bustle! Where are they now? All gone! swept away by the judgement of God. Consumed by His fire and brimstone. Well, His judgements now hang over this guilty world. The day is at hand; and, while judgements impend, the sweet story of grace is being told out to many an ear. Happy they, who hear and believe that story. Happy they, who fled to the strong mountain of God's salvation! who take refuge behind the cross of the Son of God, and therein and pardon and peace!

    God grant that the reader of these lines may know what it is, with a conscience purged from sin, and his heart's affections purged from the defiling influence of the world, to wait for the Son from heaven.

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    Mackintosh, Charles Henry. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". C. H. Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/nfp/genesis-19.html.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘But his wife looked back from behind him and she became a pillar of salt.’

    The final footnote increases the tragedy for Lot and warns against complacency. His wife was possibly a native Sodomite and could not bear to leave her home and family. As they hurry on she lingers behind, refusing to stay with them, and perhaps even turns back to return to her family home (‘looked back’ is a euphemism. It is not to be taken strictly but as signifying a heart that looks back resulting in further action). She does not believe Yahweh and she does not want to leave her people. We are to understand that Sodom is still in her heart for Yahweh allows it to happen. He knows the thoughts of the heart. Had she been like Lot she would have been spared for Abraham’s sake. Whatever the case her delay means that she is caught in the conflagration and is overwhelmed by a deluge of bitumen.

    “She became a pillar of salt.” By being overwhelmed with a deluge of bitumen which would soon dissolve her body.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/genesis-19.html. 2013.

    Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

    Genesis 12:1 to Genesis 25:18. The Story of Abraham.—In this section the three main sources, J. E, P are present. Gunkel has given strong reasons for holding that J is here made up of two main sources, one connecting Abraham with Hebron, the other with Beersheba and the Negeb. The former associates Abraham with Lot. (For details, see ICC.) On the interpretation to be placed on the figures of Abraham and the patriarchs, see the Introduction. The interest, which has hitherto been diffused over the fortunes of mankind in general, is now concentrated on Abraham and his posterity, the principle of election narrowing it down to Isaac, Ishmael being left aside, and then to Jacob, Esau being excluded.

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    Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

    . The men have learnt all they need to know of Sodom's character, and tell Lot of its impending fate that he may be rescued with his household. His prospective sons-in-law (mg.) do not heed his warning, so, as the morning is drawing on, the angels urge him to escape with his wife and daughters. As he lingers, they hurry them out of the city and bid them escape to the mountain, not looking behind or loitering. Lot fears to do this, and is permitted to find refuge in Zoar, spared for this purpose since it was but tiny. Nothing could be done till he was safe, though his wife disobeyed the prohibition to look back and was turned into a pillar of salt. The sun had risen when Lot reached his refuge, and then fire and brimstone were rained on Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities and all the Plain with its inhabitants were overturned, apparently by earthquake. Abraham, remembering what his guests had said, goes out in the morning to the place where he had talked with God in sight of Sodom, and where the cities had been he sees only dense volumes of smoke. In Genesis 19:29 we have P's reference to the catastrophe, the stress being laid on the deliverance of Lot for Abraham's sake. In J's narrative he seems to be saved for his own.

    Genesis 19:12. Read probably "thy sons-in-law and thy daughters."

    Genesis 19:17. look not behind thee: the reason is not clear, whether with hankering for what he is leaving, or because of the delay involved, or because man must not see God at work (Genesis 2:21).

    . An explanation why the district of Zoar (at the S. end of the Dead Sea, cf. Genesis 13:10) was not involved in the catastrophe, and why the city bore its name (= little); it was so insignificant that an exception might be made in its favour.

    Genesis 19:25. overthrew: the verb and the cognate noun are regularly used to describe this catastrophe.

    Genesis 19:26. An explanation of the origin of a salt column in the district. Josephus says that he had seen the pillar, and there is one in the district now, forty feet high, though whether that seen by Josephus is uncertain.

    Genesis 19:28. A vapour often hangs over the Dead Sea.

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    Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/genesis-19.html. 1919.

    Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

    CRITICAL NOTES.—

    Gen . Those cities.] Besides Sodom and Gomorrah, other cities were involved in this destruction, the cities of Admah and Zeboim (Deu 29:23; Hos 11:8), and all in the valley of Siddim, Zoar alone being excepted.

    Gen . Pillar of salt.] Heb. "And she was a (statue or) column of salt." This pillar is spoken of in the Book of Wisdom as still standing at that time. (Wis 10:7.) Josephus, the early Fathers of the Church, and even some modern travellers have asserted that it was well known in their days. "We may observe, in the spirit of Mr. Grove's article, ‘Lot,' in the Biblical Dict., that no details are given us here at all furnishing a foundation for the legends and tales of travellers which have been built upon the history." (Alford.)

    MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Gen

    THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CITIES OF THE PLAIN

    The previous history shows how they had long been ripe for judgment, now their last day and the inevitable hour had come.

    I. It was sudden.

    1. As regards the objects of it. They had no belief that God would interfere, but thought themselves secure in their wickedness. The plains around them were full of rich beauty, their cities were flourishing, their houses were filled with coarse plenty. The constancy of Nature was uninterrupted, the bounties of Providence continued without stint or sign of withdrawal. The sun rose brightly on that day, and it promised to be fair and prosperous as any other. But, in a moment, the fiery rain from heaven came down and swept them with sudden destruction. This is an example of what shall take place when the last Judgment shall arrive. It shall be then "as it was in the days of Lot" (Luk ). Men who have no real belief in the evil of sin, and the fate to which it exposes them, are unconcerned to the last. As regards the terrible designs of God's judgments they are like men asleep, but when that judgment comes, they awake on a sudden to the awful reality. The retribution prepared for the wicked appears to them to slumber, as if utterly quiet and harmless, but the time comes when God awakens, and then He despises their image (Psa 71:20). And what He despises cannot endure, but shall suddenly be destroyed.

    2. Not sudden, however, as regards the Author of it. The infinite perfections of God forbid the thought that there should be with Him anything like surprise. He has not to adapt Himself to emergencies by a quick decision. This terrible judgment was no sudden thought of God. His anger is slow and deliberate. The doom of Sodom and Gomorrah had already been fixed when God spoke with Abraham, but had been delayed partly on account of Lot, and partly to clear such an act of judgment from the suspicion of haste. Even in His most terrible deeds, God makes it appear to men that His ways are equal. His vengeance is judicial, not the violence of passion. Christ reveals to His chosen ones what the end shall be. They know what to expect, and look for His appearing. But to the rest, destruction comes at an hour when they are not aware. The swiftness of the lightning is the fittest natural image of God's appearing in judgment.

    II. It was the direct act of God. The record distinctly states that "the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven." Natural agencies were no doubt used, but we have proof that God was present not in an ordinary but in an extraordinary manner. There are distinct evidences of a special act of Divine vengeance.

    1. The destruction was predicted. God had already made known to Abraham, and to Lot and his family, what He was about to do. This destruction was not, therefore, an effect arising from the blind forces of nature, but a special act of the God of nature, who imparted to His favoured servants the secret of his design.

    2. The destruction was, in its nature, extraordinary. It was out of the way of the usual course of Providence. There has been nothing like it either before or since. No one who had witnessed it could doubt that it was pre-eminently destruction from the Almighty. God rained down fire out of heaven, His agency being clearly manifest as when He destroyed the old world by a flood.

    III. It was complete. "Those cities," "all the plain," "all the inhabitants," "that which grew upon the ground" (Gen ). Here was utter ruin, and absolutely without remedy. Every habitation was overturned, every animal and vegetable destroyed—every man perished in this overwhelming disaster. Lot and his family only excepted, the destruction was absolutely total. Their degeneracy was universal, and so was their destruction. Learn—

    1. That God's judgments, though deserved, tarry long. They had filled up the measure of their iniquities long ago. While their punishment was delayed they had opportunity to avert it. They sheltered a holy man whose precept and example might have converted their souls. Prayers were offered up on their account. They had a long space in which to consider their ways and turn to the Lord. Learn—

    2. That without timely repentance His judgments are sure to fall. God's warning to sinners are no empty threats, but will issue in the terrible facts. Long as the course of history has been or shall be to the end, judgment at length must fall upon the impenitent. Like unto Sodom and Gomorrah, the wicked world is doomed.

    SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES

    Gen . The sun rose brightly that morning; but before it had sunk below the western horizon the blood was cold in many a heart that burned with unhallowed fire, and many a pulse had ceased to beat that a few hours before throbbed with selfish passion. Down came the burning red rain from heaven, the fearful expression of the wrath of God. This strange flood of fire did for the bodies of men what death does for the soul. The attitude in which it found every man, there it sealed him.—(Robertson.)

    The sunlight of their last day fell upon these wicked cities and found their inhabitants as unconscious and incredulous of their danger as ever. Night is the time of fears and alarms, the fit season for great disasters. It was at night that the destroying angel passed through Egypt to slay the first-born—at night when the sword of the Lord smote the camp of Assyria and destroyed one hundred and eighty-five thousand men—at night that the shadow of a man's hand wrote on the wall of Belshazzar's palace the awful words announcing the destruction of his kingdom and of his life. But day is the time of security, for light reveals danger, and makes the way of escape easier. The gloomy fears of night are gone, and the morning brings with it gladness and the promise of a peaceful day. But to Sodom, this day brought unexpected vengeance. The danger of sin is great, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary.

    When the sun rose upon Sodom with the promise of a fine day, could anything be further from their thoughts than the overwhelming tempest which almost immediately began to pour down upon them? Had they had the most distant idea of their perilous situation, with what avidity would they have seized the opportunity of escape, and with what persevering efforts would they have exerted themselves to reach a place of safety. But their confidence destroyed them. Let the heedless take warning. The breath of the Lord may kindle a stream of brimstone before they are aware. "He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

    Gen . Here the Lord is represented as present in the skies, whence the storm of desolation comes, and on the earth where it falls. The Dale of Siddim, in which the cities were, appears to have abounded in asphalt and other combustible materials. (Gen 14:10.) The district was liable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions from the earliest to the latest times. We read of an earthquake in the days of King Uzziah. An earthquake in 1759 destroyed many thousands of persons in the Valley of Baalbec. Josephus reports that the Salt Sea sends up in many places black masses of asphalt which are not unlike headless bulls in shape and size. After an earthquake in 1834, masses of asphalt were thrown up from the bottom. The lake lies in the lowest part of the valley of the Jordan, and its surface is about 1300 feet below the level of the sea. In such a hollow, exposed to the burning rays of an unclouded sun, its waters evaporate as much as it receives by the influx of the Jordan. Its present area is about forty-five miles by eight. The southern part of the lake seems to have been the original Dale of Siddim, in which were the cities of the vale. The remarkable salt hills lying on the south of the lake are still called Khashm Usdum (Sodom). A tremendous storm, accompanied with flashes of lightning and torrents of rain, impregnated with sulphur, descended upon the doomed cities. From the injunction to Lot to flee to the mountain, as well as from the nature of the soil, we may infer that at the same time with the awful conflagration there was a subsidence of the ground, so that the waters of the upper and original lake flowed in upon the former fertile and populous dale, and formed the shallow southern part of the present Salt Sea. In this pool of melting asphalt and sweltering seething waters, the cities seem to have sunk for ever, and left behind them no vestiges of their existence.—(Murphy.)

    Brimstone and fire. The portion of the wicked—a suggestion of that fiery deluge which shall overwhelm the sinful world at the last day. (Psa ; Jude 1:7.) These cities are an example to the world that God will, in the end, utterly vanquish His enemies.

    What was the agency which effected this destruction? The Bible refers it to the immediate action of God; and the truth of Scripture, it is thought by some, depends upon establishing the miraculous character of the fall of these cities. A man goes now to the scene of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and tries to establish the fact that it was nothing but a natural volcanic eruption; and by getting rid of the supernatural agency, he thinks he has got rid of God Himself. Another goes to the same place, and, in his zeal for the supernatural, wishes to make out that the veracity of the Bible depends upon this kind of occurrence never having happened before. Do we mean, then, that only the marvellous incidents of nature,—the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah taking place at an appointed time,—only the positive miracles, are God's doing, and not the commonplace events of everyday life? Nay, God holds all the powers of nature in His hand; small events may be so directed by Him that we shall think them accident; but for all this it is no less certain that the most trifling act of every-day life is directed by Him. What we have to say is this: we agree with the super-naturalist in saying that God did it; we agree with the rationalist in saying that it was done by natural means. The natural is the work of God.—(Robertson.)

    Though the descriptions which the Bible gives us of the future punishment of the wicked are but symbolical, yet such a dread judgment as this shows that they signify a terrible something. By a necessary law, sooner or later sin must bring its penalty. The wicked shall not go unpunished.

    Gen . In all the plain. He consumed its productions, He destroyed its beauty, He extinguished the very principles of its fertility, and submerged the ground itself under the waters of the Jordan, that the foot of man might never tread it more. The destruction was complete and irreparable; the country was in a manner blotted out of the map of Palestine, so fierce was the indignation, so terrible the overthrow. Thus were the cities of the plain, and the ground on which they stood, set forth for an example to every succeeding age; and to that awful catastrophe the sacred writers often allude in their denunciations of the Divine judgments against apostate Israel. (Deu 23:23; Hos 11:8.)—(Bush.)

    The power of God is against sinners: they defy the Omnipotent, but in vain.

    THE FATE OF LOT'S WIFE

    There was a great difference between the feelings of the elder and the younger branches of Lot's family on leaving their home. His sons and daughters left it in apparent obedience, but with the spirit of the inhabitants of the plain; it was not so with Lot's wife. It is not the character of age to accommodate itself readily to fresh circumstances. The old man does not feel inclined to launch himself afresh on the great ocean of the universe to seek new fortunes. He does not easily make fresh acquaintances, or transplant himself quickly from old haunts and homes. To youth there is a future; to old age there remains nothing but the present and the past. Therefore, while youth went on with its usual elastic step of buoyancy and hope, Lot's wife lingered; she regretted the home of her vanity and luxury, and the lava flood overwhelmed her, encrusted her with salt, and left her as a monument. The moral we are to draw from that is not left us to choose. Christ says, "Remember Lot's wife." It is worse to turn back, when once on the safe path, than never to have served God at all. They who have once tasted of the power of the world to come, let them beware lest they turn again. Sin is dangerous, but relapse is fatal. That is the reason why God so marvellously smooths the way for youth. Early joy enables the young man to make his first steps surely, with confidence in his Maker; love, gratitude, and all his best emotions are thus called forth. But if afterwards he falls, if he sinks back again into the world of evil, think you that his feelings will spur him on again in God's cause? Nay, because at the first time there was hope, the next all the hope is washed out; the stimulus of feeling is weaker because experience has broken down hope; he knows now what those resolves were worth! There is great difficulty in quitting evil after long habit. It becomes a home, and holiness is dull, and cheerless, and dreary. Youth, then, is the time for action—earnest, steady advancement, without looking back. St. Paul says, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, "Let us therefore fear lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it;" and again he shows us the evil of drawing back—"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him."—(Robertson.)

    THE CAUSE AND DANGER OF BACKSLIDING

    The sad history of Lot's wife is a fearful warning to backsliders. She had taken steps to secure her salvation, but failed.

    I. The cause of backsliding. The bitter root of her sin and error was unbelief. If she had strong faith in God she would have gone forward with an eye wholly fixed and intent on. His command Faith turns from all else to look to Him alone. This unbelief—

    1. Leads to disobedience. She broke the command, "Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain." (Gen .) She stood still, and looked back with a longing heart on what she had left. The sinful past gains power over us when faith fails and our eye turns away from what God has set before us. Even if no sinful thoughts had prompted that look it was not innocent. The simple act of disobedience was a grave offence against God. By such an act our first father fell. In the case of the backslider there is always some unbelief which leads to some special acts of disobedience.

    2. Leads to indecision. The looking back upon Sodom, when God had forbidden it, shows that her mind was not fully made up. She was moved at once by opposite feelings and desires. She was perplexed between God and the world. Unless we give up ourselves entirely to God's will, the result must be this indecision of character, when a very slight force will suffice to turn us back again to our old state.

    II. The danger of backsliding. The awful doom of Lot's wife shows us how God regards this sin.

    1. There is the danger of forfeiting our salvation. Lot's wife never reached the mountain.

    2. The danger of punishment. If we turn away from God, and enter upon our old course, and remain in our sins, we must receive the penalty.

    SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES

    We may fail in the way of salvation after we have made some progress on the journey.

    How few escape the corruption that is in the world, and secure their own salvation! Only eight in the Flood, now but four from Sodom, and even one of these perished in the ruins of it.

    They fall deepest into hell who fall backwards into hell. None are so near heaven as those that are convinced of sin—none so near to heaven as those who have quenched conviction.—(Bunyan.)

    Her example is still preserved in sacred history as a warning to all who turn back from the ways of God. She persists throughout the ages "a pillar of salt"—a perpetual monument. What a sad counterpart is she to that woman who poured the precious ointment on the head of Jesus, and whose deed shall be held in remembrance wheresoever the Gospel is preached!

    How fearfully is judgment here mingled with mercy! Lot was himself delivered, but at what an expense! It was a dismal spectacle to him to behold the city of his residence, including the habitations of his neighbours and probably of some of his own relatives, with all their inmates, sinking into the flames of the devouring element. But this was not all. One wave of anguish after another rolled over him. His company as he left the city was but small; and now, alas, when he has escaped, one is missing! His wife was the partner of his flight, but not of his preservation. The companion of his youth, the mother of his children, instead of sharing in joy of their deliverance, stands a pillar of salt in the ways towards Sodom, an awful monument of the danger of disobedience! This may be deemed a hard fate for a mere glance of the eye; but that glance, no doubt, was expressive of unbelief and a lingering desire to return. Behold, then, the goodness and severity of God—towards Lot that went forward, goodness; towards his wife that looked back, severity. Though nearly related to a righteous man, and a monument of distinguishing mercy in her deliverance out of Sodom, yet rebelling against an express mandate of Heaven, her privileges and relations availed her nothing; God would not connive at her disobedience; she became a mournful illustration of the truth that the righteous who turn away from their righteousness shall perish. While we lament her fate, let us profit by her example.—(Bush.)

    May not the exile, now that he is fairly out of the city, relax his speed, and proceed a little more leisurely? May he not cast his eye once more on the scene he is forsaking, and indulge one last, lingering, farewell look? At his peril if he do it. One who should have shared his flight to the last has tried the experiment. She cleaves to her old home. She loves the world, and in the world's swift judgment she is miserably engulfed. One look behind is fatal. To pause is ruin. Who is there among you who has been persuaded and enabled to come out from among the ungodly—who has escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust? Remember Lot's wife. You may say, let me go and bury my father—let me just return and bid farewell to my friends—but one more embrace, but one more look, and then up and after Christ again. Tempt not the Lord. He who says, Follow Me, utters also these solemn words:—"No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." "If any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him." Be not of those "who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." And let the voice of Him who has led you forth, and set you free from the condemnation and corruption of the world lying in wickedness, ring continually in your ears when you would slacken your pace or abate your zeal. "Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain."—(Candlish.)

    We may contrast this flight from Sodom with the conduct which our Lord enjoins upon His disciples when He should come at the destruction of Jerusalem. So sudden was to be their flight, that the man on the house-top must not go down to fetch his clothes. The roofs of their houses were flat, and formed continuous terraces which terminated at the gates of the city, and by these they might escape with safety into the country. Their escape must be quite as sudden as Lot's from Sodom. The exhortation was peculiarly appropriate to His female disciples, for whose safety the tender heart of Jesus was concerned. The advice was taken, for when the Roman armies drew nigh, "many departed from the city as from a sinking ship." All the disciples acted upon the command of their Lord and arrived safely at Pella. None perished. The case of Lot's wife is in sad contrast to this parallel instance. Consider some of the circumstances that make her history full of instruction.

    1. She perished after solemn warning. Lot was warned to escape, and while he lingered the men laid hold on him. Lingering nature requires the hand of special grace to save it from destruction. "By grace ye are saved." "But his wife looked back from behind him" with regret and affection to the place. She wavered, stopped by the way, shrank from the grasp of her angel-conductor, leaving her husband to go on his way alone. The storm suddenly came. She was a little too far from Zoar, and a little too near Sodom. She became scorched and encrusted by the burning flood, and remained on the spot—a petrified monument of Divine justice. She met the fate of those who, being often reproved, are suddenly destroyed. So those to whom the Gospel is preached have often been warned—by every affliction, every providence, every death, every sermon. And if these warnings are unheeded, God may say, at last, "Because I have called and ye refused," etc. (Pro .)

    2. She perished by a look. The city looked beautiful as ever when the sun rose upon it on that fatal day. That was the deceitful calm before the storm. She had sufficient energy of purpose to leave Sodom, but not enough to leave it altogether. Thus many go far towards obeying God, but not far enough. Lost by a look! Heaven and hell in a single glance of the eye. Eve looked at the tempting tree and brought sin and sorrow to our race. The Israelites looked at the brazen serpent and obtained life. Lot looked forward to Zoar to find safety; his wife back to Sodom to find destruction. One of the dying thieves looked on Christ and obtained eternal life; the other looked from him and died without repentance.

    3. She perished after she had stood long, and had enjoyed great advantages. This woman had known Abraham, had the benefits of his pious counsel and of his high example. Angels had come to her habitation. She was now actually outside of the city on which the stroke of doom was about to fall. Thus she failed at the last hour. There is no period at which our caution and vigilance can be safely relaxed. We must feel our dependance upon God's grace from first to last.

    4. She illustrates the enormous influence of worldly interests and affections. We are not distinctly told in the history why she looked back, but our Lord implies that it was from a worldly spirit. There was, also, some disbelief of the angels' message, and a want of tender solemnity and awe. Possibly she may have feared to endure the scorn and jeers of her worldly kindred should the destruction threatened not take place. The very brevity and simplicity of the record fits it all the more for manifold instruction.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/genesis-19.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    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.

    Revelation 19:3. So we are told, the saints will behold the destruction of Spiritual Sodom at the last day.

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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/genesis-19.html. 1828.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Genesis 19:26. But his wife looked back from behind him — Herein she disobeyed an express command. Probably she hankered after her house and goods in Sodom, and was loath to leave them. Christ intimates this to be her sin, Luke 17:31-32; she too much regarded her stuff. And her looking back spoke an inclination to go back; and therefore our Saviour uses it as a warning against apostacy from our Christian profession. And she became a pillar of salt — She was struck dead in the place, yet her body did not fall down, but stood fixed and erect, like a pillar or monument, not liable to waste or decay, as human bodies exposed to the air are, but metamorphosed into a metallic substance, which would last perpetually.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/genesis-19.html. 1857.

    Sermon Bible Commentary

    Genesis 19:26

    This is the whole of the record. The offence consisted only in a look; and that a look directed towards a city which may have been her birthplace, and which contained many that were dear to her by relationship and by friendship. The vengeance taken was most signal and appalling. Here is a case in which there seems a want of proportion between the sin and its recompense. But the fact that our Lord uses the admonition "Remember Lot's wife" shows that a moral end was to be subserved by the Divine interference. Lot's wife was meant to be an example to the men of every generation.

    I. God's moral government required the interference. The punishment took its measure, not so much from the greatness of the sin, as from the nature of the lessons to be given.

    II. Consider the sin committed by Lot's wife. She looked back; it may be she attempted to turn back. She, a rescued one, had no right to pause and grieve for such sinners as were left behind in Sodom. She was guilty of a positive act of disobedience, for the parting injunction of the angel had been "Look not behind thee."

    III. Her fate teaches a great lesson as to the duty of decision in religion. Deliverance is conditional. If we flee as those who hear behind them the tramp of the destroyer, if we rush as those who see the daylight hastening away, we shall be saved; but if our heart is with the stuff, or the friends that remain behind in Sodom, then "Remember Lot's wife." "No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of heaven."

    H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2445.

    References: Genesis 19:26.—R. M. McCheyne, Additional Remains, p. 249; R. W. Evans, Parochial Sermons, p. 30; Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 99.

    Gen. 19

    Notice:—

    I. Sodom's sinfulness. Her sins were committed amidst an unbounded flush of prosperity; they were committed amidst scenes of much natural loveliness, Nature being outraged before the eye of her most beautiful forms; and they were committed not only in opposition to Nature's silent, but to God's spoken, warnings.

    II. Notice Sodom's warnings. One was given by the entrance of Lot within its gates; another was given by the advent of Chedorlaomer and the invaders from the east. Abraham and Melchizedek cast their sublime and awful shadows from the King's Dale southward upon Gomorrah's walls; but the sinners within felt not the hallowing sense of their presence, trembled not at the steps of their majesty.

    III. Notice Sodom's intercessor. Abraham's prayer shows: (1) the confidence that existed between himself and God; (2) it shows God's personal knowledge of evil; (3) it shows God's great reluctance to punish; (4) it gives proof of the tremendous guilt of Sodom.

    IV. This terrible catastrophe lies in a bye-path of the Divine procedure; it did not relate immediately to the general course of the patriarchal dispensation, and yet what an awful "aside" did the fall of these cities utter! It must have struck Abraham with a new sense of the evil of sin and of the holiness and justice of God. In the Dead Sea, Israel felt, and we should feel too, that God's anger was, so to speak, sunk and slumbering on the outskirts of the land, and might at any moment awake and march out in all its fury on the impenitent.

    G. Gilfillan, Alpha and Omega, vol. ii., p. 1.


    References: Gen 19—F. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p. 43p; R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. i., p. 313; Expositor, 2nd series, vol. i., p. 443; Expositor, 3rd series, vol. ii., p. 203, vol. iii., p. 69; J. Foster, Lectures, vol. i., p. 103. Genesis 19:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 601. Genesis 19:12, Genesis 19:13.—W. Harris, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 399. Genesis 19:12, Genesis 19:26.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. iii., p. 107. Genesis 19:12-30.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 91, and vol. xxii., p. 156. Genesis 19:14.—Weekly Pulpit, vol. i. (1877), p. 264; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 120. Genesis 19:15.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes (1884), p. 9. Genesis 19:16.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiv., No. 789; Bishop Ryle, Holiness, its Nature, etc., p. 212. Genesis 19:16, Genesis 19:17.—S. Leathes, Truth and Life, p. 40. Genesis 19:17.—A. W. Hare, Sermons to a Country Congregation, vol. i., p. 201; S. A. Brooke, The Unity of God and Man, p. 143; F. O. Morris, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvii., p. 251; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 119. Genesis 19:17-19.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 550. Genesis 19:20.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. v., No. 248; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xii., p. 81. Genesis 19:24, Genesis 19:25.—Parker, vol. i., p. 222. Genesis 19:26.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiv., p. 171. Genesis 19:27, Genesis 19:28.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 602. Genesis 19:27-29.—R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. i., p. 330. Genesis 19:29.—E. Cooper, Fifty-two Sermons, p. 93.



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    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/genesis-19.html.

    Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

    Genesis 19:12. 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:

    Let me bid every Christian man to look about him, among all his kith and kin, to see which of them yet remain unconverted. Let your prayers go up for them all: “Son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters.”

    Genesis 19:13-14. 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.

    “The old man is in his dotage,” said they; “he always was peculiar, he never acted like the rest of the citizens; he came in here as a stranger, and he has always been strange in his behavior.”

    Genesis 19:15-16. 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. 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.

    I have always felt pleased to think that there were just hands enough to lead out these four people, Lot, and his wife, and their two daughters. Had there been one more, there would have been no hand to lay hold of the fifth person; but these two angels, with their four hands, could just lead these four persons outside the doomed city. God will always have agents enough to save his elect; there shall be sufficient gospel preaching, even in the darkest and deadest times, to bring his redeemed out of the City of Destruction. God will miss none of his own.

    Genesis 19:17. 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.

    Perhaps the old man’s legs trembled under him; he felt that he could not run so far; and, beside, the mountain seemed so bleak and dreary, he could not quite quit the abodes of men.

    Genesis 19:18-21. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saying 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 wilt not overthrow this city, for thou hast spoken.

    I think that I have said to you before that this sparing of Zoar is an instance of the cumulative power of prayer. I may liken Abraham’s mighty pleading to a ton weight of prayer, supplication that had a wonderful force and power. Lot’s petition is only like an ounce of prayer. Poor little Lot, what a poor little prayer his was! Yet that ounce turned the scale. So, it may be that there is some mighty man of God who is near to prevailing with God, but he cannot quite obtain his request; but you, poor feeble pleader that you are, shall add your feather’s weight to his great intercession, and then the scale will turn. This narrative always comforts me I think that Zoar was preserved, not so much by the prayer of Lot, as by the greater prayer of Abraham which had gone before; yet the mighty intercession of the friend of God did not prevail until it was supported by the feeble petition of poor Lot.

    Genesis 19:22. Haste thee, escape thither;

    The hand of justice was held back until God’s servant was safe. There can be no destruction of the world, there can be no pouring out of the last plagues, there can be no total sweeping away of the ungodly till, first of all, the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads, and taken to a place of security. The Lord will preserve his own. He lets the scaffold stand until the building is finished; then, it will come down fast enough.

    Genesis 19:22-28. For I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 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; 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. And Abraham gat up early in. the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: 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.

    What must Abraham’s meditations have been! What should be the meditations of every godly man as he looks towards Sodom, and sees the smoke of its destruction? It might do some men great good if they would not persistently shut their eyes to the doom of the wicked. Look, look, I pray you, upon that place of darkness and woe where every impenitent and unbelieving spirit must be banished for ever from the presence of the Lord! Look till the tears are in your eyes as you thank God that you are rescued from so terrible a doom! Look till your heart melts with pity for the many who are going the downward road, and who will eternally ruin themselves unless almighty grace prevent!

    This exposition consisted of readings from Genesis 18:17-33; Genesis 19:12-28.

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    Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/genesis-19.html. 2011.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    DESTRUCTION OF THE CITIES OF THE PLAIN

    Genesis 19:1-38

    WHILE Abraham was pleading with the Lord the angels were pursuing their way to Sodom. And in doing so they apparently observed the laws of those human forms which they had assumed. They did not spread swift wings and alight early in the afternoon at the gates of the city; but taking the usual route, they descended from the hills which separated Abraham’s encampment from the plain of the Jordan, and as the sun was setting reached their destination. In the deep recess which is found at either side of the gateway of an Eastern city, Lot had taken his accustomed seat. Wearied and vexed with the din of the revellers in the street, and oppressed with the sultry doom-laden atmosphere, he was looking out towards the cool and peaceful hills, purple with the sinking sun behind them, and letting his thoughts first follow and then outrun his eye; he was now picturing and longing for the unseen tents of Abraham, and almost hearing the cattle lowing round at evening and all the old sounds his youth had made familiar.

    He is recalled to the actual present by the footfall of the two men, and little knowing the significance of his act, invites them to spend the night under his roof. It has been observed that the historian seems to intend to bring out the quietness and the ordinary appearance of the entire circumstances. All goes on as usual. There is nothing in the setting sun to say that for the last time it has shone oh these rich meadows, or that in twelve hours its rising will be dimmed by the smoke of the burning cities. The ministers of so appalling a justice as was here displayed enter the city as ordinary travellers. When a crisis comes, men do not suddenly acquire an intelligence and insight they have not habitually cultivated. They cannot suddenly put forth an energy nor exhibit an apt helpfulness which only character can give. When the test comes, we stand or tall not according to what we would wish to be and now see the necessity of being, but according to what former self-discipline or self-indulgence has made us.

    How then shall this angelic commission of enquiry proceed? Shall it call together the elders of Sodom-or shall it take Lot outside the city and cross-examine him, setting down names and dates and seeking to come to a fair judgment. Not at all-there is a much surer way of detecting character than by any process of examination by question and answer. To each of us God says:

    "Since by its fruit a tree is judged,

    Show me thy fruit, the latest act of thine!

    For in the last is summed the first, and all, -

    What thy life last put heart and soul into,

    There shall I taste thy product."

    It is thus these angels proceed. They do not startle the inhabitants of Sodom into any abnormal virtue nor present opportunity for any unwonted iniquity. They give them opportunity to act in their usual way. Nothing could well be more ordinary than the entrance to the city of two strangers at sunset. There is nothing in this to excite, to throw men off their guard, to overbalance the daily habit, or give exaggerated expression to some special feature of character. It is thus we are all judged-by the insignificant circumstances in which we act without reflection, without conscious remembrance of an impending judgment, with heart and soul and full enjoyment.

    First Lot is judged. Lot’s character is a singularly mixed one. With all his selfishness, he was hospitable and public-spirited. Lover of good living, as undoubtedly he was, his courage and strength of character are yet unmistakable. His sitting at the gate in the evening to offer hospitality may fairly be taken as an indication of his desire to screen the wickedness of his townsmen, and also to shield the stranger from their brutality. From the style in which the mob addressed him, it is obvious that he had made himself offensive by interfering to prevent wrong-doing. He was nicknamed "the Censor," and his eye was felt to carry condemnation. It is true there is no evidence that his opposition had been of the slightest avail. How could it avail with men who knew perfectly well that with all his denunciation of their wicked ways, he preferred their money-making company to the desolation of the hills, where he would be vexed with no filthy conversation, but would also find no markets? Still it is to Lot’s credit that in such a city, with none to observe, none to applaud, and none to second him, he should have been able to preserve his own purity of life and steadily to resist wrong-doing. It would be cynical to say that he cultivated austerity and renounced popular vices as a salve to a conscience wounded by his own greed.

    That he had the courage which lies at the root of strength of character became apparent as the last dark night of Sodom wore on. To go out among a profligate, lawless mob, wild with passion and infuriated by opposition-to go out and shut the door behind him-was an act of true courage. His confidence in the influence he had gained in the town cannot have blinded him to the temper of the raging crowd at his door. To defend his unknown guests he put himself in a position in which men have frequently lost life.

    In the first few hours of his last night in Sodom, there is much that is admirable and pathetic in Lot’s conduct. But when we have said that he was bold and that he hated other men’s sins, we have exhausted the more attractive side of his character. The inhuman collectedness of mind with which, in the midst of a tremendous public calamity, he could scheme for his own private well-being is the key to his whole character. He had no feeling. He was cold-blooded, calculating, keenly alive to his own interest, with all his wits about him to reap some gain to himself out of every disaster; the kind of man out of whom wreckers are made, who can with gusto strip gold rings off the fingers of doomed corpses; out of whom are made the villains who can rifle the pockets of their dead comrades on a battlefield, or the politicians who can still ride on the top of the wave that hurls their country on the rocks. When Abraham gave him his choice of a grazing ground, no rush of feeling, no sense of gratitude, prevented him from making the most of the opportunity. When his house was assailed, he had coolness, when he went out to the mob, to shut the door behind him that those within might not hear his bargain. When the angel, one might almost say, was flurried by the impending and terrible destruction, and was hurrying him away, he was calm enough to take in at a glance the whole situation and on the spot make provision for himself. There was no need to tell him not to look back as his wife did: no deep emotion would overmaster him, no unconquerable longing to see the last of his dear friends in Sodom would make him lose one second of his time. Even the loss of his wife was not a matter of such importance as to make him forget himself and stand to mourn. In every recorded act of his life appears this same unpleasant characteristic.

    Between Lot and Judas there is an instructive similarity. Both had sufficient discernment and decision of character to commit themselves to the life of faith, abandoning their original residence and ways of life. Both came to a shameful end, because the motive even of the sacrifices they made was self-interest. Neither would have had so dark a career had he more justly estimated his own character and capabilities, and not attempted a life for which he was unfit. They both put themselves into a false position; than which nothing tends more rapidly to deteriorate character. Lot was in a doubly false position, because in Sodom, as well as in Abraham’s shifting camp, he was out of place. He voluntarily bound himself to men he could not love. One side of his nature was paralysed; and that the side which in him especially required development. It is the influence of home life, of kindly surroundings, of friendships, of congenial employment, of everything which evokes the free expression of what is best in us; it is this which is a chief factor in the development of every man. But instead of the genial and fertilising influence of worthy friendships, and ennobling love, Lot had to pretend good-will where he felt none, and deceit and coldness grew upon him in place of charity. Besides, a man in a false position in life, out of which he can by any sacrifice deliver himself, is never at peace with God until he does deliver himself. And any attempt to live a righteous life with an evil conscience is foredoomed to failure.

    And if it still be felt that Lot was punished with extreme severity, and that if every man who chose a good grazing ground or a position in life which was likely to advance his fortune were thereby doomed to end his days in a cave and Under the darkest moral brand, society would be quite disintegrated, it must be remembered that, in order to advance his interests in life, Lot sacrificed much that a man is bound by all means to cherish; and further, it must be said that our destinies are thus determined. The whole iniquity and final consequences of our disposition are not laid before us in the mass: but to give the rein to any evil disposition is to yield control of our own life and commit ourselves to guidance which cannot result in good, and is of a nature to result in utter shame and wretchedness.

    Turning from the rescued to the destroyed, we recognise how sufficient a test of their moral condition the presence of the angels was. The inhabitants of Sodom quickly afford evidence that they are ripe for judgment. They do nothing worse than their habitual conduct led them to do It is not for this one crime they are punished: its enormity is only the legible instance which of itself convicts them. They are not aware of the frightful nature of the crime they seek to commit. They fancy it is but a renewal of their constant practice. They rush headlong on destruction and do not know it. How can it be otherwise? If a man will not take warning, if he will persist in sin, then the day comes when he is betrayed into iniquity the frightful nature of which he did not perceive, but which is the natural result of the life he has led. He goes on and will not give up his sin till at last the final damning act is committed which seals his doom. Character tends to express itself in one perfectly representative act. The habitual passion, whatever it is, is always alive and seeking expression. Sometimes one consideration represses it, sometimes another; but these considerations are not constant, while the passion is, and must therefore one day find its opportunity-its opportunity not for that moderate, guarded, disguised expression which passes without notice, but for the full utterance of its very essence. So it was here: the whole city, small and great, young and old, from every quarter came together unanimous and eager in prosecuting the vilest wickedness. No further investigation or proof was needed: it has indeed passed into a proverb: "they declare their sin as Sodom."

    To punish by a special commission of enquiry is quite unusual in God’s government. Nations are punished for immorality or for vicious administration of law or for neglect of sanitary principles by the operation of natural laws. That is to say, there is a distinctly traceable connection between the crime and its punishment; the one being the natural cause of the other. That nations should be weakened, depopulated, and ultimately sink into insignificance, is the natural result of a development of the military spirit of a country and the love of glory. That a population should be decimated by cholera or small-pox is the inevitable result of neglecting intelligible laws of health. It seems to me absurd to put this destruction of Sodom in the same category. The descent of meteoric stones from the sky is not the natural result of immorality. The vices of these cities have disastrous national results which are quite legibly written in some races existing in the present day. We have here to do not with what is natural but with what is miraculous. Of course it is open to any one to say, "It was merely accidental-it was a mere coincidence that a storm of lightning so violent as to set fire to the bituminous soil should rage in the valley, while on the hills a mile or two off all was serene; it was a mere coincidence that meteoric stones or some instrument of conflagration should set on fire just these cities, not only one of them but four of them, and no more." And certainly were there nothing more to go upon than the fact of their destruction, this coincidence, however extraordinary, must still be admitted as wholly natural, and having no relation to the character of the people destroyed. It might be set down as pure accident, and be classed with storms at sea, or volcanic eruptions, which are due to physical causes and have no relation to the moral character of those involved, but indiscriminately destroy all who happen to be present.

    But we have to account not only for the fact of the destruction but for its prediction both to Abraham and to Lot. Surely it is only reasonable to allow that such prediction was supernatural; and the prediction being so, it is also reasonable to accept the account of the event given by the predictors of it, and understand it not as an ordinary physical catastrophe, but as an event contrived with a view to the moral character of those concerned, and intended as an infliction of punishment for moral offences. And before we object to a style of dealing with nations so different from anything we now detect, we must be sure that a quite different style of dealing was not at that time required. If there is an intelligent training of the world, it must follow the same law which requires that a parent deal in one way with his boy of ten and in another with his adult son.

    Of Lot’s wife the end is recorded in a curt and summary fashion. "His wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." The angel, knowing how closely on the heels of the fugitives the storm would press, had urgently enjoined haste, saying, "Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain." Rapid in its pursuit as a prairie fire, it was only the swift who could escape it. To pause was to be lost. The command, "Look not behind thee" was not given because the scene was too awful to behold, for what men can endure men may behold, and Abraham looked upon it from the hill above. It was given simply from the necessity of the case and from no less practical and more arbitrary reason. Accordingly, when the command was neglected, the consequence was felt. Why the infatuated woman looked back one can only conjecture. The woful sounds behind her, the roar of the flame and of Jordan driven back, the crash of falling houses and the last forlorn cry of the doomed cities, all the confused and terrific din that filled her ear, may well have paralysed her and almost compelled her to turn. But the use our Lord makes of her example shows us that He ascribed her turning to a different motive. He uses her as a warning to those who seek to save out of the destruction more than they have time to save, and so lose all." He which shall be on the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away; and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife." It would seem, then, as if our Lord ascribed her tragic fate to her reluctance to abandon her household stuff. She was a wife after Lot’s own heart, who in the midst of danger and disaster had an eye to her possessions. The smell of fire, the hot blast in her hair, the choking smoke of blazing bitumen, suggested to her only the thought of her own house decorations, her hangings, and ornaments, and stores. She felt keenly the hardship of leaving so much wealth to be the mere food of fire. The thought of such intolerable waste made her more breathless with indignation than her rapid flight. Involuntarily as she looks at the bleak, stony mountains before her, she thinks of the rich plain behind; she turns for one last look, to see if it is impossible to return, impossible to save anything from the wreck. The one look transfixes her, rivets her with dismay and horror. Nothing she looked for can be seen; all is changed in wildest confusion. Unable to move, she is overtaken and involved in the sulphurous smoke, the bitter salts rise out of the earth and stifle her and encrust around her and build her tomb where she stands.

    Lot’s wife by her death proclaims that if we crave to make the best of both worlds, we shall probably lose both. Her disposition is not rare and exceptional as the pillar of salt which was its monument. She is not the only woman whose heart is so fixedly set upon her household possessions that she cannot listen to the angel-voices that would guide her. Are there none but Lot’s wife who show that to them there is nothing so important, nothing else indeed to live for at all, but the management of a house and the accumulation of possessions? If all who are of the same mind as Lot’s wife shared her fate the world would present as strange a spectacle as the Dead Sea presents at this day. For radically it was her divided mind which was her ruin. She had good impulses, she saw what she ought to do, but she did not do it with a mind made up. Other things divided her thoughts and diverted her efforts. What else is it ruins half the people who suppose themselves well on the way of life? The world is in their heart; they cannot pursue with undivided mind the promptings of a better wisdom. Their heart is with their treasure, and their treasure is really not in spiritual excellence, not in purity of character, not in the keen bracing air of the silent mountains where God is known, but in the comforts and gains of the luxurious plain behind.

    We are to remember Lot’s wife that we may bear in mind how possible it is that persons who promise well and make great efforts and bid fair to reach a place of safety may be overtaken by destruction. We can perhaps tell of exhausting effort, we may have outstripped many in practical repentance, but all this may only be petrified by present carelessness into a monument recording how nearly a man may be saved and yet be destroyed. "Have ye suffered all these things in vain, if it be yet in vain? Ye have run well, what now hinders you?" The question always is, not, what have you done, but what are you now doing? Up to the site of the pillar, Lot’s wife had done as well as Lot, had kept pace with the angels; but her failure at that point destroyed her.

    The same urgency may not be felt by all; but it should be felt by all to whose conscience it has been distinctly intimated that they have become involved in a state of matters which is ruinous. If you are conscious that in your life there are practices which may very well issue in moral disaster, an angel has taken you by the hand and bid you flee. For you to delay is madness. Yet this is what people will do. Sagacious men of the world, even when they see the probability of disaster, cannot bear to come out with loss. They will always wait a little longer to see if they cannot rescue something more, and so start on a fresh course with less inconvenience. They will not understand that it is better to live bare and stripped with a good conscience and high moral achievement, than in abundance with self-contempt. What they have always seems more to them than what they are.

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    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Genesis 19:26". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/genesis-19.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    Genesis 19:26

    But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar Of salt

    The cause and danger of backsliding

    I.
    THE CAUSE OF BACKSLIDING. Unbelief, leading to

    II. THE DANGER OF BACKSLIDING.

    1. There is the danger of forfeiting our salvation.

    2. The danger of punishment. (T. H. Leale.)

    Lot’s wife

    I. SHE PERISHED AFTER SOLEMN WARNING.

    II. SHE PERISHED BY A LOOK.

    III. SHE PERISHED AFTER SHE HAD STOOD LONG, AND HAD ENJOYED GREAT ADVANTAGES.

    IV. SHE ILLUSTRATES THE ENORMOUS INFLUENCE OF WORLDLY INTERESTS AND AFFECTIONS. (T. H. Leale.)

    Lot’s wife

    I. A CHARACTER HIGHLY BLESSED.

    1. Association with good people.

    2. Remarkable interpositions of Providence on her behalf.

    3. Divine aid afforded to escape the danger.

    II. A CHARACTER INEXCUSABLY WRONG.

    1. Inasmuch as sin in its most detestable forms had been presented to her view.

    2. Inasmuch as a special commandment was disregarded.

    3. Inasmuch as there was no reasonable inducement to disobey,

    III. A CHARACTER SADLY PUNISHED.

    1. Separated from the objects of her hope.

    2. Held forth as a warning to others throughout the ages.

    3. Lost almost within reach of safety. (Homilist.)

    The danger of looking back

    “Remember Lot’s wife”--

    1. In the hour of conviction of sin. “Up! flee for your life!” is the voice of the Holy Spirit. Delay, hesitation, casting longing looks back on a life of sin, then, may be fatal.

    2. In the hour of fiery temptation. The only safety is in precipitate flight.

    3. When any question of duty is pressed upon you.

    4. Amid the assaults of unbelief.

    5. Note what Christ says in Luke 9:62 : “No man, having put his hand to the plough,” etc.

    Lot’s wife

    I. She was made A NOTARIZE AND CONSPICUOUS EXAMPLE OF JUDICIAL INFLICTION SO as to “justify the ways of God to men.” Why was she overtaken by so signal a doom? She was probably not different from others, her fellow-townswomen--the votaries of fashion and the slaves of custom. We possess some intimation of the habits which then existed, and the tastes which then prevailed. “The iniquity of Sodom “ was “ pride, fulness of bread; and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters” (Ezekiel 16:49). No encomium is pronounced on her; but how differently is her partner regarded! (2 Peter 2:4; 2 Peter 2:7-8.) Probably she was frivolous, light, and careless in her conduct; her character made up of negations, rather than of positive vices; and her faults probably originated in the unfavourable influence of the society in which she mingled. “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth” (1 Timothy 5:6). We see a judicial infliction overtaking her conduct, which was marked by the following features.

    1. Disobedience. It is the business of principle to obey the right and the rule. It does not matter what the law prescribes, for the majesty which invests the government of God descends on all the acts of His legislation; and it is not for us to question their greater or less magnitude, or their superior or subordinate authority. He shows us what He wills, and it is our part to obey. In the case before us there was to be no idolatry of home--no favourite objects to preserve and bring away. They were to come out quickly and unburdened. The general command was to disregard all; and even the particular precept could not be more distinct: “Escape for thy life! Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain! Escape thou to the mountain, lest thou be consumed” (Genesis 19:17)! Then commenced a struggle in her mind. Here was her disobedience. Only obey the voice of God, and it shall be well; but if thou disobey, ruin will be the result.

    2. Ingratitude. It was not ordinary kindness, but particular and pre-eminent that was shown to her husband, herself, and her household. “Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither” Genesis 19:22). As if His fury were stayed till the complete deliverance of these, His favourite charge.

    3. Reluctance. Hers was an averted countenance. Are we surprised at this? Think of the awe--the panic--the agitation! Think of the natural instinct which attached her to home. Was it that her heart grudged to leave behind some favourite whose misery excited her pity and commiseration? None of these feelings are manifested. But there is a wistful and hankering look. Her eye seems enamoured of what she must abandon; the objects of vanity--her companionships--whatever she coveted--her pursuits--herfriends--her abode--her flocks--all that she was leaving; and though she saved what was of greater value, her heart went after her covetousness Ezekiel 33:31); and it was all concentrated in that look.

    4. Distrust. Might it not be a false alarm? Might it not be well to pause and examine?

    5. Indecision. This paralyzes all, and is unaccountable in such a case as hers. See how the waves threaten to surround her! Yet she wavers, instead of hastening her retreat.

    II. Why are we to “Remember Lot’s wife,” but that there was SOMETHING IN HER CONDUCT TO REBUKE AND INSTRUCT US?

    1. How small a thing may prevent our salvation! Lot’s wife may have been gay and volatile--nothing more.

    2. The increased misery of perishing within the reach of recovering mercy. Lot’s wife was in the track of safety. All was promise and hope.

    3. The evil of a careless state of mind. Lot’s wife was not fully possessed of the fear proper to her situation. Led by the example of those among whom she dwelt, she had no just view of the evil of sin. Left by her companions, she thought to return; but the resolve was too late! Advance was as helpless as retreat!

    4. The misery of apostasy. Many have a disposition to what is right; but there is nothing fixed--no true change. How many have been thus hindered in their course! They were almost persuaded to be Christians Acts 26:28), but they “looked back”; and our Lord indicates that this disposition leads to condemnation (Luke 9:62).

    5. The fearful state of mind when God leaves the sinner and abandons him to his own will. In the case of Lot’s wife, God could do no more, and the angels went on. The last desire for deliverance left her. She “looked back”--stopped--and stood still for ever! (R. W. Hamilton, D. D.)

    Lot’s wife

    I. THE TEXT SHOWS THAT ACTIONS MAY BECOME PUNISHABLE, WHICH TO US MAY SEEM MOST HARMLESS AND EXCUSABLE. No doubt there are some things which have happened in each of our lives which stand out more prominently than others, and we can remember these with ease, and with a constant recurring memory. They are the mountains and hills (so to speak) in our mind-scenery which come before us ever so plainly; but the little rivulet, or the humble stone, or the half-hidden bush is passed over and seldom thought of. And such is the case with human life, we overlook or forget the smaller things of every-day existence, while we lay a great emphasis upon what we consider more deserving of our attention. But it is the little transactions of the day which make up the character, which form it, and give to it its destiny. It is the oft-repeated habit which grows into strength, and stamps its image upon our hearts and minds, whether good or bad. It is the word of anger which, like a spark, kindles into flame our fiercest passions, while the word of kindness will soothe the feelings of ill temper and carry comfort into the most troubled bosom. A look, a simple pressure of the hand, and even sometimes a well-known footstep, will do much to change the history of a life. Yet, after all, God looks deeper into our doings than what meets the eye or falls upon the ear of sense. He is a Searcher of the heart, of its intents and motives; and according to its principles, which lie beneath the disturbed and restless surface of human actions, so does He acquit or condemn us, commend or disapprove. Thus with regard to Lot’s wife, it was not the mere turning back of her body, or the look of her eye, which He condemned, but the motives which prompted these actions, and made them the instruments of her own evil wishes, and of the wrongful feelings which stirred within her soul. Hence, if the eye should become the instrument of sin, pluck it out; or, if the arm should lead us to offend, cut it off.

    II. We observe here THAT THE SIN OF LOT’S WIFE FOUND HER OUT WHATEVER THAT SIN MIGHT HAVE BEEN. Did her heart long to remain with the people of the cities whom God had cursed? She became a fixture to the spot where such a wish was encouraged. Did she depreciate or condemn the judgment which wrapt the cities in flames? She is made to share their fate, only in another form. Would she rather return to the place from which she was commanded to flee, and so brave the curse which God had declared against it? Then let her steps be arrested in death, and her folly become a monument of warning to others who would follow her example. Did she, by looking back in direct opposition to the orders not to do so, care nothing about the interposition of angels, nought of the Divine goodness and mercy in providing for her and her household a refuge and a place of rest and security? Then let her insensibility and ingratitude become marked by turning her into a lifeless and insensible pillar of salt. And thus we often find that there is a correspondence between the act of disobedience and the judgment which follows it.

    III. THE FATE OF LOT’S WIFE WAS SUDDEN, QUITE UNEXPECTED. It came upon her in an instant. In the very act of turning she was struck by the hand of death. There came to her no note of warning of the calamity, and the momentary change allowed no time for thought, for reflection, or for shrinking fear. But it is not the suddenness of death we have most to dread, it is the being unprepared for such a change. It is this we have most to fear.

    The manner and form of the death of Lot’s wife may be regarded comparatively of little consequence, but the state of mind in which the destroyer found her is of the utmost importance.

    IV. WE LEARN FROM OUR SUBJECT THE EVIL OF TURNING BACK IN THE PATH OF DUTY.

    V. The body of Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt seems to point to the COMPARATIVE INSIGNIFICANCE OF THE HUMAN BODY, AND TO CAST A SORT OF CONTEMPT UPON IT. But suppose its rigid fixture to the ground may be considered a symbol of the fixity of the human character in death! (W. D.Horwood.)

    Lost near safety

    In an October day a treacherous calm on the northern coast is suddenly followed by one of the fiercest storms within the memory of man. Without warning signs a squall comes sweeping down the main, and the ocean leaps in its fury like a thing of life. The heavens seem to bow themselves, and form a veil of mirk and gloom; and above the voices of the storm is heard the cry of those on shore, “O God of mercy, send us those we love!” But, alas! there are those for whom that prayer cannot now avail; for floating spars and bodies washed ashore from which all life is sucked tell too plainly that some home is desolate, some spirit crushed. And now a mighty shout is heard, and all eyes again turn towards the sea, for through the darkness of the storm a boat is seen struggling towards the shore, now lost to sight, and again borne on the crest of the wave, nearer and yet nearer the harbour’s mouth. The climax now approaches in this wild race for life; and hearts are high with hope or chilled with fear, for the next wave must either bear them into safety or send them to their doom. See! there it comes, threatening in its vastness and twisting in its progress like some hideous thing of night. A cold sweat breaks out on those on shore, for the boat is lifted on its boiling crest and dashed with resistless fury against the stonework of the pier; and as a mighty cry of anguish rises, the men clinging to the wreck wave to their friends a last adieu, who, close at hand, stand agonized spectators of the scene! Yes, they have surmounted all the dangers which have proved fatal to their fellows, only to miss the friendly hands stretched out to save, and perish before the eyes, and be washed up lifeless at the very feet, of those they love. In all such cases the grief of onlookers, and of all who mourn their loss, is augmented by the thought that though so near to safety they yet were lost. Remember that to be near the harbour-mouth is not to be safe in its shelter--that though near to the kingdom of heaven you may never enter therein; and that, in so far as your final salvation is concerned, being near to Christ is no better than being far away, if it never lead to a complete surrender of your heart to Him. (W. Landels, D. D.)

    Lot’s wife: a warning

    All which bewray and show that they were never in heart soundly reformed, how glorious soever their outward show was for a time. Fear we, then, ever to look back with Lot’s wife I Fear we to return to those old vices and sinful corruptions wherewith we have been stayed! Fear we to frequent that company, to lust or long for those poisoned pleasures which heretofore have given us a fall, or at least endangered us, for as the Lord liveth that smote this woman (Lot’s wife) we shall be smitten first or last, and stand as spectacles of His wrath for evermore. Now, as you have heard what she did, so hear, I pray you, what she suffered. She looked back, and the Lord turned her into a pillar of salt. That which respecteth the punishment itself is that it was just and most due to her. For, first, she was delivered with her husband and daughters out of Sodom, and brought forth by the angels’ own hands. Then she was warned that she should not look back, nor abide in all the plain, lest she perished, which was a fair warning. Thirdly, even hard by, as it were, there was appointed a city to them whither they might easily go, and should be most safe. Fourthly, she had going with her husband and children, whom, both for wife’s affection and mother’s, she should joyfully have accompanied. But all this she neglecteth, and therefore justly perisheth. This biddeth us to-day to beware, and, hearing the word of the Lord, not to harden our hearts. Without doubt, if we perish, we perish justly, and it is not the Lord’s blame, but our own fault that it is so. “Remember Lot’s wife,” saith our Saviour Christ, in Luke, “and let him that is in the field not turn back to that he has left behind”; and remember Lot’s wife say I to you, to continue in safety without revolting, and the Lord grant that her salt may season our lives for ever. (Bishop Babington.)

    Lessons from the history of Lot’s wife

    I. First, RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES DO NOT CONSTITUTE SALVATION. Never forget that. Some of us rest too much on our religious privileges. I read of Pharaoh being nine times brought under conviction, and yet he perished. I read of Judas being associated with the Christ of God for more than three years, listening to words that angels came down to listen to, and contemplating the model of human and Divine perfection, witnessing Him opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and yet he perished. And here I read of Lot’s wife, for thirty years associated with the people of God, almost pressed by angels to the very gates of Zoar, and yet she perished; and God made her a pillar of salt, to be an everlasting monument of the fact that religious privileges and associations cannot save.

    II. Religious privileges, when they are not made a blessing to us, WHEN THEY DO NOT EFFECT THE END INTENDED BY THEM, INCREASE OUR CONDEMNATION AND AGGRAVATE OUR RUIN. That is a solemn passage in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16. I would far rather stand before the judgment-seat of God by-and-by a poor African from the barren waste of Africa, where the gospel message was never known, and the story of the blood of Christ never told, and throw myself upon His mercy, than I would take the stand of one of you professing Christians! who, in that day, will have nothing to answer when the King shall say, “Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?”

    III. TO LOOK BACK FROM THIS POSITION OF KNOWLEDGE IS TO GO BACK, and so the Lord interprets it. To he outside Sodom is not enough, to he disentangled from the world is not enough, you must be in Christ, or you are Hot saved. Mechanical obedience, bodily exercise is not salvation; her body was near to Zoar, but her affections were in Sodom, and she perished--“Remember Lot’s wife.” (M. Rainsford, B. A.)

    Lessons

    1. The time of vengeance on the wicked may be that of severe judgment upon the righteous who haste not from it.

    2. Nearest relations may be sometimes the greatest crosses to God’s saints.

    3. Rebellion against God’s express commands and threatenings is a provoking evil.

    4. It is very evil to have withdrawing hearts from God’s salvation and inclining to the wicked’s destruction.

    5. God sometimes meets with rebellion and apostasy in the very act, and judgeth it.

    6. Eminent sins are answered sometimes with eminent judgments.

    7. God can turn flesh into salt and stones, and He alone.

    8. God maketh some of His severe acts of punishment to be perpetual examples against sin in all ages. (G. Hughes, B. D.)

    The sin and punishment of Lot’s wife; or, the sinner under conviction still in danger

    Here let me tell you that conviction for sin and conversion to God are two very different things. A sinner under conviction is a sinner waked up to his guilt and danger. A sinner converted is a sinner who has hasted away to Christ for pardon and mercy, who is made safe in the strong mountain of God’s love and grace.

    I. LOT’S WIFE SAW HER DANGER, AND SET OUT TO ESCAPE FROM IT. So the Holy Spirit of God makes many a man see his danger as a sinner, and strives with him, and urges him to flee away from his sins. Many a man, under the warnings of the spirit, sets off in a way to the mount of God, and yet, like Lot’s wife, perishes in the way. Pharaoh; Herod; Felix; Agrippa. I called to see a faithful servant once who was lying and trembling on the verge of death. He was greatly alarmed at the thought of dying unprepared to meet God. He said that the thought of his sins gave him the deepest distress, and that all he wanted was to be a Christian. Before I left him he solemnly promised that if ever he was raised up from that bed of sickness, he would be a Christian the rest of his days. Had he died then, his master and all of us who were there would have said that he died a Christian, and was saved in heaven. But he recovered; and, as he had always been a good and faithful servant, we expected to see the light of a good Christian shining in his life. And he did not altogether forget his promises. I went often to the house of his master, and would sometimes talk with him as he would light me to my room at night. As often as the books were brought out, and the bell rang for prayers, James would be there to join with us in family worship. This practice he kept up for several months. His master told me that during all that time he had been faithful to his promises. He seemed to be a Christian indeed, and all of us thought he would soon join the church. But at last he gradually gave up coming in to prayer. As I had not seen him for a good while, I asked one of the other servants what had become of James. He told me that, but a few days before, he was talking to him about his promises, and that James had said ha did not see the use of so much religion--so much praying--and so much reading the Bible--and so much going to church--and so much hearing sermons read. In fact, James had given up all pretensions to religion. He was just the same wicked man he was before he was sick. Now, this man was like Lot’s wife. He set out in the way to heaven, but he “looked back.” He turned back. He did not, indeed, become a pillar of salt; but he became (what is just as bad) hardened in sin. Two years passed away, and James was taken dangerously ill again. As soon as I heard of it I went to see him. I read the Bible to him; I prayed for him; I talked to him. I did not distress him by reminding him of his old promises. I told him of Jesus, the Saviour of sinners. I begged him to remember that He was able and willing to forgive all sins. I read and explained the parable of the prodigal son. I entreated him to give up his heart to that Saviour, and put all his trust in Him. But his heart seemed to be turned to stone. “No, no,” said he, “I have most wickedly broken my promises to God; I have sinned away my day of grace; He will not now have mercy on me; I have no hope; I do not and cannot feel as I did before; my mind is so dark, and my heart is so hard!” I shall never forget that scene. His fellow-servants stood round the room in silent and solemn fear. They heard his short, heavy breathing, and watched his ghastly countenance until he gave up in the death struggle, saying, with his last breath, “There is no mercy for me.” He had once been keenly sensible of his guilt as a sinner; he had mourned and wept as a sinner; he had promised before God to give up his sins. Like Lot’s wife, he had set off in the way to heaven. He had put his hand to the plough, but looked back. He was hardened in sin, and perished in impenitence. Then let every sinner under conviction take warning, and not rest in his fears or sorrows.

    II. Now LET ME WARN YOU AGAINST THIS FALLING AWAY--THIS BACK-SLIDING FROM CONVICTION. “Remember Lot’s wife.”

    1. Do not linger in sin, as they did in Sodom. If you are anxious about religion, why should you remain any longer in sin? Why not rise up now, and with firm resolution escape from it? If you will not do this, you can never reach the mountain of salvation.

    2. When once you have set out in religion, do not look back. Our Saviour Himself has said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Bp. Meade.)

    Looking back

    Could God, in showing so much love, not expect faith and reliance? The trial of obedience was small and easy indeed; but it involved the proof whether the rescued family believed the angel, or required personal certainty, before they would follow his guidance; and it was a trial deemed sufficient by ancient nations under similar circumstances. When Orpheus had descended into the lower world in order to ask back his beloved wife Eurydice, Pluto, moved by the magic of his harmonies, gave him the promise that she would be restored to him under condition that he did not turn round to her till he had passed the Avernian valley; and when he disobeyed, she fell back into the regions of hell. Sacred actions, performed in reliance on the omnipotent assistance of the gods, were done with the face averted, as if symbolically to express that the believing mind requires no ocular evidence. We have, therefore, to explain the command here given to Lot from the same notions; it was a proof of faith. (M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

    The fate of Lot’s wife

    There was a great difference between the feelings of the elder and the younger branches of Lot’s family on leaving their home. His sons and daughters left it in apparent obedience, but with the spirit of the inhabitants of the plain; it was not so with Lot’s wife. It is not the character of age to accommodate itself readily to fresh circumstances. The old man does not feel inclined to launch himself afresh on the great ocean of the universe to seek new fortunes. He does not easily make fresh acquaintances, or transplant himself quickly from old haunts and homes. To youth there is a future; to old age there remains nothing but the present and the past. Therefore, while youth went on with its usual elastic step of buoyancy and hope, Lot’s wife lingered; she regretted the home of her vanity and luxury, and the lava flood overwhelmed her, encrusted her with salt, and left her as a monument. The moral we are to draw from that is not left us to choose. Christ says, “Remember Lot’s wife.” It is worse to turn back, when once on the safe path, than never to have served God at all. They who have once tasted of the power of the world to come, let them beware lest they turn again. Sin is dangerous, but relapse is fatal. That is the reason why God so marvellously smooths the way for youth. Early joy enables the young man to make his first steps surely, with confidence in his Maker; love, gratitude, and all his best emotions are thus called forth. But if afterwards he falls, if he sinks back again into the world of evil, think you that his feelings will spur him on again in God’s cause? Nay, because at the first time there was hope, the next all the hope is washed out; the stimulus of feeling is weaker because experience has broken down hope; he knows now what those resolves were worth! There is great difficulty in quitting evil after long habit. It becomes a home, and holiness is dull, and cheerless, and dreary. Youth, then, is the time for action--earnest, steady advancement, without looking back. St. Paul says, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, “Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it”; and again he shows us the evil of drawing back--“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soulshall have no pleasure in him.” (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

    Lot’s wife

    The phenomenon of her transformation remains to this day a mystery. It is believed that she was smothered and stiffened as she stood, looking back, and was overlaid with saline incrustations. Such a result is not at all incredible, apart from the sacred narrative. An atmosphere heavily charged with the fames of sulphur and bitumen might easily produce suffocation, as was the case with the elder Pliny in the destruction of Pompeii. And as no dead body would ever decompose on the shores of this salt sea, if left in such an atmosphere it would become incrusted with salt crystals. Pillars of salt are found in the vicinity, which have formed from the spray, mist, and saline exhalations of the Dead Sea, and are constantly growing larger. Indeed, Josephus attempted to identify one of these with the wife of Lot. The spiritual phenomenon, however, presents no mystery. Lot’s wife looked back. The command was explicit; it forbade looking behind, and the word for “look” implies a deliberate contemplation, steady regard, the look of consideration, desire. She looked back wistfully, longingly. The fact was, her heart was yet in Sodom, where all her treasures were. She had become identified with her home there, and even the wrath of God, poured out in a storm of fire, could not avert her eyes or quicken her steps. Abraham also “looked” toward Sodom, but the word signifies a rapid, and even unintentional or casual, glance. He glanced with grief and awe; she gazed with lodging and regret. She doubtless looked back, as the Israelites did toward Egypt, longing to return, more willing to stay there amid the sins of Sodomites than to abide apart with God. And so her heart’s wish became a fact; her real prayer was strangely answered; where she lingered, there she should stay. She would look back, and henceforth should never look ahead. So sins become habits, and habits encrust us with fixedness, and transform us into immovable pillars, monuments of wrath. God fixed and rooted her where she was; his curse transfixed her, as it blighted, blasted, withered, the barren fig tree; and so Lot’s wife, to this day, is herself the personification of Sodom, its sins and its punishment. The only safe obedience is a prompt, implicit, and exact conformity to God’s command. No part of His word can be unheeded without risk; we may run from one peril only to fall a prey to another. A divided heart is like the “double” eye, and singleness of aim is as important as singleness of vision. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. (A. T.Pierson, D. D.)

    Followers of Lot’s wife

    Lot’s wife has always had more followers than God’s angels have. Look at the worldly-minded disciples in the Church to-day. Roused by fear to flee from the wrath to come, stirred by the warning of some special providence, or by the pressing entreaty of grace, they profess to leave Sodom behind. But they linger about the edge of destruction. They look back with longing, and linger and loiter on the way.

    And you may see them all about you, mere pillars of salt, without life or action, motion or emotion. The world has encrusted them with the salt, not of the saving and savouring sort, but that which represents sterility. If they are saved from the fire, it is so as by fire, and their works are burned up. They have lost their testimony for God, and have become only a warning to backsliders. (A. T. Pierson, D. D.)

    Lot’s wife’s tomb

    Her backward look must have been more than momentary, for the destruction of the cities did not begin till Lot was safe in Lear. She must have lingered far behind, and been overtaken by the eruption of liquid saline mud, which, as Sir J. W. Dawson has shown, would attend or follow the outburst of bituminous matter, so that her fate was the natural consequence of her heart being still in Sodom. As to the “pillar of salt,” which has excited cavils on the one hand and foolish legends on the other, probably we are to think rather of a heap than of a pillar. The word does not occur in either meaning elsewhere, but its derivation implies something raised above the level of the ground; and a heap, such as would be formed by a human body encrusted with salt mud, would suit the requirements of the expression. Like a man who falls in a snow-storm, or, still more accurately, just as some of the victims at Pompeii stumbled in their flight, and were buried under the ashes, which still keep the outline of their figures, so Lot’s wife was covered with the half-liquid slimy mud. Granted the delay in her flight, the rest is perfectly simple and natural. She was buried in a horrible tomb; and, in pity to her memory, no name has been written upon it. She remains to all generations, in a far truer sense than superstition dreamed of when it pointed to an upright salt rock as her prison and her monument, a warning of the danger of the backward look, which betrays the true home of the heart, and may leave us unsheltered in the open plain when the fiery storm bursts. “Remember Lot’s wife.” (A Maclaren, D. D.)

    Lot’s wife as a type

    She is the type of a large class--persons who are convinced of the danger of their position, but not converted to God: professors who occupy a position half-way between Sodom and Lear, thinking it enough to have got away from the corruptions of the world without having got into Christ; thinking it enough to have been brought, as it were, outside the suburbs of Sodom, without having taken refuge in the blood. She looked back from her half-way position and “became a pillar of salt.” (M. Rainsford, B. A.)

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    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Genesis 19:26". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/genesis-19.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Genesis 19:26. But his wife looked back, &c.— The angels, Genesis 19:17 commanded Lot, and consequently those with him, not to look back, which, I apprehend, cannot be understood to mean, a mere turning of the eyes only, but a delay in the plain about to be destroyed, from a love of the things left behind, which delay might be attended with imminent danger. Lot's wife, disregardful of the angel's charge, or disbelieving his threatenings, looked back, and not only so, but delayed and loitered, to see what would become of her city and kindred, for very probably she was of that city. Her mind was towards Sodom, which she left not but with regret. Shuckford is of opinion, that after the departure of the angel, she returned some part of the way, in order to have saved some of her goods, and that in returning she was overtaken with a storm of thunder and lightning: and he grounds this opinion upon what our Saviour says in foretelling, the destruction of Jerusalem, Luke 17. for after admonishing his disciples not to return back, Luke 17:31 he adds, remember Lot's wife, thereby intimating, that she had returned back. But perhaps it may be sufficient to understand, that she turned back in mind and inclination only. She was not thankful to Providence for her own deliverance, and hankered after the wicked city, so justly doomed to perdition. Henry says, that her sin consisted, 1st, in a disobedience to an express command: 2nd, in unbelief; she doubted whether Sodom would be destroyed according to the declaration of the angels: 3rdly, in a greater regard to such sinners as the Sodomites, than was due to a people so justly abominable: 4thly, in a worldly attachment to her house and goods, which she was loth to leave, to which Christ refers, Luke 17:31-32: 5thly, in an inclination to go back; and therefore our Saviour uses it as a warning against apostacy.

    And she became a pillar of salt As she looked back, or delayed, the storm overtook her; the lightning struck her dead, and stiffened her in the place where she stood (no uncommon effect of lightning); while the nitro-sulphureous matter, which descended, wrapt her body so thick around, as to candy it into a substance hard as stone, and left it like a pillar, or statue of metallic salt, which some affirm they have seen between Mount-Engedi and the Dead-sea. This seems an easy solution of the matter, and, I humbly think, far more consentaneous to the letter of the Sacred History, than that of others, who would understand by a pillar of salt, "a lasting monument," as a perpetual covenant is called "a covenant of salt," Numbers 18:19 in allusion to the quality of salt, which preserves from corruption. But if we understand it, she looked back, and became a lasting, or perpetual monument, it may reasonably be asked, how did she become so? and is there not, on this supposition, a manifest deficiency in the historian, who omits to inform us, in what respect, or by what manner, she thus became a lasting monument? Whereas all is clear, if we take him as his words seem plainly to imply, (and in my judgment the plainest interpretation of Scripture words is always the best,) she looked back, disobedient and unbelieving, and, struck with the sulphureous fire from heaven, was killed, and became a pillar of salt; and thus, indeed, a lasting memorial to many generations. For this pillar, as Dr. Delaney has observed, subsisted in the time of that author who wrote the Wisdom of Solomon, see Wisd. ch. 10: Numbers 18:7. And Josephus (who himself saw it) and later writers, attest the same thing of their times. Maundrell's guides told him, that some remains of the monument were still extant. I am sensible that this is a point upon which the learned men are much divided: but thus much, I think, is clear and evident, that the inspired Writer's account of this matter is true, not figuratively, (as some understand it,) but according to the very letter of the text; that Lot's wife became a real statue, and that this statue lasted many ages; lasted at least, till a new revelation from heaven, the revelation of Jesus Christ, made this monument less necessary. And as to the difficulty of salt's continuing undissolved in the open air so long, it is well known to naturalists, that rocks of salt are as lasting as any other rocks, nay more so; and that houses are built of them. Now there is reason to believe, from Deuteronomy 29:23 that much salt as well as sulphur fell down from heaven upon that devoted region: nor perhaps is the great saltness of the sea of Sodom, beyond that of any other sea in the known world, without the least change from the perpetual influx of fresh water (of water remarkably sweet, as Diodorus Siculus observes) into it, a small presumptive proof of this. And as lightning stiffens all animals, which it strikes, in one instant, and leaves them dead in the same posture in which it found them alive, there is no sort of difficulty in conceiving how this unhappy woman's body, being prepared by heat, and penetrated and incrusted with salt, might long continue as a statue of salt, in the very posture in which this judgment from heaven found her. Nor are we without examples of such changes in other writers* and historians of undoubted credit. Give me leave again to observe, that this change of Lot's wife was not occasioned barely by her looking back, but by her loitering unseasonably behind her husband: for it is clear enough, from Deuteronomy 29:22 that this vengeance from heaven did not begin till Lot was entered into Zoar: consequently his wife could not have been affected by it, had she not both looked back and stayed unseasonably in the plain, contrary to the express command given by the angel. And as this unseasonable delay of Lot's wife was in part occasioned, probably by her solicitude for her children left behind, (her sons-in-law, &c.) the celebrated story among the heathens, of Niobe weeping for her children, and being stiffened into stone with grief, is most likely founded upon this history. Probably too the fable of Orpheus's being permitted to redeem his wife from hell, and losing her afterwards by looking unseasonably back, contrary to the express command given him, and then, through grief, deserting the society of mankind, and dwelling in desarts, might be also derived from some obscure tradition of this history. Sodom was now the liveliest emblem of hell that can be imagined: it was granted to Lot, by a peculiar privilege, to deliver his wife therefrom: he was expressly commanded, Look not behind thee: his wife was lost: after which he quits the city, and dwells in a cave on the mountains. Here are all the main circumstances of the fable, and the poets had nothing to do but to vary and embellish, as they liked best. So well hath Infinite Wisdom provided, that the sacred truths of Divine revelation shall not only be supported by the attestation of enemies, but likewise preserved in the vanity and extravagance of fables.

    * See particularly Aventinus Boian Annuals, seventh book, Basil edit.

    REFLECTIONS.—But four came out of Sodom, and one was lost by the way. Behold, and tremble. Remember Lot's wife.

    1. Her sin: looking back. Disobedient to the command, and distrustful of the threatening, with unsubdued affection to her worldly enjoyments, she was drawn out by violence, but her heart was behind. Note; (1.) They who make profession of religion, out of complaisance to their friends, or by mere constraint, will soon make shipwreck of it to their shame. (2.) If we think of leaving our sin, we must make no reserve, either in practice or affection: once on the way to heaven, we must persevere: to look back, is to return unto perdition. Let us fear then, lest we fall.

    2. Her punishment: a pillar of salt; a lasting memorial to warn succeeding ages. Note; (1.) Many a saint of God goes to heaven, and leaves his wife, through her perverseness, on the plain: and the wife, I believe, full as often leaves her husband behind her. (2.) No inducement must tempt us to stay, or look back on them: if they will not go with us, we must leave them to their ruin.

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/genesis-19.html. 1801-1803.

    Expositor's Bible Commentary

    DESTRUCTION OF THE CITIES OF THE PLAIN

    Genesis 19:1-38

    WHILE Abraham was pleading with the Lord the angels were pursuing their way to Sodom. And in doing so they apparently observed the laws of those human forms which they had assumed. They did not spread swift wings and alight early in the afternoon at the gates of the city; but taking the usual route, they descended from the hills which separated Abraham’s encampment from the plain of the Jordan, and as the sun was setting reached their destination. In the deep recess which is found at either side of the gateway of an Eastern city, Lot had taken his accustomed seat. Wearied and vexed with the din of the revellers in the street, and oppressed with the sultry doom-laden atmosphere, he was looking out towards the cool and peaceful hills, purple with the sinking sun behind them, and letting his thoughts first follow and then outrun his eye; he was now picturing and longing for the unseen tents of Abraham, and almost hearing the cattle lowing round at evening and all the old sounds his youth had made familiar.

    He is recalled to the actual present by the footfall of the two men, and little knowing the significance of his act, invites them to spend the night under his roof. It has been observed that the historian seems to intend to bring out the quietness and the ordinary appearance of the entire circumstances. All goes on as usual. There is nothing in the setting sun to say that for the last time it has shone oh these rich meadows, or that in twelve hours its rising will be dimmed by the smoke of the burning cities. The ministers of so appalling a justice as was here displayed enter the city as ordinary travellers. When a crisis comes, men do not suddenly acquire an intelligence and insight they have not habitually cultivated. They cannot suddenly put forth an energy nor exhibit an apt helpfulness which only character can give. When the test comes, we stand or tall not according to what we would wish to be and now see the necessity of being, but according to what former self-discipline or self-indulgence has made us.

    How then shall this angelic commission of enquiry proceed? Shall it call together the elders of Sodom-or shall it take Lot outside the city and cross-examine him, setting down names and dates and seeking to come to a fair judgment. Not at all-there is a much surer way of detecting character than by any process of examination by question and answer. To each of us God says:

    "Since by its fruit a tree is judged,

    Show me thy fruit, the latest act of thine!

    For in the last is summed the first, and all, -

    What thy life last put heart and soul into,

    There shall I taste thy product."

    It is thus these angels proceed. They do not startle the inhabitants of Sodom into any abnormal virtue nor present opportunity for any unwonted iniquity. They give them opportunity to act in their usual way. Nothing could well be more ordinary than the entrance to the city of two strangers at sunset. There is nothing in this to excite, to throw men off their guard, to overbalance the daily habit, or give exaggerated expression to some special feature of character. It is thus we are all judged-by the insignificant circumstances in which we act without reflection, without conscious remembrance of an impending judgment, with heart and soul and full enjoyment.

    First Lot is judged. Lot’s character is a singularly mixed one. With all his selfishness, he was hospitable and public-spirited. Lover of good living, as undoubtedly he was, his courage and strength of character are yet unmistakable. His sitting at the gate in the evening to offer hospitality may fairly be taken as an indication of his desire to screen the wickedness of his townsmen, and also to shield the stranger from their brutality. From the style in which the mob addressed him, it is obvious that he had made himself offensive by interfering to prevent wrong-doing. He was nicknamed "the Censor," and his eye was felt to carry condemnation. It is true there is no evidence that his opposition had been of the slightest avail. How could it avail with men who knew perfectly well that with all his denunciation of their wicked ways, he preferred their money-making company to the desolation of the hills, where he would be vexed with no filthy conversation, but would also find no markets? Still it is to Lot’s credit that in such a city, with none to observe, none to applaud, and none to second him, he should have been able to preserve his own purity of life and steadily to resist wrong-doing. It would be cynical to say that he cultivated austerity and renounced popular vices as a salve to a conscience wounded by his own greed.

    That he had the courage which lies at the root of strength of character became apparent as the last dark night of Sodom wore on. To go out among a profligate, lawless mob, wild with passion and infuriated by opposition-to go out and shut the door behind him-was an act of true courage. His confidence in the influence he had gained in the town cannot have blinded him to the temper of the raging crowd at his door. To defend his unknown guests he put himself in a position in which men have frequently lost life.

    In the first few hours of his last night in Sodom, there is much that is admirable and pathetic in Lot’s conduct. But when we have said that he was bold and that he hated other men’s sins, we have exhausted the more attractive side of his character. The inhuman collectedness of mind with which, in the midst of a tremendous public calamity, he could scheme for his own private well-being is the key to his whole character. He had no feeling. He was cold-blooded, calculating, keenly alive to his own interest, with all his wits about him to reap some gain to himself out of every disaster; the kind of man out of whom wreckers are made, who can with gusto strip gold rings off the fingers of doomed corpses; out of whom are made the villains who can rifle the pockets of their dead comrades on a battlefield, or the politicians who can still ride on the top of the wave that hurls their country on the rocks. When Abraham gave him his choice of a grazing ground, no rush of feeling, no sense of gratitude, prevented him from making the most of the opportunity. When his house was assailed, he had coolness, when he went out to the mob, to shut the door behind him that those within might not hear his bargain. When the angel, one might almost say, was flurried by the impending and terrible destruction, and was hurrying him away, he was calm enough to take in at a glance the whole situation and on the spot make provision for himself. There was no need to tell him not to look back as his wife did: no deep emotion would overmaster him, no unconquerable longing to see the last of his dear friends in Sodom would make him lose one second of his time. Even the loss of his wife was not a matter of such importance as to make him forget himself and stand to mourn. In every recorded act of his life appears this same unpleasant characteristic.

    Between Lot and Judas there is an instructive similarity. Both had sufficient discernment and decision of character to commit themselves to the life of faith, abandoning their original residence and ways of life. Both came to a shameful end, because the motive even of the sacrifices they made was self-interest. Neither would have had so dark a career had he more justly estimated his own character and capabilities, and not attempted a life for which he was unfit. They both put themselves into a false position; than which nothing tends more rapidly to deteriorate character. Lot was in a doubly false position, because in Sodom, as well as in Abraham’s shifting camp, he was out of place. He voluntarily bound himself to men he could not love. One side of his nature was paralysed; and that the side which in him especially required development. It is the influence of home life, of kindly surroundings, of friendships, of congenial employment, of everything which evokes the free expression of what is best in us; it is this which is a chief factor in the development of every man. But instead of the genial and fertilising influence of worthy friendships, and ennobling love, Lot had to pretend good-will where he felt none, and deceit and coldness grew upon him in place of charity. Besides, a man in a false position in life, out of which he can by any sacrifice deliver himself, is never at peace with God until he does deliver himself. And any attempt to live a righteous life with an evil conscience is foredoomed to failure.

    And if it still be felt that Lot was punished with extreme severity, and that if every man who chose a good grazing ground or a position in life which was likely to advance his fortune were thereby doomed to end his days in a cave and Under the darkest moral brand, society would be quite disintegrated, it must be remembered that, in order to advance his interests in life, Lot sacrificed much that a man is bound by all means to cherish; and further, it must be said that our destinies are thus determined. The whole iniquity and final consequences of our disposition are not laid before us in the mass: but to give the rein to any evil disposition is to yield control of our own life and commit ourselves to guidance which cannot result in good, and is of a nature to result in utter shame and wretchedness.

    Turning from the rescued to the destroyed, we recognise how sufficient a test of their moral condition the presence of the angels was. The inhabitants of Sodom quickly afford evidence that they are ripe for judgment. They do nothing worse than their habitual conduct led them to do It is not for this one crime they are punished: its enormity is only the legible instance which of itself convicts them. They are not aware of the frightful nature of the crime they seek to commit. They fancy it is but a renewal of their constant practice. They rush headlong on destruction and do not know it. How can it be otherwise? If a man will not take warning, if he will persist in sin, then the day comes when he is betrayed into iniquity the frightful nature of which he did not perceive, but which is the natural result of the life he has led. He goes on and will not give up his sin till at last the final damning act is committed which seals his doom. Character tends to express itself in one perfectly representative act. The habitual passion, whatever it is, is always alive and seeking expression. Sometimes one consideration represses it, sometimes another; but these considerations are not constant, while the passion is, and must therefore one day find its opportunity-its opportunity not for that moderate, guarded, disguised expression which passes without notice, but for the full utterance of its very essence. So it was here: the whole city, small and great, young and old, from every quarter came together unanimous and eager in prosecuting the vilest wickedness. No further investigation or proof was needed: it has indeed passed into a proverb: "they declare their sin as Sodom."

    To punish by a special commission of enquiry is quite unusual in God’s government. Nations are punished for immorality or for vicious administration of law or for neglect of sanitary principles by the operation of natural laws. That is to say, there is a distinctly traceable connection between the crime and its punishment; the one being the natural cause of the other. That nations should be weakened, depopulated, and ultimately sink into insignificance, is the natural result of a development of the military spirit of a country and the love of glory. That a population should be decimated by cholera or small-pox is the inevitable result of neglecting intelligible laws of health. It seems to me absurd to put this destruction of Sodom in the same category. The descent of meteoric stones from the sky is not the natural result of immorality. The vices of these cities have disastrous national results which are quite legibly written in some races existing in the present day. We have here to do not with what is natural but with what is miraculous. Of course it is open to any one to say, "It was merely accidental-it was a mere coincidence that a storm of lightning so violent as to set fire to the bituminous soil should rage in the valley, while on the hills a mile or two off all was serene; it was a mere coincidence that meteoric stones or some instrument of conflagration should set on fire just these cities, not only one of them but four of them, and no more." And certainly were there nothing more to go upon than the fact of their destruction, this coincidence, however extraordinary, must still be admitted as wholly natural, and having no relation to the character of the people destroyed. It might be set down as pure accident, and be classed with storms at sea, or volcanic eruptions, which are due to physical causes and have no relation to the moral character of those involved, but indiscriminately destroy all who happen to be present.

    But we have to account not only for the fact of the destruction but for its prediction both to Abraham and to Lot. Surely it is only reasonable to allow that such prediction was supernatural; and the prediction being so, it is also reasonable to accept the account of the event given by the predictors of it, and understand it not as an ordinary physical catastrophe, but as an event contrived with a view to the moral character of those concerned, and intended as an infliction of punishment for moral offences. And before we object to a style of dealing with nations so different from anything we now detect, we must be sure that a quite different style of dealing was not at that time required. If there is an intelligent training of the world, it must follow the same law which requires that a parent deal in one way with his boy of ten and in another with his adult son.

    Of Lot’s wife the end is recorded in a curt and summary fashion. "His wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." The angel, knowing how closely on the heels of the fugitives the storm would press, had urgently enjoined haste, saying, "Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain." Rapid in its pursuit as a prairie fire, it was only the swift who could escape it. To pause was to be lost. The command, "Look not behind thee" was not given because the scene was too awful to behold, for what men can endure men may behold, and Abraham looked upon it from the hill above. It was given simply from the necessity of the case and from no less practical and more arbitrary reason. Accordingly, when the command was neglected, the consequence was felt. Why the infatuated woman looked back one can only conjecture. The woful sounds behind her, the roar of the flame and of Jordan driven back, the crash of falling houses and the last forlorn cry of the doomed cities, all the confused and terrific din that filled her ear, may well have paralysed her and almost compelled her to turn. But the use our Lord makes of her example shows us that He ascribed her turning to a different motive. He uses her as a warning to those who seek to save out of the destruction more than they have time to save, and so lose all." He which shall be on the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away; and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife." It would seem, then, as if our Lord ascribed her tragic fate to her reluctance to abandon her household stuff. She was a wife after Lot’s own heart, who in the midst of danger and disaster had an eye to her possessions. The smell of fire, the hot blast in her hair, the choking smoke of blazing bitumen, suggested to her only the thought of her own house decorations, her hangings, and ornaments, and stores. She felt keenly the hardship of leaving so much wealth to be the mere food of fire. The thought of such intolerable waste made her more breathless with indignation than her rapid flight. Involuntarily as she looks at the bleak, stony mountains before her, she thinks of the rich plain behind; she turns for one last look, to see if it is impossible to return, impossible to save anything from the wreck. The one look transfixes her, rivets her with dismay and horror. Nothing she looked for can be seen; all is changed in wildest confusion. Unable to move, she is overtaken and involved in the sulphurous smoke, the bitter salts rise out of the earth and stifle her and encrust around her and build her tomb where she stands.

    Lot’s wife by her death proclaims that if we crave to make the best of both worlds, we shall probably lose both. Her disposition is not rare and exceptional as the pillar of salt which was its monument. She is not the only woman whose heart is so fixedly set upon her household possessions that she cannot listen to the angel-voices that would guide her. Are there none but Lot’s wife who show that to them there is nothing so important, nothing else indeed to live for at all, but the management of a house and the accumulation of possessions? If all who are of the same mind as Lot’s wife shared her fate the world would present as strange a spectacle as the Dead Sea presents at this day. For radically it was her divided mind which was her ruin. She had good impulses, she saw what she ought to do, but she did not do it with a mind made up. Other things divided her thoughts and diverted her efforts. What else is it ruins half the people who suppose themselves well on the way of life? The world is in their heart; they cannot pursue with undivided mind the promptings of a better wisdom. Their heart is with their treasure, and their treasure is really not in spiritual excellence, not in purity of character, not in the keen bracing air of the silent mountains where God is known, but in the comforts and gains of the luxurious plain behind.

    We are to remember Lot’s wife that we may bear in mind how possible it is that persons who promise well and make great efforts and bid fair to reach a place of safety may be overtaken by destruction. We can perhaps tell of exhausting effort, we may have outstripped many in practical repentance, but all this may only be petrified by present carelessness into a monument recording how nearly a man may be saved and yet be destroyed. "Have ye suffered all these things in vain, if it be yet in vain? Ye have run well, what now hinders you?" The question always is, not, what have you done, but what are you now doing? Up to the site of the pillar, Lot’s wife had done as well as Lot, had kept pace with the angels; but her failure at that point destroyed her.

    The same urgency may not be felt by all; but it should be felt by all to whose conscience it has been distinctly intimated that they have become involved in a state of matters which is ruinous. If you are conscious that in your life there are practices which may very well issue in moral disaster, an angel has taken you by the hand and bid you flee. For you to delay is madness. Yet this is what people will do. Sagacious men of the world, even when they see the probability of disaster, cannot bear to come out with loss. They will always wait a little longer to see if they cannot rescue something more, and so start on a fresh course with less inconvenience. They will not understand that it is better to live bare and stripped with a good conscience and high moral achievement, than in abundance with self-contempt. What they have always seems more to them than what they are.

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    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/genesis-19.html.

    The Pulpit Commentaries

    EXPOSITION

    Genesis 19:12, Genesis 19:13

    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 "angels"Hast 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 4:10; Genesis 18:20is waxen great before the face of the Lord (cf. Genesis 6:11; Genesis 10:9); and the Lord (Jehovah) hath sent us (language never employed by the Maleach Jehovah) to destroy it.

    Genesis 19:14

    And Lot went out (obviously that same evening), and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters,—literally, those taking his daughters, meaning either those who had taken them (LXX; Targums, Knobel, Delitzsch), or more probably those intending to take them, their affianced husbands (Josephus, Vulgate, Clericus, Rosenmüller, Ewald, Keil, Kalisch)—and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord (Jehovah) will destroy this (literally, the) city. But (literally, and) he seemed as one that mocked—as one that made laughter; from the same root as the word Isaac (Genesis 17:19; cf. 16:25)—unto his sons in law.

    Genesis 19:15, Genesis 19:16

    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.

    Genesis 19:17

    And it came to pass, when they had brought them (i.e. Lot and his family) forth abroad (literally, without; sc. the city), that he—one of the angels (Rabbi Solomon, Jarchi, Rosenmüller, Lange, 'Speaker's Commentary'); the one that had taken Lot's hand (Inglis); Jehovah speaking through the angel (Delitzsch); the angel speaking in the name of God (Keil, Kalisch); Jehovah himself, who, though not mentioned, had now appeared upon the scene (Ainsworth, Candlish)—said, Escape for thy life (literally, for thy soul; and clearly in this case the loss of the soul in the higher sense must have been involved in the destruction of the life); look not behind thee. From the event it may be inferred that this injunction was also given to Lot's wife and daughters; perhaps to hide God's working in the fiery judgment from mortal vision (Knobel), but more likely to express detestation of the abhorred city (Bush), to guard against the incipience of any desire to return (Lange), and to stimulate their zeal to escape destruction. Neither stay thou in all the plain—or "circle" (vide Genesis 13:10). Once so attractive for its beauty, it must now be abandoned for its danger. Escape to the mountain (the mountain of Moab, on the east of the Dead Sea), lest thou be consumed.

    Genesis 19:18

    And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord. Adonai, which should rather be translated Lord; whence it would almost seem as if Lot knew that his interlocutor was Jehovah. Keil admits that Lot recognized a manifestation of God in the angels, and Lange speaks of a miraculous report of the voice of God coming to him along with the miraculous vision of the angels. That the historian uses "them" instead of "him" only proves that at the time Jehovah was accompanied by the angels, as he had previously been at Mamre (vide Genesis 18:1).

    Genesis 19:19

    Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight (cf. Genesis 18:3), and thou hast magnified thy mercy (language inappropriate to be addressed to the angels, though exactly suitable if applied by Lot to Jehovah), which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil (more correctly, the evil, i.e. the destruction threatened upon Sodom) take me, and I die.

    Genesis 19:20

    Behold now, this city is near to flee unto (literally, thither), and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. Lot's meaning was that since Zoar was the smallest of the cities of the Pentapolis, it would not be a great demand on God's mercy to spare it, and it would save him from further exertions for his safety. A singular display of moral obtuseness and indolent selfishness on the part of Lot.

    Genesis 19:21

    And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee (literally, I have lifted up thy face, the petitioner usually supplicating with his face toward the ground, so that the elevation of his countenance expressed the granting of his request) concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.

    Genesis 19:22

    Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. I.e. "The Little;" obviously from Lot's remark concerning it (Genesis 19:20); Σηγώρ (LXX.). The original name of the city was Bela (Genesis 14:2, q.v.). It has been sought for in the Wady Zuweirah, a pass leading down from Hebron to the Dead Sea, on the west side of the lake (De Sancey); in the Ghor-el-Mezraa, i.e. upon the southern peninsula, Which projects a long way into the Dead Sea (Robinson); and in the Ghor-el-Szaphia, at the south-eastern end of the see, at the opening of the Wady-el-Raumer (Keil); but has now been identified with Zi'ara, at the northern extremity of the lake.

    Genesis 19:23

    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).

    Genesis 19:24

    Then the Lord rained—literally, and Jehovah caused it to rain; καὶ κύριος ἔβρεξε (LXX.), which latter term is adopted by Luke in describing this event (Genesis 17:1-27 :29)—upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah—and also upon Admah and Zeboim (Deuteronomy 29:23; Hosea 11:8), Bela, or Zoar, of the five cities of the Jordan circle (Genesis 14:2, Genesis 14:8) being exempted—brimstone and fireגָּפְרִית; properly pitch, though the name was afterwards transferred to other inflammable materials (Gesenius); וָאֵשׁ, and fire, which, though sometimes used of lightning, as in 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10, 2 Kings 1:12, 2 Kings 1:14; Job 1:16, may here describe a different sort of igneous agency. Whether this Divinely-sent rain was "burning pitch" (Keil), of lightning which ignited the bituminous soil (Clericus), or a volcanic eruption which overwhelmed all the region (Lynch, Kitto), it was clearly miraculous in its nature, and designed as a solemn punitive infliction on the cities of the plain—from the Lordi.e. Jehovah (the Son) rained down from Jehovah (the Father), as if suggesting a distinction of persons in the Godhead; otherwise the phrase is regarded as "an elegancy of speech" (Aben Ezra), "an emphatic repetition" (Calvin), a more exact characterization of the storm (Clericus, Rosenmüller) as being out of heaven.

    Genesis 19:25

    And he overthrew—literally, turned over, as a cake'; whence utterly destroyed (cf. Deuteronomy 29:23; κατέστρεψε, LXX.; subvertit, Vulgate). In Arabic "the overthrown' is a title applied, κατ ἐξοχὴν, to Sodom and Gomorrah (Gesenius). From the use of the expression καταστροφή (2 Peter 2:6), Wordsworth thinks an earthquake may have accompanied the burning—those cities,—that they were submerged as well as overthrown (Josephus) is a doubtful inference from Genesis 14:3 (vide infra, Verse 28, on the site of cities of the plain). The archaic הָאל is again employed (cf. Genesis 19:8)—and all the plain,—kikkar, circle or district (Genesis 13:10)—and all the inhabitants of the cities,—a proof of their entire corruption (Genesis 18:32)—and that which grew upon the ground—literally, that which sprouts forth from the ground, the produce of the soil; thus converting "a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein" (Psalms 107:34).

    Genesis 19:26

    But his wife looked back from behind him,—i.e. went behind him and looked back; ἑπέβλεψεν (LXX.), implying wistful regard; respiciens (Vulgate); an act expressly forbidden by the angel (Genesis 19:17)—and she became (literally, she was, conveying an idea of complete and instantaneous judgment) a pillar of salt. נְעִיב מֵלַח; στήλη ἀλός (LXX.); a statue or column of fossil salt, such as exists in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea. That she was literally transformed into a pillar of salt (Josephus, Calvin, Rosenmüller, Kalisch, Wordsworth), though not impossible, is scarcely likely. A more probable interpretation is that she was killed by the fiery and sulphurous vapor with which the atmosphere was impregnated, and afterwards became encrusted with salt (Aben Ezra, Keil, Lange, Murphy, Quarry), though against this it has been urged

    Genesis 19:27

    And Abraham gat up early in the morning (of the catastrophe) to the place (i.e. and went to the place) where he stood before the Lord (vide on Genesis 18:22).

    Genesis 19:28

    And he looked toward—literally, towards the face, or visible side (cf. Genesis 18:16 where the same phrase is employed to describe the act of the angels on leaving Mamre)—Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, or Jordan circle. The cities of the plain are commonly believed to have been situated at the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, The principal reasons assigned for this conclusion may be stated.

    1. Josephus and Jerome, the one representing Jewish, and the other Christian, tradition, both speak of a Zoar as existing in that locality.

    2. The difference of level between the northern and southern ends of the lake, the one according to Lynch being 1300 feet, and the other not more than 16 feet, seems to favor the idea that the latter is of recent formation, having been, in fact, submerged at the time of the overthrow of the cities.

    3. A ridge of rock-salt on the west of the Yale of Salt is called by the name Jebel Usdum, in which a trace of the word Sodom is by some detected; and the pillars of salt that in that region have from time to time been detached from the salt cliffs have been designated by the name of Lot's wife (Bint Sheikh Lot).

    4. The statement of Genesis 14:3 appears to imply that the Salt Sea now covers what was originally the vale of Siddim.

    5. The expression "like the land of Egypt as thou comest to Zoar" (Genesis 13:10) is suggestive rather of the southern than of the northern extremity of the lake as the site of the Pentapolis. It may be added that this opinion has received the sanction of Robinson, Stanley, Porter, Thomson (The Land and the Book), and other eminent geographers. On the other hand, there are reasons for believing that the true site of the cities was at the north, and not the south, of the Dead Sea.

    1. The circle of the Jordan was visible from the Bethel plateau (Genesis 13:10); the southern extremity of the Dead Sea is not.

    2. From the heights above Hebron or Mature, though the actual circle is not visible, "yet the depression between the nearer hills and those of Gilead can be perceived, and Abraham could at once identify the locality whence the smoke arose," after Sodom's burning.

    3. Chedorlaomer's route (Genesis 14:7-14) was from Kadesh to Hazezon-tamar, midway up the western shore of the Dead Sea, from Hazezon-tamar to the vale of Siddim, and from Siddim to Dan, the natural conclusion being that on reaching Hazezon-tamar he did not turn southward, but continued marching northwards.

    4. Moses from Mount Nebo (Deuteronomy 34:3) beheld"' the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar," which was certainly possible if Zoar was in the line of vision with the plain and the city of Jericho, but as certainly impossible if it was at the southern extremity of the lake This view has been advocated by Grove (Smith's 'Biblical Dictionary,' art. ZONE) and by Tristram, and has been adopted by Drew ('Imp.' 'Bible Dict.,' art. Sodom), Dykes, and Inglis. And beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a (literally, of the) furnace. Thus the appalling catastrophe proclaimed its reality to Abraham; to subsequent ages it stamped a witness of its severity

    HOMILETICS

    Genesis 19:24

    The judgment of fire.

    I. THE DELIVERANCE OF LOT.

    1. Mercifully warned. The intimation conveyed by the angels was—

    2. Urgently hastened. Notwithstanding the angel's warning, it is obvious that Lot trifled, probably from a latent apprehension that there was plenty of time, if not from any secret dubiety as to the need for the celestial exhortation; and so do sinners dally yet with the solemn announcement of the gospel, which necessitates that they Be vehemently pressed, like Lot, with—

    3. Graciously assisted. Even the urgency displayed by the angels would not have sufficed to rescue Lot, had they not extended to him and his worldly-minded partner a helping hand. Hankering after Sodom, perhaps thinking of the wealth they had to leave, the good man and his wife still lingered, and were at last only dragged forth by main force beyond the precincts of the doomed city. It reminds us that few, probably none, would ever escape from the city of destruction if Divine grace were not practically to lay hold of them and drag them forth; and even this Divine grace would not do unless the Lord were specially merciful to them, as he was to Lot.

    4. Minutely directed. To the further prosecution of their journey they were not left without most careful instructions as to how they might secure their safety; and neither are awakened sinners, who have-been aroused to see their peril and to start upon the way of life, permitted to struggle on without celestial guidance as to how to make their calling and election sure. Like the fleeing Lot and his wife, they are counseled

    II. THE OVERTHROW OF SODOM.

    1. Supernatural. Whatever the natural forces employed in the destruction of the fair cities of the Jordan circle, their employment with such severity and at such a time, viz; precisely at the moment when the moral degradation of the people showed them to be ripe for judgment, was a signal demonstration of the miraculous character of the catastrophe; as indeed the narrative alleges it to have been a phenomenon altogether, out of the common course of events: "Jehovah rained down fire from Jehovah.

    2. Unexpected. It does not appear that the inhabitants of Sodom generally were warned of the approaching fire-storm, though, if Lot's sons-in-law may be accepted as an indication of the temper in which the people at that time were, any such announcement would only have been listened to with mocking incredulity. So was it in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:38); so will it be in the end of the world (2 Peter 3:3, 2 Peter 3:4).

    3. Complete. The cities with their inhabitants, the fields with their vegetation, were engulfed in the sulfurous baptism and "turned into ashes." As overwhelming in its kind, though not as sweeping in its extent, as had been the previous submergence of the world by a flood of water, the devastation sent upon the fair Pentapolis of the Jordan circle was a ghastly shadow and premonition of that vengeance of eternal fire which shall yet devour the ungodly (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

    4. Righteous. It was a just judgment which had been richly merited, as the visit of the angels had convincingly demonstrated. Indeed that previous unveiling of the filthiness of Sodom which had taken place may be viewed as having been designed to supply a visible justification of the righteousness of the great Judge in consigning them to so disastrous an overthrow. And so before the infliction of the great day of wrath upon the impenitent and the ungodly there will be a revelation of the secret characters of all hearts and lives, that "thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest" (Psalms 51:3).

    5. Public. In particular, besides being experienced by the unhappy sufferers and observed by the trembling fugitives who had sought refuge in Zoar, it was witnessed by Abraham, who gat him up early, and, looking towards Sodom, saw the smoke of the country ascending like the smoke of a furnace to heaven—a fit emblem of the terrible publicity which will invest the final judgment of a sinful world (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 18:9).

    III. THE FATE OF LOT'S WIFE.

    1. Intensely melancholy. Overtaken by the sulfurous storm, she was transfixed where she stood, and in a moment after wrapped in a sheet of saline incrustation. Affecting in itself, her doom was rendered all the more impressive from the circumstance that she had so nearly escaped. Alas, nearly saved means wholly lost!

    2. Truly deserved. Contrary to the angel's instructions, she had looked behind. Thus she had brought her tragic fate upon herself. Obedience would have saved her; disobedience proved her ruin, Whether she was lost eternally it is not safe to say, but her temporal destruction had been righteously incurred.

    3. Solemnly suggestive. It was doubtless designed to teach many lessons, such as the danger of disobedience, the folly of delay, the severity of the Divine judgments, and the intensity of the Divine displeasure against sin.

    Lessons:—

    1. The difficulty of saving a good man (1 Peter 4:18).

    2. The ability of God to punish sin (Hebrews 10:31).

    3. The danger of looking back (Hebrews 10:26, Hebrews 10:27, Hebrews 10:38).

    4. The possibility of being nearly saved, yet wholly lost (Mark 12:34).

    HOMILIES BY J.F. MONTGOMERY

    Genesis 19:23-25

    The righteousness of God revealed.

    The judgment of God upon Sodom and the cities of the plain. The deliverance of Lot. The reception of the two angels by Lot was a great contrast to that of the three by Abraham. The scene of the Divine judgment is suggestive. The plain of the Jordan was well watered, attracted Lot by its beauty and promise. Early civilization gathered about such spots, but civilization without religion is a blasting influence. There are hidden fountains of judgment ready to burst forth and pour the fire of Divine wrath upon the sinners. The man who "pitched his tent towards Sodom" became at last a townsman, "vexed with the filthy conversation," yet, but for Divine mercy, involved in its punishment. The whole narrative teaches important lessons, especially on the following points:—

    I. A TRULY RELIGIOUS LIFE is not a mere secret of the soul, but HAS ITS APPROPRIATE PLACE AND SURROUNDINGS.

    II. THE HOUSEHOLD of the true believer is A LARGE ENOUGH CIRCLE IN WHICH TO MANIFEST SINCERITY AND FAITHFULNESS, yet must we take heed that our house is well defended against the invasions of the corrupt world.

    III. HOW GREAT A RESULT COMES OUT OFTEN FROM A SMALL BEGINNING OF ERROR! The selfishness of Lot's first choice of his residence was the seed of evil which multiplied into all the subsequent suffering and wrong.

    IV. "Behold the GOODNESS and SEVERITY OF GOD"—mingled judgment and mercy, but not mingled in a confused manner, with perfect order. The man who had joined with Abraham in the covenant with Jehovah, who with all his faults was yet a believer, is warned, rescued by angels; able by his intercession to obtain mercy for others.

    V. The DIVINE JUSTICE which is manifested on the large scale as BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD is also revealed in the smaller sphere of HOUSEHOLDS and families. Lot's wife is an apostate, and becomes involved in the destruction of the wicked. His sons-in-law mock at the Divine warning. His daughters become the incestuous originators of nations which afterwards greatly trouble the history of the people of God.

    VI. THE SAME STEADFASTNESS OF GOD HAS TWO SIDES OR ASPECTS OF IT. "The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar." The same day, while the sun was serenely smiling on the city of refuge, the storm of fire and destruction from heaven was gathering over the doomed people and ready to burst upon them. "When God destroyed the cities of the plain, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow."—R.

    HOMILIES BY J.F. MONTGOMERY

    Genesis 19:26

    The danger of falling back.

    "But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." Every part of this narrative suggestive of lessons. Reminded how "the righteous scarcely saved," and of the danger of an amiable weakness. In Lot's sons-in-law we see how the world receives the gospel (cf. Ezekiel 20:49; James 1:24). In his wife, one convinced, but not converted; seeking safety, but with a divided aim (James 1:8). In the angel's help, God's watchful care, even where the need is unknown. Text teaches the responsibility of those who hear the gospel. Dangers surrounding us, but a way of safety (Psalms 101:1; 2 Corinthians 2:16). But not enough to be roused (Matthew 10:22; Hebrews 12:1). Many are awakened to flee, yet look back (Luke 9:62). Lot's wife not deaf to the call; did not think it fancy; really believed; felt the danger, and fled (2 Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 18:4). But the sun rose; the valley beautiful; home attractive; no signs of danger. Must she leave all; and at once? She paused. That pause was death.

    I. May be roused by ALARM OF CONSCIENCE and yet look back (cf. Matthew 12:43-45). Some, intent on the world, think not of the future. Preaching seems only a venerable form; prayer a proper homage to God. But as to anything more, no hurry. But a time of anxiety comes. Perhaps a wave of revival, or some special occurrence—illness, bereavement, care. Eternity is brought near, false confidence dispelled (Isaiah 28:17). Then in earnest to seek the true refuge (Hebrews 6:18). The Bible read; prayer a real pleading. But the sun arises. The immediate cause passes away. Fears fade away. Then a looking back. Surely some of you can remember times of earnestness. Perhaps in hours of anxious watching, or in preparation for communion, or God has spoken directly to the soul and made you feel his presence (Genesis 28:16, Genesis 28:17). Then the blessedness of accepted salvation was felt. The message was not a parable theft. The Bible and prayer were precious then. But time went on. The immediate influence, gone. All as before. Old ways asserted their power; hard to give them up. In mercy the call once more. Awake; the storm is at hand, though thou, seest it not. Pray that the Holy Spirit may transform thy heart.

    II. May be moved by EXAMPLE OF OTHERS, yet turn back. She felt her husband's earnestness, and went with him, but so far only. We know the power of example. When we see those we love affected, we are moved to be as they. So at the preaching of John the Baptist. So at times of missions. Have any felt this influence; been stirred to read and pray? It is well. But has it lasted? For a real saving change there must be a personal transaction with the Lord as a living Savior; a laying hold of him, a real desire and effort that the will and whole nature be submitted to him.

    III. A MIGHTIER POWER STILL MAY ACT UPON THE SOUL. While Lot lingered angels laid hold of hands. There are times when God pleads urgently. One refuge after another swept away. Call upon call, sign upon sign, till the will seems conquered. But all is not done (Philippians 3:13). Such pleadings neglected, cease. Observe, God led Lot out of Sodom, not to Zoar. There is work still to be done (2 Peter 1:10). The question is not as to the past, but as to the present. It will not save a man that he was once anxious. Look not back. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Let earnestness in every part of Christian life testify that you are not looking back (Hebrews 10:39).—M.

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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/genesis-19.html. 1897.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
    looked
    This unhappy woman, says the Rev. T. Scott, "looked back," contrary to God's express command, perhaps with a hope of returning, which latter supposition is favoured by our Lord's words, "Let him not return back: remember Lot's wife." She was, therefore, instantaneously struck dead and petrified, and thus remained to after ages a visible monument of the Divine displeasure.
    17; Proverbs 14:14; Luke 17:31,32; Hebrews 10:38
    and
    Numbers 16:38
    Reciprocal: Ecclesiastes 5:13 - riches;  Habakkuk 2:9 - that coveteth an evil covetousness;  Mark 13:15 - GeneralLuke 21:21 - flee;  Philippians 3:7 - General

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/genesis-19.html.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

    But his wife looked back from behind him — Herein she disobeyed an express command. Probably she hankered after her house and goods in Sodom, and was loath to leave them. Christ intimates this to be her sin, Luke 17:31,32, she too much regarded her stuff. And her looking back spoke an inclination to go back; and therefore our Saviour uses it as a warning against apostasy from our Christian profession.

    And she became a pillar of salt — She was struck dead in the place, yet her body did not fall down, but stood fixed and erect like a pillar or monument, not liable to waste or decay, as human bodies exposed to the air are, but metamorphosed into a metallic substance, which would last perpetually. Our communion with God consists in our gracious regard to him, and his gracious regard to us. We have here therefore the communion that was between God and Abraham in the event concerning Sodom, as before in the consultation concerning It; for communion with God is to be kept up in providences as well as in ordinances.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/genesis-19.html. 1765.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    DESTRUCTION OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH, 24-28.

    This account of the overthrow of the cities of the plain is brief, but graphic. Four things are succinctly told: 1) The means of destruction — fire and brimstone from heaven. 2) The effect — utter ruin of the cities, inhabitants, and vegetation. 3) Lot’s wife perishing. 4) The appearance of the country after the destruction, as seen by Abraham — like “the smoke of a furnace.”

    It is scarcely necessary to repeat here the various speculations and controversies touching the sites of the “cities of the plain,” (see on chapter 14:3,) the possible causes of their destruction, and the present configuration of the Dead Sea. On these subjects the reader must consult the special treatises, and the Biblical Dictionaries. See especially McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia, articles Dead Sea, Gomorrah, Sodom, Siddim, and Zoar.

    It has been supposed that the Jordan once flowed southwards through the Arabian Ghor, and emptied into the Red Sea through the Gulf of Akabah. But it is now generally conceded that this salt lake, now nearly 1,300 feet lower than the Mediterranean, and over 1,300 feet lower than the Red Sea, never communicated with the latter, but must have existed long before the age of Abraham. But very probably this ancient lake, which received the waters of the Jordan and many other streams, was very much smaller than the present Dead Sea. This latter, doubtless, covers much surface which was anciently a luxuriant plain. According to Major Wilson, of the Palestine Exploration Fund, “the basin of the Dead Sea has been formed without any influence from, or communication with, the ocean; whence it follows that the lake has never been any thing but a reservoir for the rainfall, the saltness of which originally proceeded from the environs of the lake, and has greatly increased under the influence of incessant evaporation. At a later date volcanic eruptions have taken place to the north-east and east of the Dead Sea, and the last phenomena which affected its basin were the hot and mineral springs and bituminous eruptions which often accompany and follow volcanic action.” It is the province of scientific research to bring to light all that can be ascertained as to the geological formation of this mysterious gulf. The destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah was, according to the obvious import of our narrative, miraculous. See the exposition below.

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/genesis-19.html. 1874-1909.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    26.His wife looked back — Prompted by her longing for what she had left behind, and a curiosity to witness the destruction. Her example is given as a warning against desire and effort to take one’s goods when God calls away. Luke 17:32.

    She became a pillar of salt — Looking backwards and lingering behind, she was probably smitten by the fire and brimstone, and afterwards covered over by a deposit of salt, and became a mound, or pillar, like those which may even now be seen at the southern end of the Dead Sea. The apocryphal Book of Wisdom (x, 7) says that in that waste land to this day “a standing pillar of salt is a monument of an unbelieving soul,” and accordingly many a traveller has sought to identify this pillar. The’ following cut represents a column, called by the Arabs Bint Sheik Lot, which was visited by Palmer, and described as “a tall, isolated needle of rock, which really does bear a curious resemblance to an Arab woman with a child upon her shoulder.” But he observes, “the rock discovered by us does not fulfil the requirements of the Scripture story, but there can be no doubt that it is the object which has served to keep alive for so many ages the local tradition of the event.”

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 19:26". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/genesis-19.html. 1874-1909.