Lot's Daughters

The Bible has some strange stuff going on sometimes. Here is a story that makes me scratch my head every time I’ve ever read it. I’m curious what kind of insight may be found in it. It’s found in Genesis (mostly chapter 19).

Lot is Abraham’s nephew, and he’s married with two daughters. They have a happy little place in Sodom. This is a most unfortunate place to live, especially during Genesis 19. Sodom is so wicked that God decides to destroy it along with Gomorrah. Before God reigns down his judgement in the form of fire from the sky, he sends two Angels into the town to rescue Lot and his family. This is quite a nice gesture. The events transpire like this (paraphrased):

Two angels show up at Lot’s door (Lot does not know who they are).

Lot:

“What a pleasant surprise – please come spend the night at my house”

(what a nice host Lot is)

Angels:

“Um, I don’t think we should hang around, since God is going to destroy the city and all, but we’ll come in for just a sec”

In the meantime, ALL of the men (young and old, it says – so I’m assuming children through elderly) show up at Lot’s door with this most heartwarming request of the two Angels…

“Who are these guys that came to your house, Lot? Bring them out here so we can all have sex with them.”

Well that’s weird. And disgusting. Perhaps this is why God has finally had enough of this place. But – let’s listen to Lot’s response:

“Come on guys! They’re my guests! You can’t do that to my guests! Here, have my two virgin daughters instead. You can do whatever you want to them, but geez, guys, lay off my guests.”

What the heck is that!?! Lot would rather give his two daughters to a crowd of men than a couple people he doesn’t know? Seriously? I’m curious what lesson is to be learned from this. I think it speaks to the stigma of hospitality that existed in those cultures, which has some interesting implications if we look at the way Jesus carried himself around guests.

Lot eventually escapes the city, though his wife dies in the process. He ends up living in a cave with his two daughters. They decide that there really aren’t any good men left out in the caves, so they get him drunk and sleep with him. Both daughters become pregnant by their own father, and from those children come the Moabites and the Ammonites.

What a peculiar (and disturbing) bit of history. What do you think about it? Any insights?

  • Brian Poole

    I heard somewhere (really reliable, huh?) that the destruction of Sodom was so massive and terrifying that they thought there were no more men anywhere and were trying to continue the species. Take it with a grain of salt (ha, ha-see how I worked the salt in there?)

    • http://brianwahlband.com Brian

      Well played, Dr. Poole. You are not called “The Shark” for nothing.

      Their thinking that there weren’t any men left would certainly explain their desperate behavior.

  • diann elyse

    Yup–a passage that’s a head scratcher (and one that authenticates Scripture wasn’t inspired by men! they/we wouldn’t put this one in there) Interesting thought about the hospitality–love to hear that expanded. For me it shows: the depravity of the city–demonstrating God’s strategy–and how it rubs off on the righteous; that Lot was lucky Uncle Abe was advocating for him–cuz he doesn’t really seem that righteous; if he were a father parenting in a godly way, he would have given himself to the mob before his daughters; the family system stuff is evident–the daughter’s actions aren’t surprising given dad’s actions (and I’m suspicious that maybe they were only “technical virgins” courtesy of dad); finally, I’m glad that over time I figured out that not everything in Scripture is prescriptive but largely descriptive–as a kid the assumption was that if it’s in there, it’s “biblical” aka right. Not so here! SO seeing that clearly helps clear up the misnomer about God’s way not honoring of women–this was clearly not God’s way.

    nuff said!