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Bible: What Does Genesis 19 Teach Us About Sodom and Gomorrah?

Updated on September 15, 2016

Ruins of Sodom


God Destroys Sodom and Gomorrah

Two Angels Visit Sodom

The text finally reveals that the two “men” are, in fact, angels whom God sends to investigate personally the moral climate in Sodom (v. 1a).

Entering the city, they encounter Lot sitting at the gate; he treats them respectfully and offers them the typical near Eastern hospitality (vv. 1b-2a; cf. 18:1-5).

[What significance is there, if any, that Lot was sitting at the gate of the city?

Did he know that these visitors were angels, or did he believe that they were just human beings?]

When the angels indicate their intention of spending the night in the “open square,” Lot vehemently disagrees with their decision.

[If Lot had known that they were angels, he probably would not have insisted so strongly that they accept his hospitality.

Is it possible that Lot is ignorant of the power of angels?

The angels, of course, had no “homophobia”; they did not fear what the sodomites could do to them.

They had come to Sodom to confirm the city’s wicked deeds.

What better time and place could they find to witness this perversion than overnight in the “open square”?]

Lot Shows Hospitality to the Angels

Accepting his kindness, the angels visit Lot’s house, and the host prepares a feast with unleavened bread (vv. 2b-3).

[Is it culturally or morally significant that Lot baked unleavened bread for them?]

Not long after supping,Lot and the angels hear clamoring outside; the whole male population has surrounded the house, demanding that Lot turn over the visitors to them for homosexual purposes (vv. 4-5).

Lot goes outside and tries to reason with his “brethren,” even freely offering them his two virgin daughters upon whom they could satisfy their lust (vv. 6-8a).

[Peter gives Lot a sparkling review, designating him a righteous man who was “oppressed” and “tormented” by Sodom’s evil (cf. 2 Peter 2:7-8).

Still, how could he disregard his daughters’ welfare and virtue?

Even if he is just trying to be diplomatic to save his skin, something just does not add up!

Perhaps this episode shows how far even righteous people can descend.]

Judgment Upon Sodomites

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Lot and Family Flee Sodom


The Angels Judge the Sodomites

Lot’s valiant attempt to protect the “men” fails, for the sodomites roundly condemn his judgmental attitude, threaten to harm him worse than they would his visitors, and rush the door to break it down (vv. 8b-9).

Then an event occurs that no one expected: the angels grab Lot, pull him inside, shut the door, and strike the attackers with blindness (vv. 10-11a).

So inflamed is the sodomites’ inordinate lust that even loss of sight does not restrain them from trying to get at the “men” (v. 11b).

The Angels Lead Survivors Out of Sodom

With great urgency and fervor, the angels command Lot to take his “people” out of Sodom, because God had ordered them to destroy it (vv. 12-13).

Lot’s sons-in-law think that their father-in-law is joking when he warns them of imminent divine judgment (v. 14).

[Are these men pledged in marriage to the daughters Lot was willing to give to the sodomites?

Why did Lot allow his daughters to marry such men?

Were they among the sodomites outside?

It appears that Lot’s spiritual life was so inconsistent that the sons-in-law found his warning to be ridiculous rather than serious and alarming].

Morning arrives. Despite the angels’ urgings for him to hurry, Lot still lingers in the city; he appears unwilling to leave his adopted hometown (vv. 15-16a).

Grabbing their hands, the angels mercifully drag Lot, his wife, and the daughters out of the city, and order them to escape to the mountains to avoid being swept away in the judgment (v. 17).

Though he appears grateful for the rescue, Lot negotiates with the angels, wishing to settle in a small town close to Sodom rather than trek through the mountains where he may encounter some “evil” and die there (vv. 18-20).

The angel acquiesces to Lot’s wish, allowing him to arrive in Zoar (“Insignificant”), a little city in the area which God will spare (vv. 21-22), before raining down the destruction.

God's Judgment Upon Sodom


Mount Sodom


God Destroys Sodom and Gomorrah

As Lot enters Zoar, the LORD “rains brimstone and fire” on Sodom and Gomorrah; everyone and everything perish in the devastation (vv. 23-25).

[Was this judgment a volcanic eruption?]

God even judges Lot’s wife, causing her to become a pillar of salt because she gazed back at the city (v. 26).

Far away on the site where he stood before the LORD (cf. 18:22), Abraham watches the smoke of Sodom and Gomorrah ascend to heaven (vv. 27-28).

Yahweh rescued Lot for Abraham’s sake; He “remembered” the patriarch before He destroyed the cities of the plain (v. 29).

Lot's Daughters Commit Incest with Him; Origin of Moab and Ammon

Fearful of the people in Zoar, Lot leaves for the mountains and becomes a cave dweller with his two daughters (v. 30).

[Since they knew that fearful Lot would not stay in Zoar, the angels did not insist that he go to the mountains].

Now the daughters, bereft of husbands, conspire to have children through their old father (vv. 31-32).

After getting him drunk on successive nights, they have intercourse with him; both of them conceive and bear sons (vv. 33-35).

The first-born names her son Moab; the younger calls her child Ben-Ammi (literally, son of my father).

These boys later become the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites, bitter enemies of the Israelites (vv. 36-38).

© 2012 glynch1


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    • glynch1 profile image

      glynch1 2 years ago

      I do not believe there is any legitimate argument questioning the authenticity of the Mosaic authorship of Genesis. Naturalistic philosophers and scientists are forever trying to disprove the Scriptures. Those who know their God are certain that the Scriptures are true as God is truth.

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      Rayne123 5 years ago

      Oh yes indeed I agree with you, righteous people can live inconsistent lives for sure. That has been proven/seen time and time again.

      God is the only one that is not change or never breaks a promise.

      You bring up a good point when you mention Moses. He may have been the one that wrote this according to Gods word. It just amazes me how God knew who/what/where his words would be found over the decades.

      Its very mystifying but at the same time knowledgeable. God predicted the future right up until the end...... soon to come. He knew where his words would end up and in whose hands.

      I do wonder sometimes how the word stays true through centuries, however this is God the most powerful Almighty and like I said he knew what was and was not.

      I know some that say the bible is to question. Do we really know what they say to be the truth. When I watch films online about the scriptures or the life of Jesus, each apostle tells the same story with a few differences.

      But still people question whether they make it up or not. However I do not think God would allow his word to go to the point it does if it was lies.

      He picked those certain people to use to preach his word throughout the world. I believe there is a lot of codes/signs in the bible.

      A lot of reading between the lines. Jesus spoke in parables.

      The researchers are saying that the blood God talks about in the bible is the red altracks (forget what it is called sorry) that was spilled into the water. Maybe it is , however if it is ,this is a sign from God that the prophecies are still being fulfilled.

      Your also right when you say God may have used a volcano, and your right he should not be limited to natural disasters. God is the almighty powerful and with one finger he can destroy the world. That is why I question the scientists/researchers that go out and research whether or not there was a natural disaster in that time.

      Whether they find one or not, I believe God can drop fire from the sky without any tools to go about this. So then how would this be proven, it can't. However there is a lot of controversy on this.

      I like this hub, I find this one very interesting, this whole sodom city.

      Do you know of any links to this story besides the documentaries. Thank you again

    • glynch1 profile image

      glynch1 5 years ago

      As I wrote, Lot was a curious fellow. The New Testament declares he was righteous, but his actions hardly exemplify that status. What does his life indicate? It shows us that righteous people can live inconsistent lives.

      I believe the human author of the first five books of the Older Testament was Moses. Perhaps this Lot episode in Genesis 19 began as part of an oral tradition that Moses knew, and he merely wrote it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when the time arrived to record it for posterity. God may have used a volcano to destroy Sodom, but we should not limit Him to a mere natural phenomenon.

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      Rayne123 5 years ago


      I found this whole story quite interesting. I read the bible scriptures everyday and believe in Gods word and what he has to offer.

      He is not one to question, he has the higest of power of all powers and can take away what we have as easily as he gave it to us. However I am very confused at this part of the bible.

      I don't understand either why he would offer his daughters and in return leave the people to be saved. I can't see God doing things this way, however again it may have been an order from God to have the people set free, knowing God would save Lot and his family. This is the way I understand and kind of the message I seem to get.

      I just watched a controversy documentary on these cities , and there was a man who went out to search for brimstone in this destroyed city, and he found it and tested it to be true.

      As God said I will send fire and brimstones and he did.

      I wrote an article on the unknown and part of our unknown is God, but yet known if you know what I mean.

      I don't question the bible or Gods words at all. I know God will pour out his wrath, the bible mentions it several times.

      Scientists are fast to try to debunk the teachings on this story, they have researched it and found that there were disasters around that time, however they have no real explanation to why. Well when you look at it, God does not need a meteor to fall to earth or a reason he just does it.

      I am sure God knew who would and would not questions his works so he set it up to make sure his word was truth.

      Some are too fast to believe that magicians can actually walk on water (criss angel) yea ok, however they question the work of Gods hands.

      It is a very interesting story. It does make you wonder who wrote it, who saw it, how did it actually get in the bible.

      I just don't question God or the unknown because in the end, the heavens have all power over any man

      Thanks for a great hub

      Have a good day