This is from the view of a Hebrew slave freed from Egypt.

As the Lord and his angels were leaving, they decided to tell Abraham about their plans to visit the city of Sodom.

They wanted him to be sure to raise his children to do what is right.

So, they told Abraham they had heard bad things about the city and were going to see if it was true.

The angels left, but the Lord kept talking to Abraham.

Abraham knew his nephew Lot was living there, and he had already rescued him once, so he asked the Lord not to kill the righteous people in the city (Gen 14:11–16).

God said he would not destroy the city if he could find fifty righteous people there.

Abraham kept lowering the number until he and the Lord agree to ten people being enough to save Sodom (Gen 18:16–33).

These angels looked like regular men.

Lot was the first person they met when they came into the city. He begged them to spend the night at his house, so they did.

After they ate, all the men there came to Lot’s house to demand that Lot give them the two men so they could have sex with them.

No good person would do that to someone visiting his house. Instead, Lot offered them his two daughters.

I think he was being sarcastic, saying, “I would be just as likely to give you my girls as I would give these men to you!”

This made the men of Sodom angry.

When they tried to grab Lot, the angels pulled him into the house and made the men of Sodom unable to see. They could not find the door, so they slowly wandered away.

The angels told Lot they were going to destroy Sodom, and if his daughters were about to get married, he needed to warn those men to get out (Gen 19:1–13).

When Lot told his future sons-in-law, they thought he was joking, so they stayed there.

As the sun was rising, the angels took Lot, his wife, and his daughters by their hands and led them out.

As soon as they were out of Sodom, the angels told them to run and never look back until they reached the mountains far away.

Lot said he couldn’t go that far; could he please go to a small town nearby instead? They agreed.

As soon as Lot reached that little town, God sent burning sulfur onto Sodom and the nearby cities. Everything was destroyed.

On the way, Lot’s wife looked back and she turned into salt.

Abraham could see the thick smoke even from where he lived.

Although the angels did not find ten righteous people in the city, God saved Lot and his daughters (Gen 19:14–29).

We can still see smoking ashes, sulfur, and salt there today (Deut 29:23).[1]

Lot was too afraid to stay in the little town, so he and his daughters moved into a cave in the mountains.

There were no other men nearby for the women to marry, so they decided to have children through their father.

They got Lot to drink a lot of wine, had sex with him, and became pregnant.

The oldest daughter named her son “From Father” (Moab). Her sister named her baby “Son of My People” (Ben-Ammi) (Gen 19:30–38).

Their descendants are two of our worst enemies.

Like Lot’s daughters, some Moabites got our people to commit sexual sin. Due to that, God killed 24,000 of our people in one day (Num 25:1–9).

The Lord told us not to allow people descended from Moab or Ben-Ammi to join us for ten generations (Deut 23:3).

Main points to remember:

  • The city God destroyed was full of evil people
  • God hates sexual immorality, especially sexual violence (Judg 19:22–30; Judg 20:18, 48).
  • Angels rescued Lot and his daughters
  • Getting drunk can result in sin that affects us for a very long time
  • Jesus warned that people who reject him will receive worse judgment than the people of Sodom did (Matt 11:20–24), and that he will return when we don’t expect him to (Luke 17:28–37).

Discuss how you can apply what you have learned here to your life and ministry.


Image via Wikimedia Commons This painting of the scene at Lot’s house is from a copy of Genesis made in Egypt in the fifth or sixth century AD.


Go to The Life of Abraham Part 2


Return to Chapter 5: An Early Israelite View of Genesis


Return to Old Testament Survey main page

[1]Philo, “On the Life of Moses, II,” in The Works of Philo Judaeus (trans. Charles Duke Yonge; London: H. G. Bohn, 1854), 85,