The Book of Judges: Gideon, the 5th judge – the rise of a powerful leader

Gideon #1 – introduction to Judges (Judges 6:1-10)

Gideon (Book of Judges) leads he people of Israel to win against the Midianites

I love the Book of Judges. So, letโ€™s start with an introduction to the book. It will give us the background we need for the story of Gideon.

In the twenty-one chapters of the book, we discover a pattern that will characterise the people of Israel for generations โ€“ even until today. It is a pattern of a cycle that repeats endlessly.

First, the people of Israel forget God and His ways. For example, in Judges 2:10

ื•ึฐื’ึทื ื›ึธึผืœ-ื”ึทื“ึผื•ึนืจ ื”ึทื”ื•ึผื, ื ึถืึถืกึฐืคื•ึผ ืึถืœ-ืึฒื‘ื•ึนืชึธื™ื•; ื•ึทื™ึธึผืงึธื ื“ึผื•ึนืจ ืึทื—ึตืจ ืึทื—ึฒืจึตื™ื”ึถื, ืึฒืฉึถืืจ ืœึนื-ื™ึธื“ึฐืขื•ึผ ืึถืช-ื™ึฐื”ื•ึธื”, ื•ึฐื’ึทื ืึถืช-ื”ึทืžึทึผืขึฒืฉึถื‚ื”, ืึฒืฉึถืืจ ืขึธืฉึธื‚ื” ืœึฐื™ึดืฉึฐื‚ืจึธืึตืœ

And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers; and there arose another generation after them, that knew not about God, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.

Second, once sin and the wrong ways have been established, God, removes his protection from the people of Israel, letting them experience the hardship of the world without His protection. For instance, in Judges 2:14

ื•ึทื™ึดึผื—ึทืจ-ืึทืฃ ื™ึฐื”ื•ึธื”, ื‘ึฐึผื™ึดืฉึฐื‚ืจึธืึตืœ, ื•ึทื™ึดึผืชึฐึผื ึตื ื‘ึฐึผื™ึทื“-ืฉึนืืกึดื™ื, ื•ึทื™ึธึผืฉึนืืกึผื•ึผ ืื•ึนืชึธื; ื•ึทื™ึดึผืžึฐื›ึฐึผืจึตื ื‘ึฐึผื™ึทื“ ืื•ึนื™ึฐื‘ึตื™ื”ึถื, ืžึดืกึธึผื‘ึดื™ื‘, ื•ึฐืœึนื-ื™ึธื›ึฐืœื•ึผ ืขื•ึนื“, ืœึทืขึฒืžึนื“ ืœึดืคึฐื ึตื™ ืื•ึนื™ึฐื‘ึตื™ื”ึถื

And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and He gave them over into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.

Only then, in times of pain and suffering, the people rediscover God and the covenant they made with Him. They repent. And God, eternally patient, true to His word, remains loyal to the covenant, forever, as we can see in the Book of Judges 2:1

ื•ึทื™ึนึผืืžึถืจ ืึทืขึฒืœึถื” ืึถืชึฐื›ึถื ืžึดืžึดึผืฆึฐืจึทื™ึดื, ื•ึธืึธื‘ึดื™ื ืึถืชึฐื›ึถื ืึถืœ-ื”ึธืึธืจึถืฅ ืึฒืฉึถืืจ ื ึดืฉึฐืื‘ึทึผืขึฐืชึดึผื™ ืœึทืึฒื‘ึนืชึตื™ื›ึถื, ื•ึธืึนืžึทืจ, ืœึนื-ืึธืคึตืจ ื‘ึฐึผืจึดื™ืชึดื™ ืึดืชึฐึผื›ึถื ืœึฐืขื•ึนืœึธื

And he said: ‘… I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I swore unto your fathers; and I said: I will never break My covenant with you;

Finally, God chooses a seemingly ordinary person and raises him to become a JUDGE, a temporary leader to fight the enemy and save Israel.

For a single generation the people of Israel manage to remember the grace of God and follow His ways. But it never lasts more than one generation. The next generation, raised in times of peace and prosperity, forgets God again. Once more, they need to go through pain and suffering to remember.

This cycle lasts in the book for twelve judges and for over 300 years (~1350-1014 BC), all the way until the first king, King Saul.  In this series of blog posts, I will cover the story of the fifth judge, Gideon. (~1191-1151 BC.) which starts Judges 6:5.

Final note about the Book of Judges

Just by looking at the general pattern in the book of Judges, we can learn so much about the people of Israel, who forget the ways of God so often. We learn about God and his eternal patience, and we learn about the relationship between God and the people of Israel, and how despite the infinite number of times that the people of Israel have disappointed God and left His way, God is committed to this relationship forever.

We also learn why suffering is necessary.

We have short memory, and most of us can learn only from our personal experience and never from the experience of others. When we live in a good time, we attribute it to ourselves, our power, and our talent. We become conceited, arrogant. We feel that we are the masters of the world.  God has no place in our hearts and takes no part in our decisions.  It is only at time of hardship and suffering that we realise we are not in control. Only then can we clearly see that each moment of our lives is a precious gift given to us. It is not created by us.

This is what Judges is repeating over and again, so we can learn from the experience of others and not have to go through suffering ourselves. Just like the story of Abraham negotiating with God, the Book of Judges is a guidebook that teaches us and gives us an opportunity to learn from the experience of others. Yet, we always fail to follow.

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The Story of Sodom: Why Shouldn’t They Look Back?

Sodom and Gomorrah #22 (Genesis 19:17)

In verse 16 we saw Lotโ€™s pain and his hesitation before he left his home forever. The angels could see it, too, and with compassion took Lot, his wife, and the two daughters by the hand and led them outside the city. In verse 17 the angels tell them the last instruction how to stay alive – don’t look back.

The Hebrew Bible, Translation and transliteration of Genesis 19:17.  The Angels give Lot his last instructions before he leaves Sodom forever

Looking back โ€“ two schools of thought

It is important that we get familiar with the two opposing schools of thought about the relationship between us, human, and the word of God. In our verse this question arise when the angel tells Lot and his family not to look back.

Why is it important?

Because each school of thought leads to a different explanation for the death of Lotโ€™s wife. Each way of thinking also paints a different image of God.

The first school of thought believes that Lotโ€™s wife felt compelled to look back because she could not let go of her past. She did not trust God enough to follow His words. According to this interpretation, God creates a path for us, and our duty is to follow this path, while our devotion is constantly being tested. Not to look back was another test for Lot and his family.

You may ask, why they are being tested? After all, didnโ€™t Lot bring the angels in, despite the risk to himself and his family? Wasn’t he protecting them from the crowd outside? Werenโ€™t these tests enough?

But we also have to remember that years of living in Sodom could have corrupted Lot and his family in many subtle ways. After all, living with other people changes our ways and biases our judgment. Suddenly, things that until not long ago used to be unacceptable, creep into our lives to become part of us. God needed to ensure that Lot and his family deserved saving.  Unfortunately, Lotโ€™s wife looking back proved that she did not trust God enough, and therefore her punishment was rightly deserved.

When I read this text with this interpretation in mind, I can’t help but think of a completely different story. The story of Orpheus and Eurydice from the Greek mythology. If you are not familiar with the story, here is a brief summary:

Like Lot, who was the only righteous person in Sodom, Orpheus had a special talent. He was the most gifted of all musicians. The Gods themselves could not have enough of his music. So when his beloved wife, Eurydice, died, using his music he convinced Hades, the God of the underworld, to let him take Eurydice back to the world of the living. But like in Lotโ€™s case, there was a condition. Orpheus had to walk before Eurydice, without looking back at her, the wife he had been missing for so long, until they came out of the underworld.

The place was silent. Being the first human to ever walk up along this corridor, Orpheus could not hear Eurydice’s steps behind. He could not be sure she was there, and he started doubting Hadesโ€™ promise. He decided to have a quick look back to make sure that indeed she was stepping behind him.

She had been.

But to his and her great dismay as he looked back, demon appeared and started pulling her back toward the underworld. His lack of trust killed his wife for the second time.

The similarity between this interpretation of Lotโ€™s story and the story of Orpheus cannot be ignored. In both cases a person with special talent was rewarded by God, under the condition of total obedience. In both cases the smallest of disobedience put the person back with the with the rest of humanity: Lotโ€™s wife to die with the people of Sodom, and Orpheus with every other human, who cannot reunite in their lifetime with those they have lost.   

While the above way of thinking is prevalent, it is not the only one. The second school of thought sees the events in exactly the opposite light. According to this way of thinking, God is not punishing people, but rather trying to save them. His words are warning, not threats. He warns us from risks along our path, the risks that we are facing and those we will be facing. But other than warnings, God does not interfere with our decisions. He makes sure we know, but He lets us make our own choices. And when we do not follow, we do not suffer punishment, but the natural consequences of our own doing.

I do not know what was in the fire that destroyed Sodom. But God knew that looking into it will result in death. Lotโ€™s wife made her choice, and like all of us who ignore warnings, she suffered the consequence. She was not punished.

Which of the two interpretations do you believe is the right one for Lotโ€™s story? Was God giving a command that had to be followed, or was it a warning by God, who other than forcing us, does all He can do to save us? Which is the God you believe in?

The Garden of Eden, a Transient Safe Place

The story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 has always bothered me. It is not because Adam and Eve sinned; it is not because a snake could talk; it is not even because of the severe, out of proportion, punishment humanity has, allegedly, suffered as a result. It mostly disturbed me because the story I heard over and again, often from proud believers, diminished God and made him either cruel or incompetent โ€“ neither I could accept.

Image of Adam and Eve surrounded my animals in the Garden of Eden by Johann Wenzel Peter  1745-1829
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Science Battling Genesis: How Old is the Universe?

I have been teaching recently the first chapters of Genesis. As expected, these chapters raise huge controversy, more than any other chapter in the Bible. It is easy to understand. After all, while most of the Bible deals with society, morals, or spirituality, the first few chapters of Genesis deal with the creation of the physical world, presenting a very different view than modern science. This is particularly true when questions about the age of the universe are concerned.

Naรฏve reading of the Bible will tell us that the world is about 6,000 years old. Science, on the other hand, has a different view. By combining data from different disciplines, scientists believe that the age of the universe is about 13.7 billion years, and the age of earth is about 4.5 billion years.  

This is huge, hardly imaginable, difference. The age of the universe according to science is about a million times larger than the age according to the Bible.  To make these huge numbers easier to comprehend, letโ€™s scale them down. If, for instance, the world according to the Bible was scaled down from 6,000 years to 6 hours (in other words, if the Biblical world was created 6 hours ago) then the world according to science was formed nearly 700 years ago. That was during the Spanish inquisition, before Columbus discovered America.

Of course, there are many religious scientists who are familiar with the two versions of creation and find no contradiction between them. How can they do it?

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Escaping Sodom, Desperate and Broken Hearted – Leaving Loved Ones Behind

Sodom and Gomorrah #20 (Genesis 19:15)

Today, after producing a few YouTube episodes of #50DaysOfGenesis series, I return to the story of Lot and his family escaping from Sodom. As you know, I am greatly disturbed by the harsh ways many believers judge Lot and his wife. There are many reasons for that. But most do it just because Lot and His wife lived in Sodom (as if those judging live in the land of righteousness).

We judge Lot and his wife as if they were robots, not as though they were humans with feelings, emotions, and pains. We judge them as if we would have behaved any better if we found ourselves having to leave everyone and everything behind. So why does it disturb me? Because, like many other places in the Bible, this chapter gives us a chance to learn compassion, but instead, we choose only to practice judgment.

So now we are back in chapter 19, and we’ll continue with verse 14.

After the mob attacked his house, Lot went to his sons-in-law to talk them into escaping with him from the doomed city of Sodom. As we often see with doomsayers nowadays, his relatives mocked him, and he returned home empty handed. But when morning comes, shortly before the destruction of Sodom begins, Lot and his family must leave. There can be no further delays.

Lot is escaping Sodom. He and his family are getting ready, leaving loved ones behind. 

This is translation and transliteration of the Hebrew Bible; Genesis 19:15

Escaping while leaving family behind

We now know that Lot had other daughters, married ones. He also had sons in law, maybe grandchildren, and maybe (as we have seen in verse 12) even a few sons . But, despite the unavoidable pain of separation, his broken heart, and despite knowing that he survived and they did not, he would have to leave them behind.

They mocked him. Understandably, they did not listen to his words, and they chose to stay with what they knew, rather than venture into the scary, and unfamiliar (most people I know would have stayed. Would you have listened to him?) Lot and his wife will have to carry in their hearts the burden and the guilt of the survivor, not only while escaping, but for the rest of their lives:  

Why did they die while we stayed alive? 
If we tried just a bit harder, we could have convinced them to come with us.
We could have saved them.  
We should have stayed to die with them.

These thoughts have been described over and again by survivors that had left behind loved ones, family, and friends. No reasoning, logic or words of comfort can ever ease their pain and burden of guilt, even if it was not their fault; even if it was their only option; even if they had no choice. 

Adam and Eve were made to leave the Garden of Eden; Cain was forced away from his land, and so did Abraham. Lot and his family are now escaping their home. These are only a few of the many such Biblical examples. But it does not end with the Bible. Our entire history is filled with people forced away from their homes, leaving others behind.

How many times throughout history have those that could foresee danger had to flee, broken heartedly, leaving behind friends, family and loved ones, who remained blind to the situation until it was too late? How many more times will humanity continue to face such horrors? It is not far from home. As we see the refugees in Ukraine nowadays, can we imagine ourselves in such a situation? Is there a guarantee we will never experience such horrors?

Many I have spoken to seem to harshly judge Lot and especially his wife. But can we put ourselves in their position and try to understand the pain that they must have suffered when they had to leave family and friends behind? Can we be sure we will not find ourselves in a similar situation? Can we find a little sympathy for them within ourselves?

The Story of Sodom: The Humane Side of the Bible

Sodom and Gomorrah #19 (Genesis 19:14)

How many children did Lot and Lotโ€™s wife have in Sodom? This humane question, although critical to understanding of the story, is mostly ignored by the many who judge Lotโ€™s wife harshly, those who believe she deserved to die. Verse 14, however, reveals the most intriguing fact โ€“ Lot’s wife also had married daughters that did not live with them.

I have discussed many times why she had to die. It seems that many of those who, from the comfort of their sofa, judge how a woman escaping for her life should behave, do not even know how many children she had, and how many children she is about to leave in Sodom to die.

But why is this verse hidden when they tell us the story?

Bible Genesis 19:14 talks about the married daughters of Lot in Sodom, those who did not live with them. Why does this humane side of the story of Lot's wife hardly get mentioned? Old Testament in Hebrew with translation and transliteration

Why is this verse kept secret?

Those who follow me regularly know that in the past few months I have been obsessed with Lotโ€™s wife and why she had to die. I have written about it in a previous blog post, discussed it in a video, and yet I have no good answer.  

I have discussed this question with many students and Bible followers. Many seem to have clear answers to why she had to die: “She disobeyed God,” they say. “She could not let go of the past”. And the harshest one: “She was missing the sinful pleasures that Sodom offered.”  

Then I ask, โ€œWhat would you have done in her place?โ€

The answer is nearly always said in great confidence: โ€œI would have followed Godโ€™s word!โ€

Unfortunately, I know, firsthand, how impossible it is to know how you would behave when facing real danger, panic, distress, combined with physical exhaustion. I also know that most people need far less than losing their entire city and everyone they know to forgo their commitment to a righteous life. Sometimes, missing a meal or losing some money is enough to throw a person off the path of God. 

But I hardly ever argue it.

Instead, I ask, “And if you left your children behind, what would you do then?”

It seems that most people are not aware that Lotโ€™s wife also had married daughters, daughters who did not live with her, daughters she is about to leave behind to perish in Sodom.   

I canโ€™t help but ask myself why they don’t know?  After all, verse 14 is there for everyone to read together with the rest of the story.

The answer is obvious, most people never delve into the text of the Bible by themselves. They mostly know the Bible second-hand. They mostly know only what those who tell them the Bible want them to know.

But why do theses Bible teachers and leaders do not mention this verse and this fact to us when they tell the rest of the story? What else do they hide from us?

The Human und Humane sides of the Bible

Here I can only guess. And my guess is that telling such details would raise the awareness of how complex the Bible is, and the subtle human existence it describes. It would also highlight the complex decisions we have to make, the pains and suffering that real people undergo. That is, they do not want us to be exposed to the human and humane sides of the Bible.

The people in the Bible are real people, with real feelings, thoughts, ideas and emotions. But when was the last time you tried to think how Abraham felt when he stood in front of God, arguing to save Sodom? Every story of the Bible is about real people, and therefore carries subtle complexities.

This is what many of our religious teachers want us to forget. The Bible is not black and white. It is complex, just the way we, human, are.

So make it a habit to read the Bible carefully by yourself. Put yourself in the mind of the people of the Bible. See what they see, feel what they feel. Only then will you start to understand the true beauty of the Bible and why it is a holy text.  It is not because someone told you so.

The Story of Sodom: Morality is it Absolute or Relative?

Sodom and Gomorrah #18 (Genesis 19:13)

I have now returned from the Italian Alps. So, this time the photo for this post is from there โ€“ for your enjoyment โ€“ and not, as normal, related to the story of the chapter. I hope you are ready to go back to the Bible and discuss morality in our story, the story of Sodom.

We will continue with verse 13 in chapter 19.  As we have seen in verse 12, the angels are warning Lot and asking him to leave the city. We know that they did not have to give Lot any explanation. After all, Lot already knows they are Godโ€™s angels, and he will obey them with or without a reason. Still, they explain. They know that if a person understands the reason for an order, they will obey faster and better. This is a simple secret that many in command nowadays have forgotten. Godโ€™s angels remembered.

The angels explain to Lot why they are destroying Sodom. Translation and transliteration of Genesis 19:13. We learn that morality is absolute, not relative.

Is Morality absolute or relative?

During my years of travels, I have met different people from various cultures. Each culture has its own morals, habits, and customs.  Some habits and customs acceptable in one culture can be unacceptable or even considered abomination by another. For example, while in some cultures telling lies is an acceptable behaviour (and when you are caught you simply shrug your shoulders and laugh) in other cultures it is a big shame to be caught lying. In some cultures, killing for the honour of the family is not only acceptable, but demanded; other places will consider it like any other murder.

Every time I encounter such a discrepancy, or when I see behaviours that deeply bother me โ€“ like the way women are treated by some cultures โ€“ I cannot help but ask myself if I am sure I am right, and whether morality should be judged relative to the culture, or whether it absolute and universal.  The story of Sodom clearly gives us an answer. At least some morals are absolute.

The people of Sodom will be punished, even though they are not familiar with the laws of the Bible, maybe not even with the morals and behaviour code of the desert. Ignorance of morality will not save them.

The angels do not ask if the people of Sodom abide by the laws of their country or the laws of their city โ€“ the city of Sodom. It does not matter. The cry coming from the city is sufficient justification for the severe punishment they are going to face โ€“ the destruction of their city. In the words of the angels:

Because their cry has grown in the face of God, they will be punished, and Sodom will be destroyed. 

Translation of Genesis 19:13

According to this verse, a sufficient criteria of moral judgement is that many people suffer in the hands of others, that many people cry and beg for Godโ€™s help because no human is going to help them. The prophets kept warning that it is how we treat others that God cares the most about and judges us by. To quote Isaiah (1:17). Justice and compassion is what God is asking of us:

Learn to do good.
Devote yourselves to justice;
Aid the wronged.
Uphold the rights of the orphan;
Defend the cause of the widow.

Is this the morals our society is built upon? Is that how WE see our duty to God?

Lot’s Predicament: Abandoning his Family in Sodom

Sodom and Gomorrah #17 (Genesis 19:12)

Hi everyone. It has been a few weeks since my last โ€˜regularโ€™ post that explored the story of Sodom and Lot.  From my other posts you could have guessed that I had been travelling in Israel, mostly in Jerusalem and the desert, including the area around the Dead Sea and Sodom. Luckily my car had a great aircondition, as it was so hot, over 40C (100F) that I could barely survive 20 minutes away from it. The time around Sodom was when the story of Lot became vivid in my mind. I could clearly see why hospitality was a matter of life and death in such conditions. I could imagine how Lot and his wife must have physically felt as they ran away up the mountain in this heat. And I could feel great compassion towards them and their suffering. They were real people suffering a horrendous tragedy.

So now I am ready to go back to the Bible and our story of Lot. We will continue from verse 12 in chapter 19.

Godโ€™s angels instruct Lot to save his extended family, the family in Sodom that does not live with him. He must take the horrific decision to abandon them.

Lot and His Family

Lotโ€™s guests have just blinded the people of Sodom with immense light. Their act not only saved Lotโ€™s life, but also ensured he knew they were angels and not just ordinary guests. If until now he treated them because they were guests, now he will follow their instructions.

What is the first thing they do once their identity is revealed? They ask Lot a question: โ€œWho else do you have in this city who does not live with you? Sons in law? Sons? Daughters?โ€

Why do they ask? Donโ€™t they know already? Of course they do. They are angels, after all. So their question must have another meaning. Actually, three I can think of.

The first is the obvious. Lot must still be in shock after his experience outdoors. Giving instructions to a person in shock, a person still confused, there is no guarantee he would follow properly. The angels first need to ease his mind, make him think and tell them about his family, so when he goes out to save them, he will not forget anyone out of confusion.

The second reason is to emphasise, once more, that a single righteous person can make all the difference. Lets count: Lot and his wife and the two daughters living with them – 4, two married daughters (at least) and their husbands – 4, and at least two son make at minimum ten people. But we already know that there were no ten righteous people in Sodom. So at least one of the people to be saved is not righteous. They are to be saved thanks to Lotโ€™s righteousness. Righteousness always benefits and saves others.

The third point is to make us, the readers aware, that Lot and his wife will be leaving a first-degree family behind when they escape the incineration of Sodom. This understanding alone may give us some sympathy with the mental burden he and his wife must be carrying during the escape. Hopefully it will make us think about them as people in unbearable pain, and not just Biblical characters with no feelings or emotions that appear in the story for our quick judgement and condemnation.

The Bible gives us many opportunities to learn that compassion, not judgement, is, the mindset of the righteous. Does the fact that they left family behind change anything in the way you see Lot and his wife? Can you feel any compassion towards them?  

The Mortal Sin of Sodom โ€“ What Was It?

Sodom and Gomorrah recap (Genesis 19:1-11)

So far, chapter 19 has been telling us the story of Lot and the Angels in Sodom. It introduces to us the people of Sodom and their customs.  Verse 11, which we covered in our last post, is the end of the first part of Lot’s story. It is a natural place for us to stop and ask ourselves what do we know about the mortal sin of the people of Sodom, a sin so grave that condemned all the citizens to a horrible death and to a complete destruction of their city.

Those who have been following this blog already know that I believe that everything in the Bible has numerous meanings, and that the โ€˜on-the-surfaceโ€™ interpretation is only one out of many. In the story of Sodom, the common interpretation is that their sin was sodomy and rape.

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The Disoriented People of Sodom: Why Temporary Blindness?

Sodom and Gomorrah #16 (Genesis 19:10-11)

Lot, who is negotiating with the people of Sodom outside his home, is in great danger. His guests save his life. Now for the first time, they are revealed to us and to Lot as angels. What can we learn from the way they saved Lot?

Genesis 19:10  translation and transliteration. The angels save Lot from the Sodom crowd

Discussion

Whenever I read these two verses, I canโ€™t help but asking myself why the angles only hit the people of Sodom with temporary blindness (ืกึทึผื ึฐื•ึตืจึดื™ื) . After all, in a few short hours the entire city of Sodom is going to be destroyed by fire, and all these people will die. Why donโ€™t the angels simply kill them now? What difference could a few hours make?

This meditation always raises two insights in my mind. First, it reminds me the easy hand on the trigger of our security forces. No, I am not talking about self-defence or protecting other people. What comes to my mind is the killing of law breakers at times when they do not impose a threat.   

Stop! Says the Bible.

This is not how morality and the law should work. Even if a person deserves to die, it is not for the messenger, nor the police to punish them. Their lives should be in the hand of the judge, and only the judge should have the right to punish.

It was not the role of the angles to kill the people of Sodom, and even as they had a good reason, they chose to disable the people without harming them. Punishment will take place in the morning.

The second question that always crosses my mind is who am I to decide that a few extra hours of life do not matter? 

A lot can happen in a few hours: a famous mathematician, Galois, formed an entire theory the night before he was shot in a duel. The novelist Ryoki Inoue, finished three books in a day, and many ordinary people found their peace, repented, or found God, in a flash. A whole lifetime can take place in a few hours, and a few hours of grace is what the angels gave the people of Sodom. After all, it is possible that being struck with temporary blindness could have helped some of the people see the light.

Every moment of life is of utmost value. So letโ€™s not dismiss a few hours when othersโ€™ life are on the line. Letโ€™s not waste them when our own lives are concerned.