Sodom and Gomorrah #14 (Genesis 19:8)
Lot is willing to sacrifice his two daughters to the crowd to save his angel guests. Unthinkable? A sin? An evil deed? Yet, God still saves him from the destruction of Sodom. Did he deserve being saved?
Can we even start to comprehend Lot’s predicament? Shouldn’t it change completely our perception of him? Not a righteous person anymore, but an unloving, cruel father who did not care about his daughters.
How easy a judgment can be! Judging others that is.
Many have claimed that Lot did not love his daughters; that he cared about strangers more than about his own family; that he treated women like property (would he have offered his sons?)
Maybe all of these are true, but let’s put ourselves, for a moment, in Lot’s place and time.
It is the desert, in which, as we discussed, hospitality is absolute, holy, and sacred. Betraying the angels is betraying the most fundamental law of the desert. Lot reiterates to the crowd that a person coming under his roof must get the full protection of the house. And he says it in a way that makes it obvious that the people of Sodom are well familiar with this rule.
It is hard for us today to imagine such commitment, but hospitality for nomads in the desert is not a matter of niceties; it is not a matter of good manners; it is a matter of surviving, a matter of life and death. Today is someone else’s death, tomorrow it is yours.
What is the equivalent today? I do not want to come up with contemporary analogies. I am sure you can imagine it yourself. What is your core beliefs? What is the base of your morality? What do you define that makes you human? Once you know what does is for you, can you imagine under what circumstances you may give it up? What will make you sacrifice your beliefs and the very thing that makes you who you are, that makes you human?
Many say that it is irrelevant, and that they would do anything, and sacrifice everything to save their families. Yet we hail those who risked everything to save others, to hide them from persecution, from genocide, from unjust authorities. We consider these people heroes, sometimes saints. These are the people who are have sacrificed everything to save what makes them human. We admire them because most of us know that we will never be like them. Lot was such a person.
Choosing the impossible
But there is more to it. The verse is about impossible choices. Whatever you choose the result will be horrible. Let’s consider what choices he has:
- He can surrender the angels to the crowd, which will probably lead to their death.
- He can do nothing and as a result, in most probability, it will get his guests, his daughters, and the rest of his family raped, as well as murdered.
- He can sacrifice his daughters, subjecting them to rape – praying that they will remain alive after the ordeal.
How easy it is to judge Lot. But what an impossible choice he has. Lucky for Lot, he was judged by God and not by most men, and God did not condemned him for his choice. God still saved him out of Sodom.
What choice would you have made in Lot’s stead?