Sodom and Gomorrah #17 (Genesis 19:12)
Hi everyone. It has been a few weeks since my last ‘regular’ 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.
Lot and His Family
Lot’s guests have just blinded the people of Sodom with immense light. Their act not only saved Lot’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: “Who else do you have in this city who does not live with you? Sons in law? Sons? Daughters?”
Why do they ask? Don’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 Lot’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?