And they smote the men that [were] at the door of the house
with blindness, both small and great
with "blindnesses" F14; with extreme blindness, with blindness both of eye and heart, as Aben Ezra interprets it; and indeed had they not been given up to a judicial blindness and hardness of heart, such a stroke upon them might have convinced them that their ways were evil, and their works not right, and that by them they had incurred the displeasure of God, and would desisted from their enterprise; but, on the contrary, they went on with it, and sought with all diligence and labour as much as possible to effect it. The word for "blindness" is only used here and in ( 2 Kings 6:18 ) , and denotes a peculiar sort of blindness; not an entire blindness with respect to every object, but only with regard to that they were intent upon; for otherwise they would not have continued about Lot's house, or fatigued themselves with searching for the door of it, but would rather have been glad to have groped to their own houses as well as they could: and thus it was with the Syrians, when they were smitten at the prayer of Elisha, it was not total, for they could follow the prophet in the way he went and led them, but they could not see their way to the place where they intended to go; and so these men of Sodom could see other objects, but not the door of Lot's house, their heads were so confused, and their imaginations so disturbed as in drunken men; or the medium of the visive faculty, the air, so altered, or the form of the object to be seen so changed, that they could not discern it; when they saw the door, it looked like the wall, and that which seemed to them to be the door, proved to be the wall: so that they wearied themselves to find the door;
went backwards and forwards, fancying the door was here, and then it was there, and when they came to it, they perceived it was not; and thus they went to and fro, until they were quite weary of seeking it, and despaired of finding it, and left off.
F14 (Myrwnob) "caecitatibus", Pagninus, Montanus