Genesis 19 Study Notes


19:1-3 Lot’s position at the gateway may indicate that he was accorded a spot of honor with the elders of the city (Pr 31:23). Like Abraham in Gn 18, Lot also played the role of gracious host to divine beings in human form, though in a lesser way. Whereas Abraham met with three divine guests, including the Lord, Lot met with two angels. Abraham “ran” to greet his guests and prepared a lavish meal; by contrast, Lot only got up to meet them, preparing a feast that consisted only of unleavened bread.

19:4-5 Though it was the custom to go to bed soon after the evening meal, the ritual was interrupted by the men of the city demanding sex, their perversion justifying the immense outcry raised earlier against the city (18:20-21).

19:6-8 Ancient Asian hospitality customs made Lot responsible for his visitors’ safety while under the protection of his roof—no matter what the cost. Accordingly, he put himself at risk by facing the mob and warning them that their intentions were evil. Failing in his appeal to their higher moral instincts, Lot then put his family at risk, offering up his two virgin daughters to satisfy the rabble’s sexual desires. Lot’s daughters would soon get even with their father for his repulsive offer by making him a victim of disgusting sexual misconduct (vv. 32-36).

19:9-11 Enraged because Lot had declared homosexual rape to be evil, the mob condemned him for acting like a judge. Sinners rarely appreciate having a cherished sin condemned.


Hebrew pronunciation [gah DAHL]
CSB translation be great, grow
Uses in Genesis 14
Uses in the OT 117
Focus passage Genesis 19:13,19

Gadal is related to gadol, and means be great (Gn 19:13). It denotes grow, grow up, and mature. It implies be magnified or exalted. Someone is powerful or valuable; something is intense or magnificent. People become rich or are wealthy. With comparative words gadal means surpass. The intensive denotes make great, exalt, honor, or promote. It denotes raising, caring for, or training youth. One makes or lets grow. One proclaims greatness or thinks highly of someone. An intensive passive verb means nurtured. The causative means make great or large and describes exalting, increasing, magnifying, or enlarging something. It appears as show great kindness or give great wisdom. It means do great or catastrophic things and connotes boast, boastfully mock, or threaten. One is arrogant or acts arrogantly. He rises up against. He exalts or magnifies himself, appears superior, or triumphs. Additionally, the reflexive means display greatness.

19:12-14 Parallels exist between Noah and Lot. Both were righteous men (6:9; 2Pt 2:7), both were warned that the Lord was about to destroy entire civilizations because of great sin (6:13), and the families of both were included in God’s salvation. Because the outcry against Sodom had been confirmed, the angels, as God’s servants (Heb 1:7), had to destroy the place as God had directed. The men who had entered into binding agreements to marry Lot’s virgin daughters proved themselves unworthy of salvation because they rejected Lot’s message.

19:15-22 Lot and his family apparently disbelieved the angels’ warnings as well, because the next morning they were still in the city. The family was literally saved because of the Lord’s compassion as the angels grabbed the hands of each family member. Like Abraham (18:23-32), Lot negotiated a deal with God to save his life. As with Abraham, God graciously granted the request and spared a wicked village for the sake of the righteous people in it. Prior to this time Zoar (lit “Small”) was named Bela (14:2).

19:23-25 The Lord rained . . . burning sulfur (lit “sulfur and fire”). As in Noah’s day, the fatal instrument of judgment against sinners came out of the sky. No natural explanation (e.g., volcano) is suggested, only a supernatural one: it came from the Lord. Perhaps the asphalt pits (14:10) were ignited, adding to the destruction.

19:26 The disobedience of Lot’s wife brought about one of the most mysterious deaths in the Bible as she became a pillar of salt—perhaps becoming permanently entombed in one of the many halite formations in this region.

19:27-29 The destruction was so complete that thick smoke like that of a furnace was still billowing up twenty-four hours later. Nevertheless, Lot had been saved because God remembered Abraham and acted in consideration of his covenantal relationship with him (18:19).

19:30-38 The cave to which Lot and his daughters moved was probably east of the Dead Sea. Isolation and their knowledge of the detestable ways of the men of the region convinced Lot’s daughters that there was no man in the land to sleep with them (i.e., to make them pregnant). Consequently, they schemed to “give life to seed from our father” (preserve our father’s line).

This passage does not explicitly condemn drunkenness or incest; it does not have to. Every Israelite reader would have known these were sins to be avoided, because two of Israel’s most troublesome enemies were spawned as a result of Lot’s drunken actions.