Genesis Chapter 19 – Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed by Angels!
Two angels were sent by the LORD to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. When the angels arrived, Lot urged the angels to spend the night at his house in Sodom.
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. Genesis 19:1
After the LORD and His two angles appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre, Abraham washed their feet and then had a meal prepared for them. After they ate, the two angels went towards Sodom but the LORD remained with Abraham. For the sake of the righteous living in Sodom, Abraham pleaded with the LORD for the city to be spared. The LORD was willing to spare Sodom for the sake of ten righteous individuals. But the wickedness of the city was so great, that not even ten righteous could be found. So the two angels were commissioned to execute divine judgment against Sodom.
The gateway of a city was generally an arched entrance with deep recesses and seats on either side. It was a place of meeting in the ancient towns of the East, where the inhabitants assembled to socialize or to transact public business. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom to observe strangers that might pass by, and invite them into his house, so that they might not fall into the hands of the wicked Sodomites.
If Lot had recognized the strangers as angelic beings, bowing down before them would have been an act of worship. The angels would have rebuked him for devotion that is reserved for God alone.
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” Revelation 22:8-9
Lot prostrated himself before the visitors only as a sign of respect as was the custom of the eastern countries.
“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.” Genesis 19:2
Although Lot does not realize that these strangers are angelic beings, he calls them “my lords” due to their noble bearing and majestic appearances.
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2
Lot not only offers the travelers lodging at his house, but also an opportunity to have their feet washed.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. Luke 7:44
When a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to his house for dinner, Jesus rebuked Simon for his inhospitality by not providing for His feet to be washed.
Although Lot is respectful and affords the strangers warm hospitality, they answered that they would sleep outside in the square. It was not uncommon in those days for travelers to sleep in the street wrapped up in their cloaks.
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Genesis 19:3
At the urging of Lot, the two visitors agreed to spend the night at his home. By baking bread without yeast, indicates that Lot did not want to wait for the bread to rise. Since his guests had arrived in the evening, perhaps Lot wanted to hurry the meal because of the lateness of the hour.
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Genesis 19:4-5
Not even ten righteous men could be found in Sodom. The news of the two attractive male strangers had travelled throughout the city and all the men of Sodom wanted to have homosexual relations with Lot’s house guests.
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
The men of Sodom were described as wicked in Genesis 13:13, and as great sinners against the LORD.
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. Ezekiel 16:49
The Plain of Jordan was rich and fertile. Living in abundance, the inhabitants of the city of Sodom were prideful and selfish and unconcerned with the poor and needy. They became more and more idolatrous, and in their desire for pleasure, they became more and more perverse.
In Romans 1:25-27, the Apostle Paul explains the root cause of their sin:
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Yahweh is a jealous God. He will have no other gods before Him. He alone is the true God. Only our Creator is worthy of worship. The wicked men of Sodom sinned against God and were given over to shameful lusts.
… Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Homosexuals, by engaging in unnatural sexual relations, are putting themselves at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Rates of anal warts, HIV/AIDS, as well as Hepatitis A and B are much greater among homosexuals and bisexuals than among the heterosexual male population.
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” Genesis 19:6-8
The wicked men of the city surrounded Lot’s house seeking to have homosexual relations with Lot’s guests. In the ancient world, the practice of hospitality meant graciously receiving a traveler into one’s home, or community and providing directly for that person’s needs and protection. Not yet knowing that the men were angels and could protect themselves, and not knowing what to say or do to prevent their heinous intents, Lot offered his daughters to the mob out of desperation.
“Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. Genesis 19:9
The men of Sodom shouted at Lot to stand aside. They were so angered by this outsider, who called their intentions wicked, that they threatened Lot with great harm as they pushed him into the door of his house intending to break it in.
But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. Genesis 19:10-11
The two men pulled Lot into the house and shut to the door. They not only rescued Lot from the fury and rage of the mob, they also kept his daughters from being exposed to them, as Lot had offered. Then the perverse men of Sodom were smitten with blindness.
It is interesting that sexual promiscuity can lead to blindness. Chlamydia trachomatis—the most common sexually transmitted disease in the world is the leading cause of infectious blindness. Symptoms of the late stage of syphilis (another sexually transmitted disease) include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, dementia and gradual blindness.
The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.” Genesis 19:12-13
The visitors identify themselves to Lot as agents of Yahweh sent to destroy the city and its wicked inhabitants. Not only is Lot told to flee the city, but he is urged to take with him any of his family that is dwelling in the city as well.
So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. Genesis 19:14
The men who were pledged to marry the daughters of Lot most probably did not know or fear the LORD because they did not take Lot’s warning seriously.
With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. Genesis 19:15-17
Sodom pictures the sinful world in which only God’s grace saves believers. The Lord was merciful to Lot and His family.
It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” Luke 17:28-30
The deliverance of righteous Lot is a type of the rapture. As angels grasped Lot’s hand and the hands of his wife and daughters, Angels will gather the elect before the outpouring of the seven bowls of God’s wrath. On the very day Lot was pulled from Sodom, judgment rained upon the city. On the very day of the rapture, the seven last plagues will begin to be poured upon the earth:
For the LORD himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air. And so we will be with the LORD forever. 1Thessalonians 4:16–17
As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.) Genesis 19:18-22
After enduring the distress and anxiety of the previous night’s attempted assault by the men of Sodom, Lot now had to flee for his life. His emotional and mental state left him so drained that he felt physically unable to make it to the mountains. Lot was focusing on his own strength, and not the power of the LORD to deliver him. None the less, the very small town of Zoar (which means insignificance) was not destroyed as Lot requested.
By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:22-26
Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills. Genesis 14:10
The region of the Dead Sea is known, now and in ancient history, for its natural petroleum deposits. The Jordan Rift is an unstable area with a great deal of thermal energy as demonstrated by the hot springs on both sides of the sea. Pressure from an earthquake could have caused bitumen deposits to be forced out of the earth through the fault line that exist precisely at this site. If natural deposits of sulfur were forced into the air, the dust would have been extremely flammable. If natural heat ignited existing sulfur deposits at the time of an earthquake the results would result in localized cataclysmic rain of fire, tar and burning sulfur. This flammable substance ignited and produced an inferno that destroyed the valley, the cities, and that which grew on the ground.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
Lot’s wife disobeyed the angel’s warning not to look back. When we experience deliverance from the LORD, we are to run our race and look forward. We are to set our eyes on the prize – the incorruptible crown of life and be transformed. We are not to look back and long for the perishable things of this world. Molten salt along with the burning sulfur raining down from the sky could explain how Lot’s wife was punished when she looked back by becoming a pillar of salt.
Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. Genesis 19:27-29
Abraham gives us an eyewitness account from Hebron. When he arose, in the morning, and looked over the mountains, he saw that “the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.” Our God is a consuming fire. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah both serve as a warning to those living in sin and as a type of eternal judgment.
Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father.” Genesis 19:30-32
Lot was afraid to stay in Zoar because of its close proximity to the fires and smoke of the burning cities of the plain. Lot may have feared that the fires would eventually spread to Zoar. Ironically, Lot went to live in those very same mountains where God originally had commanded him to flee to in order to make his escape from Sodom’s judgment.
Although there were men living in Zoar, after spending time secluded in a cave, Lot’s daughters may have thought the whole world was destroyed by fire, as it had been by the flood. The LORD had promised that there would never again be a worldwide flood, but Lot’s daughters had imagined that the judgment by fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah spread worldwide.
That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. Genesis 19:33
Lot was so drunk that he never heard his older daughter come to bed nor get up out of the bed. Lot may have been so inebriated that he forgot that his wife had died. In his drunken state, Lot may have thought that he was being intimate with his wife.
The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I lay with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. Genesis 19:34-35
The same scenario took place on the following night between Lot and his younger daughter.
So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today. Genesis 19:36-38
The name Moab, the son of Lot from his older daughter, means “from the father.” The name Ben-ammi, his son by his younger daughter, means “son of my people.” These sons conceived through incest gave rise to the Moabites and the Ammonites.
No one born of a forbidden marriage nor any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, even down to the tenth generation. No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, even down to the tenth generation, because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. Deuteronomy 23:2-4
The Ammonites were a pagan people who worshiped the gods Milcom and Molech. God commanded the Israelites not to marry these pagans, because intermarriage would lead the Israelites to worship false gods.
Despite their blood links with Israel, Moab was her enemy, very determined to seek her defeat. For eighteen years they oppressed Israel under Eglon, king of Moab. They also attempted to corrupt the birth line of Israel, seducing Israel to immorality amongst “the daughters of Moab” (Numbers 25:1-9).
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18
Not only did Lot’s drunkenness lead to debauchery, it caused great strife and oppression to generations of God’s chosen people .