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Genesis Chapter 19
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The Visitors; Sodom Destroyed
19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, while Lot was sitting at the city gate. Lot saw them and got up to greet them, bowing with his face to the ground.
19:2 He said, 'Please, my lords, turn aside to my house. Spend the night, bathe your feet, and then continue on your way early in the morning.'

'No,' they replied, 'we will spend the night in the square.'

19:3 [Lot] kept urging them until they finally turned aside to him and came to his house. He made a feast for them and baked matzah, and they ate.
19:4 They had not yet gone to bed when the townspeople, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house - young and old alike - all the people from every quarter.
19:5 They called out to Lot and said, 'Where are the strangers who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we may know them!'
19:6 Lot went out to them in front of the entrance, shutting the door behind him.
19:7 He said, 'My brothers, don't do such an evil thing!
19:8 I have two daughters who have never known a man. I will bring them out to you. Do as you please with them. But don't do anything to these men. After all, they have come under my roof!'
19:9 'Get out of the way!' they shouted.

They were saying, 'This one man came here as an immigrant, and now all of a sudden, he has set himself up as a judge! We'll give it to you worse than to them!'

They pushed against Lot very much, and tried to break down the door.

19:10 The strangers [inside] reached out and pulled Lot to them into the house, closing the door.
19:11 They struck the men who were standing at the entrance with blindness - young and old alike - and [the Sodomites] tried in vain to find the door.
19:12 The strangers said to Lot, 'Who else do you have here? A son-in-law? Your own sons? Your daughters? If you have anyone in the city, get them out of the area.
19:13 We are about to destroy this place, for [the people's] outcry is great before God. God has sent us to destroy it.'
19:14 Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were betrothed to his daughters. He said, 'Get moving! Get out of this area! God is about to destroy the city!' To his sons-in-law, it was all a big joke.
19:15 As dawn was breaking, the two angels hurried Lot. 'Get moving!' they said. 'Take your wife and two daughters who are here! You don't want to be swept away because of the city's sin!'
19:16 He hesitated. The strangers grabbed him, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand, leading them out, and left them on the outskirts of the city. God had shown pity on [Lot].
19:17 When [the angel] had led them out, he said, 'Run for your life! Do not look back! Do not stop anywhere in the valley! Flee to the hills, so that you will not be swept away!'
19:18 Lot said to them, 'O God, no!
19:19 I have found favor in your eyes, and you have been very kind in saving my life! But I cannot reach the hills to escape. The evil will overtake me and I will die!
19:20 Please, there is a city here close enough for refuge. It is insignificant! I will flee there - isn't it insignificant? - and I will survive.'
19:21 [The angel] replied to him, ' I will also give you special consideration in this matter. I will not overturn the city you mentioned.
19:22 But hurry! Run there! I can do nothing until you get there.'

The city was henceforth known as Tzoar (Insignificant).

19:23 The sun had risen by the time that Lot arrived in Tzoar.
19:24 God made sulphur and fire rain down on Sodom and Gomorrah - it came from God, out of the sky.
19:25 He overturned these cities along with the entire plain, [destroying] everyone who lived in the cities and [all] that was growing from the ground.
19:26 [Lot's] wife looked behind him, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
19:27 Abraham woke up early in the morning, [hurrying back] to the place where he had stood before God.
19:28 He stared at Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole area of the plain, and all he saw was heavy smoke rising from the earth, like the smoke of a lime kiln.
19:29 When God had destroyed the cities of the plain, God had remembered Abraham. Thus, when He overturned the cities in which Lot lived, He allowed Lot to escape the upheaval.
19:30 Lot went up from Tzoar, and settled in the hills together with his two daughters, since he was afraid to remain in Tzoar. He lived in a cave alone with his two daughters.
19:31 The older girl said to the younger, 'Our father is growing old, and there is no other man left in the world to marry us in a normal manner.
19:32 Come, let's get our father drunk with wine, and sleep with him. We will then survive through children from our father.'
19:33 That night, they got their father drunk with wine, and the older girl went and slept with her father. He was not aware that she had lain down or gotten up.
19:34 The next day, the older girl said to the younger, 'Last night it was I who slept with my father. Tonight, let's get him drunk with wine again. You go sleep with him, and we will survive through children from our father.'
19:35 That night, they again made their father drunk with wine. The younger girl got up and she slept with him. He was not aware that she had lain down or gotten up.
19:36 Lot's two daughters became pregnant from their father.
19:37 The older girl had a son, and she named him Moab. He is the ancestor of [the nation] Moab that exists today.
19:38 The younger girl also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ami. He is the ancestor of the people of Ammon who exist today.



Commentary:

two angels
  These were two of the three who had visited Abraham (Genesis 18:2). One had had the mission of announcing that Abraham would have a son (Genesis 18:10), and had left after having finished the mission. See Genesis 19:5,10, where these angels are also referred to as men.

matzah
  Unleavened bread. This was something that could be baked in a few minutes. It is from here, however, that there is a tradition that this episode occurred on Passover (Rashi. See note on Genesis 17:23).

all the people
  There were no innocent ones (Rashbam).

know
  Hence, the term sodomy.

under my roof
  Literally, 'they have come in the shadow of my rafters.' See Genesis 18:5.

Get out of the way
  Literally, 'Come close over there,' or 'Move aside' (Rashi). Others have, 'Push up closer' (Hirsch).

blindness
  Or, 'hallucinations' (Malbim).

betrothed
  (Rashi; Josephus, Antiquities 1:12:4).

O God
  (Targum). Others, 'Please sir, no!' (Ibn Ezra).

insignificant
  Mi-tzar in Hebrew. See Genesis 19:22.

give you special consideration
  Literally, 'lift your face,' an idiom.

Tzoar
  Its original name was Bela (Genesis 14:2). It was south of the present Dead Sea (see note on Genesis 13:10).

pillar of salt
  Josephus states that in his time, this pillar could still be seen (Antiquities 1:11:4). It was also known in Talmudic times (Berakhoth 54b). Significantly, at the southern end of the Dead Sea, there is a mountain of salt called Jebel Usdum (Sodom Mountain), 6 miles long, 3 miles wide, and some 1000 feet thick. Although it is now covered with a layer of earth several feet thick, the rest of the mountain is solid salt. This also supports the contention that Lot and his family were heading south toward Tzoar. A rain of salt was part of the upheaval (see Ibn Ezra here and Deuteronomy 29:22).

lime kiln
  Lime produces prodigious quantities of smoke when it is slaked.

Moab
  Moav in Hebrew. A form of me-av, meaning 'from a father'. The nation of Moab lived to the southeast of the Dead Sea, probably not far from where Moab was born. Significantly, Ruth came from Moab, and she was the ancestress of King David, and hence, of the Messiah.

Ben-Ami
  Literally, 'son of my people,' or 'son of my kin.'

Ammon
  An ancient nation who lived to the northeast of the Dead Sea.





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