Genesis 19:25 MEANING

Genesis 19:25
(25) Overthrew.--This does not mean submerged, and the agent in the destruction was fire and not water. "The plain" (Heb., the Ciccar) still existed, and when Abraham saw it, was wrapped in smoke.

Verse 25. - And he overthrew - literally, turned over, as a cake'; whence utterly destroyed (cf. Deuteronomy 29:23; κατέστρεψε, LXX.; subvertit, Vulgate). In Arabic "the overthrown' is a title applied, κατ ἐξοχὴν, to Sodom and Gomorrah (Gesenius). From the use of the expression καταστροφή (2 Peter 2:6), Wordsworth thinks an earthquake may have accompanied the burning - those cities, - that they were submerged as well as overthrown (Josephus) is a doubtful inference from Genesis 14:3 (vide infra, Ver. 28, on the site of cities of the plain). The archaic הָאל is again employed (cf. Genesis 19:8) - and all the plain, - kikkar, circle or district (Genesis 13:10) - and all the inhabitants of the cities, - a proof of their entire corruption (Genesis 18:32) - and that which grew upon the ground - literally, that which sprouts forth from the ground, the produce of the soil; thus converting "a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein" (Psalm 107:34).

19:1-29 Lot was good, but there was not one more of the same character in the city. All the people of Sodom were very wicked and vile. Care was therefore taken for saving Lot and his family. Lot lingered; he trifled. Thus many who are under convictions about their spiritual state, and the necessity of a change, defer that needful work. The salvation of the most righteous men is of God's mercy, not by their own merit. We are saved by grace. God's power also must be acknowledged in bringing souls out of a sinful state If God had not been merciful to us, our lingering had been our ruin. Lot must flee for his life. He must not hanker after Sodom. Such commands as these are given to those who, through grace, are delivered out of a sinful state and condition. Return not to sin and Satan. Rest not in self and the world. Reach toward Christ and heaven, for that is escaping to the mountain, short of which we must not stop. Concerning this destruction, observe that it is a revelation of the wrath of God against sin and sinners of all ages. Let us learn from hence the evil of sin, and its hurtful nature; it leads to ruin.And he overthrew those cities,.... Of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim: very probably at the same time that this fiery tempest was in the heavens, there was an earthquake which overthrew the cities; and so Strabo (h) makes the lake, which is now the place where they stood, to be owing to earthquakes and eruptions of fire, and of hot bituminous and sulphurous waters; and says nothing of fire from heaven, which yet Tacitus and Solinus do, being unacquainted with the sacred history:

and all the plain; the plain of Jordan, and the cities on it, all but Zoar; not all the five cities, as Josephus (i): Egesippus (k) and other authors mistake, only the four above mentioned. Strabo (l) speaks of thirteen cities being formerly upon this spot, of which Sodom was the metropolis:

and all the inhabitants of the cities; none were spared, all were destroyed, but Lot, his wife, and two daughters:

and that which grew upon the ground; the trees, herbs, and plants; these were all turned up by the earthquake, and burnt with fire from heaven: Tacitus, in his account of this conflagration, says,"the fields, which were formerly fruitful, and inhabited by many cities, were burnt up with lightning; and there are traces (he adds) yet remain; the earth itself looks torrid, and has lost its fruitful virtue; for whatsoever grows up of itself, or is sown and rises up in the plant or flower, or grows up to its usual species, becomes black and empty, and vanishes into ashes.''The place where those cities stood is now a lake, and is sometimes called the salt sea, Genesis 14:3; and sometimes the dead sea, because it is said, no creature can live in it; and sometimes called the Lake Asphaltites, from its bituminous and pitchy quality: though Reland (o) has attempted to confute the notion that the cities of Sodom, &c. stood where this lake now is: and the many things that have been reported of this lake and parts adjacent, by various historians, supposed to be of good credit, are by modern travellers exploded (p); as those of no living creature being bred in it; of bodies not sinking in it; and of birds being unable to fly over it; and of the cities appearing under water in a clear day; and of the apples of Sodom, which look beautiful to the eye, but when touched fall into ashes; many of which Josephus (q) himself relates: indeed, Ludovicus Vartomanus (r), a traveller in those parts in the beginning of the sixteenth century, says,"there yet remain the ruins of the destroyed city, as a witness of God's wrath; we may affirm, there are three cities, and each of them situated on the decline of three hills, and the ruins appear about the height of three or four cubits; there is yet seen, I scarce know what, something like blood, or rather like red wax mixed with earth:''and our countryman Mr. Sandys (s), though he questions some of the above things before related, especially concerning the apples, yet says,"not far from thence grows a tree whose fruit is like a green walnut, which he saw, and which they say never ripens.''This lake of Sodom, according to Josephus (t), is five hundred and eighty furlongs in length unto Zoar, and one hundred fifty broad; but, according to modern accounts, it is twenty four leagues in length, and six or seven in breadth (u); the Arabic geographer (w) says, it is sixty miles in length, and twelve in breadth; it is now called by the Arabs, Bahar Louth, Lot's lake.

(h) Geograph. l. 16. p. 526. (i) De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 4. (k) De excidio urb. l. 4. c. 18. (l) Ut supra. (Geograph. l. 16. p. 526.) (o) Palestina illustrata, tom. 1. l. 1. c. 38. p. 254, &c. (p) Vid. Universal History, vol. 2. p. 421, &c. See Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 1. p. 341. (q) De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 4. (r) Navigat. l. 1. c. 10. (s) Travels, l. 3. p. 110, 111. Ed. 5. (t) Ut supra. (De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 4.) (u) Universal History, ib. p. 424. See Egmont, &c. ib, p. 342. (w) Scherif Ibn Idris, apud Reland. ib. p. 249.

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