(1) And there came two angels.—Heb., And the two angels came. It is a continuation of the preceding narrative, and takes up the history from Genesis 18:22.
Lot sat in the gate of Sodom.—He had therefore become a citizen of Sodom, probably after the deliverance from the Elamite invasion, when, as a relative of Abraham, he would be treated with great honour. This personal respect had made him close his eyes to the sinfulness of the people, and he had consented to live inside the town, and even to let its citizens marry his daughters. Meanwhile all intercourse between him and Abraham apparently had ceased, and he had lost all share in the covenant of circumcision.
Unleavened bread.—Heb., thin cakes, like those now eaten by the Jews at the Passover. They took little time in preparation, for which reason we find them also used by the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:24).
Unto these men.—The form of the pronoun is archaic, and occurs again in Genesis 19:25. It is found in a few other places in the Pentateuch, but never elsewhere.
For therefore, &c. . . . —Comp. Genesis 18:5.
He will needs be a judge.—Heb., is ever acting as a judge. This suggests that Lot had previously reproved the men of Sodom, and agrees with 2 Peter 2:8.
As one that mocked.—Heb., as one that was laughing, or joking, and so not in earnest.
Consumed.—Heb., swept away; and so in Genesis 19:17. See Genesis 18:23-24, where it is rendered “destroy.”
The Lord being merciful unto him.—Heb., in Jehovah’s pity for him. (Comp. Isaiah 63:9.)
Look not behind thee.—This was not merely to prevent delay, but also showed that God demanded of them a total abandonment in heart and will of the condemned cities, and hence the severity with which the violation of the command was visited.
Plain.—The Ciccar or circle of Jordan. So also in Genesis 19:25; Genesis 19:28-29; see Note on Genesis 13:10.
Brimstone and fire.—Though God used natural agencies in the destruction of the Ciccar cities, yet what was in itself a catastrophe of nature became miraculous by the circumstances which surrounded it. It was thus made the means not merely of executing the Divine justice, of strengthening Abraham’s faith, and of warning Lot, but also of giving moral and religious instruction throughout all time. Seen by its light, events of history, for which sufficient secondary causes may be discovered, are nevertheless shown to be direct manifestations of the Divine justice, and to have moral causes as their real basis. We lose the benefit of the teaching of the Bible if we suppose that the events recorded there were different in kind from those which take place now. A certain limited number of events were so; but of most it is simply the curtain that is drawn back, and we see God’s presence no longer veiled, as with us, but openly revealed. As for the catastrophe itself, it was not a mere thunderstorm which set the earth, saturated with naphtha, on fire; but, in a region where earthquakes are still common, there was apparently an outburst of volcanic violence, casting forth blazing bitumen and brimstone. This falling down upon the houses, and upon the soil charged with combustible matter, caused a conflagration so sudden and widespread that few or none could escape. Sulphur and nitre are still found as natural products on the shores of the Dead Sea.
Genesis 19:38And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.