Was Lot a Righteous Man?
Lot offered his two daughters to a vile crowd. Many have found this unconscionable. Could this man be considered righteous in light of this offer?
The Text Literally Rendered and in Its Entirety
I have given the entire chapter in a literal rendering next so that readers can see what the Hebrew language truly communicates. (The Hebrew word na is a softener, a word that softens a harsh-sounding communication so that it is gentle.) The pertinent verses are 4-9, but the surrounding texts will clarify the situation.
Genesis 19:1 And two of the angels came to Sodom in the evening. And Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. And Lot saw. And he rose up to meet them. And he worshiped faces toward the land. 2And he said, “Behold na, my lords, turn away, na, unto your servant’s house. And lodge. And wash your feet. And ye shall early-rise, and ye shall walk to your way.” And they said, “No! For we will lodge in the boulevard.” 3And he very-much pressed into them. And they turned away unto him. And they came unto his house.
And he made for them a drinking-feast. And he baked matzahs. And they did eat.
4Before they will lay down… And the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded upon the house from young and unto old─all the people from the edge. 5And they called unto Lot. And they said to him, “Where are the men who came unto thee tonight? Send them out unto us. And we have known them!” 6And Lot went out unto them to the opening. And he shut the door after him. 7And he said, “Do not, na, my brethren, do bad. 8Behold, na, two daughters are to me who have not known a man. I will send out, na, them unto you. And do ye to them as is good in your eyes. Only unto these men do not do a thing. For therefore they came into the shadow of my roof!” 9And they said, “Approach yonder!”
And they said, “The one came to sojourn. And he has judged, judging! Now will we do-worse to thee than them!” And they very much pressed into the man─into Lot. And they approached to break the door.
10And the men sent their hand. And they brought Lot unto them to the house. And they shut the door. 11And they smote the men who are the opening of the house with blindness─from small and big. And they wearied to find the opening!
12And the men said unto Lot, “Who else is to thee here?─son in law and thy sons and thy daughters and all who are to thee in the city─send out from the place! 13For we are destroying this place! For their scream is big with the faces of Yehovah, and Yehovah hath sent us to destroy her!”
14And Lot went out. And he spake unto his sons-in-law, takers of his daughters. And he said, “Arise! Go out from this place! For Yehovah is destroying the city!” And he seemed as a joker unto his sons-in-law.
15And as the sunrise ascended, and the angels hastened into Lot saying, “Arise! Take thy wife and two of thy daughters who are found lest thou wilt be consumed in the iniquity of the city!” 16And he what-whated himself. And the men grasped into his hand and into the hand of his wife and into the hand of two of his daughters in the compassion of Yehovah upon him. And they exited him. And they rested him from outside to the city.
17And he was as they exited them outside. And he said, “Escape upon thy being! Peer not behind thee! And stand thou not in all the plain! Escape to the mountain, lest thou wilt be consumed!” 18And Lot said unto them, “Not, na, my lords! 19Behold, na, thy servant found favour in thine eyes. And thou hast magnified thy grace that thou didst with me to keep alive my being. And I, I will not be able to escape to the mountain lest the bad will cling to me, and I will die. 20Behold, na, this city is near to flee there. And he is little. And I will escape, na, there. Is he not little? And my being shall live!” 21And he said unto him, “Behold, I carried thy faces also to speak this to my not overthrowing this city that thou hast spoken. 22Hurry! Escape there! For I will not be able to do a thing until thy coming there!” Therefore he called the name of the city ‘Little’ (Zoar).
23The sun went out upon the land. And Lot came to Zoar. 24And Yehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah sulfur and fire from with Yehovah from the heavens. 25And He overthrew those cities and all the plain and all the inhabitants of the cities and the sprout of the soil.
26And his wife peered from after him. And she became a pillar of salt. 27And Avraham early rose in the morning unto the place where he stood with the faces of Yehovah. 28And he distantly-looked upon the faces of Sodom and Gomorrah and upon all the faces of the land of the plain. And he saw. And behold, the smoke of the country ascended as the smoke of a furnace.
29And he was when God destroyed the cities of the plain. And God remembered Abraham. And He sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when He overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.
30And Lot ascended from Little. And he dwelt in the mountain. And two of his daughters are with him. For he feared to dwell in Zoar. And He dwelt in a cave─he and two of his daughters.
31And the firstborn said unto the little, “Our father is old. And a man is not in the land to come unto us according to the way of all the land. 32Go. We will make our father drink wine. And we have lain with him. And we have kept alive seed from our father.”
33And they made their father drink wine in that night. And the firstborn came. And she lay with her father. And he did not know when she lay and when she arose.
34And it was tomorrow. And the firstborn said unto the little, “Behold, I lay last night with my father. We will make him drink wine also tonight. And come. Lie with him. And we have kept alive seed from our father.” 35And they made their father drink wine also in that night. And the little arose. And she lay with him. And he did not know when she lay and when she arose.
36And the two daughters of Lot conceived from their father. 37And the firstborn bare a son. And she called his name From-Father. He is the father of Moab unto today. 38And the little [feminine], also he, bare a son. And she called his name Son-of-my-People. He is the father of the sons of Amon unto today.
Observations about Yehovah
Any reader of the Bible must come to understand certain character traits of the God of the Bible in order to understand what took place. I will next give a brief listing of these traits and of some other background details.
- Yehovah has a very strong passion for a sojourner (pagan or otherwise).
Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a sojourner nor oppress him. For ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 23:9 Also thou shalt not oppress a sojourner. For ye know the heart of a sojourner, seeing ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
- A sojourner has no army and no opportunity to be provided justice if that sojourner is mistreated in a foreign land.
- Yehovah sees if a sojourner is protected or if the sojourner is mistreated by any people.
- Any people that normally mistreats a sojourner is in Yehovah’s sites for annihilation.
- When a sojourner comes into a foreign land, anyone who aids that sojourner (who cannot obtain justice if a wrong is done) is proving to be a friend of Yehovah in that matter.
- When a city mistreats or ignores a sojourner (even if only one resident is doing that), Yehovah holds the entire city responsible.
Observations about Lot and His Family
- Lot feared Yehovah.
- He had two daughters at home, and he had at least two other daughters who were married in that city and participant in the culture.
- When Lot gave shelter to those two sojourners, he knew that he would have to defend them with the lives of all his family members should violence arise. The home of a person is a state before Yehovah. It is a fort and a fortress.
- When the violence came, Lot knew that he could not offer himself; that would guarantee the destruction of the sojourners, of his daughters and of his wife. He therefore did what any soldier must do: he attempted to minimize casualties.
- He wasn’t offering his daughters to be killed, but to pacify their vile lusts in order to keep alive as many as possible.
- He would be the last one to defend them, if the attack continued.
- The same events will occur during the Tribulation (the period of seven years that will be the worst times the earth has ever seen). A form of the Jewish Holocaust will take place, but it will be much worse than the Holocaust commenced by Hitler. Non-Jewish families will offer and sometimes give their lives to save the lives of Jews. When any family member gives shelter to a Jewish person under such circumstances, all members of that family are in jeopardy of being killed.
The Bible’s Observations about Lot
2 Peter 2:4 For if God didn’t spare the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hades and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment, 5and He didn’t spare the old world, but saved Noah (the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness) bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly, 6and, turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly, 7and delivered righteous Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked… 8For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.
This text affirms that Lot was a righteous man. No text challenges his righteousness. Even his daughters gave no protest to his offer to the vile attackers. Instead, they determined to keep seed alive to their father.
Plugging One’s Own Culture into the Bible; Jephthah
A common and normal practice for readers of the Bible is to view the events in the Bible in light of their own cultures. This has led to many traditions and icons that reflect those cultures while claiming to portray events and persons in the Bible. While this practice is accepted, it is no way to handle Biblical considerations.
Fathers in most or perhaps all of the kinder and moral cultures of the United States would never consider offering their daughters to be raped and sexually molested by violent and sexually eager men. U.S. Readers thus look at Lot with incredulity: how could a man even think of doing this? Wouldn’t a father instead offer himself in order to save his daughters? In a like manner, they read the events of Jephthah, and dismiss the notion that he followed through:
Judges 11:30 And Jephthah vowed a vow to Yehovah. And he said, “If, giving, Thou wilt give the sons of Ammon into my hand, 31and the exiter that will exit from my door of my house to meet me in my return in peace from the sons of Ammon will be—and he will be to Yehovah. And I will ascend him an ascension.”
32And Jephthah crossed-over unto the children of Amon to war via them. And Yehovah gave them into his hand. 33And he smote them from Aroer and unto thy coming Minnit, twenty city [cities] and unto the Mourning of Vineyards, a very big smiting. And the children of Ammon subjected from the faces of the children of Israel.
34And Jephthah came Mitzpah-ward unto his house. And behold, his daughter exited to meet him via tambourines and via whirlings! And only she is alone [an only child]. There is not to him, from him, a son or a daughter. 35And he was as his seeing her. And he tore his garments. And he said, “Ahah, my daughter! Bending, thou bent me! And thou, thou was via my disturbances! And I, I parted my mouth unto Yehovah. And I will not be able to return! 36And she said unto him, “My papa, thou parted thy mouth unto Yehovah. Do to me just-as he exited after from thy mouth; that [because] Yehovah did to thee vengeances from thy enemies, from the sons of Ammon!”
37And she said unto her papa, “He will do to me this speech. Refrain from me two months. And I have walked. And I will descend upon the mountains. And I will weep concerning my ripenesses, I and my neighbours.” 38And he said, “Walk.” And he sent her two months.
And she walked, she and her neighbours. And she wept concerning her ripenesses upon the mountains.
39And he was from the edge of two months. And she returned unto her papa. And he did his vow that he vowed to her. And she, she didn’t know a man. And she was a statute in Israel. 40From days days-ward, daughters of Israel will walk to rehearse to the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadi four days in a year.
Readers of this text usually don’t consider that she was the one casualty of the war with Ammon. Her father understood this, and she understood this.
Compromising to Avoid Responsibilities
When lives are at stake and when war is very personal, valiant ones do what they must in order to refuse to compromise in their responsibilities. The fear of Yehovah will produce this type of reaction. Members of cultures in the United States usually cannot deal with a fear of Yehovah that is that great. Most would compromise on anything and everything in order to avoid responsibilities that require considering others before members of their own immediate families. They will never be able to tolerate the following:
Luke 17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of man shall be ashamed of him when He shall come in His own glory and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.
This text refers to the following event:
Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels are with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory. 32And all races shall be gathered before Him. And He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divides sheep from goats. 33And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world! 35For I was hungry, and ye gave me food! I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink! I was a stranger, and ye took me in; 36naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye visited me. I was in prison, and ye came unto me!” 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed, or thirsty, and gave drink? 38When did we see thee a stranger, and took in, or naked, and clothed? 39Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came unto thee?” 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me!”
41Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42For I was hungry, and ye gave me no food. I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink. 43I was a stranger, and ye didn’t take me in; naked, and ye didn’t cloth me; sick and in prison, and ye didn’t visit me.” 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and didn’t minister unto thee?” 45Then shall He answer them saying, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye didn’t do it to one of the least of these, ye didn’t do it to me!” 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into everlasting life.
This text guarantees the damnation of folks who didn’t do certain very risky things, and the salvation of folks who did! All the persons of the races being judged in this text are non-Jewish, and they don’t have a faith that is in the God of the Bible. What they do during the Tribulation will determine whether they will live and be granted Salvation (at a later time) or whether they will be sent into everlasting punishment. If they did right, they did the riskiest actions, like visiting Jewish sick prisoners (held by enemies of Israel). Doing that activity will be akin to what Lot did when he took sojourners into his house.
Modern Christianity has no room for these ethics and for this type of morality. Strangely, the non-Biblical religion of Islam does. This has been a curiosity of history: participants in faiths that are opposed to the Bible often demonstrate parts of the Biblical ethic to a far greater degree than participants of faiths that are foreign to the Bible. Thus, a fervent Islamic household knows that protecting a sojourner with the lives of all family members is just what must be done.
Those who fear Yehovah the God of the Bible and who are put in these same terrible predicaments will also do the same.