Lot and His Daughters

“The firstborn said to the younger, ‘Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father’” (Gen. 19:31–32).

- Genesis 19:30–36

When we studied Genesis 13 a few months ago, we noted how Lot’s taking of the best land in Canaan for himself was one of the worst decisions he ever made (vv. 8–13). Instead of dividing the country equitably between himself and his uncle, Lot seized the lush area near Sodom and lived far away from the covenant family. The first result of this decision was his capture by Chedorlaomer’s forces, but even his rescue by Abraham did not convince him to abandon Sodom (13:12; 14:1–16). Loving Sodom more than the Lord’s people, he moved into the city God later destroyed (19:1–29).

As we have seen, Lot escaped death on this occasion, but this does not deprive the situation its irony. Today’s passage tells us that Lot and his daughters then left Zoar for the mountains. Abraham’s nephew once had so many servants and livestock that it was difficult to live near his uncle. But now he who once selfishly sought to increase his wealth (13:8–13) finds he can fit everything he owns into a cave (19:30). Moreover, Lot has not been able to eliminate the fear that has been mixed with his faith. Verse 30 also tells us he left Zoar, the place to which God had allowed him to flee because he was afraid. Lot was not confident his Creator could protect him.

However, he suffers an even worse disgrace from his daughters. The two women hastily, through fear, think there are no men that could be arranged to marry them. So they get their father drunk and lie with him so as to produce heirs (vv. 31–36). If sexual relations between relatives more distantly related than Lot and his daughters are punishable by death (Lev. 20:12), certainly these acts are even more wicked. Incest between father and daughter was condemned even by the pagan cultures surrounding Israel, further accenting how despicable these acts are. Ironically, Lot was once willing to callously sacrifice his daughters’ virginity to avoid danger (Gen. 19:6–8), but now his children dishonor him at the first sign of trouble.

Lot and his daughters get out of Sodom, but the influence of the city’s corrupt morals remains. Such licentious actions are signs of those not devoted to obeying the Lord with their whole heart.

Coram Deo

Chapter 17 of the Westminster Confession of Faith summarizes the Bible’s teaching on perseverance, arguing that those with faith may fall grievously, but they will not fall away finally. Lot fell greviously and yet not totally out of the Lord’s hand. Nevertheless, he lost his property and his honor. If we love the sinful world too much, we may also fall under God’s discipline, and thus we must strive to walk in holiness lest we lose our good name and possibly our livelihood.

Passages for Further Study

Prov. 6:20–35
Luke 15:11–32
1 Cor. 5:9–11
Gal. 2:11–14

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