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Three Special Visitors

18 The Lord appeared to Abraham[a] by the oaks[b] of Mamre while[c] he was sitting at the entrance[d] to his tent during the hottest time of the day. Abraham[e] looked up[f] and saw[g] three men standing across from[h] him. When he saw them[i] he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed low[j] to the ground.[k]

He said, “My lord,[l] if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by and leave your servant.[m] Let a little water be brought so that[n] you may all[o] wash your feet and rest under the tree. And let me get[p] a bit of food[q] so that you may refresh yourselves[r] since you have passed by your servant’s home. After that you may be on your way.”[s] “All right,” they replied, “you may do as you say.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Take[t] three measures[u] of fine flour, knead it, and make bread.”[v] Then Abraham ran to the herd and chose a fine, tender calf, and gave it to a servant,[w] who quickly prepared it.[x] Abraham[y] then took some curds and milk, along with the calf that had been prepared, and placed the food[z] before them. They ate while[aa] he was standing near them under a tree.

Then they asked him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He replied, “There,[ab] in the tent.” 10 One of them[ac] said, “I will surely return[ad] to you when the season comes round again,[ae] and your wife Sarah will have a son!”[af] (Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, not far behind him.[ag] 11 Abraham and Sarah were old and advancing in years;[ah] Sarah had long since passed menopause.)[ai] 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking,[aj] “After I am worn out will I have pleasure,[ak] especially when my husband is old too?”[al]

13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why[am] did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really[an] have a child when I am old?’ 14 Is anything impossible[ao] for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.”[ap] 15 Then Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But the Lord said, “No! You did laugh.”[aq]

Abraham Pleads for Sodom

16 When the men got up to leave,[ar] they looked out over[as] Sodom. (Now[at] Abraham was walking with them to see them on their way.)[au] 17 Then the Lord said, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?[av] 18 After all, Abraham[aw] will surely become[ax] a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on the earth may receive blessing[ay] through him. 19 I have chosen him[az] so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep[ba] the way of the Lord by doing[bb] what is right and just. Then the Lord will give[bc] to Abraham what he promised[bd] him.”

20 So the Lord said, “The outcry against[be] Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so blatant[bf] 21 that I must go down[bg] and see if they are as wicked as the outcry suggests.[bh] If not,[bi] I want to know.”

22 The two men turned[bj] and headed[bk] toward Sodom, but Abraham was still standing before the Lord.[bl] 23 Abraham approached and said, “Will you really sweep away the godly along with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty godly people in the city? Will you really wipe it out and not spare[bm] the place for the sake of the fifty godly people who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the godly with the wicked, treating the godly and the wicked alike! Far be it from you! Will not the judge[bn] of the whole earth do what is right?”[bo]

26 So the Lord replied, “If I find in the city of Sodom fifty godly people, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham asked, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord[bp] (although I am but dust and ashes),[bq] 28 what if there are five less than the fifty godly people? Will you destroy[br] the whole city because five are lacking?”[bs] He replied, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

29 Abraham[bt] spoke to him again,[bu] “What if forty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty.”

30 Then Abraham[bv] said, “May the Lord not be angry[bw] so that I may speak![bx] What if thirty are found there?” He replied, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31 Abraham[by] said, “Since I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”

32 Finally Abraham[bz] said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”

33 The Lord went on his way[ca] when he had finished speaking[cb] to Abraham. Then Abraham returned home.[cc]

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

19 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening while[cd] Lot was sitting in the city’s gateway.[ce] When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face toward the ground.

He said, “Here, my lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house. Stay the night[cf] and wash your feet. Then you can be on your way early in the morning.”[cg] “No,” they replied, “we’ll spend the night in the town square.”[ch]

But he urged[ci] them persistently, so they turned aside with him and entered his house. He prepared a feast for them, including bread baked without yeast, and they ate. Before they could lie down to sleep,[cj] all the men—both young and old, from every part of the city of Sodom—surrounded the house.[ck] They shouted to Lot,[cl] “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can take carnal knowledge of[cm] them!”

Lot went outside to them, shutting the door behind him. He said, “No, my brothers! Don’t act so wickedly![cn] Look, I have two daughters who have never been intimate with[co] a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do to them whatever you please.[cp] Only don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection[cq] of my roof.”[cr]

“Out of our way!”[cs] they cried, “This man came to live here as a foreigner,[ct] and now he dares to judge us![cu] We’ll do more harm[cv] to you than to them!” They kept pressing in on Lot[cw] until they were close enough[cx] to break down the door.

10 So the men inside[cy] reached out[cz] and pulled Lot back into the house[da] as they shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, from the youngest to the oldest,[db] with blindness. The men outside[dc] wore themselves out trying to find the door. 12 Then the two visitors[dd] said to Lot, “Who else do you have here?[de] Do you have[df] any sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or other relatives in the city?[dg] Get them out of this[dh] place 13 because we are about to destroy[di] it. The outcry against this place[dj] is so great before the Lord that he[dk] has sent us to destroy it.”

14 Then Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law who were going to marry his daughters.[dl] He said, “Quick, get out of this place because the Lord is about to destroy[dm] the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was ridiculing them.[dn]

15 At dawn[do] the angels hurried Lot along, saying, “Get going! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here,[dp] or else you will be destroyed when the city is judged!”[dq] 16 When Lot[dr] hesitated, the men grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters because the Lord had compassion on them.[ds] They led them away and placed them[dt] outside the city. 17 When they had brought them outside, they[du] said, “Run[dv] for your lives! Don’t look[dw] behind you or stop anywhere in the valley![dx] Escape to the mountains or you will be destroyed!”

18 But Lot said to them, “No, please, Lord![dy] 19 Your[dz] servant has found favor with you,[ea] and you have shown me great[eb] kindness[ec] by sparing[ed] my life. But I am not able to escape to the mountains because[ee] this disaster will overtake[ef] me and I’ll die.[eg] 20 Look, this town[eh] over here is close enough to escape to, and it’s just a little one.[ei] Let me go there.[ej] It’s just a little place, isn’t it?[ek] Then I’ll survive.”[el]

21 “Very well,” he replied,[em] “I will grant this request too[en] and will not overthrow[eo] the town you mentioned. 22 Run there quickly,[ep] for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” (This incident explains why the town was called Zoar.)[eq]

23 The sun had just risen[er] over the land as Lot reached Zoar.[es] 24 Then the Lord rained down[et] sulfur and fire[eu] on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the Lord.[ev] 25 So he overthrew those cities and all that region,[ew] including all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation that grew from the ground.[ex] 26 But Lot’s[ey] wife looked back longingly[ez] and was turned into a pillar of salt.

27 Abraham got up early in the morning and went[fa] to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked out toward[fb] Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of that region.[fc] As he did so, he saw the smoke rising up from the land like smoke from a furnace.[fd]

29 So when God destroyed[fe] the cities of the region,[ff] God honored[fg] Abraham’s request. He removed Lot[fh] from the midst of the destruction when he destroyed[fi] the cities Lot had lived in.

30 Lot went up from Zoar with his two daughters and settled in the mountains because he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31 Later the older daughter said[fj] to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man in the country[fk] to sleep with us,[fl] the way everyone does. 32 Come, let’s make our father drunk with wine[fm] so we can go to bed with[fn] him and preserve[fo] our family line through our father.”[fp]

33 So that night they made their father drunk with wine,[fq] and the older daughter[fr] came in and went to bed with[fs] her father. But he was not aware of when she lay down with him or when she got up. 34 So in the morning the older daughter[ft] said to the younger, “Since I went to bed with[fu] my father last night, let’s make him drunk[fv] again tonight. Then you go in and go to bed with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.”[fw] 35 So they made their father drunk[fx] that night as well, and the younger one came and went to bed with him.[fy] But he was not aware of when she lay down with him or when she got up.

36 In this way both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter[fz] gave birth to a son and named him Moab.[ga] He is the ancestor of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also gave birth to a son and named him Ben Ammi.[gb] He is the ancestor of the Ammonites of today.


  1. Genesis 18:1 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  2. Genesis 18:1 tn Or “terebinths.”
  3. Genesis 18:1 tn The disjunctive clause here is circumstantial to the main clause.
  4. Genesis 18:1 tn The Hebrew noun translated “entrance” is an adverbial accusative of place.
  5. Genesis 18:2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  6. Genesis 18:2 tn Heb “lifted up his eyes.”
  7. Genesis 18:2 tn Heb “and saw, and look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) draws attention to what he saw. The drawn-out description focuses the reader’s attention on Abraham’s deliberate, fixed gaze and indicates that what he is seeing is significant.
  8. Genesis 18:2 tn The Hebrew preposition עַל (ʿal) indicates the three men were nearby, but not close by, for Abraham had to run to meet them.
  9. Genesis 18:2 tn The pronoun “them” has been supplied in the translation for clarification. In the Hebrew text the verb has no stated object.
  10. Genesis 18:2 tn The form וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ (vayyishtakhu, “and bowed low”) is from the verb הִשְׁתַּחֲוָה (hishtakhavah, “to worship, bow low to the ground”). It is probably from a root חָוָה (khavah), though some derive it from שָׁחָה (shakhah).
  11. Genesis 18:2 sn The reader knows this is a theophany. The three visitors are probably the Lord and two angels (see Gen 19:1). It is not certain how soon Abraham recognized the true identity of the visitors. His actions suggest he suspected this was something out of the ordinary, though it is possible that his lavish treatment of the visitors was done quite unwittingly. Bowing down to the ground would be reserved for obeisance of kings or worship of the Lord. Whether he was aware of it or not, Abraham’s action was most appropriate.
  12. Genesis 18:3 tc The MT has the form אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay, “Master”) which is reserved for God. This may reflect later scribal activity. The scribes, knowing it was the Lord, may have put the proper pointing with the word instead of the more common אֲדֹנִי (ʾadoni, “my master”).
  13. Genesis 18:3 tn Heb “do not pass by from upon your servant.”
  14. Genesis 18:4 tn The imperative after the jussive indicates purpose here.
  15. Genesis 18:4 tn The word “all” has been supplied in the translation because the Hebrew verb translated “wash” and the pronominal suffix on the word “feet” are plural, referring to all three of the visitors.
  16. Genesis 18:5 tn The Qal cohortative here probably has the nuance of polite request.
  17. Genesis 18:5 tn Heb “a piece of bread.” The Hebrew word לֶחֶם (lekhem) can refer either to bread specifically or to food in general. Based on Abraham’s directions to Sarah in v. 6, bread was certainly involved, but v. 7 indicates that Abraham had a more elaborate meal in mind.
  18. Genesis 18:5 tn Heb “strengthen your heart.” The imperative after the cohortative indicates purpose here.
  19. Genesis 18:5 tn Heb “so that you may refresh yourselves, after [which] you may be on your way—for therefore you passed by near your servant.”
  20. Genesis 18:6 tn The word “take” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the sentence lacks a verb other than the imperative “hurry.” The elliptical structure of the language reflects Abraham’s haste to get things ready quickly.
  21. Genesis 18:6 sn Three measures (Heb “three seahs”) was equivalent to about 20 quarts (22 liters) of flour, which would make a lot of bread. The animal prepared for the meal was far more than the three visitors needed. This was a banquet for royalty. Either it had been a lonely time for Abraham and the presence of visitors made him very happy, or he sensed this was a momentous visit.
  22. Genesis 18:6 sn The bread was the simple, round bread made by bedouins that is normally prepared quickly for visitors.
  23. Genesis 18:7 tn Heb “the young man.”
  24. Genesis 18:7 tn The construction uses the Piel preterite, “he hurried,” followed by the infinitive construct; the two probably form a verbal hendiadys: “he quickly prepared.”
  25. Genesis 18:8 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  26. Genesis 18:8 tn The words “the food” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the verb has no stated object.
  27. Genesis 18:8 tn The disjunctive clause is a temporal circumstantial clause subordinate to the main verb.
  28. Genesis 18:9 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) often accompanies a gesture of pointing or a focused gaze.
  29. Genesis 18:10 tn Heb “he”; the referent (one of the three men introduced in v. 2) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Some English translations have specified the referent as the Lord (cf. RSV, NIV) based on vv. 1, 13, but the Hebrew text merely has “he said” at this point, referring to one of the three visitors. Aside from the introductory statement in v. 1, the incident is narrated from Abraham’s point of view, and the suspense is built up for the reader as Abraham’s elaborate banquet preparations in the preceding verses suggest he suspects these are important guests. But not until the promise of a son later in this verse does it become clear who is speaking. In v. 13 the Hebrew text explicitly mentions the Lord.
  30. Genesis 18:10 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic, using the infinitive absolute with the imperfect I will surely return. If Abraham had not yet figured out who this was, this interchange would have made it clear. Otherwise, how would a return visit from this man mean Sarah would have a son?
  31. Genesis 18:10 tn Heb “as/when the time lives” or “revives,” possibly referring to the springtime.
  32. Genesis 18:10 tn Heb “and there will be (הִנֵּה, hinneh) a son for Sarah.”
  33. Genesis 18:10 tn This is the first of two disjunctive parenthetical clauses preparing the reader for Sarah’s response (see v. 12).
  34. Genesis 18:11 tn Heb “days.”
  35. Genesis 18:11 tn Heb “it had ceased to be for Sarah [after] a way like women.”
  36. Genesis 18:12 tn Heb “saying.”
  37. Genesis 18:12 tn It has been suggested that this word should be translated “conception,” not “pleasure.” See A. A. McIntosh, “A Third Root ‘adah in Biblical Hebrew,” VT 24 (1974): 454-73.
  38. Genesis 18:12 tn The word “too” has been added in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  39. Genesis 18:13 tn Heb “Why, this?” The demonstrative pronoun following the interrogative pronoun is enclitic, emphasizing the Lord’s amazement: “Why on earth did Sarah laugh?”
  40. Genesis 18:13 tn The Hebrew construction uses both הַאַף (haʾaf) and אֻמְנָם (ʾumnam): “Indeed, truly, will I have a child?”
  41. Genesis 18:14 tn The Hebrew verb פָּלָא (palaʾ) means “to be wonderful, to be extraordinary, to be surpassing, to be amazing.”
  42. Genesis 18:14 sn Sarah will have a son. The passage brings God’s promise into clear focus. As long as it was a promise for the future, it really could be believed without much involvement. But now, when it seemed so impossible from the human standpoint, when the Lord fixed an exact date for the birth of the child, the promise became rather overwhelming to Abraham and Sarah. But then this was the Lord of creation, the one they had come to trust. The point of these narratives is that the creation of Abraham’s offspring, which eventually became Israel, is no less a miraculous work of creation than the creation of the world itself.
  43. Genesis 18:15 tn Heb “And he said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’” The referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  44. Genesis 18:16 tn Heb “And the men arose from there.”
  45. Genesis 18:16 tn Heb “toward the face of.”
  46. Genesis 18:16 tn The disjunctive parenthetical clause sets the stage for the following speech.
  47. Genesis 18:16 tn The Piel of שָׁלַח (shalakh) means “to lead out, to send out, to expel”; here it is used in the friendly sense of seeing the visitors on their way.
  48. Genesis 18:17 tn The active participle here refers to an action that is imminent.
  49. Genesis 18:18 tn Heb “And Abraham.” The disjunctive clause is probably causal, giving a reason why God should not hide his intentions from Abraham. One could translate, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation?”
  50. Genesis 18:18 tn The infinitive absolute lends emphasis to the finite verb that follows.
  51. Genesis 18:18 tn Or “find blessing.” The denominative verb בָּרַךְ (barakh) mainly occurs in the D-stems: Piel for actice, Pual for passive, Hitpael for middle or reflexive. Only in three formulations of the Abrahamic covenant does it occur in the Niphal. Few other verbs that occur in the Piel and Pual also occur in the Niphal but not the Qal; the tendency is for such Niphals to be middle rather than passive. The middle voice may be expressed here as “they may consider themselves blessed through him,” “they may find/receive blessing through him,” or “they may become blessed through him.” Verses 18-19 refer back to Gen 12:1-3 which include how others may receive blessing or cursing from the Lord.
  52. Genesis 18:19 tn Heb “For I have known him.” The verb יָדַע (yadaʿ) here means “to recognize and treat in a special manner, to choose” (see Amos 3:2). It indicates that Abraham stood in a special covenantal relationship with the Lord.
  53. Genesis 18:19 tn Heb “and they will keep.” The perfect verbal form with vav consecutive carries on the subjective nuance of the preceding imperfect verbal form (translated “so that he may command”).
  54. Genesis 18:19 tn The infinitive construct here indicates manner, explaining how Abraham’s children and his household will keep the way of the Lord.
  55. Genesis 18:19 tn Heb “bring on.” The infinitive after לְמַעַן (lemaʿan) indicates result here.
  56. Genesis 18:19 tn Heb “spoke to.”
  57. Genesis 18:20 tn Heb “the outcry of Sodom,” which apparently refers to the outcry for divine justice from those (unidentified persons) who observe its sinful ways.
  58. Genesis 18:20 tn Heb “heavy” or “severe.”sn Ezekiel 16:49-50 includes three types of sins of Sodom: failure to help the poor and needy while having prosperity, pride (or haughtiness), and committing abomination.
  59. Genesis 18:21 tn The cohortative indicates the Lord’s I must go down. The descent to “see” Sodom is a bold anthropomorphism, stressing the careful judgment of God. The language is reminiscent of the Lord going down to see the Tower of Babel in Gen 11:1-9.
  60. Genesis 18:21 tn Heb “[if] according to the outcry that has come to me they have done completely.” Even the Lord, who is well aware of the human capacity to sin, finds it hard to believe that anyone could be as bad as the “outcry” against Sodom and Gomorrah suggests.
  61. Genesis 18:21 sn The short phrase if not provides a ray of hope and inspires Abraham’s intercession.
  62. Genesis 18:22 tn Heb “And the men turned from there.” The word “two” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied here for clarity. Gen 19:1 mentions only two individuals (described as “angels”), while Abraham had entertained three visitors (18:2). The implication is that the Lord was the third visitor, who remained behind with Abraham here. The words “from there” are not included in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  63. Genesis 18:22 tn Heb “went.”
  64. Genesis 18:22 tc An ancient Hebrew scribal tradition reads “but the Lord remained standing before Abraham.” This reading is problematic because the phrase “standing before” typically indicates intercession, but the Lord would certainly not be interceding before Abraham.
  65. Genesis 18:24 tn Heb “lift up,” perhaps in the sense of “bear with” (cf. NRSV “forgive”).
  66. Genesis 18:25 tn Or “ruler.”
  67. Genesis 18:25 sn Will not the judge of the whole earth do what is right? For discussion of this text see J. L. Crenshaw, “Popular Questioning of the Justice of God in Ancient Israel,” ZAW 82 (1970): 380-95, and C. S. Rodd, “Shall Not the Judge of All the Earth Do What Is Just?” ExpTim 83 (1972): 137-39.
  68. Genesis 18:27 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here and in vv. 30, 31, 32 is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay).
  69. Genesis 18:27 tn The disjunctive clause is a concessive clause here, drawing out the humility as a contrast to the Lord.
  70. Genesis 18:28 tn The Hebrew verb שָׁחַת (shakhat, “to destroy”) was used earlier to describe the effect of the flood.
  71. Genesis 18:28 tn Heb “because of five.”
  72. Genesis 18:29 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  73. Genesis 18:29 tn The construction is a verbal hendiadys—the preterite (“he added”) is combined with an adverb “yet” and an infinitive “to speak.”
  74. Genesis 18:30 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  75. Genesis 18:30 tn Heb “let it not be hot to the Lord.” This is an idiom which means “may the Lord not be angry.”
  76. Genesis 18:30 tn After the jussive, the cohortative indicates purpose/result.
  77. Genesis 18:31 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  78. Genesis 18:32 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  79. Genesis 18:33 tn Heb “And the Lord went.”
  80. Genesis 18:33 tn The infinitive construct (“speaking”) serves as the direct object of the verb “finished.”
  81. Genesis 18:33 tn Heb “to his place.”
  82. Genesis 19:1 tn The disjunctive clause is temporal here, indicating what Lot was doing at the time of their arrival.
  83. Genesis 19:1 tn Heb “sitting in the gate of Sodom.” The phrase “the gate of Sodom” has been translated “the city’s gateway” for stylistic The expression sitting in the city’s gateway may mean that Lot was exercising some type of judicial function (see the use of the idiom in 2 Sam 19:8; Jer 26:10; 38:7; 39:3).
  84. Genesis 19:2 tn The imperatives have the force of invitation.
  85. Genesis 19:2 tn These two verbs form a verbal hendiadys: “you can rise up early and go” means “you can go early.”
  86. Genesis 19:2 sn The town square refers to the wide street area at the gate complex of the city.
  87. Genesis 19:3 tn The Hebrew verb פָּצַר (patsar, “to press, to insist”) ironically foreshadows the hostile actions of the men of the city (see v. 9, where the verb also appears). The repetition of the word serves to contrast Lot to his world.
  88. Genesis 19:4 tn The verb שָׁכַב (shakhav) means “to lie down, to recline,” that is, “to go to bed.” Here what appears to be an imperfect is a preterite after the adverb טֶרֶם (terem). The nuance of potential (perfect) fits well.
  89. Genesis 19:4 tn Heb “and the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, from the young to the old, all the people from the end [of the city].” The repetition of the phrase “men of” stresses all kinds of men.
  90. Genesis 19:5 tn The Hebrew text adds “and said to him.” This is redundant in English and has not been translated for stylistic reasons.
  91. Genesis 19:5 tn Heb “know.” The expression יָדַע (yadaʿ) “to know” is a euphemism for sexual relations. Elsewhere NET employs the English euphemism “be intimate with” for this use of יָדַע, but uses a different euphemism here because of the perverse overtones of force in this context. Their intent is to molest them, but their rhetoric tries to minimize their The sin of the men of Sodom is debated. The fact that the sin involved a sexual act (see note on the phrase “take carnal knowledge of” in 19:5) precludes an association of the sin with inhospitality as is sometimes asserted (see W. Roth, “What of Sodom and Gomorrah? Homosexual Acts in the Old Testament,” Explor 1 [1974]: 7-14). The text at a minimum condemns forced sexual intercourse, i.e., rape. Other considerations, though, point to a condemnation of homosexual acts more generally. The narrator emphasizes the fact that the men of Sodom wanted to have sex with men: They demand that Lot release the angelic messengers (seen as men) to them for sex, and when Lot offers his daughters as a substitute they refuse them and attempt to take the angelic messengers by force. In addition the wider context of the Pentateuch condemns homosexual acts as sin (see, e.g., Lev 18:22). Thus a reading of this text within its narrative context, both immediate and broad, condemns not only the attempted rape but also the attempted homosexual act.
  92. Genesis 19:7 tn Heb “may my brothers not act wickedly.”
  93. Genesis 19:8 tn Heb “who have not known.” Here this expression is a euphemism for sexual relations.
  94. Genesis 19:8 tn Heb “according to what is good in your eyes.”
  95. Genesis 19:8 tn Heb “shadow.”
  96. Genesis 19:8 sn This chapter portrays Lot as a hypocrite. He is well aware of the way the men live in his city and is apparently comfortable in the midst of it. But when confronted by the angels, he finally draws the line. But he is nevertheless willing to sacrifice his daughters’ virginity to protect his guests. His opposition to the crowds leads to his rejection as a foreigner by those with whom he had chosen to live. The one who attempted to rescue his visitors ends up having to be rescued by them.
  97. Genesis 19:9 tn Heb “approach out there” which could be rendered “Get out of the way, stand back!”
  98. Genesis 19:9 tn Heb “to live as a resident foreigner.”
  99. Genesis 19:9 tn Heb “and he has judged, judging.” The infinitive absolute follows the finite verbal form for emphasis. This emphasis is reflected in the translation by the phrase “dares to judge.”
  100. Genesis 19:9 tn The verb “to do wickedly” is repeated here (see v. 7). It appears that whatever “wickedness” the men of Sodom had intended to do to Lot’s visitors—probably nothing short of homosexual rape—they were now ready to inflict on Lot.
  101. Genesis 19:9 tn Heb “and they pressed against the man, against Lot, exceedingly.”
  102. Genesis 19:9 tn Heb “and they drew near.”
  103. Genesis 19:10 tn Heb “the men,” referring to the angels inside Lot’s house. The word “inside” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  104. Genesis 19:10 tn The Hebrew text adds “their hand.” These words have not been translated for stylistic reasons.
  105. Genesis 19:10 tn Heb “to them into the house.”
  106. Genesis 19:11 tn Heb “from the least to the greatest.”
  107. Genesis 19:11 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Sodom outside the door) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  108. Genesis 19:12 tn Heb “the men,” referring to the angels inside Lot’s house. The word “visitors” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  109. Genesis 19:12 tn Heb “Yet who [is there] to you here?”
  110. Genesis 19:12 tn The words “Do you have” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  111. Genesis 19:12 tn Heb “a son-in-law and your sons and your daughters and anyone who (is) to you in the city.”
  112. Genesis 19:12 tn Heb “the place.” The Hebrew article serves here as a demonstrative.
  113. Genesis 19:13 tn The Hebrew participle expresses an imminent action here.
  114. Genesis 19:13 tn Heb “for their outcry.” The words “this place” have been moved from earlier in the sentence for stylistic reasons, and "about" has been added.
  115. Genesis 19:13 tn Heb “the Lord.” The repetition of the divine name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun “he” for stylistic reasons.
  116. Genesis 19:14 sn The language has to be interpreted in the light of the context and the social customs. The men are called “sons-in-law” (literally “the takers of his daughters”), but the daughters had not yet had sex with a man. It is better to translate the phrase “who were going to marry his daughters.” Since formal marriage contracts were binding, the husbands-to-be could already be called sons-in-law.
  117. Genesis 19:14 tn The Hebrew active participle expresses an imminent action.
  118. Genesis 19:14 tn Heb “and he was like one taunting in the eyes of his sons-in-law.” These men mistakenly thought Lot was ridiculing them and their lifestyle. Their response illustrates how morally insensitive they had become.
  119. Genesis 19:15 tn Heb “When dawn came up.”
  120. Genesis 19:15 tn Heb “who are found.” The wording might imply he had other daughters living in the city, but the text does not explicitly state this.
  121. Genesis 19:15 tn Or “with the iniquity [i.e., punishment] of the city” (cf. NASB, NRSV).
  122. Genesis 19:16 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  123. Genesis 19:16 tn Heb “in the compassion of the Lord to them.”
  124. Genesis 19:16 tn Heb “brought him out and placed him.” The third masculine singular suffixes refer specifically to Lot, though his wife and daughters accompanied him (see v. 17). For stylistic reasons these have been translated as plural pronouns (“them”).
  125. Genesis 19:17 tn Or “one of them”; Heb “he.” Several ancient versions (LXX, Vulgate, Syriac) read the plural “they.” See also the note on “your” in v. 19.
  126. Genesis 19:17 tn Heb “escape.”
  127. Genesis 19:17 tn The Hebrew verb translated “look” signifies an intense gaze, not a passing glance. This same verb is used later in v. 26 to describe Lot’s wife’s self-destructive look back at the city.
  128. Genesis 19:17 tn Or “in the plain”; Heb “in the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.
  129. Genesis 19:18 tn Or “my lords.” See the following note on the problem of identifying the addressee here. The Hebrew term is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay).
  130. Genesis 19:19 tn The second person pronominal suffixes are singular in this verse (note “your eyes,” “you have made great,” and “you have acted”). Verse 18a seems to indicate that Lot is addressing the angels, but the use of the singular and the appearance of the divine title “Lord” (אֲדֹנָי, ʾadonay) in v. 18b suggests he is speaking to God.
  131. Genesis 19:19 tn Heb “in your eyes.”
  132. Genesis 19:19 tn Heb “you made great your kindness.”
  133. Genesis 19:19 tn Heb “kindness that you have done with me.”sn The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (khesed) can refer to “faithful love” or to “kindness,” depending on the context. The precise nuance here is uncertain.
  134. Genesis 19:19 tn The infinitive construct explains how God has shown Lot kindness.
  135. Genesis 19:19 tn Heb “lest.”
  136. Genesis 19:19 tn The Hebrew verb דָּבַק (davaq) normally means “to stick to, to cleave, to join.” Lot is afraid he cannot outrun the coming calamity.
  137. Genesis 19:19 tn The perfect verb form with vav consecutive carries the nuance of the imperfect verbal form before it.
  138. Genesis 19:20 tn The Hebrew word עִיר (ʿir) can refer to either a city or a town, depending on the size of the place. Given that this place was described by Lot later in this verse as a “little place,” the translation uses “town.”
  139. Genesis 19:20 tn Heb “Look, this town is near to flee to there. And it is little.”
  140. Genesis 19:20 tn Heb “Let me escape to there.” The cohortative here expresses Lot’s request.
  141. Genesis 19:20 tn Heb “Is it not little?”
  142. Genesis 19:20 tn Heb “my soul will live.” After the cohortative the jussive with vav conjunctive here indicates purpose/result.
  143. Genesis 19:21 tn Heb “And he said to him, ‘Look, . . . .’” The order of the clauses has been rearranged for stylistic reasons. The referent of the speaker (“he”) is somewhat ambiguous: It could be taken as the angel to whom Lot has been speaking (so NLT; note the singular references in vv. 18-19), or it could be that Lot is speaking directly to the Lord here. Most English translations leave the referent of the pronoun unspecified and maintain the ambiguity.
  144. Genesis 19:21 tn Heb “I have lifted up your face [i.e., shown you favor] also concerning this matter.”
  145. Genesis 19:21 tn The negated infinitive construct indicates either the consequence of God’s granting the request (“I have granted this request, so that I will not”) or the manner in which he will grant it (“I have granted your request by not destroying”).
  146. Genesis 19:22 tn Heb “Be quick! Escape to there!” The two imperatives form a verbal hendiadys, the first becoming adverbial.
  147. Genesis 19:22 tn Heb “Therefore the name of the city is called Zoar.” The name of the place, צוֹעַר (tsoʿar) apparently means “Little Place,” in light of the wordplay with the term “little” (מִצְעָר, mitsʿar) used twice by Lot to describe the town (v. 20).
  148. Genesis 19:23 sn The sun had just risen. There was very little time for Lot to escape between dawn (v. 15) and sunrise (here).
  149. Genesis 19:23 tn The juxtaposition of the two disjunctive clauses indicates synchronic action. The first action (the sun’s rising) occurred as the second (Lot’s entering Zoar) took place. The disjunctive clauses also signal closure for the preceding scene.
  150. Genesis 19:24 tn The disjunctive clause signals the beginning of the next scene and highlights God’s action.
  151. Genesis 19:24 tn Or “burning sulfur” (the traditional “fire and brimstone”).
  152. Genesis 19:24 tn Heb “from the Lord from the heavens.” The words “It was sent down” are supplied in the translation for stylistic The text explicitly states that the sulfur and fire that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah was sent down from the sky by the Lord. What exactly this was, and how it happened, can only be left to intelligent speculation, but see J. P. Harland, “The Destruction of the Cities of the Plain,” BA 6 (1943): 41-54.
  153. Genesis 19:25 tn Or “and all the plain”; Heb “and all the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.
  154. Genesis 19:25 tn Heb “and what sprouts of the ground.”
  155. Genesis 19:26 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  156. Genesis 19:26 tn The Hebrew verb means “to look intently; to gaze” (see 15:5).sn Longingly. Lot’s wife apparently identified with the doomed city and thereby showed lack of respect for God’s provision of salvation. She, like her daughters later, had allowed her thinking to be influenced by the culture of Sodom.
  157. Genesis 19:27 tn The words “and went” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  158. Genesis 19:28 tn Heb “upon the face of.”
  159. Genesis 19:28 tn Or “all the land of the plain”; Heb “and all the face of the land of the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.
  160. Genesis 19:28 tn Heb “And he saw, and look, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.”sn It is hard to imagine what was going on in Abraham’s mind, but this brief section in the narrative enables the reader to think about the human response to the judgment. Abraham had family in that area. He had rescued those people from the invasion. That was why he interceded. Yet he surely knew how wicked they were. That was why he got the number down to ten when he negotiated with God to save the city. But now he must have wondered, “What was the point?”
  161. Genesis 19:29 tn The construction is a temporal clause comprised of the temporal indicator, an infinitive construct with a preposition, and the subjective genitive.
  162. Genesis 19:29 tn Or “of the plain”; Heb “of the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.
  163. Genesis 19:29 tn Heb “remembered,” but this means more than mental recollection here. Abraham’s request (Gen 18:23-32) was that the Lord not destroy the righteous with the wicked. While the requisite minimum number of righteous people (ten, v. 32) needed for God to spare the cities was not found, God nevertheless rescued the righteous before destroying the God showed Abraham special consideration because of the covenantal relationship he had established with the patriarch. Yet the reader knows that God delivered the “righteous” (Lot’s designation in 2 Pet 2:7) before destroying their world—which is what he will do again at the end of the age.
  164. Genesis 19:29 sn God’s removal of Lot before the judgment is paradigmatic. He typically delivers the godly before destroying their world.
  165. Genesis 19:29 tn Heb “the overthrow when [he] overthrew.”
  166. Genesis 19:31 tn Heb “and the firstborn said.”
  167. Genesis 19:31 tn Or perhaps “on earth,” in which case the statement would be hyperbolic. sn Presumably there had been some men living in the town of Zoar to which Lot and his daughters had initially fled. Perhaps they feared that the destruction was more widespread than it really was, or perhaps they feared some sort of stigma following the disaster that fell on their former town.
  168. Genesis 19:31 tn Heb “to come over us according to the manner of the whole world.” “To come over us” is a euphemism for sexual relations. “According to the manner of the whole world” is an idiom for what is customary and normal, elsewhere (Josh 23:14; 1 Kgs 2:2) used to describe dying.
  169. Genesis 19:32 tn Heb “drink wine.”
  170. Genesis 19:32 tn Heb “and we will lie down with.” The cohortative with vav (ו) conjunctive is subordinated to the preceding cohortative and indicates purpose or result. The phrase “to lie down with” is a euphemism for sexual relations; the translation, in turn, also supplies a euphemism.
  171. Genesis 19:32 tn Or “that we may preserve.” Here the cohortative with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates their ultimate goal.
  172. Genesis 19:32 tn Heb “and we will keep alive from our father descendants.”sn For a discussion of the cultural background of the daughters’ desire to preserve our family line see F. C. Fensham, “The Obliteration of the Family as Motif in the Near Eastern Literature,” AION 10 (1969): 191-99.
  173. Genesis 19:33 tn Heb “drink wine.”
  174. Genesis 19:33 tn Heb “the firstborn.”
  175. Genesis 19:33 tn Heb “came and lied down with.” Both of the expressions can be a euphemism for sexual relations. See the note at 2 Sam 12:24.
  176. Genesis 19:34 tn Heb “the firstborn.”
  177. Genesis 19:34 tn Heb “to lie with.” The phrase is a euphemism for sexual relations.
  178. Genesis 19:34 tn Heb “Let’s make him drink wine.”
  179. Genesis 19:34 tn Heb “And we will keep alive descendants from our father.”
  180. Genesis 19:35 tn Heb “drink wine.”
  181. Genesis 19:35 tn Heb “lied down with him.”
  182. Genesis 19:37 tn Heb “the firstborn.”
  183. Genesis 19:37 sn The meaning of the name Moab is not certain. The name sounds like the Hebrew phrase “from our father” (מֵאָבִינוּ, meʾavinu) which the daughters used twice (vv. 32, 34). This account is probably included in the narrative in order to portray the Moabites, who later became enemies of God’s people, in a negative light.
  184. Genesis 19:38 sn The name Ben Ammi means “son of my people.” Like the account of Moab’s birth, this story is probably included in the narrative to portray the Ammonites, another perennial enemy of Israel, in a negative light.