Notes for Gen 19:1LEB

The disjunctive clause is temporal here, indicating what Lot was doing at the time of their arrival.


Heb "sitting in the gate of Sodom." The phrase "the gate of Sodom" has been translated "the city’s gateway" for stylistic reasons.


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 LEB; Jer 26:10LEB; Jer 38:7LEB; Jer 39:3LEB.)


Notes for Gen 19:2LEB

The imperatives have the force of invitation.


These two verbs form a verbal hendiadys: "you can rise up early and go" means "you can go early."


The town square refers to the wide street area at the gate complex of the city.


Notes for Gen 19:3LEB

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.


Notes for Gen 19:4LEB

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.


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.


Notes for Gen 19:5LEB

The Hebrew text adds "and said to him." This is redundant in English and has not been translated for stylistic reasons.


The Hebrew verb יָדַע (yada’, "to know") is used here in the sense of "to lie with" or "to have sex with" (as in Gen 4:1)LEB. That this is indeed the meaning is clear from Lot’s warning that they not do so wickedly, and his willingness to give them his daughters instead.


The sin of the men of Sodom is debated. The fact that the sin involved a sexual act (see note on the phrase "have sex" in 19:5)LEB 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)LEB. 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.


Notes for Gen 19:7LEB

Heb "may my brothers not act wickedly."


Notes for Gen 19:8LEB

Heb "who have not known." Here this expression is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.


Heb "according to what is good in your eyes."


Heb "shadow." 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.


Notes for Gen 19:9LEB

Heb "approach out there" which could be rendered "Get out of the way, stand back!"


Heb "to live as a resident alien."


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."


The verb "to do wickedly" is repeated here (see v. 7)LEB. 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.


Heb "and they pressed against the man, against Lot, exceedingly."


Heb "and they drew near."


Notes for Gen 19:10LEB

Heb "the men," referring to the angels inside Lot’s house. The word "inside" has been supplied in the translation for clarity.


The Hebrew text adds "their hand." These words have not been translated for stylistic reasons.


Heb "to them into the house."


Notes for Gen 19:11LEB

Heb "from the least to the greatest."


Heb "they"; the referent (the men of Sodom outside the door) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 19:12LEB

Heb "the men," referring to the angels inside Lot’s house. The word "visitors" has been supplied in the translation for clarity.


Heb "Yet who [is there] to you here?"


The words "Do you have" are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Heb "a son-in-law and your sons and your daughters and anyone who (is) to you in the city."


Heb "the place." The Hebrew article serves here as a demonstrative.


Notes for Gen 19:13LEB

The Hebrew participle expresses an imminent action here.


Heb "for their outcry." The words "about this place" have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Heb "the Elohim." The repetition of the divine name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun "he" for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Gen 19:14LEB

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.


The Hebrew active participle expresses an imminent action.


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.


Notes for Gen 19:15LEB

Heb "When dawn came up."


Heb "who are found." The wording might imply he had other daughters living in the city, but the text does not explicitly state this.


Or "with the iniquity [i.e., punishment] of the city" (cf. NASB, NRSV).


Notes for Gen 19:16LEB

Heb "he"; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Heb "in the compassion of the Elohim to them."


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)LEB. For stylistic reasons these have been translated as plural pronouns ("them").


Notes for Gen 19:17LEB

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.


Heb "escape."


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.


Or "in the plain"; Heb "in the circle," referring to the "circle" or oval area of the Jordan Valley.


Notes for Gen 19:18LEB

Or "my lords." See the following note on the problem of identifying the addressee here. The Hebrew term is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).


Notes for Gen 19:19LEB

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 "Elohim" (אֲדֹנָי, ’adonay) in v. 18b suggests he is speaking to Yahweh.


Heb "in your eyes."


Heb "you made great your kindness."


The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (khesed) can refer to "faithful love" or to "kindness," depending on the context. The precise nuance here is uncertain.


The infinitive construct explains how Yahweh has shown Lot kindness.


Heb "lest."


The Hebrew verb דָּבַק (davaq) normally means "to stick to, to cleave, to join." Lot is afraid he cannot outrun the coming calamity.


The perfect verb form with vav consecutive carries the nuance of the imperfect verbal form before it.


Notes for Gen 19:20LEB

The Hebrew word עִיר (’ir) 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."


"Look, this town is near to flee to there. And it is little."


Heb "Let me escape to there." The cohortative here expresses Lot’s request.


Heb "Is it not little?"


Heb "my soul will live." After the cohortative the jussive with vav conjunctive here indicates purpose/result.


Notes for Gen 19:21LEB

Heb "And he said, ‘Look, I will grant.’" 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)LEB, or it could be that Lot is speaking directly to the Elohim here. Most English translations leave the referent of the pronoun unspecified and maintain the ambiguity.


Heb "I have lifted up your face [i.e., shown you favor] also concerning this matter."


The negated infinitive construct indicates either the consequence of Yahweh’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").


Notes for Gen 19:22LEB

Heb "Be quick! Escape to there!" The two imperatives form a verbal hendiadys, the first becoming adverbial.


Heb "Therefore the name of the city is called Zoar." The name of the place, צוֹעַר (tsoar) apparently means "Little Place," in light of the wordplay with the term "little" (מִצְעָר, mitsar) used twice by Lot to describe the town (v. 20)LEB.


Notes for Gen 19:23LEB

The sun had just risen. There was very little time for Lot to escape between dawn (v. 15)LEB and sunrise (here).


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.


Notes for Gen 19:24LEB

The disjunctive clause signals the beginning of the next scene and highlights Yahweh’s action.


Or "burning sulfur" (the traditional "fire and brimstone").


Heb "from the Elohim from the heavens." The words "It was sent down" are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


The text explicitly states that the sulfur and fire that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah was sent down from the sky by the Elohim. 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.


Notes for Gen 19:25LEB

Or "and all the plain"; Heb "and all the circle," referring to the "circle" or oval area of the Jordan Valley.


Heb "and the vegetation of the ground."


Notes for Gen 19:26LEB

Heb "his"; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


The Hebrew verb means "to look intently; to gaze" (see 15:5)LEB.


Longingly. Lot’s wife apparently identified with the doomed city and thereby showed lack of respect for Yahweh’s provision of salvation. She, like her daughters later, had allowed her thinking to be influenced by the culture of Sodom.


Notes for Gen 19:27LEB

The words "and went" are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Gen 19:28LEB

Heb "upon the face of."


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.


Heb "And he saw, and look, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace."


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 Yahweh to save the city. But now he must have wondered, "What was the point?"


Notes for Gen 19:29LEB

The construction is a temporal clause comprised of the temporal indicator, an infinitive construct with a preposition, and the subjective genitive.


Or "of the plain"; Heb "of the circle," referring to the "circle" or oval area of the Jordan Valley.


Heb "remembered," but this means more than mental recollection here. Abraham’s request (Gen 18:23–32)LEB was that the Elohim not destroy the righteous with the wicked. While the requisite minimum number of righteous people (ten, v. 32)LEB needed for Yahweh to spare the cities was not found, Yahweh nevertheless rescued the righteous before destroying the wicked.


Yahweh showed Abraham special consideration because of the covenantal relationship he had established with the patriarch. Yet the reader knows that Yahweh delivered the "righteous" (Lot’s designation in 2 Pet 2:7LEB) before destroying their world – which is what he will do again at the end of the age.


Yahweh’s removal of Lot before the judgment is paradigmatic. He typically delivers the godly before destroying their world.


Heb "the overthrow when [he] overthrew."


Notes for Gen 19:31LEB

Heb "and the firstborn said."


Or perhaps "on earth," in which case the statement would be hyperbolic; presumably there had been some men living in the town of Zoar to which Lot and his daughters had initially fled.


Heb "to enter upon us." This is a euphemism for sexual relations.


Notes for Gen 19:32LEB

Heb "drink wine."


Heb "and we will lie down." The cohortative with vav (ו) conjunctive is subordinated to the preceding cohortative and indicates purpose/result.


Or "that we may preserve." Here the cohortative with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates their ultimate goal.


Heb "and we will keep alive from our father descendants."


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.


Notes for Gen 19:33LEB

Heb "drink wine."


Heb "the firstborn."


Heb "and the firstborn came and lied down with her father." The expression "lied down with" here and in the following verses is a euphemism for sexual relations.


Heb "and he did not know when she lay down and when she arose."


Notes for Gen 19:34LEB

Heb "the firstborn."


Heb "Look, I lied down with my father. Let’s make him drink wine again tonight."


Heb "And go, lie down with him and we will keep alive from our father descendants."


Notes for Gen 19:35LEB

Heb "drink wine."


Heb "lied down with him."


Heb "And he did not know when she lied down and when she arose."


Notes for Gen 19:37LEB

Heb "the firstborn."


The meaning of the name Moab is not certain. The name sounds like the Hebrew phrase "from our father" (מֵאָבִינוּ, meavinu) which the daughters used twice (vv. 32, 34)LEB. This account is probably included in the narrative in order to portray the Moabites, who later became enemies of Yahweh’s people, in a negative light.


Notes for Gen 19:38LEB

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.