A Question I Was Asked:

Two Sensitive Sexual Questions on Lot and His Daughters

I have two questions for you:

Question One: "Why did Lot offer up his daughters to be gang raped?

Question Two: Why did God allow Lot's daughters to have sexual relations with their father?"

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, let's take the two questions separately:

Question One:

Okay, let us look at this Scripture:

1. The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2. "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning." "No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square." 3. But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom - both young and old - surrounded the house. 5. They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." 6. Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7. and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. 8. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof." 9. "Get out of our way," they replied. "This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them." They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. 10. But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. (Genesis 19:1-11).

Lot was a good man who - very unwisely - decided to live too close to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems that in those particular places unbridled sexual sin had become pretty much the normal behaviour, maybe it was fuelled by excessive and unwise use of alcohol. The normal restraint, often coming from older, wiser people within a community, seems to have been completely lost; why this happened we don't entirely know; maybe the older, wiser people had died in some plague or other, maybe demonic activity was unusually strong there and it had developed a keen following. However, the account does tell us that some older people were included in the group demanding the release of the two angels! (verse 4). The Bible account does not tell us everything which we might wish to know about those twin cities.

Lot should have kept a firm separation between his family and those evil places but he did not. There is a lesson here for all of us. In our own day most Christians also live too close to an evil, God-rejecting society. In many cases it seems unavoidable but none of us should ever think that we can remain entirely unaffected by these things.

Why did Lot believe it was relatively okay to hand his virgin daughters over to this baying mob? Well I don't think he thought it was 'relatively okay' but he surely knew by this stage that these two visitors were angels in human form (in fact, he seems to have realised this from his reaction to meeting them back in verse 1), and he would have thought it blasphemous beyond any degree that they should have been subjected to rape. He used human reasoning to arrive at the conclusion that - terribly evil that it would have been - it was better that his daughters should be raped. Here we see that compromise had already entered Lot's reasoning because of his closeness to that society. We are told that he 'sat at the gate' (verse 1). In those towns 'the gate,' or 'gateway' was where the leading citizens congregated, where business deals were done and judging was carried out, so it seems that Lot had involved himself fully in the activities of those wretched towns. He might even have been the town magistrate (as Adam Clarke suggested).

Now we need to see how all of this finally ends:

12. The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here - sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13. because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it." 14. So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. 15. With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished." 16. When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" 18. But Lot said to them, "No, my lords, please! 19. Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can't flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I'll die. 20. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it - it is very small, isn't it? Then my life will be spared." 21. He said to him, "Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it." (That is why the town was called Zoar.) 23. By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah - from the Lord out of the heavens. 25. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities - and also the vegetation in the land. 26. But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:12-26).

The meaning of 'Zoar' is insignificant, or small.

Two further points there:

1. Lot's Wife Looked Back. Why? They had been specifically warned not to look back (verse 17). She looked back because there were things there that Lot's wife had actually liked (maybe even secretly liked). It seems she had some regrets. She died, with her body later becoming completely covered with salt (verse 26). Today this area is noted as an area of exceptionally high salt content. It is the area of the Dead Sea. It's surface and shores are 429 metres (1,407 ft) below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 34.2% salinity (in 2011), it is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean, and one of the world's saltiest bodies of water.

2. The young men who were to have married Lot's daughters refused to believe Lot's warning and did not flee. Consequently they died. (verse 14).

This all naturally leads on to the second question.

Question Two: Why did God allow Lot's daughters to have sexual relations with their father?"

God may "allow" all sorts of things to occur in this world, but allowing is not the same thing as 'approving.' God certainly did not approve. God allows people to sin but they later see the consequences of their sin, there is always a price to be paid.

So let us look at this:

30. Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31. One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children - as is the custom all over the earth. 32. Let's get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father." 33. That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 34. The next day the older daughter said to the younger, "Last night I slept with my father. Let's get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father." 35. So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 36. So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father. 37. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today. (Genesis 19:30-38).

First off, we already noted that the two young men who were due to marry these girls perished because they did not believe Lot's warning that Sodom was about to be destroyed (Genesis 19:14). The girls then started to rely on human reasoning. Obviously marriage prospects were just about nil where they had gone to live; they despaired, also, maybe they had also really loved their prospective husbands. Women of that period in human history strongly desired to have children who were a promise of future wealth and happiness. The girls very foolishly thought it better to have sexual relations with their own father than to wait upon the Lord for a future husband. They did indeed become pregnant, ironically the two sons born to them were Moab and Ben-Ammi who became the fathers of the Moabites and Ammonites, two tribes of people who would eventually give the descedants of Lot (Israel) endless troubles! There was a price to be paid!

Some use this story (and the earlier one in Genesis 19) to say how "evil" wine is, but this is not saying that wine is evil but that foolish drunkeness is evil. In fact Christians are taught by our Lord to use wine - real wine - for communion (not some sweet, sugary copy, by the way).

Of these occurrences the New Testament states this:

6. if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7. and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) - 9. if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. (2 Peter 2: 6-9).

Robin A. Brace. December 5th, 2016.