May 3, 2014

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

                  

Lesson II.D.5: Lot's Daughters Commit Incest. Gen. 19:30-38

 

Genesis 19:30-38 (KJV)

 

30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.

31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:

32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.

38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

 

 

Introduction

 

Two sons by his own daughters are born to Lot. Having no husbands but wanting to preserve their father’s name, Lot’s two daughters got their father drunk, had sexual relations with him, and became pregnant. Their descendents would become the Moabites and the Ammonites, perpetual enemies of Israel.

 

 

Commentary

 

30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.

 

 The last time we read about Lot he had escaped God’s judgment against the cities of the plain, Sodom being the chiefest, and he had entered Zoar, another of those cities of the plain; but it was spared because of Lot’s pleading (10:20{1]). He had been afraid to flee to the mountains (19:19{2]), so he convinced the angels to let him flee to Zoar instead. We can only assume that he left there soon afterwards because the citizens of the place were openly committing homosexual acts of the same disgusting kind as Sodom and Gomorrah. He left Zoar for the sake of his daughters, because “he feared to dwell in Zoar.” Perhaps this was due to the people of Zoar who thought he was responsible for all the destruction, or he feared that God was not finished and may yet destroy Zoar as He did Sodom. What a contrast the mountains must have been compared with the “progressive civilizations” of Sodom and Zoar which he left behind.

 

Lot’s two daughters were virgins (v. 19:8{7]), his married daughters were dead (v. 19:14{8]), and there were no men left in the vicinity for them to marry (v. 19:25{9]), since those who were not killed probably moved away. They feared they would have no children, so they concocted the gross immorality of this episode.

 

 

31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:

32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

 

I am disappointed by those expositors of God’s word who have left this regretful episode out of their commentary, either because they are too embarrassed to write about it, or they are afraid to offend the delicate feelings of their readers; or perhaps they just don’t think it belongs in the “Good Book.” I, for one, believe if it is in the Bible, then we should treat it with the same respect as we do the rest of God’s Word. Remember, just because it is in the Bible that doesn’t mean that God approved of it.

 

Many have offered their opinions on what caused Lot’s daughters to contrive such a disgusting plan to make their father commit the sin of incest. They knew that he would never knowingly and willingly do it. I must agree with those who have offered this explanation: It seems that they had learned nothing good in Sodom. Though they had been prevented from indulging in the sins of Sodom, probably by Lot, they had been accustomed to hear and witness wickedness until their judgments were perverted, their consciences were unfeeling, and their sense of shame blunted. It appears from these verses that the two daughters whose fiancés had been killed in the holocaust of Sodom, took turns getting their father drunk and having sex with him. Their acts of incest show Sodom’s influence on them.  

 

No excuse can be made for them nor for Lot. Perhaps the only thing that can be said for the whole sordid episode is this, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

 

 

34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

 

Here is a picture of what happens to the best of men when they are left alone. Lot not only kept himself sober and uncorrupted while living in Sodom, but also was constant grieved by the wickedness of the place, and spoke out against it. Now he is in the mountains with only his two daughters for companions, and he may have thought that he was free from temptation—but temptation comes and overtakes him. LET HIM THAT THINKS HE STANDS, STAND HIGH AND STAND FIRM, AND TAKE HEED, SO AS NOT TO FALL. There is no mountain, this side of heaven, which is high enough to put us out of reach of Satan’s fiery darts. May I say this to you from my own personal experience, drunkenness will put you in a dangerous place; it is not only a great sin itself, but it is the doorway through which many sins will enter. It may well become the breach through which the worst and most unnatural sins enter and permanently wound and dishonor even the best men. Many men will do things when they are drunk that they would never even think about doing when they are sober—and once sober they are horrified by what they have done. But perhaps the worst offence is the effect his drunkenness has on his loved ones; those he should protect, love and provide for, he wounds instead with hateful and foul words, and even hurting their persons.

 

 

36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

 

Lot was drunk when he committed incest, but it was his daughters who conspired together to make him so.

 

 

37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.

 

The name Moab means “from a father” or “from my father.” He was the father of the Moabites.

 

 

38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

 

The name Benammi means “son of my kinsman.” He was the father of the Ammonites who are called the sons (or, children) of Ammon in the Old Testament. It turned out that both the Moabites and Ammonites were perennial enemies of Israel.

 

After this, we don’t hear anything about Lot, though we would like to know what became of him. From Peter’s testimony we can only conclude that he repented of his sin and was pardoned: “But at the same time, God rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a good man who was sick of all the immorality and wickedness around him. Yes, he was a righteous man who was distressed by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while punishing the wicked right up until the Day of Judgment” (2 Pe. 2:7-9). Unfortunately, there is no proof his daughters followed Lot’s example.

 

Lot and his family failed miserably. Disaster, disgrace, despair, and death are written in their epitaph (Gal. 6:7{10]).

 

 

Some Additional Thoughts

 

Four major subjects are within this chapter:

  1. God’s swift judgment on the vile Canaanites.
  2. Lot’s close attachment to the society of Sodom.
  3. God’s merciful sparing of Lot from the doom and destruction.
  4. The “rebirth of Sodom” in the cave.

Through these, Israel could see that if God judges a people severely, He is justified because of their great evil. She could also learn the foolishness of being attached to the wickedness of Canaan.

 

Then, how should one live knowing how God dealt with the Canaanites? The lesson is quite clear: “Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever” (1 John 2: 15, 17). It is dangerous and foolish to become connected to the present world system, because it awaits God’s swift and sudden destruction.

 

Jesus referred to Genesis 19:26{3] to warn of the destruction to come on unbelieving Israel: “Remember what happened to Lot's wife!” (Lk. 17:32). When Christ returns, people should not look back as she did—“Yes, it will be 'business as usual' right up to the hour when the Son of Man returns. On that day a person outside the house must not go into the house to pack. A person in the field must not return to town. (Lk. 17:30-31{4]). If an unbeliever craves for the best of this world he will lose both this world (since it passes away) and life in the next world (Lk. 17:33-37{5]).

 

Jesus also said that if the miracles he did in Capernaum had been done in Sodom, the Sodomites would have repented (Matt. 11:23{6]). As it is, “I assure you, Sodom will be better off on the judgment day than you” (Matt. 11:24). This signifies that God judges according to knowledge, and that judgment much greater than physical destruction awaits sinners.

 

 

scripture reference and special notes

 

{1] (Ge. 10:20) See, there is a small village nearby. Please let me go there instead; don't you see how small it is? Then my life will be saved."

 

{2] (Ge. 19:19) "You have been so kind to me and saved my life, and you have granted me such mercy. But I cannot go to the mountains. Disaster would catch up to me there, and I would soon die.

 

{3] (Ge. 19:26) But Lot's wife looked back as she was following along behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

 

{4] (Lk. 17:30-31) Yes, it will be 'business as usual' right up to the hour when the Son of Man returns.

On that day a person outside the house must not go into the house to pack. A person in the field must not return to town.

 

{5] (Lk. 17:33-37) Whoever clings to this life will lose it, and whoever loses this life will save it. That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken away, and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. "Lord, where will this happen?" the disciples asked. Jesus replied, "Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near."

 

{6] (Matt. 11:23) And you people of Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in Sodom, it would still be here today.

 

{7](Ge. 19:8) Look -- I have two virgin daughters. Do with them as you wish, but leave these men alone, for they are under my protection."

 

{8] (Ge. 19:14) So Lot rushed out to tell his daughters' fiancés, "Quick, get out of the city! The LORD is going to destroy it." But the young men thought he was only joking.

 

{9] (Ge. 19:25) He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, eliminating all life -- people, plants, and animals alike.

 

{10] (Gal. 6:7) Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow!

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