Now we come to one of the more problematic chapters of the Bible. The destruction of Sodom, and boy is there a lot to unpack in this story. God sent his angels to Sodom to see if they could find ten righteous men and they go to the house of Lot. Quickly the house is surrounded by dozens of men who want to “know” the angels and that means “know” in the Biblical sense.
While that might seem like no way to treat guests it gets worse. Lot tells the men that they can’t know these men but he has daughters who have never known a man and he offers them up. Remember Lot is the nephew of Abraham and a righteous man. Lot is being spared by the angels while the rest of Sodom is destroyed.
Wanting to know in the Biblical sense a couple of random house guests of you neighbor is bad enough but offering up your daughters to be raped in their stead takes it to a whole other level. But that’s not all. The angels tell Lot to flee to the hills due to their inhospitable welcome in Sodom and Lot argues to flee to a small city nearby. They agree but tell him not to look back.
While Lot and his daughters and presumably their husbands to be don’t look back Lot’s wife does and she is turned into a pillar of salt. This is the first, last, and only mention of Lot’s wife. She looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
Now we reach what could be the worst part of the story and remember this story has had attempted rape, attempted allowing your own children to be raped, and fire and death raining from the sky thus far. Lot doesn’t like the city. Doesn’t feel comfortable there and moves into a cave in the hills with his daughters.
While living in the cave in the hills Lot’s daughters are worried about their bloodline ending. Who knows what happened to their husbands to be at this point but they decide to get their father drunk and lay with him. The older one goes first on the first night and then the younger on the second. They both become pregnant and their children go on to found nations.
There is very likely more to this story. At the very end we get the origin story of two nations that I both can’t recall the name of and have never heard of but I am willing to bet were very familiar to the people first hearing this story. There is a bit of nationalism in folkloric traditions. Think about the French version of the King Arthur stories and how it is a French knight that seduces Guinevere. That is very likely what is going on here.
As far as the meaning behind this story my takeaway is there isn’t much to takeaway. God destroys a city because God sometimes gets in city destroying moods. The treatment of the angels is not good, but Lot is spared and he offered his daughters up to be raped. As I’ve said before the Bible isn’t a book about righteous people doing righteous things. It is a book about flawed people doing flawed things and Lot is just one of many.