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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

Genesis 19

 

 

Verse 1

GENESIS CHAPTER 19

Two angels come to Sodom, Genesis 19:1. Lot invites them in; they at first refuse, Genesis 19:2. They enter; he entertains them, and they eat, Genesis 19:3. The men of Sodom demand to know them, Genesis 19:4,5. Lot dissuades them, Genesis 19:6,7; offers his daughters; urges reason, Genesis 19:8. They are obstinate; threaten, and press to break the door, Genesis 19:9. The angels pull Lot in, and shut to the door, Genesis 19:10; and smite the men with blindness, Genesis 19:11. Advise Lot to depart with his kindred, Genesis 19:12. The reason, Genesis 19:13. Lot speaks to his sons-in-law; they deride him, Genesis 19:14. The angels lay hold on Lot, his wife, and two daughters, and carry them out, Genesis 19:16; command them not to look back, Genesis 19:17. Lot requests to stay in Zoar; it is granted, with a command to hasten, because till they are gone the Lord can do nothing, Genesis 19:18-23. God rains brimstone and fire upon Sodom, Genesis 19:24,25. Lot’s wife looking back becomes a pillar of salt, Genesis 19:26. Abraham looks towards Sodom, Genesis 19:27,28. God kind to Lot for Abraham’s sake, Genesis 19:29. Lot and his two daughters remove to the mountain, Genesis 19:30. Lot’s daughters contrive for an issue, Genesis 19:31,32. They make their father drunk, lie with him, Genesis 19:33-35; and are with child, Genesis 19:36. Moab and Ben-ammi, the two sons, born thereby, Genesis 19:37,38.

And there came two angels, even those two which departed from Abraham, Genesis 18:22, and now were come to Lot, the third yet staying and communing with Abraham. Angels they truly were, though they be called men, Genesis 18:1-33.

At even of the same day on which they departed from Abraham.

In the gate of Sodom, where he sat either to observe the administration or corruption of justice there; for the seats of judicature were in the gates: or rather to wait for strangers, to whom he might exercise kindness and hospitality.


Verse 2

Go on your ways, and so this will be no hinderance to your occasions.

We will abide in the street all night: this was no untruth, but really intended by them in the present state of things, and upon supposition that Lot should press them no further; but they also intended, if Lot was earnest with them, to comply with him. The first denial was but decent, and an act of civility, and in them it was a design to discover Lot’s piety and hospitality, and to manifest the great difference between him and the barbarous Sodomites, and the reason and justice of Lot’s deliverance, and their destruction.


Verse 3

He did bake unleavened bread, because that was sooner prepared, that so they might eat it, and after that go to bed in due time.


Verse 4

Before they lay down to sleep, of which this word is used, Genesis 28:13 Leviticus 14:47 26:6.

All the people from every quarter; some to exercise villany, and some to please themselves with the contemplation of it, and some out of curiosity, &c. This is added to show how universally corrupt they were, and that there were not ten righteous men there.


Verse 5

Either know who they are; or rather abuse them, as Lot’s answer explains it, and so that word is used, Genesis 4:1 Numbers 31:17 Jude 19:22. And for the sin here committed, see Leviticus 18:22 20:13 Romans 1:26,27 1 Corinthians 6:9 Jude 1:7. They openly and impudently profess their wicked intention, for which they are branded, Isaiah 3:9; and this intention of theirs is the more probable, because of the great beauty which it is likely was in those bodies which the angels assumed, whereby their lust was more inflamed.


Verse 7

They were brethren by community of nature and habitation; see Genesis 9:5 29:4 Leviticus 19:17; and so he calls them, if possibly he might sweeten and restrain them.


Verse 8

Which have not known man, to wit, carnally. See Genesis 24:16 Numbers 31:18 Jude 11:39.

Do ye to them as is good in your eyes, whatsoever your purpose or pleasure is. See the same phrase Genesis 20:15 41:37 Numbers 24:1, &c. A most imprudent and sinful motion, whereby he yielded to one sin to prevent another, contrary to Romans 3:8, and exposed his daughters’ chastity, which he was obliged to preserve, and which indeed he had no power to expose, especially seeing they were betrothed to other men, Genesis 19:14. But it is some extenuation of his sin that it proceeded from his great charity and kindness to strangers, and that he was at this time under a great perturbation and discomposure of mind.

For therefore, that they might be preserved from such outrages. This was the design of the thing, though not of those persons. See Poole on "Genesis 18:5".

Under the shadow of my roof, i.e. under the protection of my house. Shadow is oft put for protection or defence, as Jude 9:15 Psalms 36:7 Jeremiah 48:45.


Verse 9

Stand back, or, go further off, i.e. out of our way; stand not between us and the door; or, come hither, that so they might seize him, and proceed in the designed wickedness.

This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: q.d. One man, and he too but a stranger, presumeth to oppose the whole society of the native citizens. Heb. In judging he will judge. This busybody, if not restrained in time, will take authority to himself to censure, reprove, and condemn us from time to time.


Verse 11

They smote the men, Heb. with blindness, i.e. with a blindness both of body and mind. It was not a total blindness, as if they quite lost the use of their eyes, for they saw the house, though not the door, but it was a great dimness and confusion of their sight, and a disturbance in their common sense, by which they were made unable to distinguish between differing persons or places; as it was also with the Syrians, 2 Kings 6:18; as it is in some measure with some drunkards, who, though their eyes be open, cannot distinguish between things that differ. And this was very easy for angels to do by a small alteration either in their sight, or in the air, whereby either the door might appear like the solid wall, or the several parts of the wall like so many doors.


Verse 14

Which married his daughters; Heb. took, or were taking, or about to take, to wit, either to espouse, or to marry. Compare Genesis 6:2 24:3 28:6 Deuteronomy 7:3. Anciently persons were first espoused, and after some time the marriage was consummated.


Verse 15

Which are here; Heb. which are found; i.e. which are present with thee, as this word is used, 1 Chronicles 29:17 2 Chronicles 5:11 30:21 31:1. Whence some gather that he had two other daughters married to two Sodomitish men, who by their husbands’ persuasion and example staid and perished in those flames. But this is not necessary; for this phrase may be applied to the daughters by way of distinction from their spouses or husbands: q.d. Tarry no longer in expectation of thy sons-in-law, who are absent, and must be given up for lost, but take thy daughters which are found and present with thee, and go thy way.


Verse 16

He lingered, either through lothness to part with all his estate, or to lose his sons-in-law; or through astonishment and distraction of mind, which made him both listless and impotent.


Verse 17

Either one of the angels said this, or the third person, the Lord himself, who having parted from Abraham, after some time came to Lot, as appears both by the change of the number; for before this he speaks of them in the plural number, but from hence in the singular number, as Genesis 19:19,21,22; and by the variation of the phrase, for the other two speak with submission, and as servants, Genesis 19:13,

The Lord hath sent us, & c.; but this speaks with more authority, as is evident from Genesis 19:21,22.

Escape for thy life, i.e. as thou lovest thy life. See Deuteronomy 4:15 Joshua 23:11 Jeremiah 17:21. Or, escape with thy life, for the Hebrew particle al is sometimes taken for with, as Exodus 35:23 Leviticus 2:2 14:31 Deuteronomy 22:6. So the sense is, Stand not lingering in hopes to save thy goods, them thou shalt lose as a punishment of thy sin and folly in choosing to dwell with so wicked a people; and be thankful that thou hast thy life given thee for a prey, as it is expressed, Jeremiah 38:2.

Look not behind thee, like one that grieves either for the loss of thy pleasant habitation or vast estate, or for those cursed miscreants justly devoted to this destruction. And this command, though given to Lot alone, yet was directed also to his companions, to whom doubtless he imparted it, as is evident both from all the other commands, which equally concern all, and from the following event. See Matthew 24:18 Luke 9:62.


Verse 18

i.e. Unto one of them, as is manifest from the following words.


Verse 19

I cannot escape to the mountain, because of the infirmity of my age, and the fainting of my spirits. Thus he showeth an unworthy and unreasonable distrust of God’s power and goodness, which he had now experienced and acknowledged.


Verse 20

And it is a little one; therefore as its inhabitants, so its sins are fewer, and it will not be an eminent example of thy vengeance, as the other places will be.


Verse 21

I have accepted thee; Heb. I have lift up thy countenance, i.e. granted thy request. The manner of the expression possibly may be taken from the custom of the eastern parts; where petitioners used not to fall upon their knees as we do, but to prostrate themselves with their face to the ground; and the person to whom they addressed themselves, in token of his favourable acceptance of their petitions, commanded them to be lifted up.


Verse 22

I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither, because of God’s decree and promise to save thee from the general destruction.


Verse 23

This phrase may note, either the time of the day when this was done; or rather the nature and quality of the day, that the sun appeared and shone forth that morning in great lustre and glory; which is well noted as a very considerable circumstance of the history, and a great aggravation of the ruin, which came when they least expected it.


Verse 24

And the neighbouring cities, Admah and Zeboim, as appears from Deuteronomy 29:23 Jeremiah 49:18 Hosea 11:8.

Brimstone is added to the

fire, either to convey and carry down the fire, which in itself is light and apt to ascend; or to increase it, Isaiah 30:33; or to represent the noisomeness of their lusts.

From the Lord, i.e. from himself; the noun put for the pronoun, as Genesis 1:27 2 Chronicles 7:2. But here it is emphatically so expressed, either,

1. To signify that it proceeded not from natural causes, but from the immediate hand of God. Or,

2. To note the plurality of persons in the Godhead, God the Son, who now appeared upon the earth, rained from God his Father in heaven, both concurring in this act, as indeed all outward actions are common to all the persons of the Trinity.


Verse 25

All the plain, to wit, where these cities and their territories lay, called the plain of Jordan, Genesis 13:10; all which then became, and to this day continues, to be a filthy lake, called the Dead Sea, because no fish lives in it.


Verse 26

His wife looked back, through curiosity, or unbelief, or desire of what she left, or from all these causes; from behind her husband, whom she followed. Which circumstance seems to be mentioned as the reason of this presumption, because she could do it without her husband’s observation or reproof, to which she had a greater regard than to the all-seeing eye of God.

And she, i.e. her body, by a very common synecdoche,

became a pillar of salt; either metaphorically, i.e. a perpetual durable pillar, as an everlasting covenant is called a covenant of salt, Numbers 18:19; or properly, for there is a kind of metallic salt which resists the rain, and is hard enough for buildings, as Pliny, Solinus, and others witness. And that salt was here mixed with brimstone, may be gathered from Deuteronomy 29:23. Add to this, that Josephus, Antiq. i. 12, affirms that this pillar remained in his time. And the like is witnessed by others after him.


Verse 29

God remembered Abraham; either,

1. The promise made to Abraham, Genesis 12:3. Or,

2. The prayer made by Abraham, Genesis 18:23-32, who doubtless in his prayers for Sodom would not forget Lot, though his prayer for him be not there mentioned. And hereby it is insinuated, that Lot, though he was a righteous man, and should be saved eternally, yet deserved to perish temporarily with those wicked people, to whom he associated himself merely for worldly advantages, and should have done so, if Abraham had not hindered it by his prayers.


Verse 30

He feared to dwell in Zoar, lest he should either suffer from them or with them; perceiving now that though it was a little city, yet there was more wickedness in it than he imagined.


Verse 31

In the earth; either,

1. In the whole earth; for they thought the same deluge of fire which destroyed the four cities had by this time extended itself to Zoar, and all other places, knowing that the whole world did lie in wickedness, and having possibly heard from their father, that the world, as it was once destroyed by water, so it should afterwards be consumed by fire, which they might think was now executed, and that God had secured Abraham from it by taking him to himself. Or,

2. In that land, as the word may be rendered. And her meaning might not be this, that there was no man at all, but not a man with whom they might or durst marry; for though they knew they left many men in Zoar, yet the sad expericnce of the dreadful ruin wherein their brethren-in-law were involved, made them abhor the thoughts of any conjunction with them.

After the manner of all the earth, i.e. of all the inhabitants of the earth. Compare Genesis 18:11.


Verse 32

Wine they carried with them, amongst other necessary provisions, either from Sodom or Zoar.

This, though an incestuous and abominable action, yet they thought was made lawful by the supposed necessity, as in the beginning of the world the marriage of brethren and sisters was lawful because necessary; and when it ceased to be necessary, because of the increase of mankind, it became incestuous.


Verse 33

They made their father drink wine, to wit, in excess, so as to deprive him of the use of his reason and grace, which was likely to frustrate their project: this was a great sin, not only in them, but also in Lot himself, not to be excused by ignorance of the virtue of wine, which being known to both the daughters, certainly their father could not be ignorant of it. Thus he who kept his integrity in the midst of all the temptations of Sodom, falls into a grievous sin in a place where he might seem most remote from all temptations; God permitting this, to teach all following ages how weak even the best men are when they are left to themselves, and what absolute need they have of Divine assistance.

He perceived not; wherein there is nothing strange, it being usual with drunken men to do many things in that condition, which, when they come to themselves, they perfectly forget. And so might Lot, when under the power of wine, forget that his wife was turned into a pillar of salt, and might mistake his daughter for his wife.


Verse 36

Which they might possibly imagine to be an evidence of Divine approbation of their fact; whereas, indeed, it was a design of God to make a lasting monument of their sin and shame.


Verse 37

1807

Called his name Moab, i.e. of my father, begotten upon me by my father. So she had learned from her neighbours to declare her sin as Sodom, Isaiah 3:9.

The Moabites were a mischievous and infamous people, branded, as their brethren also the Ammonites were, with characters of God’s displeasure.


Verse 38

Called his name Ben-ammi, i.e. the son of my people, or kindred, not of the cursed race of the Sodomites, where I was to be married. This is something more modest than the other in the name she gives, but both impudently glorying in their sin and shame, of which they should have bitterly repented.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Genesis 19:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/genesis-19.html. 1685.

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