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Genesis 19-22

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Genesis Chapter 19

While The Lord remained with Abraham (see "Jehovah" and Abraham), the two angels, who appeared as men, arrived at Sodom.

Nuclear Explosion

"The two angels came to Sodom [see Sodomites] in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth, and said, "My lords, turn aside, I pray you, to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise up early and go on your way."

They said, "No; we will spend the night in the street."

But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them." (Genesis 19:1-5 RSV)

Lot's response seems bizarre. It may have merely been a diversionary tactic, with Lot knowing that the Sodomite men were not interested in women, a fact made immediately evident from their refusal of Lot's daughters.

"Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof." (Genesis 19:6-8 RSV)

The two angels of course didn't need Lot's protection from the Sodomite mob. Quite the contrary, the angels were there to rescue Lot and his family - to literally drag them out of Sodom.

"Then the men said to Lot, "Have you any one else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any one you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before The Lord, and The Lord has sent us to destroy it."

So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, "Up, get out of this place; for The Lord is about to destroy the city." But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city." But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, The Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him forth and set him outside the city." (Genesis 19:12-16 RSV)

Lot and his wife, and their two unmarried daughters without their betrothed husbands ("his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters") escaped Sodom just before the destruction, although Lot's wife didn't make it all the way to safety because she "looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."

"The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then The Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire [see Fire and Brimstone] from The Lord out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot's wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." (Genesis 19:23-26 RSV)

The next morning, from the highlands of Hebron, Abraham looked down upon the plain and saw only that "the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace"

"And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before The Lord; and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace." (Genesis 19:27-28 RSV)

Another bizarre incident regarding Lot's daughters then followed; without Lot's knowledge, both became with child by their father.

"Now Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar; so he dwelt in a cave with his two daughters. And the first-born said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring through our father." (Genesis 19:30-32 RSV)

"Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. The first-born bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites to this day." (Genesis 19:36-38 RSV)

Genesis Chapter 20

Abraham then left Hebron, temporarily, and went to Gerar where Abraham and Sarah were forced into a ruse to keep the men of Gerar from killing Abraham in order to take his wife. The Lord however intervened to prevent adultery.

Map of Gerar

"From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a man's wife." (Genesis 20:1-3 RSV)

Abraham then explained why he did what he did, and why he had been doing it since Abraham and Sarah left their homeland in what is today Iraq (see On His Own Two Feet and Settlers and Invaders From Iraq).

"And Abimelech said to Abraham, "What were you thinking of, that you did this thing?"

Abraham said, "I did it because I thought, There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. Besides she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God caused me to wander from my father's house, I said to her, 'This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, He is my brother.'" (Genesis 20:10-13 RSV)

Genesis Chapter 21

The birth of Isaac happened exactly as The Lord promised.

An Archer

"The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and The Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac." (Genesis 21:1-3 RSV)

While it was the first child for Sarah, Abraham already had a son through Hagar. From that day on, the conflict between Isaac, and his descendants, and Ishmael, and his descendants, began.

"And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac." (Genesis 21:8-10 RSV)

Hagar and Ishmael were sent away into the desert wilderness, but The Lord did not abandon Ishmael - because he was a son of Abraham. Despite his being "a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man's hand against him" (Genesis 16:12 RSV), The Lord blessed him and his descendants with territory and wealth.

"And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation." Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow." (Genesis 21:17-20 RSV)

By that time also, Abraham was becoming well-known as a man of God. Kings and military men sought peace with Abraham because they realized that to fight Abraham was to fight The Lord. The town of Beersheba (which in Hebrew means "well of seven") was given that name from Abraham's making a peace treaty there.

"At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army said to Abraham, "God is with you in all that you do; now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but as I have dealt loyally with you, you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned."

And Abraham said, "I will swear."

When Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water which Abimelech's servants had seized, Abimelech said, "I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today." So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a covenant. Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock apart. And Abimelech said to Abraham, "What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs which you have set apart?" He said, "These seven ewe lambs you will take from my hand, that you may be a witness for me that I dug this well." Therefore that place was called Beer-sheba; because there both of them swore an oath." (Genesis 21:22-31 RSV)

Genesis Chapter 22

The greatest test of Abraham's obedience came in the form of a command to see if Abraham would be willing to perform a sacrifice, a sacrifice that God Himself would later actually carry out with His own Son, near the very same place at Mount Moriah of Jerusalem.

Abraham and Isaac

"After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." (Genesis 22:1-2 RSV)

But it was merely a test to see if Abraham's obedience to The Lord was total and unconditional (see also Isaac's Faith And Obedience).

"When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of The Lord called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." (Genesis 22:9-12 RSV)

Fact Finder: The Moabites originated from the child of Lot's daughter. Did Ruth, King David and Jesus Christ all have Moabite ancestors in their genealogy?
See Moab

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Copyright © Wayne Blank