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Genesis 19:17-21

Context
19:17 When they had brought them outside, they 1  said, “Run 2  for your lives! Don’t look 3  behind you or stop anywhere in the valley! 4  Escape to the mountains or you will be destroyed!”

19:18 But Lot said to them, “No, please, Lord! 5  19:19 Your 6  servant has found favor with you, 7  and you have shown me great 8  kindness 9  by sparing 10  my life. But I am not able to escape to the mountains because 11  this disaster will overtake 12  me and I’ll die. 13  19:20 Look, this town 14  over here is close enough to escape to, and it’s just a little one. 15  Let me go there. 16  It’s just a little place, isn’t it? 17  Then I’ll survive.” 18 

19:21 “Very well,” he replied, 19  “I will grant this request too 20  and will not overthrow 21  the town you mentioned.

1 tn Or “one of them”; Heb “he.” Several ancient versions (LXX, Vulgate, Syriac) read the plural “they.” See also the note on “your” in v. 19.

2 tn Heb “escape.”

3 tn The Hebrew verb translated “look” signifies an intense gaze, not a passing glance. This same verb is used later in v. 26 to describe Lot’s wife’s self-destructive look back at the city.

4 tn Or “in the plain”; Heb “in the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.

5 tn Or “my lords.” See the following note on the problem of identifying the addressee here. The Hebrew term is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

6 tn The second person pronominal suffixes are singular in this verse (note “your eyes,” “you have made great,” and “you have acted”). Verse 18a seems to indicate that Lot is addressing the angels, but the use of the singular and the appearance of the divine title “Lord” (אֲדֹנָי, ’adonay) in v. 18b suggests he is speaking to God.

7 tn Heb “in your eyes.”

8 tn Heb “you made great your kindness.”

9 sn The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (khesed) can refer to “faithful love” or to “kindness,” depending on the context. The precise nuance here is uncertain.

10 tn The infinitive construct explains how God has shown Lot kindness.

11 tn Heb “lest.”

12 tn The Hebrew verb דָּבַק (davaq) normally means “to stick to, to cleave, to join.” Lot is afraid he cannot outrun the coming calamity.

13 tn The perfect verb form with vav consecutive carries the nuance of the imperfect verbal form before it.

14 tn The Hebrew word עִיר (’ir) can refer to either a city or a town, depending on the size of the place. Given that this place was described by Lot later in this verse as a “little place,” the translation uses “town.”

15 tn Heb “Look, this town is near to flee to there. And it is little.”

16 tn Heb “Let me escape to there.” The cohortative here expresses Lot’s request.

17 tn Heb “Is it not little?”

18 tn Heb “my soul will live.” After the cohortative the jussive with vav conjunctive here indicates purpose/result.

19 tn Heb “And he said, ‘Look, I will grant.’” The order of the clauses has been rearranged for stylistic reasons. The referent of the speaker (“he”) is somewhat ambiguous: It could be taken as the angel to whom Lot has been speaking (so NLT; note the singular references in vv. 18-19), or it could be that Lot is speaking directly to the Lord here. Most English translations leave the referent of the pronoun unspecified and maintain the ambiguity.

20 tn Heb “I have lifted up your face [i.e., shown you favor] also concerning this matter.”

21 tn The negated infinitive construct indicates either the consequence of God’s granting the request (“I have granted this request, so that I will not”) or the manner in which he will grant it (“I have granted your request by not destroying”).



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