19:4 Before they could lie down to sleep, 1 all the men – both young and old, from every part of the city of Sodom – surrounded the house. 2 19:5 They shouted to Lot, 3 “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can have sex 4 with them!”
19:6 Lot went outside to them, shutting the door behind him. 19:7 He said, “No, my brothers! Don’t act so wickedly! 5 19:8 Look, I have two daughters who have never had sexual relations with 6 a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do to them whatever you please. 7 Only don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection 8 of my roof.” 9
19:9 “Out of our way!” 10 they cried, and “This man came to live here as a foreigner, 11 and now he dares to judge us! 12 We’ll do more harm 13 to you than to them!” They kept 14 pressing in on Lot until they were close enough 15 to break down the door.
19:10 So the men inside 16 reached out 17 and pulled Lot back into the house 18 as they shut the door. 19:11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, from the youngest to the oldest, 19 with blindness. The men outside 20 wore themselves out trying to find the door.
1 tn The verb שָׁכַב (shakhav) means “to lie down, to recline,” that is, “to go to bed.” Here what appears to be an imperfect is a preterite after the adverb טֶרֶם (terem). The nuance of potential (perfect) fits well.
2 tn Heb “and the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, from the young to the old, all the people from the end [of the city].” The repetition of the phrase “men of” stresses all kinds of men.
3 tn The Hebrew text adds “and said to him.” This is redundant in English and has not been translated for stylistic reasons.
4 tn The Hebrew verb יָדַע (yada’, “to know”) is used here in the sense of “to lie with” or “to have sex with” (as in Gen 4:1). That this is indeed the meaning is clear from Lot’s warning that they not do so wickedly, and his willingness to give them his daughters instead.
sn The sin of the men of Sodom is debated. The fact that the sin involved a sexual act (see note on the phrase “have sex” in 19:5) precludes an association of the sin with inhospitality as is sometimes asserted (see W. Roth, “What of Sodom and Gomorrah? Homosexual Acts in the Old Testament,” Explor 1 : 7-14). The text at a minimum condemns forced sexual intercourse, i.e., rape. Other considerations, though, point to a condemnation of homosexual acts more generally. The narrator emphasizes the fact that the men of Sodom wanted to have sex with men: They demand that Lot release the angelic messengers (seen as men) to them for sex, and when Lot offers his daughters as a substitute they refuse them and attempt to take the angelic messengers by force. In addition the wider context of the Pentateuch condemns homosexual acts as sin (see, e.g., Lev 18:22). Thus a reading of this text within its narrative context, both immediate and broad, condemns not only the attempted rape but also the attempted homosexual act.
5 tn Heb “may my brothers not act wickedly.”
6 tn Heb “who have not known.” Here this expression is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.
7 tn Heb “according to what is good in your eyes.”
8 tn Heb “shadow.”
9 sn This chapter portrays Lot as a hypocrite. He is well aware of the way the men live in his city and is apparently comfortable in the midst of it. But when confronted by the angels, he finally draws the line. But he is nevertheless willing to sacrifice his daughters’ virginity to protect his guests. His opposition to the crowds leads to his rejection as a foreigner by those with whom he had chosen to live. The one who attempted to rescue his visitors ends up having to be rescued by them.
10 tn Heb “approach out there” which could be rendered “Get out of the way, stand back!”
11 tn Heb “to live as a resident alien.”
12 tn Heb “and he has judged, judging.” The infinitive absolute follows the finite verbal form for emphasis. This emphasis is reflected in the translation by the phrase “dares to judge.”
13 tn The verb “to do wickedly” is repeated here (see v. 7). It appears that whatever “wickedness” the men of Sodom had intended to do to Lot’s visitors – probably nothing short of homosexual rape – they were now ready to inflict on Lot.
14 tn Heb “and they pressed against the man, against Lot, exceedingly.”
15 tn Heb “and they drew near.”
16 tn Heb “the men,” referring to the angels inside Lot’s house. The word “inside” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
17 tn The Hebrew text adds “their hand.” These words have not been translated for stylistic reasons.
18 tn Heb “to them into the house.”
19 tn Heb “from the least to the greatest.”
20 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Sodom outside the door) has been specified in the translation for clarity.