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  Discovery Box

Genesis 19:12-29

19:12 Then the two visitors 1  said to Lot, “Who else do you have here? 2  Do you have 3  any sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or other relatives in the city? 4  Get them out of this 5  place 19:13 because we are about to destroy 6  it. The outcry against this place 7  is so great before the Lord that he 8  has sent us to destroy it.”

19:14 Then Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law who were going to marry his daughters. 9  He said, “Quick, get out of this place because the Lord is about to destroy 10  the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was ridiculing them. 11 

19:15 At dawn 12  the angels hurried Lot along, saying, “Get going! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, 13  or else you will be destroyed when the city is judged!” 14  19:16 When Lot 15  hesitated, the men grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters because the Lord had compassion on them. 16  They led them away and placed them 17  outside the city. 19:17 When they had brought them outside, they 18  said, “Run 19  for your lives! Don’t look 20  behind you or stop anywhere in the valley! 21  Escape to the mountains or you will be destroyed!”

19:18 But Lot said to them, “No, please, Lord! 22  19:19 Your 23  servant has found favor with you, 24  and you have shown me great 25  kindness 26  by sparing 27  my life. But I am not able to escape to the mountains because 28  this disaster will overtake 29  me and I’ll die. 30  19:20 Look, this town 31  over here is close enough to escape to, and it’s just a little one. 32  Let me go there. 33  It’s just a little place, isn’t it? 34  Then I’ll survive.” 35 

19:21 “Very well,” he replied, 36  “I will grant this request too 37  and will not overthrow 38  the town you mentioned. 19:22 Run there quickly, 39  for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” (This incident explains why the town was called Zoar.) 40 

19:23 The sun had just risen 41  over the land as Lot reached Zoar. 42  19:24 Then the Lord rained down 43  sulfur and fire 44  on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the Lord. 45  19:25 So he overthrew those cities and all that region, 46  including all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation that grew 47  from the ground. 19:26 But Lot’s 48  wife looked back longingly 49  and was turned into a pillar of salt.

19:27 Abraham got up early in the morning and went 50  to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 19:28 He looked out toward 51  Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of that region. 52  As he did so, he saw the smoke rising up from the land like smoke from a furnace. 53 

19:29 So when God destroyed 54  the cities of the region, 55  God honored 56  Abraham’s request. He removed Lot 57  from the midst of the destruction when he destroyed 58  the cities Lot had lived in.

1 tn Heb “the men,” referring to the angels inside Lot’s house. The word “visitors” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Heb “Yet who [is there] to you here?”

3 tn The words “Do you have” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

4 tn Heb “a son-in-law and your sons and your daughters and anyone who (is) to you in the city.”

5 tn Heb “the place.” The Hebrew article serves here as a demonstrative.

6 tn The Hebrew participle expresses an imminent action here.

7 tn Heb “for their outcry.” The words “about this place” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

8 tn Heb “the Lord.” The repetition of the divine name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun “he” for stylistic reasons.

9 sn The language has to be interpreted in the light of the context and the social customs. The men are called “sons-in-law” (literally “the takers of his daughters”), but the daughters had not yet had sex with a man. It is better to translate the phrase “who were going to marry his daughters.” Since formal marriage contracts were binding, the husbands-to-be could already be called sons-in-law.

10 tn The Hebrew active participle expresses an imminent action.

11 tn Heb “and he was like one taunting in the eyes of his sons-in-law.” These men mistakenly thought Lot was ridiculing them and their lifestyle. Their response illustrates how morally insensitive they had become.

12 tn Heb “When dawn came up.”

13 tn Heb “who are found.” The wording might imply he had other daughters living in the city, but the text does not explicitly state this.

14 tn Or “with the iniquity [i.e., punishment] of the city” (cf. NASB, NRSV).

15 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

16 tn Heb “in the compassion of the Lord to them.”

17 tn Heb “brought him out and placed him.” The third masculine singular suffixes refer specifically to Lot, though his wife and daughters accompanied him (see v. 17). For stylistic reasons these have been translated as plural pronouns (“them”).

18 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.

19 tn Heb “escape.”

20 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.

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

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

23 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.

24 tn Heb “in your eyes.”

25 tn Heb “you made great your kindness.”

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

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

28 tn Heb “lest.”

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

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

31 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.”

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

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

34 tn Heb “Is it not little?”

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

36 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.

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

38 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”).

39 tn Heb “Be quick! Escape to there!” The two imperatives form a verbal hendiadys, the first becoming adverbial.

40 tn Heb “Therefore the name of the city is called Zoar.” The name of the place, צוֹעַר (tsoar) apparently means “Little Place,” in light of the wordplay with the term “little” (מִצְעָר, mitsar) used twice by Lot to describe the town (v. 20).

41 sn The sun had just risen. There was very little time for Lot to escape between dawn (v. 15) and sunrise (here).

42 tn The juxtaposition of the two disjunctive clauses indicates synchronic action. The first action (the sun’s rising) occurred as the second (Lot’s entering Zoar) took place. The disjunctive clauses also signal closure for the preceding scene.

43 tn The disjunctive clause signals the beginning of the next scene and highlights God’s action.

44 tn Or “burning sulfur” (the traditional “fire and brimstone”).

45 tn Heb “from the Lord from the heavens.” The words “It was sent down” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

sn The text explicitly states that the sulfur and fire that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah was sent down from the sky by the Lord. What exactly this was, and how it happened, can only be left to intelligent speculation, but see J. P. Harland, “The Destruction of the Cities of the Plain,” BA 6 (1943): 41-54.

46 tn Or “and all the plain”; Heb “and all the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.

47 tn Heb “and the vegetation of the ground.”

48 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

49 tn The Hebrew verb means “to look intently; to gaze” (see 15:5).

sn Longingly. Lot’s wife apparently identified with the doomed city and thereby showed lack of respect for God’s provision of salvation. She, like her daughters later, had allowed her thinking to be influenced by the culture of Sodom.

50 tn The words “and went” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

51 tn Heb “upon the face of.”

52 tn Or “all the land of the plain”; Heb “and all the face of the land of the circle,” referring to the “circle” or oval area of the Jordan Valley.

53 tn Heb “And he saw, and look, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.”

sn It is hard to imagine what was going on in Abraham’s mind, but this brief section in the narrative enables the reader to think about the human response to the judgment. Abraham had family in that area. He had rescued those people from the invasion. That was why he interceded. Yet he surely knew how wicked they were. That was why he got the number down to ten when he negotiated with God to save the city. But now he must have wondered, “What was the point?”

54 tn The construction is a temporal clause comprised of the temporal indicator, an infinitive construct with a preposition, and the subjective genitive.

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

56 tn Heb “remembered,” but this means more than mental recollection here. Abraham’s request (Gen 18:23-32) was that the Lord not destroy the righteous with the wicked. While the requisite minimum number of righteous people (ten, v. 32) needed for God to spare the cities was not found, God nevertheless rescued the righteous before destroying the wicked.

sn God showed Abraham special consideration because of the covenantal relationship he had established with the patriarch. Yet the reader knows that God delivered the “righteous” (Lot’s designation in 2 Pet 2:7) before destroying their world – which is what he will do again at the end of the age.

57 sn God’s removal of Lot before the judgment is paradigmatic. He typically delivers the godly before destroying their world.

58 tn Heb “the overthrow when [he] overthrew.”

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