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Genesis 19:20-23

Context
19:20 Look, this town 1  over here is close enough to escape to, and it’s just a little one. 2  Let me go there. 3  It’s just a little place, isn’t it? 4  Then I’ll survive.” 5 

19:21 “Very well,” he replied, 6  “I will grant this request too 7  and will not overthrow 8  the town you mentioned. 19:22 Run there quickly, 9  for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” (This incident explains why the town was called Zoar.) 10 

19:23 The sun had just risen 11  over the land as Lot reached Zoar. 12 

1 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.”

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

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

4 tn Heb “Is it not little?”

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

6 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.

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

8 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”).

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

10 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).

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

12 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.



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