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Genesis 19:24-28

Context
19:24 Then the Lord rained down 1  sulfur and fire 2  on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the Lord. 3  19:25 So he overthrew those cities and all that region, 4  including all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation that grew 5  from the ground. 19:26 But Lot’s 6  wife looked back longingly 7  and was turned into a pillar of salt.

19:27 Abraham got up early in the morning and went 8  to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 19:28 He looked out toward 9  Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of that region. 10  As he did so, he saw the smoke rising up from the land like smoke from a furnace. 11 

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

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

3 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.

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

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

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

7 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.

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

9 tn Heb “upon the face of.”

10 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.

11 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?”



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