Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. there came two angels--most probably two of those that had been
with Abraham, commissioned to execute the divine judgment against
Lot sat in the gate of Sodom--In Eastern cities it is the market,
the seat of justice, of social intercourse and amusement, especially a
favorite lounge in the evenings, the arched roof affording a pleasant
2. turn in, I pray you . . . tarry all night--offer of
the same generous hospitalities as described in
and which are still spontaneously practised in the small towns.
And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all
night--Where there are no inns and no acquaintance, it is not
uncommon for travellers to sleep in the street wrapped up in their
3. entered into his house--On removing to the plain, Lot intended
at first to live in his tent apart from the people
But he was gradually drawn in, dwelt in the city, and he and his family
were connected with the citizens by marriage ties.
4. men of Sodom, compassed the house--Appalling proofs are here
given of their wickedness. It is evident that evil communications had
corrupted good manners; otherwise Lot would never have acted as he
12, 13. Hast thou here any besides? . . . we will destroy
this place--Apostolic authority has declared Lot was "a righteous
at bottom good, though he contented himself with lamenting the sins
that he saw, instead of acting on his own convictions, and withdrawing
himself and family from such a sink of corruption. But favor was shown
him: and even his bad relatives had, for his sake, an offer of
deliverance, which was ridiculed and spurned
15-17. The kindly interest the angels took in the preservation
of Lot is beautifully displayed. But he "lingered." Was it from sorrow
at the prospect of losing all his property, the acquisition of many
years? Or was it that his benevolent heart was paralyzed by thoughts of
the awful crisis? This is the charitable way of accounting for a delay
that would have been fatal but for the friendly urgency of the
18, 19. Lot said . . . Oh, not so, my Lord . . .
I cannot escape to the mountain--What a strange want of faith and
fortitude, as if He who had interfered for his rescue would not have
protected Lot in the mountain solitude.
21. See, I have accepted thee concerning this . . .
also--His request was granted him, the prayer of faith availed, and
to convince him, from his own experience, that it would have been best
and safest at once to follow implicitly the divine directions.
22. Haste . . . for I cannot do any thing till thou be
come thither--The ruin of Sodom was suspended till he was secure.
What care God does take of His people
What a proof of the love which God bore to a good though weak man!
24. Then the Lord rained . . . brimstone and fire from
. . . heaven--God, in accomplishing His purposes, acts
immediately or mediately through the agency of means; and there are
strong grounds for believing that it was in the latter way He effected
the overthrow of the cities of the plain--that it was, in fact, by a
volcanic eruption. The raining down of fire and brimstone from heaven
is perfectly accordant with this idea since those very substances,
being raised into the air by the force of the volcano, would fall in a
fiery shower on the surrounding region. This view seems countenanced by
[Job 1:16; 18:15].
Whether it was miraculously produced, or the natural operation employed
by God, it is not of much consequence to determine: it was a divine
judgment, foretold and designed for the punishment of those who were
26. Lot was accompanied by his wife and two daughters. But
whether it was from irresistible curiosity or perturbation of feeling,
or that she was about to return to save something, his wife lingered,
and while thus disobeying the parting counsel, "to look not back, nor
stay in all the plain"
the torrent of liquid lava enveloped her so that she became the victim
of her supine indolence or sinful rashness.
27. Abraham gat up early in the morning, &c.--Abraham was at
this time in Mamre, near Hebron, and a traveller last year verified the
truth of this passage. "From the height which overlooks Hebron, where
the patriarch stood, the observer at the present day has an extensive
view spread out before him towards the Dead Sea. A cloud of smoke
rising from the plain would be visible to a person at Hebron now, and
could have been, therefore, to Abraham as he looked toward Sodom on the
morning of its destruction by God" [HACKETT]. It
must have been an awful sight, and is frequently alluded to in
"The plain which is now covered by the Salt or Dead Sea shows in the
great difference of level between the bottoms of the northern and
southern ends of the lake--the latter being thirteen feet and the
former thirteen hundred--that the southern end was of recent formation,
and submerged at the time of the fall of the cities" [LYNCH].
29. when God destroyed the cities, &c.--This is most welcome and
instructive after so painful a narrative. It shows if God is a
"consuming fire" to the wicked
He is the friend of the righteous. He "remembered" the intercessions of
Abraham, and what confidence should not this give us that He will
remember the intercessions of a greater than Abraham in our behalf.