The Bible Slam: Genesis Chapter 19

Here's the chapter about Sodom and Gomorrah being destroyed, supposedly because of gay people — at least according to many Christians.   However, this chapter has inconsistencies and questionable moral values, such as the sexual relationship between the daughters and father of God's "righteous" family.

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Discussion Points: Shady Moral Values and Other Topics.

Chapters like this one make it very difficult to seriously consider   those who insist that the Bible is the "inerrant" word of God that should be followed literally and that it is a moral compass.

Inconsistency and Weird Morals – Lot offers his "virgin" daughters to placate the rapers.   Is this an example of the morals we should be learning from the Bible?   Tossing your kids to the wolves, so to speak?   Later in the very same chapter, at Genesis 19:14, the King James Version writes:

And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

Why were the daughters virgins if they were married?

Possible Inconsistencies – This chapter gives two different accounts of how these cities were destroyed:   By the angels who were sent to destroy the cities (verse 13) and by the LORD, who rained fire and brimstone down upon it (verse 24).   The previous chapter talks about three angels headed to Sodom and Gomorrah as God's representatives; two show up in this chapter.   Maybe these two were part of the three talked about in the earlier chapter.   Chapter 18 actually calls them men, not angels.   Chapter 19 specifically calls them angels.

Moral Values – Presumably, innocent babies and little children were killed as part of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.   Lot's wife may have felt bad about this — or maybe she just heard a loud BOOM as brimstone was crashing onto a building — and looked back.   If one were to even believe this story, why would God turn her into a pillar of salt for this?

InconsistenciesThe destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is typically cited by Christian fundamentalists who are against civil rights for gay people.   However, as pointed out in the discussion for the previous chapter, there were many other reasons for the destruction.

Moral Values – The bible establishes that Lot, his wife (who God killed) and his daughters were the only righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah that were worth saving.   Within days of losing their husbands and watching their mother turn into a pillar of salt, Lot's daughters get their father drunk and rape him.   Each become pregnant.   What kind of moral, family values are these?

Related Reading – Sleeping Around in the Bible.

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  • The bible has been wrongfully used to control society for generations…. slavery and anti-gay prime example.

    • Completely agreed, Nina.

    1. There came two angels–most probably two of those who had been with Abraham, commissioned to execute the divine judgment against Sodom. 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 shade.
    2. Turn in, I pray you . . . tarry all night–offer of the same generous hospitalities as described in Genesis 18:2-8, and which are still spontaneously practiced 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 travelers to sleep in the street wrapped up in their cloaks.
    3. Entered into his house–On removing to the plain, Lot intended at first to live in his tent apart from the people [ Genesis 13:12 ]. 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 did.
    12, 13. You hast here any besides? . . . we will destroy this place–Apostolic authority has declared Lot was "a righteous man" ( 2 Peter 2:8 ), 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 (2 Peter 3:4).
    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 angel.
    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 you came thither–The ruin of Sodom was suspended till he was secure in Zoar town. What care God does take of His people (Revelation 7:3)! 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 immediately 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 [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 sinners exceedingly.
    26. This strange miracle — whether it was an instantaneous chemical transmutation, or a sudden burial by erupting bodies of salt, or a gradual petrifaction process as her body was buried and later transformed in a fall of volcanic ash — really happened, for the Lord Jesus thus confirmed it, as he did the destruction of Sodom, itself (Luke 17:28,29)! The reason why he commands us to remember it and profit by its lesson is given in the next verse: "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it" (Luke 17:33).
    19:27Early prayers and devotions: Abraham got up very early to stand before the Lord (Gen 19:27). Jacob woke up with the first light of the morning to worship God after having seen a vision of angels in the night (Gen 28:18). Moses went early to meet the Lord at Sinai (Exodus 34:4). Joshua got an early start when he prepared to capture Jericho (Joshia 6:12). Gideon made his way at dawn to examine the fleece he had placed on the ground to discern Yahweh's will (Jdg 6:38). Job left his bed at an early hour to offer sacrifices to the Lord in behalf of his children (Job 1:5).

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