Genesis 19:1
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
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(1) And there came two angels.—Heb., And the two angels came. It is a continuation of the preceding narrative, and takes up the history from Genesis 18:22.

Lot sat in the gate of Sodom.—He had therefore become a citizen of Sodom, probably after the deliverance from the Elamite invasion, when, as a relative of Abraham, he would be treated with great honour. This personal respect had made him close his eyes to the sinfulness of the people, and he had consented to live inside the town, and even to let its citizens marry his daughters. Meanwhile all intercourse between him and Abraham apparently had ceased, and he had lost all share in the covenant of circumcision.

Genesis 19:1. There came two angels — Probably two of the three that had just before been with Abraham, the two created angels, who were now sent to execute God’s purpose concerning Sodom. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom — Waiting for an opportunity of entertaining strangers, in which he imitated Abraham, and set an example of hospitality in the midst of the reigning and abominable vices of the place. For though he was influenced to go thither by improper motives, and continued there with unjustifiable obstinacy, when every dictate of religion and morality cried aloud, — “Come out from among them;” yet, on the whole, as St. Peter observes, (2 Peter 2:8,) he was a righteous man, and his righteous soul was vexed from day to day with the filthy conversation of that most abandoned place, in seeing and hearing of their unlawful deeds.19:1-29 Lot was good, but there was not one more of the same character in the city. All the people of Sodom were very wicked and vile. Care was therefore taken for saving Lot and his family. Lot lingered; he trifled. Thus many who are under convictions about their spiritual state, and the necessity of a change, defer that needful work. The salvation of the most righteous men is of God's mercy, not by their own merit. We are saved by grace. God's power also must be acknowledged in bringing souls out of a sinful state If God had not been merciful to us, our lingering had been our ruin. Lot must flee for his life. He must not hanker after Sodom. Such commands as these are given to those who, through grace, are delivered out of a sinful state and condition. Return not to sin and Satan. Rest not in self and the world. Reach toward Christ and heaven, for that is escaping to the mountain, short of which we must not stop. Concerning this destruction, observe that it is a revelation of the wrath of God against sin and sinners of all ages. Let us learn from hence the evil of sin, and its hurtful nature; it leads to ruin.The two angels. - These are the two men who left Abraham standing before the Lord Genesis 18:22. "Lot sat in the gate," the place of public resort for news and for business. He courteously rises to meet them, does obeisance to them, and invites them to spend the night in his house. "Nay, but in the street will we lodge." This is the disposition of those who come to inquire, and, it may be, to condemn and to punish. They are twice in this chapter called angels, being sent to perform a delegated duty. This term, however, defines their office, not their nature. Lot, in the first instance, calls them "my lords," which is a term of respect that may be addressed to men Genesis 31:35. He afterward styled one of them Adonai, with the special vowel pointing which limits it to the Supreme Being. He at the same time calls himself his servant, appeals to his grace and mercy, and ascribes to him his deliverance. The person thus addressed replies, in a tone of independence and authority, "I have accepted thee." "I will not overthrow this city for which thou hast spoken." "I cannot do anything until thou go thither." All these circumstances point to a divine personage, and are not so easily explained of a mere delegate. He is pre-eminently the Saviour, as he who communed with Abraham was the hearer of prayer. And he who hears prayer and saves life, appears also as the executor of his purpose in the overthrow of Sodom and the other cities of the vale. It is remarkable that only two of the three who appeared to Abraham are called angels. Of the persons in the divine essence two might be the angels or deputies of the primary in the discharge of the divine purpose. These three men, then, either immediately represent, or, if created angels, mediately shadow forth persons in the Godhead. Their number indicates that the persons in the divine unity are three.

Lot seems to have recognized something extraordinary in their appearance, for he made a lowly obeisance to them. The Sodomites heed not the strangers. Lot's invitation; at first declined, is at length accepted, because Lot is approved of God as righteous, and excepted from the doom of the city.


Ge 19:1-38. Lot's Entertainment.

1. there came two angels—most probably two of those that 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.Two angels come to Sodom, Genesis 19:1. Lot invites them in; they at first refuse, Genesis 19:2. They enter; he entertains them, and they eat, Genesis 19:3. The men of Sodom demand to know them, Genesis 19:4,5. Lot dissuades them, Genesis 19:6,7; offers his daughters; urges reason, Genesis 19:8. They are obstinate; threaten, and press to break the door, Genesis 19:9. The angels pull Lot in, and shut to the door, Genesis 19:10; and smite the men with blindness, Genesis 19:11. Advise Lot to depart with his kindred, Genesis 19:12. The reason, Genesis 19:13. Lot speaks to his sons-in-law; they deride him, Genesis 19:14. The angels lay hold on Lot, his wife, and two daughters, and carry them out, Genesis 19:16; command them not to look back, Genesis 19:17. Lot requests to stay in Zoar; it is granted, with a command to hasten, because till they are gone the Lord can do nothing, Genesis 19:18-23. God rains brimstone and fire upon Sodom, Genesis 19:24,25. Lot’s wife looking back becomes a pillar of salt, Genesis 19:26. Abraham looks towards Sodom, Genesis 19:27,28. God kind to Lot for Abraham’s sake, Genesis 19:29. Lot and his two daughters remove to the mountain, Genesis 19:30. Lot’s daughters contrive for an issue, Genesis 19:31,32. They make their father drunk, lie with him, Genesis 19:33-35; and are with child, Genesis 19:36. Moab and Ben-ammi, the two sons, born thereby, Genesis 19:37,38.

And there came two angels, even those two which departed from Abraham, Genesis 18:22, and now were come to Lot, the third yet staying and communing with Abraham. Angels they truly were, though they be called men, Genesis 18:1-33.

At even of the same day on which they departed from Abraham.

In the gate of Sodom, where he sat either to observe the administration or corruption of justice there; for the seats of judicature were in the gates: or rather to wait for strangers, to whom he might exercise kindness and hospitality.

And there came two angels to Sodom at even,.... Or "the two angels" (h), the two men who were angels in the likeness of men, that had been with Abraham in the heat of the day at Hebron, on the evening of the same day came to Sodom:

and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: not as a civil magistrate to try causes there, being appointed a judge over them, as Jarchi relates; yea, the Jews say (i): that that day five judges were appointed by the men of Sodom, and Lot was the chief of them; but this is not likely, and seems to be contradicted, Genesis 19:9; but he sat there to observe strangers that might pass by, and invite them into his house, and that they might not fall into the hands of the wicked Sodomites, who might abuse them; this being a time when not only travellers would be glad to put up and take refreshment, but his wicked neighbours lay in wait for them to satisfy their lusts on them: he had learnt this hospitality from Abraham:

and Lot seeing them, rose up to meet them: he arose from his seat and went forward to meet them, which showed his readiness and heartiness to receive them:

and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; not in a religious way, as paying worship to angels, for as yet he did not know them to be such, and if he had, would not have given them divine adoration; but in a civil way, as was the custom of the eastern countries to bow very low in their civil respects to men, especially to great personages; and such Lot took these to be by their goodly looks and by their dress, as appears by his salutation of them in Genesis 19:2.

(h) "duo illi angeli", Tigurine version, Cocceius; so Ar. "duobus illis angelis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (i) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 50. fol. 44. 4.

And there came two {a} angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

(a) In which we see God's provident care in preserving his: even though he does not reveal himself to all alike: for Lot had but two angels, and Abraham three.

1. the two angels] See Genesis 18:22. It has been conjectured that the original text had here, as in Genesis 19:5; Genesis 19:8; Genesis 19:10; Genesis 19:12, “the men” (i.e. the “three men” of Genesis 18:2); and that the substitution of the words “the two angels” has been made from motives of reverence, in order (1) to harmonize the action of this chapter with the scene of Abraham’s pleading with Jehovah in chap. 18, and (2) to separate Jehovah from contact with the evil of Sodom.

at even] They had visited Abraham at noon: see Genesis 18:1.

in the gate of Sodom] The wide arches of ancient Oriental city gates, contained recesses which were the resort of leading citizens; and in which business was transacted, bargains made, and justice administered, cf. Genesis 23:10; Genesis 23:18, Genesis 34:20; Deuteronomy 21:19; Ruth 4:1.

bowed himself] See Genesis 18:2.Verse 1. - And there came two angels - literally, the two angels, i.e. the two men of the preceding chapter who accompanied Jehovah to Mature; οἱ δύο ἄγγελλοι (LXX.) - to Sodom at even (having left the tent of Abraham shortly after noon); and Lot - last heard of in the narrative as captured by the Asiatic kings, and delivered by his uncle (Genesis 14:12, 16) - sat in the gate of Sodom. שַׁעַר, from the idea of opening, signified the gateway or entrance of a camp (Exodus 32:26, 27), of a palace (Esther 2:19), of a temple (Ezekiel 8:5), of a land (Jeremiah 15:7), or of a city (Joshua 2:7). Corresponding to the ancient forum of the Romans, or agora of the Greeks, the city gate among the Hebrews was the customary place of resort for the settlement of disputes, the transaction of business, or the enjoyment of ordinary social intercourse (cf. Genesis 34:20; Deuteronomy 21:19; Deuteronomy 22:15; Ruth 4:1; Proverbs 31:23). It was probably an arch with deep recesses, in which were placed chairs for the judges or city magistrates, and seats or benches for the citizens who had business to transact. So Homer describes the Trojan elders as sitting at the Scaean gate (3. 148). In what capacity Lot was sitting in the gate is not narrated. That he was on the outlook for travelers on whom to practice the hospitality he had learned from his uncle (Peele, Calvin, Willet, Lange) is perhaps to form too high an ideal of his piety (Kalisch); while the explanation that he had been pro-meted to the dignity of one of the city judges, though not perhaps justified as an inference from Ver. 9, is not at all unlikely, considering his relationship to Abraham. And Lot seeing them (and recognizing them to be strangers by their dress and looks) rose up to meet them; - having not yet abandoned the practice of hospitality, or forgotten, through mingling with the Sodomites, the respectful courtesy which was due to strangers, since the writer adds - and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground (cf. Genesis 18:2). God was about to go down, and convince Himself whether they had done entirely according to the cry which had reached Him, or not. כלה עשׂה, lit., to make completeness, here referring to the extremity of iniquity, generally to the extremity of punishment (Nahum 1:8-9; Jeremiah 4:27; Jeremiah 5:10): כּלה is a noun, as Isaiah 10:23 shows, not an adverb, as in Exodus 11:1. After this explanation, the men (according to Genesis 19:1, the two angels) turned from thence to go to Sodom (Genesis 18:22); but Abraham continued standing before Jehovah, who had been talking with him, and approached Him with earnestness and boldness of faith to intercede for Sodom. He was urged to this, not by any special interest in Lot, for in that case he would have prayed for his deliverance; nor by the circumstance that, as he had just before felt himself called upon to become the protector, avenger, and deliverer of the land from its foes, so he now thought himself called upon to act as mediator, and to appeal from Jehovah's judicial wrath to Jehovah's covenant grace (Kurtz), for he had not delivered the land from the foe, but merely rescued his nephew Lot and all the booty that remained after the enemy had withdrawn; nor did he appeal to the covenant grace of Jehovah, but to His justice alone; and on the principle that the Judge of all the earth could not possibly destroy the righteous with the wicked, he founded his entreaty that God would forgive the city if there were but fifty righteous in it, or even if there were only ten. He was led to intercede in this way, not by "communis erga quinque populos misericordia" (Calvin), but by the love which springs from the consciousness that one's own preservation and rescue are due to compassionate grace alone; love, too, which cannot conceive of the guilt of others as too great for salvation to be possible. This sympathetic love, springing from the faith which was counted for righteousness, impelled him to the intercession which Luther thus describes: "sexies petiit, et cum tanto ardore ac affectu sic urgente, ut prae nimia angustia, qua cupit consultum miseris civitatibus, videatur quasi stulte loqui." There may be apparent folly in the words, "Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" but they were only "violenta oratio et impetuosa, quasi cogens Deum ad ignoscendum." For Abraham added, "peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou also destroy and not forgive (נשׁא, to take away and bear the guilt, i.e., forgive) the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?" and described the slaying of the righteous with the wicked as irreconcilable with the justice of God. He knew that he was speaking to the Judge of all the earth, and that before Him he was "but dust and ashes" - "dust in his origin, and ashes in the end;" and yet he made bold to appeal still further, and even as low as ten righteous, to pray that for their sake He would spare the city. - הפּעם אך (Genesis 18:32) signifies "only this (one) time more," as in Exodus 10:17. This "seemingly commercial kind of entreaty is," as Delitzsch observes, "the essence of true prayer. It is the holy ἀναίδεια, of which our Lord speaks in Luke 11:8, the shamelessness of faith, which bridges over the infinite distance of the creature from the Creator, appeals with importunity to the heart of God, and ceases not till its point is gained. This would indeed be neither permissible nor possible, had not God, by virtue of the mysterious interlacing of necessity and freedom in His nature and operations, granted a power to the prayer of faith, to which He consents to yield; had He not, by virtue of His absoluteness, which is anything but blind necessity, placed Himself in such a relation to men, that He not merely works upon them by means of His grace, but allows them to work upon Him by means of their faith; had He not interwoven the life of the free creature into His own absolute life, and accorded to a created personality the right to assert itself in faith, in distinction from His own." With the promise, that even for the sake of ten righteous He would not destroy the city, Jehovah "went His way," that is to say, vanished; and Abraham returned to his place, viz., to the grove of Mamre. The judgment which fell upon the wicked cities immediately afterwards, proves that there were not ten "righteous persons" in Sodom; by which we understand, not merely ten sinless or holy men, but ten who through the fear of God and conscientiousness had kept themselves free from the prevailing sin and iniquity of these cities.
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