Genesis 19:20
Behold now, this city is near to flee to, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.
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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 visitors now take steps for the deliverance of Lot and his kindred before the destruction of the cities. All that are related to him are included in the offer of deliverance. There is a blessing in being connected with the righteous, if men will but avail themselves of it. Lot seems bewildered by the contemptuous refusal of his connections to leave the place. His early choice and his growing habits have attached him to the place, notwithstanding its temptations. His married daughters, or at least the intended husbands of the two who were at home ("who are here"), are to be left behind. But though these thoughts make him linger, the mercy of the Lord prevails. The angels use a little violence to hasten their escape. The mountain was preserved by its elevation from the flood of rain, sulphur, and fire which descended on the low ground on which the cities were built. Lot begs for a small town to which he may retreat, as he shrinks from the perils of a mountain dwelling, and his request is mercifully granted.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. And it is a little one; therefore as its inhabitants, so its sins are fewer, and it will not be an eminent example of thy vengeance, as the other places will be. Behold now, this city is near to flee unto,.... Pointing to Bela, afterwards called Zoar, from what follows: it is said to be two miles distant from Sodom (z). But the Jews (a) say it was four miles, and some say (b) five; for they reckon that a man may go five miles from the ascent of the morning (or break of day) till the sun shines out:

and it is a little one: a little city, and the houses and buildings in it few, the inhabitants few; and the sins of it few, as the Targum of Jonathan adds, in comparison of Sodom and Gomorrah; and therefore Lot hoped this favour would be granted him, that this city might be saved, and he be allowed to flee to it, and go no further; but others think this refers not to the city, which some say (c) was a large and spacious one, but to his request, that it was a small thing he asked, and hoped therefore it would not be denied, and in which he was very importunate:

oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?); or "is it not a little thing" (d)? a small request that I:make:

and my soul shall live: I shall not only be able to get thither, and so my life will be preserved; but I shall be in good spirits, rejoice and be glad, that I am got safe and out of the reach of danger; my spirits, which are now faint, and therefore can never think of getting so far as to the mountain, but, if this favour is granted me, they will revive, and I shall cheerfully pursue my journey thither, and be comfortable.

(z) Bunting's Travels, p. 63. (a) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 2, 3. & Gloss. in ib. (b) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 94. 1.((c) Bunting's Travels, p. 63. (d) "Nonne perexigua res est?" Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.

Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a {k} little one?) and my soul shall live.

(k) Though it is little, yet it is great enough to save my life: in which he errs by choosing another place than the angel had appointed him.

20. is it not a little one] i.e. “is it not a trifle (miz‘ar)?” It is a “small” concession to grant; or a “small” distance to go. Evidently a play on the pronunciation of the word Zoar. Lot’s entreaty that he may take refuge in Zoar causes the exemption of that city from the catastrophe. For Bela, as an old name of Zoar, see Genesis 14:2.

and my soul shall live] = “that my soul (= I) may live.” For “my soul” as a vivid way of expressing the personal pronoun, see Genesis 12:13.Verse 20. - Behold now, this city is near to flee unto (literally, thither), and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. Lot's meaning was that since Zoar was the smallest of the cities of the Pentapolis, it would not be a great demand on God's mercy to spare it, and it would save him from further exertions for his safety. A singular display of moral obtuseness and indolent selfishness on the part of Lot. The sin of Sodom had now become manifest. The men, Lot's guests, made themselves known to him as the messengers of judgment sent by Jehovah, and ordered him to remove any one that belonged to him out of the city. "Son-in-law (the singular without the article, because it is only assumed as a possible circumstance that he may have sons-in-law), and thy sons, and thy daughters, and all that belongs to thee" (sc., of persons, not of things). Sons Lot does not appear to have had, as we read nothing more about them, but only "sons-in-law (בנתיו לקחי) who were about to take his daughters," as Josephus, the Vulgate, Ewald, and many others correctly render it. The lxx, Targums, Knobel, and Delitzsch adopt the rendering "who had taken his daughters," in proof of which the last two adduce הנּמצאת in Genesis 19:15 as decisive. But without reason; for this refers not to the daughters who were still in the father's house, as distinguished form those who were married, but to his wife and two daughters who were to be found with him in the house, in distinction from the bridegrooms, who also belonged to him, but were not yet living with him, and who had received his summons in scorn, because in their carnal security they did not believe in any judgment of God (Luke 17:28-29). If Lot had had married daughters, he would undoubtedly have called upon them to escape along with their husbands, his sons-in-law.
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