Genesis 19:31
And the firstborn said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth:
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(31) The firstborn said unto the Younger.—Several modern commentators see in this recital a mark of Jewish hatred towards the Moabites and Ammonites, and an attempt to brand their origin with shame. Really we find in Deuteronomy 2:9-19, no trace of the existence of this hostility, but, on the contrary, the relationship of these two nations to Israel is used as a ground for kindly feelings; and in the story of Ruth the Moabitess, and the friendship which existed between the king of Moab and David, we have proof that such feelings existed.

19:30-38 See the peril of security. Lot, who kept chaste in Sodom, and was a mourner for the wickedness of the place, and a witness against it, when in the mountain, alone, and, as he thought, out of the way of temptation, is shamefully overtaken. Let him that thinks he stands high, and stands firm, take heed lest he fall. See the peril of drunkenness; it is not only a great sin itself, but lets in many sins, which bring a lasting wound and dishonour. Many a man does that, when he is drunk, which, when he is sober, he could not think of without horror. See also the peril of temptation, even from relations and friends, whom we love and esteem, and expect kindness from. We must dread a snare, wherever we are, and be always upon our guard. No excuse can be made for the daughters, nor for Lot. Scarcely any account can be given of the affair but this, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? From the silence of the Scripture concerning Lot henceforward, learn that drunkenness, as it makes men forgetful, so it makes them to be forgotten.The descendants of Lot. Bewildered by the narrowness of his escape, and the awful death of his wife, Lot seems to have left Zoar, and taken to the mountain west of the Salt Sea, in terror of impending ruin. It is not improbable that all the inhabitants of Zoar, panic-struck, may have fled from the region of danger, and dispersed themselves for a time through the adjacent mountains. He was now far from the habitations of people, with his two daughters as his only companions. The manners of Sodom here obtrude themselves upon our view. Lot's daughters might seem to have been led to this unnatural project, first, because they thought the human race extinct with the exception of themselves, in which case their conduct may have seemed a work of justifiable necessity; and next, because the degrees of kindred within which it was unlawful to marry had not been determined by an express law. But they must have seen some of the inhabitants of Zoar after the destruction of the cities; and carnal intercourse between parent and offspring must have been always repugnant to nature. "Unto this day." This phrase indicates a variable period, from a few years to a few centuries: a few years; not more than seven, as Joshua 22:3; part of a lifetime, as Numbers 22:30; Joshua 6:25; Genesis 48:15; and some centuries, as Exodus 10:6. This passage may therefore have been written by one much earlier than Moses. Moab afterward occupied the district south of the Arnon, and east of the Salt Sea. Ammon dwelt to the northeast of Moab, where they had a capital called Rabbah. They both ultimately merged into the more general class of the Arabs, as a second Palgite element.

- Abraham in Gerar

2. אבימלך .2 'ǎbı̂ymelek, Abimelekh, "father of the king."

7. נביא nābı̂y' "prophet," he who speaks by God, of God, and to God, who declares to people not merely things future, but also things past and present, that are not obvious to the sense or the reason; related: "flow, go forth."

13. התעוּ hı̂t‛û is plural in punctuation, agreeing grammatically with אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym. ו(w), however, may be regarded as the third radical, and the verb may thus really be singular.

16. נכהת nokachat an unusual form, either for נכחת nokaḥat the second person singular feminine perfect or נכחה nokeḥâh the third person singular feminine perfect, from a verb signifying in hiphil, "make straight, right."

17. אמה 'āmâh "hand-maid," free or bond. שׁפחה shı̂pchâh "bond-maid" 1 Samuel 25:41.

The concealment of his relation to Sarah calls to our mind a similar act of Abraham recorded not many pages back. We are to remember, however, that an interval of twenty-four years has elapsed since that event. From the present passage we learn that this was an old agreement between him and his wife, while they were wandering among strangers. It appears that Abraham was not yet conscious of anything wrong or even imprudent in this piece of policy. He therefore practises it without any hesitation. On this occasion he appears for the first time as a prophet. He is the first of this order introduced to our notice in the Old Testament, though Henok had prophesied at an earlier period Jde 1:14, and Noah's benediction was, at the same time, a prediction.

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 [De 4:24; Heb 12:29], 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. In the earth; either,

1. In the whole earth; for they thought the same deluge of fire which destroyed the four cities had by this time extended itself to Zoar, and all other places, knowing that the whole world did lie in wickedness, and having possibly heard from their father, that the world, as it was once destroyed by water, so it should afterwards be consumed by fire, which they might think was now executed, and that God had secured Abraham from it by taking him to himself. Or,

2. In that land, as the word may be rendered. And her meaning might not be this, that there was no man at all, but not a man with whom they might or durst marry; for though they knew they left many men in Zoar, yet the sad expericnce of the dreadful ruin wherein their brethren-in-law were involved, made them abhor the thoughts of any conjunction with them.

After the manner of all the earth, i.e. of all the inhabitants of the earth. Compare Genesis 18:11. And the firstborn said unto the younger,.... That is, the firstborn of those two, or the elder of them; for, if Lot had other daughters that were married in Sodom, it is probable they were elder than either of these: Aben Ezra intimates, that Lot had another wife, who died first, and these were by his second; the following motion is made by the eldest of them to the youngest, as being bolder, having more authority, and a greater influence to persuade:

our father is old; if he was fifty years of age when he was taken captive by the kings, as says the Jewish chronologer (q) he must now be sixty five, since the destruction of Sodom, according to Bishop Usher (r), was fifteen years after that:

and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth; to marry them, cohabit with them, and procreate children of them, which was the common way of the propagation of mankind in the earth; they thought the whole world was destroyed by fire, as it had been by a flood; they understood it would be no more consumed by water, but they had been told it would be by fire, and they imagined the time was now come, and this was the case; that not only Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire, and that by this time the fire had reached to Zoar, and had consumed that, but that the whole earth was destroyed, and not a man left but their father, and therefore thought it could be excusable in them, and lawful for them to take the following method to repopulate the world; or else they supposed there were none in the land, the land of Canaan, not of any of their kindred and relations, for they might be ignorant of Abraham and his family, or however of any good man that they knew of, that they could be joined to in marriage; for as for the inhabitants of Zoar, they had just left, they were as wicked as any, and therefore could not think of living with them in such a near relation: but all this is not a sufficient excuse for contriving and executing what is after related; for they should have inquired of their father, who could have informed them better.

(q) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 77. 1.((r) Annales Vet. Test. p. 8, 9.

And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the {p} earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:

(p) Meaning in the country which the Lord had now destroyed.

Verse 31. - And the firstborn said unto the younger, - showing that she had not escaped the pollution, if she had the destruction, of Sodom. "It was time that Lot had left the cities of the plain. No wealth could compensate for the moral degradation into which his family had sunk" (Inglis) - Our father is old, - an indirect confirmation of the inference (vide Genesis 11:26) that Abram was younger than Haran, since Lot, Haran's son, now an old man - and there is not a man in the earth - not in the entire world (Origen, Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Kalisch), which is scarcely probable, since they knew that Zoar had been spared; but either in the district whither they had fled (Calvin, Willet), being under the impression that, living in so desolate a region, they could have no more intercourse with mankind; or in the land of Canaan (Ainsworth, Bush), meaning that there were no more godly men with whom they might marry; or perhaps they meant that no man would now care to unite himself with them, the remnant of a curse-stricken region (Knobel, Keil) - to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth. "When the sun had risen and Lot had come towards Zoar (i.e., was on the way thither, but had not yet arrived), Jehovah caused it to rain brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven, and overthrew those cities, and the whole plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and the produce of the earth." In the words "Jehovah caused it to rain from Jehovah" there is no distinction implied between the hidden and the manifested God, between the Jehovah present upon earth in His angels who called down the judgment, and the Jehovah enthroned in heaven who sent it down; but the expression "from Jehovah" is emphatica repetitio, quod non usitato naturae ordine tunc Deus pluerit, sed tanquam exerta manu palam fulminaverit praeter solitum morem: ut satis constaret nullis causis naturalibus conflatam fuisse pluviam illam ex igne et sulphure (Calvin). The rain of fire and brimstone was not a mere storm with lightning, which set on fire the soil already overcharged with naphtha and sulphur. The two passages, Psalm 11:6 and Ezekiel 38:22, cannot be adduced as proofs that lightning is ever called fire and brimstone in the Scriptures, for in both passages there is an allusion to the event recorded here. The words are to be understood quite literally, as meaning that brimstone and fire, i.e., burning brimstone, fell from the sky, even though the examples of burning bituminous matter falling upon the earth which are given in Oedmann's vermischte Sammlungen (iii. 120) may be called in question by historical criticism. By this rain of fire and brimstone not only were the cities and their inhabitants consumed, but even the soil, which abounded in asphalt, was set on fire, so that the entire valley was burned out and sank, or was overthrown (הפך) i.e., utterly destroyed, and the Dead Sea took its place.

(Note: Whether the Dead Sea originated in this catastrophe, or whether there was previously a lake, possibly a fresh water lake, at the north of the valley of Siddim, which was enlarged to the dimensions of the existing sea by the destruction of the valley with its cities, and received its present character at the same time, is a question which has been raised, since Capt. Lynch has discovered by actual measurement the remarkable fact, that the bottom of the lake consists of two totally different levels, which are separated by a peninsula that stretches to a very great distance into the lake from the eastern shore; so that whilst the lake to the north of this peninsula is, on an average, from 1000 to 1200 feet deep, the southern portion is at the most 16 feet deep, and generally much less, the bottom being covered with salt mud, and heated by hot springs from below.)

In addition to Sodom, which was probably the chief city of the valley of Siddim, Gomorrah and the whole valley (i.e., the valley of Siddim, Genesis 14:3) are mentioned; and along with these the cities of Admah and Zeboim, which were situated in the valley (Deuteronomy 29:23, cf. Hosea 11:8), also perished, Zoar alone, which is at the south-eastern end of the valley, being spared for Lot's sake. Even to the present day the Dead Sea, with the sulphureous vapour which hangs about it, the great blocks of saltpetre and sulphur which lie on every hand, and the utter absence of the slightest trace of animal and vegetable life in its waters, are a striking testimony to this catastrophe, which is held up in both the Old and New Testaments as a fearfully solemn judgment of God for the warning of self-secure and presumptuous sinners.

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