Let's Get Our Father to Drink Wine, and then Lie With Him to Preserve Our Family Line

19: 30-38

DIG: At what point did Lot lose his dignity and his moral compass? Why do you think the name of ADONAI is absent from this section?

REFLECT: What bothers you about this story: The drinking? The deception? The incest? Why? Children of alcoholics suffer from the sin and sickness of others. Lot’s family may have. Where among your friends or family have you seen this to be the case? What about Lot’s story, or your own, moves you to live differently? To pray?

The sin of Sodom ends up with the sin of Lot and the origin of two nations that will be the enemy of Isra'el until the Lord comes back. Lot and his two daughters didn’t stay in Zoar too long. Since Sodom and Gomorrah were south of them, and Admah and Zeboiim north of them, they were right in the middle of the devastation.327 In all likelihood, at some point Lot realized that the people of Zoar were guilty of the very same sin as those of the other four cities. As a result, God might still destroy Zoar as well. Therefore, they settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. So He and his two daughters left Zoar and lived in a cave (19:30). Lot went from a rich nomad, to a city dweller, to a cave man. His bad choices had reduced him to poverty.

What was left of the family was still influenced by their life in Sodom. Earlier in 19:6-8, Lot was willing to use his two daughters for sexual advantage; now, when their chance comes, they didn’t hesitate to use him. They had mutual disrespect for each other; first he used them, then the roles were reversed. One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old and his time is running out to produce sons, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth” (19:31). The daughters have no husband and Lot has no wife. In his old age Lot emerges as a pathetic figure. By contrast, Abraham is blessed by God in his old age (24:1) and is able to start a second family (25:1-3). Furthermore, it is said of Abraham, but not of Lot, that he died at a good old age, an old man and full of years (25:8).

Desperate and afraid, the daughters, thinking they were the sole survivors of their people, set out to preserve male descendants for themselves. Unaccustomed to walking by faith in God to meet their needs, they reasoned that the only possible solution was incest with their father. They knew that he would never willingly consent to their plan so they decided to get him drunk. It is interesting to note that, despite the loss of their possessions, they had managed to bring along some wine. I guess we all have our priorities. They probably rationalized that this would not be as bad as what their father had proposed concerning them and the men of Sodom. Also, there were as yet no actual scriptural ordinances against incest, and close marriages were not uncommon; so this could not have seemed as serious a crime to them as it is to us today. Eventually their own best thinking decided it was the only thing they could do under the circumstances (except to trust God, an idea which apparently never occurred to them at all). Therefore, they proceeded to go through with their plan.328

They said to themselves: Let’s get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father (19:32). This is situational ethics at its best. When incest becomes the greater good you know you’re in trouble. So while the daughters were taken out of Sodom, Sodom was not taken out of the daughters. As with Noah, drunkenness led to immorality (9:24).

That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. He was so drunk he did not realize he was having sex with his own daughter. The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I lay with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father." People can always rationalize their sin into something positive. So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up (19:33-35). He was figuratively and literally in the dark. He was in a cave and it was night. To be in a cave at night, and out of God's will is about as dark a place as one can find.

So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father (19:36). We are left with no response from Lot after his drunkenness. Did he eventually know about his new children and grandchildren? We do not know. Lot passes away into the darkness and oblivion that were his due. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab, which sounds like the Hebrew phrase: from father. The daughter has a son from the father. He is the father of the Moabites of today (19:37). The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi, which means son of my people. He is the father of the Ammonites to the very day that Moshe wrote Genesis (19:38). The last mention of the Ammonites as a separate people was in the second century by Justin Martyr, who said they were very numerous. But sometime during the Roman period they were absorbed into the Arab society and are not in existance today as a people.

Moab and Ammon were two nations that were east of Isra'el. Today Moab is northern Jordan and Ammon is central Jordan. They continue to be Isrel’s enemies to this very day. But from this point on Lot disappears from the biblical record; he had no spiritual impact. Like Balaam, King Sha'ul and Solomon, Lot started out well, with every possible advantage, but they all ended their lives an utter failure. There is scarcely a life recorded in the Bible that gives each believer more teaching on what to avoid than Lot. He lost everything but his own soul.

Lot’s biography is a series of tragic steps downward:329

He left Ur and Haran with his uncle Abram to travel to an unknown location (12:1-5).

● When given the opportunity to choose the grazing area for his herds, he selfishly chose the fertile valley near Sodom (13:1-11).

He pitched his tent on the outskirts of Sodom (13:12-13).

He fit into the new community so well that he became a leader, even a judge who sat at the gate to give judgment on issues (19:1).

● Because he fit so well in the community, the men of Sodom did not hesitate to demand that he release his two guests for sexual purposes (10:4-5).

● Not wanting to give his guests to the sodomites, he offered his own virgin daughters instead (19:6-8).

He tried to get his sons-in-law to escape the destruction of Sodom with his wife and daughters, but they took his warning as a big joke (19:12-14).

● Because he hesitated, angels had to drag him out of Sodom and told him to run to the mountains for safety (19:16-17).

● Continuing to compromise, Lot negotiated with the angels, seeking approval to stay closer to Sodom (19:18-22).

Lot was afraid, so he hid in a cave with his daughters (19:30).

Lot’s daughters got him drunk and used him to impregnate themselves (19:31-36).

The sons born of the daughters become the Moabites and the Ammonites, enemies of Abraham’s descendants (19:37:38).

Where did Lot lose his dignity and moral compass? Not in big earthshaking decisions, but in making many small choices that left God out of his life.

 

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