Monday, October 3, 2016

Genesis 19:4-11 comments: Lot's hospitality

4 ¶  But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5  And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9  And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. 10  But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 11  And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

Compassed means to encircle, to surround, which is obvious from the phrase compassed the house round.

Joshua 6:11  So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

All people from every quarter doesn’t necessarily mean every single person in the city. Common sense tells us this but also the Bible itself uses two definitions of all. There is all without exception as in the following where it is God’s desire that all humanity be saved but we know that many reject Him.

1Timothy 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Then, there is all without distinction. Instead of saying men came from every quarter, as we would, Moses writes it the way he did. Notice a similar passage in that regard here as we doubt that every single person in Judaea came to the Jordan so that the land itself was empty of people. It is simply not to be understood that way;

Mark 1:5  And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

Or here next we don’t expect that every single person in the village or town was at the door but that people came from everywhere.

Mark 1:33  And all the city was gathered together at the door.

We use this type of hyperbole when we say, “everyone,” often meaning not that there is no one who doesn’t but simply referencing many.

These people want to know Lot’s guests, clearly demanding that they be delivered to be gang-raped as in the later case where a gang of thugs representing the town of Gibeah of Benjamin behaved badly.

Judges 19:25  But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.

To our amazement and disgust, Lot offers his two virgin daughters instead. This reflects the baseness of this ancient culture, certainly not reflecting well upon Lot. We get an idea of the degeneracy of Sodom’s culture in this scene and the careless value placed on the sex act and the worth of women. But, we also get a glimpse of the importance and the honor placed on hospitality and how one felt responsible for the welfare of the stranger one took into his house. The example of depravity only gets worse.

The mob rejects Lot’s offer and casts disparaging comments on his time as a judge, sitting in the gate, obviously resenting his, a foreigner’s, presence. They promise to do worse to him for not complying with their collective will than with the men they want delivered to them. This is about power and domination, not sexual desire. Rape, heterosexual or homosexual, is unfinished murder, an exercise of power and domination over another, not simply out-of-control lust.

Before things get bad for Lot the angels, the men, rescue Lot and strike the crowd blind but they are in a full fury and rage now and still try to get at the door through which Lot has been saved. This suggests that the blindness affected their ability to see the door, not that all their vision just went black, as they are still trying to force the door, apparently, and just can’t find it now. Think of things in plain sight that you simply do not see.

In verses 4 and 9 we have examples of how the word even is used for two things that are the same thing in the phrases the men of the city, even the men of Sodom and the man, even Lot. Remember a past example of this type of the use of even.

Genesis 6:17  And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

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