Video: Why is Lot Called ‘Righteous’ Even Though He Offered His Daughters to the Men of Sodom?

Today’s Question: “How are we to interpret Lot’s offering of his two virgin daughters to the men of Sodom when they surround his house and demand that he brings out his guests so that they may have sex with them in Genesis 19? Was it such an unthinkable breach of hospitaility to let his guests be molested in this way that he desperately resorted to a lesser of two evils? Or was the offer simply a stalling tactic as he knew that the men of Sodom would not accept it anyway? How does 2 Peter 2:7 control our interepretation of the passage and of Lot’s life in general?”

The George Athas article I mention can be read here.

If you have any questions for me, please leave them on my Curious Cat account. If you would like to support these videos, you can do so on my Patreon account.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in 2 Peter, Bible, Controversies, Genesis, Hermeneutics, Judges, NT, OT, OT Theology, Podcasts, Questions and Answers, Scripture, Theological, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Video: Why is Lot Called ‘Righteous’ Even Though He Offered His Daughters to the Men of Sodom?

  1. Jennifer Mugrage says:

    I love this.

    I had been confused by the fact that Lot goes to see his sons in law, but had never connected the dots to realize that meant that his supposed offer of his daughters was a feint. That makes the story a bit less chilling.

  2. Aaron Siver says:

    Hi Alastair,

    This Q&A was very enlightening. I’ve listened to it more than once now.

    I was recently conversing with someone about this passage and its possible explanations. Having heard your presentation, I’m inclined to interpret what’s happening as Lot attempting to deceive the men of the city and stall for time, and that there are only two daughters who are married and elsewhere in the city with the sons-in-law. My conversation partner is inclined to interpret what’s happening as Lot honestly offering his two daughters, and that the two daughters are in the house, are still virgins, and are merely betrothed to the sons-in-law.

    Do you have any thoughts, or have you read any resources addressing the latter proposal? Within the Old Testament and the Hebrew, does betrothal fall under marriage in that way? Or can that be a possible explanation of Genesis 19?


    • I think it is also a possible reading of Genesis 19. This is one of those readings where the deciding factors are probably largely to be found outside of the original text. And the text itself may be playing with the ambiguity at points. I’m familiar with the proposal, but believe that the broader text probably tips things in Lot’s favour.

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