Genesis 19.1-8

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate at Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. He said, “Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way.

They said, “No, we will spend the night in the square.”

But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so we may know them.”

Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Look, I have two daughters who have never known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

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6 responses

  1. okay … angels vs women? just kidding. washing of feet, usually indicates some change in the path taken. If I created another way to view this, it would be that the mind brings all its emotions out to disrupt its clarity and inner connection to wisdom, sacrificing some other part of yourself to discipline these distractions, so that higher path can be followed. why equate the feminine as sacrifices for wickedness though? even if equating feminine as material (vs male as spiritual) why would one suggest its corruption was permissible. history (aka misogyny) means little to me in interpretation, yet even then it makes no sense to me. It seems to me most texts say to "kill" out the lower self will, so that the higher may lead. even if you turned daughters into children, such as when our actions are the children (offspring) of our thoughts, then it makes little sense to say "do to them as you please." these angels are not men, however, as stated in the last paragraph. or they are not angels.

  2. I assumed that materials for washing one's feet were simply a part of Good Old Fashioned Nomad Hospitality, so I started looking for whose custom, what meaning. Also, There's a parallel story… which a lot of people don't know about (Judges 19 etc.) I've wondered, Is the second occurrence just a "reuse" of this story for a later occasion, ancient war-propaganda to justify wiping out the Benjaminites? Or did something similar happen repeatedly, due to a forgotten tacit cultural expectation, that if one visited the Big City, one might be expected to put out?I mean, there've been a lot of interactions in this book, so far, that to a modern reader, don't make much sense! People didn't know how to behave like we do (or vice versa)! And "a city" in this time isn't merely "a place where lots of people live," and incidentally build some temples. "A city" is founded by a god and his/her priesthood; both the land and the people of it belong to the local patron deity. Some of these deities go for sacred prostitution.Sexual hospitality is another thing we don't know much about, except that a lot of people seem to have practiced it at one time or another. Both sexuality and hospitality are sacred matters, of course, and googling for references gets you a lot of sites concerned with upholding their end of the gay-acceptance vs traditional-moralism argument…Now this one gave me somewhat more to think about:http://www.lectio.unibe.ch/03_2/gur.htm"My purpose in this article is to present an analysis proving that sexual hospitality constitutes a cultural template, practised in the Arabian peninsula and around the ancient Mediterranean. If it was practised, residuals could surface in some transposition or other in biblical texts."Letting a group of men de-virgin a young woman, among some people, seems to be a convenient way to disperse the curse… which making her bleed would otherwise visit on her husband! Much to think about! For one thing, a common way for a hostess to welcome a lonesome traveler… is by rubbing butter on his feet (or on "his feet," in a more extended sense.) Having him wash them first would seem only proper!For another thing… these angels (or strangers serving as surrogates for spiritual entities) have just come from visiting Abraham's place. They've stayed for awhile, and gone off telling Abraham that he's going to have a son soon…

  3. I think this story is one of the most difficult in the O.T.–and impossibly difficult ethically (as is Judges 19)and spiritually.It raises all kinds of questions:Since "so we may know them" is an O.T. reference to intimate sexual relations, why is this same sexual emphasis contrasted with Lot's offer of opposite sexual relations with his two daughters?Why does the text emphasize all of the men of the city, "both young and old" are same sexual, (maybe bisexual?), and seems to imply forcible sex, rape?Why are there two messengers (angels) and two virgin daughters?Why would Lot (who in the NT is called righteous!) be so utterly degenerate and vile as a father?I suppose these verses say something about how until recently girls were considered their father's property.But why does Genesis, which sometimes has higer ethical standards, have such dispicable standards here–behavior that even the worst of modern evil men such as Stalin would not stoop to?What possibly could be the message in this story? This is a narrative which has convinced many an Atheist that the Bible is one sick book.Why is there such drastic irony between Lot's words in the first sentence, "do not act so wickedly" ie. demand sex with these angels and the second sentence where he is pimping his virgin daughters?! offering them up for gang rape!There is even one added evil statement beyond this. Not only is Lot giving up his daughters to rape, he emphasizes "do to them as you please"Talk about perverted.I've never seen any Light in this narrative.I don't understand why it is included in Scripture.Daniel

  4. I think some things are "included in Scripture" largely to make us realize that "Scripture" doesn't necessarily fit our ideas of what it ought to be."All the people" here serves much the same function as the phrase "the Jews" does in certain gospel passages, establishing a formal legal fiction for purposes of indicting a people. The Midrash on Sodom has it that the whole legal setup there, what we'd call "We the People" in our courts, is fixed to fork the foreigners however they can, because they can. This is getting pretty literal about it… but the gist is that when a stranger comes to town, they let him trade for a big sum of local money, refuse to sell him anything, watch him die of hunger & thirst, then retrieve their money. The "outcry" God hears is from one of their local women who's been killed for taking pity on one of these tourists.The fact that Lot himself is a foreigner is an element. He does not necessarily have a citizen's right to entertain visitors. "Know" may not be so much "Biblical know" as "We want to ask these guys a few questions." The intent is definitely hostile, & yeah, probably headed for a sexual expression of that hostility. But that piece I mentioned about sexual hospitality customs… makes it seem likely that Lot's daughters are supposed to be available to his visitors (and as getting pregnant will probably raise their status, not lower it, in this rather different mileau, probably not adverse to that.) So he may be merely offering to entertain the local worthies too. The wandering Levite in Judges doesn't seem to consider that an improper request of his concubine. "Sexual hospitality" doesn't necessarily imply actual intercourse; whatever is customary here, the women involved are probably expected to come out of it reasonably unrumpled.When the neighbors turn down this offer, it isn't necessarily that they prefer kinky sex (Note what Ezekiel has to say about the place) but that it's become obvious that they're out for blood.There's a Greek myth… about Zeus and Hermes wandering incognito through Asia Minor, finding no one willing to offer them a place to crash–except for one couple, the two people they spare when they trash the place. For whatever that may suggest.

  5. Research suggests it was a story designed to explain certain practices or restrictions developed by/in relation to the worship of Dagon and the related culture.We don't know enough to be sure whether the moral taken from it in those days was a justification for feud, or an explanation of why women were not allowed out of doors during the time of certain pagan festivals. I agree, it is a dreadful story and irrelevant to study of post-exilic belief.

  6. What sort of research?–Got details? (I am seriously curious about all this. That sexual hospitality piece was tying together a LOT of weird Biblical stuff, including even Sarah's belated pregnancy and the extreme tension between first-born and later, why some families might prefer the second-born to inherit, etc. It isn't that I doubt Dagon being involved, but my level of ignorance is such that you could tell me it was all about Istar and I'd find that plausible too!)

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