Chapter 19 opens with two of the three angels we read about last time, reaching Sodom. Lot met them and invited them to stay with him. They were willing to stay in the street, but Lot wanted to be hospitable; we later realised he feared for the safety of these angels who appeared to be mortal men.
After a meal, the drama began. The people of the city had heard about the visitors. Verses 4 and 5 show just how depraved the men of Sodom were. They wanted Lot to let his guests out of the house so they could sexually abuse them. Verses 7 to 10 record the horror of the situation.
It appears that it isn’t until verse 11 that Lot realises these men are angels. Verses 12 and 13 confirm what Abraham had been told in chapter 18 verse 20.
The angels set about preparing Lot’s escape and are keen that any of his family should be saved from destruction. There were, however, only four people who wanted to go. Lot, his wife and their two daughters. Even when the angels urged Lot (verse 16), he hesitated and the four of them were rushed out of the city by the angels. They were ordered to hurry and not look back. Verse 26 tell us that Lot’s wife did look back and became a pillar of salt.
Although Lot had asked the angels to allow him to escape to a small city named Zoar, verse 30 records that Lot didn’t feel safe there so he and his daughters left for the hills and lived in a cave. The rest of the chapter is concerned with the disturbing incident of the daughters’ lack of trust in God. He’d allowed them to escape certain death but they were keen to continue the family line. Verses 33-38 described the women making their father drunk on two consecutive nights so that they could each seduce him and become pregnant.
It was noted that verse 20 shows us that God remembered Abraham’s pleading in chapter 20. The city couldn’t be spared; the people were so wicked. But for Abraham’s sake, Lot and his two daughters were able to escape.
Chapter 20 brings us back to Abraham, and we read of an incident similar to that in Genesis 12 verse 12-20. Abraham was a man chosen by God to be the father of many nations (Genesis 12 verses 1-3, Genesis 13 verses 14 – 17, Genesis 15 verse 8-21, ch 16 verse 9. Yet we read here of his human weakness. He was afraid that Abimelech would kill him? That was his fear in chapter 12. Had he forgotten God’s promises? In verse 12 of Chapter 20, we read that Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister so his deception was half true!
So we have now read of two occasions where Abraham visits another area and is afraid for his life because Sarah is a beautiful woman. Both with Pharaoh and Abimelech, Abraham actually puts these men in danger of God’s wrath, and Sarah in danger of being taken advantage of, because they believed her to be Abraham’s unmarried sister. Abraham and Abimelech parted on good terms. It appears that even though Abimelech was not blessed with promises from God, he had a strong moral code and in verses 3, God appeared in a dream to him in order to let him know the true position between Abraham and Sarah.