Reading 5/341, Genesis 19-21

The Sodomites try to rape the angels, who help Lot and his family escape the destruction, but his wife is turned to salt. He has children with his daughters. Abraham and Sarah again lie about their relationship, causing trouble. Sarah has a son Isaac. Hagar and Ishmael are kicked out.
[A]Lots of stories today about how bad things were 4000 years ago. Not only the "bad" people, but Abraham too and his relatives. Again the principle applies: these things happened and are recorded but do not think that God approved of them.
[B] So people are living normal lifetimes now, more or less, but Abraham and Sarah still present a little problem. Sarah is 91. The story would make more sense if she were 51. She is still desirable enough that Abimelech wants to marry her, and it would still be a miracle for her to give birth. Should we imagine that the effects that caused people to live to be 1000 are still somewhat present in her day, and at 91 she is in the shape that a 51 year old would be today or that 91 is not her age as we would measure it today?

…Genesis…

The two angels came to Sodom at evening. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. Lot saw them, and rose up to meet them. He bowed himself with his face to the earth, and he said, "See now, my lords, please turn aside into your servant's house, stay all night, wash your feet, and you will rise up early and go on your way." They said, "No, we will stay in the street all night." He urged them greatly, and they came in with him, and entered into his house. 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, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. They called to Lot, and said to him, "Where are the men who came in to you this night? Bring them out to us, that we may know them." Lot went out to them at the door, and shut the door after him. He said, "Please, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. See now, I have two virgin daughters. Please let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them what seems good to you. Only do not do anything to these men, because they have come under the shadow of my roof." They said, "Stand back!" And they said, "This fellow came in to live as a foreigner, and he appoints himself a judge. Now we will deal worse with you than with them!" They pressed hard on the man Lot, and drew near to break the door, but the men put forth their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. They struck the men who were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves finding the door.

The men said to Lot, "Do you have anybody else here? Sons-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whoever you have in the city, bring them out of the place, for we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown so great before the Lord that the Lord has sent us to destroy it." Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters, and said, "Get up! Get out of this place, for the Lord will destroy the city." But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be joking. When the morning came, then the angels hurried Lot, saying, "Get up! Take your wife, and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city." But he lingered, and the men grabbed his hand, his wife's hand, and his two daughters' hands, the Lord being merciful to him, and they took him out, and set him outside of the city. It came to pass, when they had taken them out, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be consumed!" Lot said to them, "Oh no my lord. See now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your loving kindness, which you have shown to me in saving my life. I cannot escape to the mountain, lest evil overtake me, and I die. See now, this city is near to flee to, and it is a little one. O let me escape there (is it not a little one?), and my soul will live."

He said to him, "Behold, I have granted your request concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you get there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of the sky. He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew on the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and looked, and saw that the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a furnace. It happened, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the middle of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot lived. Lot went up out of Zoar, and lived in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to live in Zoar.

He lived in a cave with his two daughters. The firstborn said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is not a man on the earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve our father's seed." They made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down, nor when she arose. It came to pass on the next day, that the firstborn said to the younger, "Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine again, tonight. You go in, and lie with him, that we may preserve our father's seed." They made their father drink wine that night also. The younger went and lay with him. He did not know when she lay down, nor when she got up. Thus both of Lot's daughters were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben Ammi. He is the father of the children of Ammon to this day.

Abraham traveled from there toward the land of the South, and lived between Kadesh and Shur. He lived as a foreigner in Gerar. Abraham said about Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken. For she is a man's wife." Now Abimelech had not come near her. He said, "Lord, will you kill even a righteous nation? Did he not tell me, 'She is my sister?' Even she herself said, 'He is my brother.' In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands have I done this." God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also withheld you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not allow you to touch her. Now therefore, restore the man's wife. For he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live. If you do not restore her, know for sure that you will die, you, and all who are yours."

Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ear. The men were very scared. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, "What have you done to us? How have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done!" Abimelech said to Abraham, "What did you see, that you have done this thing?" Abraham said, "Because I thought, 'Surely the fear of God is not in this place. They will kill me for my wife's sake.' Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. It happened, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, 'This is your kindness which you shall show to me. Everywhere that we go, say of me, "He is my brother."'"

Abimelech took sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored Sarah, his wife, to him. Abimelech said, "Behold, my land is before you. Dwell where it pleases you." To Sarah he said, "Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. Behold, it is for you a covering of the eyes to all that are with you. In front of all you are vindicated." Abraham prayed to God. God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his female servants, and they bore children. For the Lord had closed up tight all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had spoken. Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. Abraham circumcised his son, Isaac, when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was one hundred years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him. Sarah said, "God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears will laugh with me." She said, "Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age." The child grew, and was weaned. Abraham had a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, having fun. Therefore she said to Abraham, "Cast out this handmaid and her son! For the son of this handmaid will not be heir with my son, Isaac." The thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight on account of his son. God said to Abraham, "Do not let it be grievous in your sight because of the boy, and because of your handmaid. In all that Sarah says to you, listen to her voice. For from Isaac will your seed be called. I will also make a nation of the son of the handmaid, because he is your seed."

Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and gave her the child, and sent her away. She departed, and wandered in the desert of Beersheba. The water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. She went and sat down opposite him, a good way off, about a bow shot away. For she said, "Do not let me see the death of the child." She sat over against him, and lifted up her voice and wept. God heard the voice of the boy. The angel of God called to Hagar out of the sky, and said to her, "What ails you, Hagar? Do not be afraid. For God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Get up, lift up the boy, and hold him in your hand. For I will make him a great nation." God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, filled the bottle with water, and gave the boy drink. God was with the boy, and he grew. He lived in the desert, and became, as he grew up, an archer. He lived in the desert of Paran. His mother took a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.

It happened at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his army spoke to Abraham, saying, "God is with you in all that you do. Now, therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son. But according to the kindness that I have done to you, you shall do to me, and to the land in which you have lived as a foreigner." Abraham said, "I will swear." Abraham complained to Abimelech because of a water well which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. Abimelech said, "I do not know who has done this thing, nor did you tell me, nor did I hear of it, until today." Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech. Those two made a covenant. Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. Abimelech said to Abraham, "What do these seven ewe lambs which you have set by themselves mean?" He said, "You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand, that it may be a witness to me, that I have dug this well." Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because they both swore there. So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Abimelech rose up with Phicol, the captain of his army, and they returned into the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. Abraham lived as a foreigner in the land of the Philistines many days.

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