AVRAM, ISHMAEL, YITZAAK
Monday June 25:
Two angels greet Lot. (The text assumes you remember the end of chapter 18 on Saturday, where Jahweh God stayed back with Abraham to explain the plan, while the other divine visitors to Abraham and Sarah move on to Lit in Sodom.
Lot’s hospitality to the divine visitors is threatened by his neighbours’ mob, asking to ‘know’ the guests. Who or what is at risk in a violent anarchy? Lot seems to rank his guests and his own integrity as host above the physical safety of young women from his household. How do you appease lynch plans?
What’s the sin of Sodom? Not homosexuality! How quickly the mob turns to xenophobic slander against Lot. He’s an immigrant himself, with no rights to set the rules for the nativist. Ask any border security proponent about who is siding with families seeking asylum in the USA these days!
Lot is snatched from the hands of the mob by the divine visitors, and they blind the mob members to disable their attack. For anybody standing up to a mob, it’s a reassuring fable in response to a scary reality. What happens to allies?
Lot’s clan is saved from the brimstone shower, though they have failed to save the city – but Lot’s wife wavers and looks back. That appeals to our relentlessly forward-looking amnesiac culture. Keep your head down, and keep plodding.
Go to your maps, and suss out the etiological legends operating here, rather than seeking moral role models: the Dead Sea, the barren wastes, are the putative sites of these cities. Don’t be like Sodom – or at least be like Lot.
The surviving ‘children’ of the lost city are insulted as the incestuous offspring of Lot’s daughters raping him in a drunken stupor: Moabites and Ammonites, in the Transjordan, east of the Dead Sea.