Both Christians and Muslims consider Lot a “righteous” man of God. Jesus is a descendant of Lot through David’s great-grandmother Ruth, who is descended from Moab, Lot’s son through one of his daughters. Yep… through one of his daughters!
Lot and his father, Haran, were born and raised in Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:28,31). Lot’s grandfather, Terah, set a course for Canaan where his family could reestablish a new home. Among the family members Lot traveled with was his uncle, Abram, (later called Abraham), who would become one of the 3 patriarchs of Israel.
En route to Canaan, the family stopped about halfway along the Fertile Crescent. They settled at Haran where Lot’s grandfather, Terah, lived the rest of his days.
Genesis 12 reveals Abram’s obedience to the LORD at the age of 75, in continuing his journey to the Land of Promise. Though Abram’s father, Terah, stayed behind, his nephew Lot went with him.
After they had all dwelled in the land of Canaan for a while, there was a famine, and they journeyed further south into Egypt. After having dwelt in Egypt for some time, they acquired vast amounts of wealth and livestock, and returned to the Bethel area; see Genesis 13:1-5.
Lot in the Plain of Jordan
Genesis 13 tells of Abram and Lot’s return to Canaan after the famine had passed and the lands became fertile again. With their sizable numbers of livestock, and always on the move, both families occupying the same pastures became problematic for the herdsmen who were assigned to each family’s herd. The conflicts between herdsmen had become so troublesome that Abram recommended to Lot that they should part ways, lest there be conflict amongst “brethren”.
Abram gave Lot the choice of going north (the left hand), in which case he would go south (the right hand), or if Lot chose south, Abram would go north. Lot, instead, looked before him beyond Jordan and saw a well-watered plain, and chose that land… because it was like “the garden of the LORD”, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the formation of the salt sea (Genesis 13:9-11). Abram then headed south to Hebron, staying within the land of Canaan (Genesis 13:12,18).
Lot had encamped on the green Jordan plain among the cities of the plain and, initially, pitched his tent toward Sodom.
About 8yearsbefore he moved there, the kings of the 5 cities had become vassal states of an eastern alliance of 4 kingdoms under the leadership of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, whom they served for 12years, but “the 13th year they rebelled” (Genesis 14:1-4). The following year the 4 armies with Chedorlaomer returned and, at the Battle of the Vale of Siddim, the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell in defeat (Genesis 14:5-10). Chedorlaomer defeated the cities and took captives as he departed, including Lot, who by then “dwelt” in Sodom (Genesis 14:11,12).
When Abram heard what had happened to Lot, he armed a rescue force of 318 of his trained servants, and pursued and caught up to the armies of the 4 kings. He divided his forces and attacked at night from more than one direction, and the kings fled.
The pursuit continued and the “slaughter of Chedorlaomer“, and the other kings was completed. Abram brought back Lot and all the people and their goods (Genesis 14:15–24).
Lot Flees Sodom
24years after Abram and Lot began their sojourning, the LORD changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and gave him the covenant of circumcision. Not long afterward, “the LORD appeared” to Abraham, for 3 “men” came to visit and have a meal with him.
After 2 left to go to Sodom, “Abraham stood yet before the LORD.” Abraham boldly pleaded on behalf of the people of Sodom, where Lot dwelt, and obtained assurance the city would not be destroyed if only 10 righteous people were found there; see Genesis 17,18.
See Genesis 19:1-9. After supper, before bedtime, the men of the city, young and old, gathered around Lot’s house demanding he bring his 2 guests out that they might “know” them. Lot went out, closed the door behind him, and asked that they not do such wicked things; he even offered them his virgin daughters, that had not “known” man, that they might “know” them instead, and do with them as they pleased!
Before they could harm Lot and break into the house, the “men” pulled Lot back in and struck the intruders with blindness, and revealed to Lot that they were angels sent to destroy the place. This allowed a window of opportunity for Lot to make preparations for him and his family to leave. When he went out to his sons-in-law that married his daughters, to warn them to escape the coming judgment, they mocked him; see Genesis 19:10-14.
As the day began to dawn, the angels urged him to hasten and leave; when he yet lingered, the angels took hold of the hands of Lot, his wife and 2 daughters and transported them beyond the city and set them down.
See Genesis 19:23-28. The cities were destroyed… and Lot lost his “rubber-necking” wife in the process, as she turned to a pillar of salt!
Lot and His Daughters
See Genesis 19:30-38.
Lot’s daughters, left without husbands, slept with their drunken father, Lot, in order to have children.
Lot is considered a “righteous” man in the Bible, yet his poor choices caused many problems for himself… and left many poor examples for his family.
“Righteous” is not the first word I would use when thinking of Lot. But, Peter, in 2Peter 2:7,9, held up Lot as an example of righteousness… proof that God measures in ways we don’t.
As you read Lot’s story, you get the impression he was a guy that just drifted through life… taking every path of least resistance, and choosing what seemed to flash brightest at the time. He never seemed to struggle with tough questions in life; questions like “What are the consequences of this decision?” and “What would God have me do?”
Lot’s life was marked by misery at almost every turn… all because he allowed the world to shape his life and make his decisions for him.
Are you drifting? Do you have principles in place concerning how God would have you live?
If you don’t take specific steps to put yourself under God’s direction, you’ll turn out like Lot… a miserable person who gets into one mess after another. Your life will be a tragic example of what might have been.
* People who drift without God’s direction usually end up where they don’t want to be.
You can read Lot’s story in Genesis 11-14;19.