• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

Genesis Per Day

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by WebersHome, May 8, 2017.

  1. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 18:8b-12

    Gen 18:8b . . and he waited on them under the tree as they ate.

    Targum authors-- convinced the men were celestial beings --couldn't believe they would actually partake of food. According to them, the foods were before them, but they didn't actually eat it.

    T. and [Abraham] served before them, and they sat under the tree; and he quieted himself to see whether they would eat. (Targum Jonathan)

    In major English versions of the Hebrew Bible-- e.g. The JPS and the Stone --Gen 18:8 is translated "they ate". It isn't translated that Abraham stood by to see if they would eat, nor is it translated they pretended to eat, nor that they appeared to eat. Genesis is quite clear: the men actually dined on the food that Abraham set before them. (cf. Chabad.org)

    Gen 18:9a . .They said to him: Where is your wife Sarah?

    So far, Sarah has been hearing about her impending child only from her husband. But now, the speaker is intent that she should hear the news from somebody a little higher up the food chain.

    Gen 18:9b . . And he replied: There, in the tent.

    At this point, the speaker no doubt intentionally raised his voice a bit to ensure little Miss Eavesdropper would hear what he had to say.

    Gen 18:10 . .Then one said: I will return to you next year, and your wife Sarah shall have a son!

    Some versions read: "The Lord said". But the word Yhvh is nowhere in the Hebrew of that verse.

    NOTE: Some translations of the Bible are not purely translations. They're actually amalgams of translation + interpretation. Caveat Lector.

    So on the face of it, the stranger is making two predictions. 1) he'll be back around again, and 2) Sarah is going to have a son.

    Gen 18:11 . . Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years; Sarah had stopped having the periods of women.

    Some things can't be postponed indefinitely.

    "To everything there is a season: a time for every purpose under heaven" (Ecc 3:1)

    There is a time in life for children: if it's missed, there's no going back and making up for lost time. Many an independent woman has been painfully awakened by her biological clock-- putting off children to get ahead in her career, and then one day; it's either too late, too inconvenient, or too difficult.

    Let's say that a girl puts off conception until she's, say; 32-34. Think about that. By the time her first child is ready for kindergarten, she'll be pushing 40. Mothers that old could actually be classified as late bloomers because the average age of first-time mothers, depending upon where they live, is around 20-24; and in many cultures; it's a lots earlier than that. Let me tell you something that should go without saying: it's much easier to be a young mother than an old one.

    And age makes a difference for the children too. As women age, their minds mature bringing them ever closer to that dreaded generation gap; viz: it is much easier for a young mother to relate to her young children than an older woman; who oftentimes can no longer hear the bell, if you know what I mean.

    Some things wait for no man. Sunset is one of those things. Relentlessly, hour upon hour, the sun moves across the sky towards its inevitable rendezvous with the western horizon. Our lives are just like that. Sunrise - Sunset. Game over.

    Gen 18:12a . . And Sarah laughed to herself, saying: Now that I am withered, am I to have enjoyment

    Sarah was no doubt thinking to herself that if this stranger knew how old she was; he wouldn't be making such a ridiculous prediction.

    Gen 18:12b . . with my lord so old?

    Actually, at this time in his life; Abraham himself had some problems and probably could benefit from a little Viagra; if you know what I mean. (cf. Rom 4:19, Heb 11:12)

    There's another problem associated with the aging process that doesn't get a lot of press these days in an era of older parents. Men aren't born with all their sperm cells at once the way women are born with all their eggs at once. The men's little guys are manufactured fresh on a daily basis, so as men age, their sperm cells are progressively of a lower quality than the previous batch because the men's bodies are deteriorating with age; subsequently there's a higher risk of birth defects in children fathered by aging men.

    There's also the reality of a progressively decreasing sperm count in aging men so that even if their little guys are viable, it's increasingly difficult to put enough soldiers on the front lines to win the battle. But even that's only if elderly men's wells haven't run dry; if you know what I mean. The people in Sarah's day probably knew all this by practical life-experience rather than by scientific study and discovery.

  2. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 18:13-19

    Gen 18:13-14 . .Then Yhvh said to Abraham: Why did Sarah laugh, saying; Shall I in truth bear a child, old as I am? Is anything too wondrous for Yhvh? I will return to you at the time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.

    Yhvh didn't quote Sarah verbatim-- He actually paraphrased her words to say what she meant; rather than what she spoke. That's important to note; and tells me that it really isn't all that important to quote Scripture precisely so long as you don't lose, or change, its meanings. There's a lot of that in the New Testament; and certainly in the Targums too.

    It isn't said exactly from whence the voice of Yhvh came: whether it was one of the men speaking or a voice in the air. However, Yhvh did show up and do "as He had spoken." (Gen 21:1)

    Gen 18:15a . . Sarah lied, saying; "I didn't laugh" for she was frightened.

    Sarah hadn't actually laughed out loud, but "to herself". When she realized that one of the men could read her thoughts, she became nervous: and who wouldn't?

    Gen 18:15b . . But He replied: You did laugh.

    Most men would have jumped right to their wife's defense. Abraham had at least 300 armed men in his camp who would do anything he asked; but knowing by now exactly who these men really were, Abraham kept his cool.

    The word used to describe Abraham's visitors is 'iysh (eesh) which is a gender-specific word that means: a man as an individual or a male person. It is also the word used to specify the male gender among the animals taken aboard the Ark. (Gen 7:2)

    This passage strongly suggests that Abraham and Sarah saw Yhvh as a fully functioning man. As to whether the person they saw was an actual human being or a human avatar; I don't know and I'm afraid to even hazard a guess.

    Gen 18:16 . .The men set out from there and looked down toward Sodom, Abraham walking with them to see them off.

    Looking down towards Sodom is probably just another way to say aiming for Sodom.

    Many of us just see our visitors out the front door. But, you know, it wouldn't hurt to see them out to their cars too. Maybe even carry a few things for them.

    The site of Sodom has never been found. Some believe it was at the south end of the Dead Sea; but that's really only a guess. The destruction was so severe and so complete that it's just impossible now to tell where it was.

    Gen 18:17 . . Now the Lord had said: Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,

    Now there's a pretty good yardstick of your standing with God. Do you know what is on His agenda for tomorrow? Me neither. God doesn't confide in me for the slightest thing. I don't even know what brand of toothpaste He uses in the morning let alone His daily schedule.

    Gen 18:18 . . since Abraham is to become a great and populous nation and all the nations of the earth are to bless themselves by him?

    Divine purposes for Abraham elevated him to a very high degree of importance above ordinary human beings; and God regarded the old boy not as a servant, but as a member of Yhvh's inner circle of confidants. In point of fact; one of His buddies (Isa 41:8). That is amazing.

    Gen 18:19 . . For I have singled him out, that he may instruct his children and his progeny to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is just and right, in order that the Lord may bring about for Abraham what He has promised him.

    In order for Yhvh's statement to be meaningful it has to imply that Abraham possessed a knowledge of what is just and right in harmony with what Yhvh feels is just and right rather than a humanistic knowledge. The US Supreme Court's justices obviously don't have a knowledge of what is just and right in harmony with Yhvh's because they seldom agree on anything and their rulings are opinions rather than absolutes.

    Getting all of Abraham's progeny to do what is just and right has been a bit of a challenge for Yhvh down through the centuries. Some have; but typically not all.

    NOTE: Yhvh's prediction no doubt included Ishmael, so I wouldn't be surprised if by the time Abraham emancipated his mom, the boy had more of "the way of the Lord" under his belt than quite a few modern pew warmers.

  3. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 18:20

    Gen 18:20 . .Then the Lord said: The outrage of Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave!

    It's true that the people of Sodom indulged in sexual impurity; but that's not the only thing about their manner of life that chafed God.

    They weren't just your every-day, average garden variety of sinners. According to Gen 13:13, they were not only very wicked sinners; but very wicked sinners "against The Lord"; in other words: they were insolent; which Webster's defines as: exhibiting boldness or effrontery; viz: impudence.

    People like that are defiant to the bone-- they make a point of standing up to others and asserting their independence and they don't care whose feelings get hurt by it.

    Some of The Lord's statements, spoken to shame His people, shed additional light on the nature of Sodom's wickedness.

    "For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their actions are against The Lord, to rebel against His glorious presence. The expression of their faces bears witness against them, and they display their sin like Sodom; they do not even conceal it." (Isa 3:8-9)

    "What I see in the prophets of Jerusalem is something horrifying: adultery and false dealing. They encourage evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness. To Me they are all like Sodom, and [all] its inhabitants like Gomorrah." (Jer 23:14)

    "Only this was the sin of your sister Sodom: arrogance! She and her daughters had plenty of bread and untroubled tranquility; yet she did not support the poor and the needy. In their haughtiness, they committed abomination before Me; and so I removed them, as you saw." (Ezk 16:49-50)

    Sodom is widely reputed for its carnal depravity. but as you can see from those passages above, they were a whole lot more unrighteous than that. One of the most interesting of their sins was that they did nothing to discourage wickedness. They actually applauded evildoers and encouraged them to keep it up. Added to that was arrogance, and a lack of charity-- indifference to the plight of the poor --and haughtiness, dishonesty, partiality, insulting the glory and dignity of God, and bragging about all of it.

    Since God had not yet proclaimed any official laws specifically prohibiting the Sodomites' conduct, then He really couldn't prosecute them in that respect. So then, what was His justification for nailing them? It was for the very same attitude that nails everybody; both pre Flood and post-Flood.

    "This is the condemnation: that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." (John 3:18-21)

    So then, the Sodomites were not only indifferent to God's wishes; but they deliberately avoided knowing them just as Yhvh's people themselves did in later years to come.

    "But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law and the words which The Lord of hosts hath sent in His spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from The Lord of hosts." (Zech 7:11-12)

  4. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 18:21-22

    Gen 18:21a . . I will go down to see whether they have acted altogether according to the outcry that has reached Me;

    The word for "outcry" is from tsa'aqah (tsah-ak-aw') which means: a shriek. The same word was in chapter 4 to describe the cry of Abel's blood from the ground and also in Exodus to describe the cry of Moses' people under the heel of Egyptian slavery.

    Have you ever been so annoyed by someone's speaking that you wanted to cover your ears, close your eyes, grit your teeth and just yell out: SHUT. . . UP!

    Sodom was so bad that even the Earth itself couldn't tolerate them any longer; it just wanted to cover its ears, close its eyes, grit its teeth and shout ENOUGH ALREADY! Sadly, there are some people of whom it can be honestly said that the world is a much better place without them.

    But isn't Yhvh supposed to be omniscient? Then why does He have to go investigate for Himself to see if the reports coming across His desk regarding Sodom are true? And isn't He supposed to be omnipresent? Then why is Yhvh talking as if He hasn't been down to visit Sodom lately? Because . . Abraham wasn't talking to The True God in person nor is he talking to God's Spirit in person. He was talking to a messenger who has authority to act on God's behalf: to speak for God, to speak as God; and to use God's name for itself.

    The Old Testament's Yhvh is a most surprising, enigmatic being.

    "God spoke all these words, saying: I Yhvh am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods besides Me." (Ex 20:1-3)

    Israel has to worship Yhvh as their god, and they must obey Him as their god. But the divine being who spoke to them in the past as Yhvh, and for Yhvh, was not the actual True God himself in person. No, it was a divine messenger of God. The being named Yhvh whom they dealt with was a reflection of the actual True God; a Supreme Ambassador who mediates between God and Man-- authorized to use God's name for itself --and merits all the worship and prayer, and respect and veneration and fear due to The True God.

    The actual person of The True God is remote, and removed; concealed within a forbidden city where sinful flesh can neither see Him, approach Him, nor relate to Him, nor even so much as listen to His actual voice. The Old Testament's Yhvh fills Man's need for someone who relates well to Man, and also relates well to the hidden Sovereign, so that Man and the inaccessible, hidden Sovereign can maintain a viable diplomatic relationship with each other.

    Targum authors, at a loss to explain the existence of what they perceived as two persons named Yhvh, labeled the second one "The Word of the Lord God" which is a pretty good expedient since words are used to communicate, and to convey thoughts and ideas. Talmudic writers identified the second Yhvh as the angel Metatron-- a celestial being whose name is his Master's. The New Testament follows the thinking of the Targums in identifying one of the Yhvhs as God's word.

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:1-3)

    Gen 18:21b . . if not, I will take note.

    Doesn't everyone have a right to face their accuser and defend themselves? Yes. That is one of America's basic human rights; and also a Divine law (Num 35:30, Deut 17:6-7, Deut 19:15). Yhvh can't just act upon rumors and hearsay like some sort of heavenly kangaroo court. No, He has to investigate, and establish the truth of every fact for Himself before moving against Sodom. Their judgment will be fair, and the case against them so air-tight, that even Sodom will have to agree they have whatever's coming to them.

    Along that same line; the dead won't go into the flaming sulfur depicted at Rev 20:11-15 without a fair trial. They'll be given ample opportunity to defend themselves; and to know exactly why God feels they deserve to die.

    "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every thoughtless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matt 12:36-37)

    "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the irreverent of all the irreverent acts they have done in an irreverent way, and of all the harsh words irreverent sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 1:14-15)

    The Greek word for "convict" is from elegcho (el-eng'-kho) and means: to confute, to admonish. So nobody will be sent to Hell arbitrarily. The case against them will be made in a summary and professional manner-- evidence will be introduced, and witnesses called for testimony. Yhvh was given reports that the Sodomites were doing bad things; and now He will go and see for Himself if those reports are, in fact, true or not. The Bible's Yhvh is, after all, a rational, objective jurist rather than an emotional, reactive vigilante.

    Gen 18:22 . .The men went on from there to Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before The Lord.

    A plausible scenario is that all three men began walking towards Sodom, and then one (earlier identified as Yhvh) stayed behind to conduct a private meeting with Abraham.

    The Targums say Abraham interceded for his nephew, but it would appear from the Scripture that he interceded not just for Lot, but also for the citizens of Sodom too. And that's to be expected. After all, Abraham was their savior; the one who rescued them all from that awful Chedorlaomer back in chapter fourteen. He couldn't just sit on his hands now and let them all die without making any effort to save them from the wrath of God.

    This is somewhat ironic. It's as if Abraham saved the people from El Ched only to be barbecued in Sodom; viz: sort of like the cops shooting a felon during his arrest, taking him to the hospital to save his life, then hauling him into court after he's well enough to stand trial so he can be given the gas chamber.

  5. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 18:23-33

    Gen 18:23a . . Abraham came forward

    Abraham "came forward" in that he became somewhat assertive in this next scene. He was sort of like a godfather to the Sodomites, in spite of their decadence. That is amazing; yet, is so typical of the really holy men in the Bible to intercede for people who certainly didn't deserve it. (e.g. Ex 32:30-35)

    There's nothing intrinsically wrong in taking the initiative to speak with God. After all, if people always waited for God to speak first before they ever said a word in prayer, hardly anybody would talk to God at all. Not that God is shy, it's just that He rarely ever says anything out loud, so a normal person would tend to think The Almighty was indifferent to His creations. But that just isn't true. We know from the Bible that God desires a rapport with everyone.

    Some people wait until they're desperate and out of options before turning to God. But it is so insulting to treat God like a spare tire or a First Aid kit. It's better to begin a rapport with Him early, now, before a crisis occurs. (cf. Pro 1:24-33)

    Gen 18:23b . . and said: Will You sweep away the innocent along with the guilty?

    The answer to that is of course a resounding YES!

    "I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me." (Deut 5:9)

    Q: How is that fair: holding children responsible for what their parents do?

    A: Ex 20:5-- along with Ex 34:7, Num 14:18, and Deut 5:9 --is often construed to mean that children are held responsible for their parents' sins; but that isn't it. What we're looking at here is collateral damage. It is apparently God's prerogative to get back at people by going after their posterity and/or the people they govern.

    There's a horrific example of collateral damage located at Num 16:25-34. Another is the Flood. No doubt quite a few underage children drowned in that event due to their parents' wickedness. The same no doubt happened to the children in Sodom and Gomorrah. Ham's punishment for humiliating Noah was a curse upon his son Canaan. And during Moses' face-off with Pharaoh, God moved against the man's firstborn son along with all those of his subjects.

    There are times when God chooses to punish people by going after not only themselves; but also the things that pertain to them; including, but not limited to, their progeny. I don't quite understand the logic of that kind of justice; but then again: I don't try; I just go along with it; primarily because it's futile to find fault with God.

    Although Lot was living in a very bad environment, and among very bad people who caused him much mental and emotional stress (2Pet 2:4-9) it didn't eo ipso make Lot himself a bad man. In the final analysis, when it was time to make an end of Sodom, God made a difference between Lot and Sodom and got him out before it was too late. It's horrible to contemplate that some civilizations are so far gone that it's necessary to nuke 'em from orbit and start all over from scratch.

    Gen 18:24-25 . . What if there should be fifty innocent within the city; will You then wipe out the place and not forgive it for the sake of the innocent fifty who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the innocent as well as the guilty, so that innocent and guilty fare alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?

    I think Abraham's question was more rhetorical than anything else. Of course the Judge of all the earth deals justly; no true man of faith would ever seriously question his maker's integrity.

    Gen 18:26-33 . . And the Lord answered: If I find within the city of Sodom fifty innocent ones, I will forgive the whole place for their sake. Abraham spoke up, saying: Here I venture to speak to my Lord, I who am but dust and ashes: What if the fifty innocent should lack five? Will You destroy the whole city for want of the five? And He answered: I will not destroy if I find forty-five there. But he spoke to Him again, and said: What if forty should be found there? And He answered: I will not do it, for the sake of the forty.

    . . . And he said: Let not my Lord be angry if I go on; what if thirty should be found there? And He answered: I will not do it if I find thirty there. And he said: I venture again to speak to my Lord; what if twenty should be found there? And He answered: I will not destroy, for the sake of the twenty. And he said: Let not my Lord be angry if I speak but this last time; what if ten should be found there? And He answered: I will not destroy, for the sake of the ten. When the Lord had finished speaking to Abraham, He departed; and Abraham returned to his place.

    I'm guessing Abraham stopped at ten because he assumed there had to be at least that many righteous in Sodom who didn't deserve to die; but according to Peter; he was wrong. There was only one: and that's all there was in Noah's day too. (Gen 7:1)

  6. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 19:1-3

    Gen 19:1a . . And there came two angels to Sodom

    The word for "angels" is from mal'ak (mal-awk') from a root meaning to dispatch as a deputy; viz: a messenger; specifically of God, i.e. an angel and/or a prophet, priest or teacher-- someone who speaks for and/or represents another.

    Mal'ak doesn't eo ipso indicate a celestial being; because the word is focused more on an office or a function rather than a person. According to verse 3, these angels were capable of consuming food the same as were Abraham's human guests up in Hebron. According to verse 10, they were gender specific; viz: males. So from all outward appearances, these particular mal'aks were normal, fully functioning human beings.

    Gen 19:1b . . in the evening,

    The word for "evening" is 'ereb (eh'-reb) which technically means dusk; which Webster's defines as: the darker part of twilight after sundown. It's the same word as the evenings of Gen 1:5-31.

    'ereb is a bit ambiguous. In spite of its technical meaning; 'ereb doesn't eo ipso indicate twilight. It can also indicate any daytime hour between high noon and sunset e.g. Sam 17:16 where Goliath taunted Israel twice a Day-- once in the morning, and once in the afternoon.

    On the surface, the two men appear to be ordinary travelers pulling into town for the night after a day's journey. That's a sensible choice. Sodom was walled, and much safer than camping out in the field where they would be vulnerable to brigands and wild animals. In those days, the Jordan valley had lions in it and Canaan was still pretty much out on the lawless frontier.

    Gen 19:1c . . as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.

    In those days the gate vicinity was an important civic location where people could pick up the latest news and conduct public business like elections, marriages, notary public, municipal court, rallies, and soap-box speeches. It was in the gate of Bethlehem where Ruth's husband Boaz defended her cause and claimed the woman of Moab for his wife. (Ruth 4)

    Lot probably wrapped up every one of his days at the gate before going on home; kind of like an ancient Miller time. Even today, either a newspaper or a television news program caps the day for many men in America.

    Gen 19:1d . .When Lot saw them, he rose to greet them

    Don't miss this man's courteous manners. Even living amongst the wickedest people in the whole region, Lot still practiced his uncle's brand of hospitality. No doubt a result of the years he spent under Abraham's wing. Actually Lot was a very good man in spite of his town's reputation. He stood out like a carnation blooming in a landfill.

    Gen 19:1e-2a . . bowing low with his face to the ground, he said: Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant's house to spend the night, and bathe your feet; then you may be on your way early.

    Bowing low is both an act of worship and/or deference to one's superiors. The word is shachah (shaw-khaw') the same word used at Gen 22:5 for Abraham's worship during the course of offering his son Isaac as a burnt offering; and during Abraham's bargaining with Heth's kin at Gen 23:7.

    The word for "lords" that Genesis' author chose for the messengers is 'adown (aw-done') which is a nondescript title of respect and can apply to ordinary human beings like as in Rachel's respect for her father Laban in Gen 32:35.

    Coupled with hospitality, was no doubt Lot's fear for these stranger's safety. Lot knew Sodom, and knew what might happen to those men if they stayed anywhere else but in his home and behind his walls.

    Exactly why Lot took an interest in these men's safety isn't stated. It could be that they were gentle and unarmed; thus, by all appearances, easy prey for the town's rather undignified forms of entertainment.

    Gen 19:2b . . But they said: No, we will spend the night in the square.

    Their response was most likely a customary refusal, with the intention of accepting Lot's hospitality only after some polite resistance to test the sincerity of his offer. Their response to Lot is somewhat different than the response of the men who visited Abraham. Those accepted Abraham's offer immediately, and without resistance.

    Gen 19:3 . . But he insisted, so they turned his way and entered his house. He prepared a feast for them and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

    The Hebrew word for "unleavened" is matstsah (mats-tsaw') which essentially refers to an unfermented cake or loaf; in other words: bread made with sweet dough rather than sour dough.

    In this day and age of cultured yeast it's not easy to explain what the Bible means by leavened and unleavened. Well; the primary difference between the two terms isn't ingredients; rather, the primary difference is age; for example:

    "Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven" (1Cor 5:8)

    If there is an old leaven, then there must be a new leaven; just as there is an old wine and a new wine.

    Old leaven can refer to a batch of dough that's going bad, i.e. fermented; which, given time, dough will do on its own without the addition of yeast because all flour, no matter how carefully it's milled and packaged, contains a percentage of naturally-occurring fungi. New leaven, then, would refer to a time in the life of the dough before the flour's naturally-occurring fungi has time to spoil the product; for example:

    So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders. (Ex 12:34)

    That gives an idea of how quickly God moved the people out of Egypt after slaying all the firstborn. They had made bread with unfermented dough for that night's meal in accord with the law of the Passover instituted in the 12th chapter of Exodus.

    Anyway, point being; Lot served his guests fresh bread made with fresh dough rather than with bread made with dough that's been sitting around for a while. Bread made with sour dough is reasonably safe to eat, we know that, so serving his guests bread made with aged dough wouldn't have been a health issue. I like to think that Lot served his honored guests unleavened bread as an act of courtesy rather than necessity. Giving people your best, rather than your less than best, shows that you think highly of them.

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  7. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 19:4-11

    Gen 19:4 . .They had not yet lain down, when the townspeople, the men of Sodom, young and old-- all the people to the last man --gathered about the house.

    The word for "men" is from 'enowsh (en-oshe') : an ambiguous word that means: a mortal; a human being in general (singly or collectively). It can also mean: husband, person, and people.

    So it wasn't just the males; it was everybody, young and old, gathered around Lot's door. All of the women, all of the kids, and all of the men. The entire town.

    Gen 19:5a . . And they shouted to Lot and said to him: Where are the men who came to you tonight?

    Everyone was bellowing and clamoring; like impatient fans at wrestling matches, cage fights, and Roman coliseums; demanding their pound of flesh and pools of blood.

    Gen 19:5b . . Bring them out to us, that we may be intimate with them.

    Since all the people of Sodom were in on this-- men, women, children, old and young alike --it becomes frightfully obvious the townsfolk desired far more than just stimulating gratification. They were looking for entertainment of the vilest sort imaginable-- quite possibly a filthy stage show of unspeakable acts; maybe including bestiality and bondage.

    Exactly what the people of Sodom intended to do with the messengers is not said; but Jude 1:7 states that the people were accustomed to "strange flesh" which suggests that they used men and women's bodies for rather perverse purposes.

    Other than Jude's information, the Bible is silent on this matter. It's as if the author drew a curtain over Sodom and said: This is just too shocking. I'm not going to spell out what the people of Sodom wanted to do with the two men under Lot's roof. You will just have to use your imagination.

    Gen 19:6-7 . . So Lot went out to them to the entrance, shut the door behind him, and said: I beg you, my friends, do not commit such a wrong.

    No doubt those people interpreted Lot's comment that they were "wrong" as judgmental. It was certain to provoke a hostile response in the typically indignant manner in which evil people can be expected to act when somebody criticizes their conduct.

    Gen 19:8 . . Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you please; but do not do anything to these men, since they have come under the shelter of my roof.

    A culture that would sacrifice its own family members to protect the guests under its roof is difficult for westerners to understand; for example pashtunwali, the culture of the Pashtun people of Afghanistan. One of its principles-- nanawatai (asylum) --refers to the protection given to a person against his or her enemies. People are protected at all costs; even those running from the law must be given refuge until the situation can be clarified. This was demonstrated when Osama bin Laden was provided special protection by a group of Pashtuns in Abbottabad.

    Nanawatai can also be applied when the vanquished party in a dispute is prepared to go in to the house of the victors and ask for their forgiveness. (It is a peculiar form of "chivalrous" surrender, in which an enemy seeks "sanctuary" at his enemy's house). A notable example is that of Navy Petty Officer First Class Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of a US Navy SEAL team ambushed by Taliban fighters. Wounded, he evaded the enemy and was aided by members of the Sabray tribe who took him to their village. The tribal chief protected him, fending off attacking tribes until word was sent to nearby US forces.

    Gen 19:9a . . But they said: Step aside! This fellow; they said; came here as an alien, and already he acts the judge!

    People like the Sodomites instinctively know that what they're doing is wrong, but God pity the soul that dares to tell them so.

    Lot called them friends, but when push came to shove, they regarded him as an outsider. And one thing you just don't do as an outsider is impose either your values or your beliefs upon others. They will deeply resent you for it-- whether you are right or wrong has nothing to do with it.

    Gen 19:9a . . Now we will deal worse with you than with them. And they pressed hard against the person of Lot, and moved forward to break the door.

    Talk about a thoughtless lynch mob! Those people totally forgot that not that long ago Lot's uncle saved them all from slavery in a foreign land-- and this is how they reciprocate Abraham's kindness; by assaulting his nephew?

    Gen 19:9b-11 . . But the men stretched out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And the people who were at the entrance of the house, young and old, they struck with blinding light, so that they were helpless to find the entrance.

    (chuckle) That'll learn em' to keep one eye shut when somebody trips a flare. The flash was totally unexpected and must have startled Lot right out of his socks. Up to now, he was given no hint that the two men under his roof were anything but ordinary travelers. "Giminy! Where did all that light come from? There was no thunder. Was it some sort of stealth lightening? How'd you guys do that anyway? Is it patented?"

    Normally it takes about twenty minutes for visual purple in the human eye to adjust to darkness after a sudden burst of bright light. The flash didn't actually damage anyone's eyesight so that they went blind. It just made their surroundings difficult to see, like when someone pops your photo in dim light with a camera.

    The situation now takes on a desperate atmosphere of survival. The crowd has turned into an ugly mob; and it's fight or flight-- no other options. The Lord's messengers chose flight because their purpose was not to remain in Sodom, but to leave it in ashes.

  8. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 19:12-14

    Gen 19:12-13 . .Then the men said to Lot: Whom else have you here? Sons-in-law, your sons and daughters, or anyone else that you have in the city-- bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place; because the outcry against them before The Lord has become so great that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.

    Lot was like Noah in that his kin, no matter whether they were pious or impious, had the option of going out with him to safety if they wanted.

    Lot's head must have been reeling. Only just a few hours ago he was laid back, catching up on all the latest news and gossip at the gate; and on the way home to eat dinner with his family at the end of another routine day. In a succession of rapidly developing events beyond his control; within 24 hours, before the next sunrise, he would lose his home, his way of life, all his friends, his career, and all the wealth and possessions and property and livestock the Lots had accumulated in the 24 years they had lived in the land of Canaan.

    My gosh! He is so caught off guard and must have been terribly shocked at the tone of those two men. The awful realization of who they were and why they came to Sodom slowly began to gel in his befuddled mind.

    I feel so sorry for him and his family. Calamity, like a 9.0 earthquake right out of the blue, pounced on them, and came to ruin their life. They will take nothing with them but some suit cases, the clothes on their backs, and the breath in their lungs. Lot was a well-to-do cattle baron; but he is just a few hours away from poverty and losing his entire life's work in a fiery inferno. (cf. 1Cor 3:11-15)

    Gen 19:14a . . So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters,

    It's been questioned that in a town famous for its gay men; what's with these marriages? Well; Genesis doesn't really say that Sodom's men were gay. Stay with me on this because it requires an explanation.

    "Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to fornication and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 1:7)

    The koiné Greek word for "fornication" in Jude's statement is ekporneuo (ek-porn-yoo'-o) which means: to be utterly unchaste.

    A lack of chastity is exemplified by any number of immoral activities including, but not limited to immodesty, indecency, public exposure, nudity, adultery, incest, living together, casual sex, swinger sex, wife swapping, sex between consenting adults, sex between consenting minors, sex between teachers and consenting students, sex with a sex toy, sex with a mannequin and/or sex with an inflatable doll, male and/or female prostitution, LGBT, suggestive postures, etc.

    To be "utterly" unchaste implies not just a preference for those kinds of carnal gratifications, but an addiction to them.

    The word for "strange" is heteros (het'-er-os) which means: other or different. That could be taken to indicate bestiality but I think what it really refers to is unnatural sex; in other words: men sleeping with women isn't strange but rather quite the norm. But men sleeping with men is rather strange; viz: queer; which Webster's defines as: unconventional; in other words out of the ordinary.

    Now, maybe the men of Sodom weren't gay; but their preference for the males under Lot's roof instead of the females strongly suggests they were at least bisexual. A man, or a woman, need not be psychologically gay to fall under the condemnation of going after strange flesh just so long as they go after it.

    Sons-in-law and daughters are plural. So Lot had at least two more daughters living outside the home with husbands. They will stay behind; and burn to death; and so will Lot's grandchildren, if any.

    Where were the sons-in-law when the flash went off back in verse 11? Didn't it effect them? The flash actually only effected those who tried to break down the door. Lot's sons-in-law were out in the streets that night along with everyone else because Genesis said in verse 4 that everyone in Sodom to the last man was present. Apparently, after the mob's attempt to lay hands on the angels proved unsuccessful, Lot's sons-in-law remained nearby to see what would happen next.

    Gen 19:14b . . and said: Up, get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city. But he seemed to his sons-in-law as a jester.

    Lot's daughters had married Sodom men, with very sorrowful results. Lot's in-laws didn't share his religious principles, and had no interest whatsoever in his god. The husbands were counted among Sodom's citizens who were "very wicked sinners against the Lord."

    Sodom was not only a bad environment for a man of God to build a life and a career, but it was also a very bad place to raise a family. Lot gave his daughters in matrimony to unholy men and now the girls are going to die right along with the rest of Sodom; and possibly some of Lot's grandchildren burned to death too. That's an awful high price to pay to achieve one's personal ambition.

    But after watching a number of documentaries on NetFlix; I'm convinced that there are capitalists, Wall Street traders, lobbyists, sweat shop managers, and influence peddlers capable of walking over the bones of their own children in order to succeed and/or survive in the worlds of finance, apparel, and politics.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  9. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 19:15-16

    Gen 19:15-16a . . As dawn broke, the angels urged Lot on, saying: Up, take your wife and your two remaining daughters, lest you be swept away because of the iniquity of the city. Still he delayed.

    In verses 10, 12, and 16, the messengers are called men. In verses 1 and 15, they're called "angels". In verses 17 and 21, they're called "he". In verse 18, Lot called them 'Adonay. In verses 21 and 22, they speak in the first persona as "I". When you put it all together, it's apparent that God visited Sodom as a pair of male human beings. Just exactly how He is able to do that is a bit of a mystery. Some say that the messengers were avatars.

    The word for "delayed" is mahahh (maw-hah') which means: to question or hesitate, i.e. (by implication) to be reluctant; viz: hang back.

    I can best picture this with a scene from John Steinbeck's novel: The Grapes Of Wrath. When the day came for the Joad clan to move out of their shack from the impoverished Oklahoma Dust Bowl to California during the economic depression of the 1930s, Ma Joad spent a few last minutes alone inside going through a box of mementos.

    She had lived in Oklahoma many years, since she was a young bride-- raised her family there and enjoyed the company of her kin. As she held up an old pair of earrings, looking at herself in a mirror, it pierced her heart to see etched in her face the many years that she had lived as a hard-scrabble sharecropper; and that it was all now coming to naught. Her clapboard home was soon to be flattened by a bulldozer.

    I can imagine that the Lots walked through the rooms in their house, reminiscing all the things that took place in their home over the years. As the girls grew up, maturing into young women, they made marks each year on a doorjamb to record their height. They looked at the beds where each girl slept for so many nights from their youth; and Mrs. Lot thought back to the days when she gave homebirth to each one in turn, read bedtime stories, and rocked them all to sleep accompanied by soft lullabies.

    Leaving a home of many years rends the soul; most especially if kids grew up there too. When I was about eleven, my parents sold the place where I had lived since toddlerhood. I had a life there out in nature with boyhood pals: fishing and hunting and exploring. It was so idyllic. Then we moved.

    I was never the same after that. My heart was in that first home and never left it. Subsequently, I became withdrawn, introverted, and disconnected; never really succeeding in replacing my boyhood pals with new friends who could give me a sense of belonging.

    When ol' Harry Truman perished in the Mount Ste. Helens blast back in 1980, I totally understood why he chose to remain instead of fleeing to safety. That mountain, and his lodge, had been an integral part of Harry's life for just too many years. Mr. Truman felt that if that mountain went, then life wouldn't be worth living any more. He decided to go with the mountain rather than see it go and leave him behind to live without it.

    Gen 19:16b . . So the men seized his hand, and the hands of his wife and his two daughters-- in the Lord's mercy on him-- and brought him out and left him outside the city.

    The word for "mercy" in that verse is from chemlah (khem-law') which means: commiseration; which Webster's defines as: feeling sympathy for and/or feeling sorrow or compassion for. Unless one's feelings are in the mix, their commiseration is merely polite.

    Does anybody out there reading this feel the plight of Lot's family? Can you feel any of their pain? Can you feel their sorrow? Do you feel any sympathy for them at all? None? Well . . anyway; God did. Yes, He was going to burn their home down and kill the daughters who stayed behind. But God took no pleasure in it whatsoever.

    "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that The Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?" (Lam 1:12)

    Is the Lot family's fate nothing to you-- all you online who journey with me today through the 19th chapter of Genesis? Just another Bible story? Well . . those were real people you know.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  10. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 19:17-26

    Gen 19:17 . .When they had brought them outside, one said: Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, nor stop anywhere in The Plain; flee to the hills, lest you be swept away.

    The messengers won't be going along. They're to stay behind to supervise the holocaust.

    Up till now, it appeared that God intended to destroy only Sodom. But now His complete plan is unveiled. The whole plain was doomed-- all five cities of the Siddim confederation, and all of their agriculture to boot --including the livestock and all the wildlife and all the pets; plus the children, and all the adults. A total civil, cultural, environmental, and economic, melt-down.

    Compare that to Rev 18:2-24 where it appears that the global economy is left a complete collapse just as rapidly as the twin towers of the World Trade Center were brought down.

    Gen 19:18 . . But Lot said to them: Oh not so, my Lord!

    The word Lot used for "Lord" is 'Adonay (ad-o-noy') which is a proper name of God only; in comparison to the word 'adown (aw-done'); which is a lesser-ranking lord than Yhvh. When the men first arrived in Sodom, Lot addressed them as 'adown because he wasn't aware as yet that they were of Divine origin.

    It's significant that the men didn't scold Lot for calling them 'Adonay. So then, speaking with those messengers was all the same as speaking with God, and that, it seems, is exactly how Lot now perceived them.

    Lot was a righteous man (2Pet 2:8) but lacked commitment. He never really grew in grace and the knowledge of God. Abraham's nephew was no more spiritually mature at this point than when he left his mentor and relocated to the Jordan Valley.

    God instructed Abraham to walk before Him and to be perfect (Gen 17:1). But when Lot moved out, he apparently never really took up a walk with God; but instead found a home for his family among impious pagans; who would certainly discourage Lot from getting too serious about his religion.

    "Do not be misled; bad company corrupts good character." (1Cor 15:33)

    "good character" in this instance is related to Lot's association with God. Watch how he resists God's leading.

    Gen 19:19 . .You have been so gracious to your servant, and have already shown me so much kindness in order to save my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die.

    Listen to this man! He calls himself "your servant" yet opposes his master's wishes. Next, he expresses gratitude for the successful rescue, yet implies his rescuer doesn't know what He's doing by sending him into the hills. Why on earth would God send Lot to the hills if the disaster was headed that way too? Lot isn't being rational and objective; no, he's being emotional and reactive; which people under stress usually are.

    Gen 19:20 . . Look, that town there is near enough to flee to; it is such a little place! Let me flee there-- it is such a little place --and let my life be spared.

    Lot surely must have known that town was just as wicked as Sodom but he still wanted to live there anyway as if his future was any more secure in that town than the one he was just leaving. And why he thought a "little place" was a good place to live is a mystery. But then such is the human mind. Little country towns seem more cozy and wholesome than the big city to some of us. But all towns are populated with human beings; and human beings are human everywhere.

    Gen 19:21-22 . . He replied: Very well, I will grant you this favor too, and I will not annihilate the town of which you have spoken. Hurry, flee there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there. Hence the town came to be called Zoar.

    Zoar is from Tso' ar (tso'ar) which means little. So maybe we could nick-name it Smallville?

    Gen 19:23-25 . . As the sun rose upon the earth and Lot entered Zoar, the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulfurous fire from the Lord out of heaven. He annihilated those cities and the entire Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation of the ground.

    What a sight that must have been. The people in Smallville probably thought the world was coming to an end! Fiery hail fell out of nowhere. Everything all around them ignited and went up in flame and heat with a suffocating, smelly pall filling the whole valley like a nuclear winter. Talk about scorched earth!

    Jude 1:7 says the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was an "eternal" variety of fire. The Greek word is aionios (ahee-o'-nee-os) which means unending; viz: perpetual.

    Opponents contend that if the fire really was unending then it would still be out there. But it's far more likely that "eternal" refers not to the fire's characteristics; but to its source-- the smoldering impoundment depicted at Isa 66:22-24 and Rev 20:10-11.

    Gen 19:26 . . Lot's wife looked back, and she thereupon turned into a pillar of salt.

    If the chronology of the text is strict, then Lot's wife turned into salt after their arrival in Zoar rather than along the way.

    I can just imagine the look of fear that came over people in town when they saw her like that. She didn't die in the conflagration, but she died just the same.

    Her "looking back" was obviously more than just a curious gaze. Lot's wife was no doubt thinking of returning; and hoping against hope that enough of Sodom would survive the incendiary attack so they could search the ruins for their daughters' remains. It's sad when the only way to stop some people from doing something contrary to God's wishes is to strike them with a disability and/or take their life. (cf. 1Cor 11:26-30)

  11. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 19:27-30

    Gen 19:27-28 . . Next morning, Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood before the Lord, and, looking down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of the Plain, he saw the smoke of the land rising like the smoke of a kiln.

    Poor guy. Now he began the very same vigil that so many relatives of airline crashes suffer, waiting for some news, hoping against hope, that their loved ones somehow survived. And if they didn't, were their bodies recovered? Abraham really did love his nephew. I think it saddened the old boy's heart when Lot went off on his own down into the valley. If only he had stayed in the place of blessing, up in the highlands, this wouldn't have happened. And you know what goes through your mind at a time like that? "Would of - Should of - Could of". Sort of like closing the gate after the horses are already out.

    Gen 19:29 . .Thus it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain and annihilated the cities where Lot dwelt, God was mindful of Abraham and removed Lot from the midst of the upheaval.

    Lot was very fortunate to have an uncle like Abraham. Funny though, I don't remember Abraham praying specifically for Lot. In fact Abraham's intercession was generic, targeting only the citizens of Sodom in general, rather than Lot in particular.

    Lady GaGa once sang that a boy she liked couldn't read her poker face. Well, God looks on the heart instead of one's face. He saw through Abraham's silence, detected the old man's real concerns, and commiserated with him. That's why believers should always be candid with God in their prayers. He will find out what's really on our minds no matter; so we might just as well get down to business and spell it out to begin with. (cf. Heb 4:16)

    Gen 19:30a . . Lot went up from Zoar and settled in the hill country with his two daughters

    Apparently Zoar didn't turn out to be the Pleasantville Lot hoped it might be.

    The word for "hill country" is har (har) which means: a mountain or range of hills. It's the very same word used to describe the kind of terrain where Noah's ark came to rest in Gen 8:4.

    Why Lot didn't move back on up to his uncle's ranch is uncertain. You know, that kind of makes me wonder why Lot stayed in Sodom after his uncle rescued him from the clutches of El Ched. Surely they must have talked about Lot returning to the highlands with Abraham where he and his family would be safer.

    Genesis doesn't specify just exactly which direction Lot went. Both the east and the west from the Jordan valley are hilly. But it was most likely the eastern side, that is: if a later mention of Lot's domain is any indicator.

    "When all the warriors among the people had died off, the Lord spoke to me, saying: You are now passing through the territory of Moab, through Ar. You will then be close to the Ammonites; do not harass them or start a fight with them. For I will not give any part of the land of the Ammonites to you as a possession; I have assigned it as a possession to the descendants of Lot." (Deut 2:16-19)

    Moab was a district east of the Dead Sea, extending from a point some distance north of it and down to its southern end and is today part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Its eastern boundary was indefinite, being the border of the desert; which is irregular. The length of the territory was about 50 miles and the average width about 30. It's a high tableland, averaging some 3,000 ft. above the level of the Mediterranean and 4,300 ft. above that of the Dead Sea.

    The aspect of the land, looking at it from the western side of the Dead Sea, is that of a range of mountains whose western side plummets very abruptly down to the Jordan valley. Deep chasms lead down from the tableland to the Dead Sea shore, the principal one being the gorge of the river Arnon, right across from the kibbutz at En Gedi.

    Ruth was from Moab, and it was also where Naomi lost her husband. The Moabites were Abraham's kin because they're the progeny of not only his nephew Lot; but also of his dad Terah (Gen 11:27). Unfortunately, there has been some bad blood over the years between Lot's family and the people of Israel. The most notable incident being when King Balak hired that wicked prophet for profit Balaam to curse Israel as they traveled past his country prior to entering the promised land after their exodus from Egypt. (Num 22-24)

    Gen 19:30b . . for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar;

    Well I can believe that just from reading about Haiti's earthquake. Large scale disasters just seem to breed looting, theft, vandalism, and violence. That entire region around Sodom was in utter chaos and the local farms and ranches were destroyed so that fresh food was scarce. And if Zoar's morals were anything like Sodom's then Lot probably figured it would be next on God's hit list.

    Imagine the situation if all of a sudden supermarkets had nothing to sell you. No meat, no produce, no milk, no cereal, no rice, no pasta, no yogurt, no eggs, no bottled water, no batteries, no bathroom tissue, no soap, no nothing. Whatever people have, they'll hoard. And the have-nots would then begin to take it away from those who have. In Lot's day, there was no such thing as FEMA, the National Guard, the Red Cross, nor any other kinds of relief organizations. When the ancients were beset by droughts and famines; the poor often had no choice but to migrate to new diggings, indenture themselves, or turn to robbery and theft.

    Gen 19:30c . . and he and his two daughters lived in a cave.

    It's really not too bad to start out in a cave-- kind of like being born in a barn --but it's sad to end up in one at the end of your days with nothing to show for all of the years of your life. My own dad was a case in point. He chased the brass ring all his life, and ended up dying penniless on welfare. Lot and the girls became homeless drifters.

  12. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 19:31-38

    Gen 19:31 . . And the older one said to the younger: Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to consort with us in the way of all the world.

    It's doubtful the girls meant the whole planet was void of men; probably just the region where their cave was. It was isolated and lonely; and the nearest cities where they might have met men were either now gone or simply unsuitable for polite society and the girls' fertile years were passing and they still didn't have any children of their own to show for it.

    Poor things. With no television, or radio, or newspapers, they had no way of knowing what was going on elsewhere in the world or where to go for help. Ironically; hardly fifty miles from there, right across the valley, was Abraham's camp. He had at least four hundred men mature enough to go to war-- and certainly many more than that who would just love to meet Lot's girls. But for some reason the lasses didn't think of them.

    You know who else was in Abraham's camp? Ms. Hagar. She could have taken Lot's girls under her wing and encouraged them with her story of how 'Ataah 'Eel R'iy, named her baby and took an interest in her problems. She could have taught the girls how to pray and put their hopes in Yhvh's providence. Pity. Rescue and safety were so close at hand, but the girls had no way of knowing it.

    Some people have assumed that Lots daughters were very young because Lot had said back in Gen 19:8 that they had not known a man. Duh. Look where they lived. Sodom. Those girls were in grave danger of becoming old maids in that city. Other of Lots daughters were married, but apparently, there just wasn't enough normal men to go around.

    Its interesting that the girls seemed to think that oedipal relations weren't a bad thing, which is no doubt because of their upbringing in a society that apparently thought nothing of it.

    Gen 19:32 . . Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him, that we may maintain life through our father.

    It's certainly to Lot's credit that he would never approve of their plan while sober. We might wonder what they were doing with wine. Of all the things to take with them, why that? Well; it was part of their first-aid kit. In those days, wine was an essential; and not just for boozing it up. (e.g. Luke 10:34, and 1Tim 5:23)

    It's amazing that some people have actually accused recently-widowed Lot of raping his own daughters. Webster's defines rape as: forceful sexual intercourse with a woman by a man without her consent. The element of force is missing in this event; and the girls were certainly consenting since the whole sordid affair was their own idea. You know whose consent is missing? Lot's. This is clearly a case of male rape if ever there was one.

    Then there are others who attempt to invalidate the truthfulness of the narrative by claiming a man Lot's age couldn't possibly breed two nights in a row. Maybe in our own day that might be true for some men, but in Lot's day men were a lot more virile than they are now. Jacob had to accommodate four women in his home, often on consecutive nights; and he was well over seventy-five years old at the time.

    Gen 19:33 . .That night they made their father drink wine, and the older one went in and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose.

    Well now; there's something about the birds and bees that isn't widely taught in high school Health classes. It's actually possible for women to rape men because the male reproductive system can be stimulated to function even when men don't even think about it. Those parts of a man's body pretty much have a mind of their own, so to speak, and it's not impossible for even men with no feelings below the neck to father children. Apparently, the male reproductive system has a back-up control center separate from the brain down low on the spine somewhere. I recall reading about that in either Discover or Scientific American, but can't remember the specifics.

    Gen 19:34-38 . .The next day the older one said to the younger: See, I lay with Father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go and lie with him, that we may maintain life through our father. That night also they made their father drink wine, and the younger one went and lay with him; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose.

    . . .Thus the two daughters of Lot came to be with child by their father. The older one bore a son and named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. And the younger also bore a son, and she called him Ben-ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

    The Ammonites' and the Moabites' land overlapped somewhat. Ammon's land was more or less between the Arnon and the Jabbok rivers. The center of it would be just about where the modern cities of Madaba and 'Amman exist today.

    At this point, Lot's life disappears from the pages of Bible history. His death and burial aren't recorded; nor any more of his exploits. The lives of Lot's daughters disappear from the pages of Scripture too. Just think. They came from a wealthy, privileged family and ended up foraging and surviving practically like human wildlife all because their dad and mom just had to live in Sodom; a place whose morals totally vexed Lot, yet he chose to raise his family there anyway (2Pet 2:6-8).

    Christ's grandmother Ruth was a Moabite woman; ergo: Christ was biologically related to Abraham's nephew just as much as he was related to Abraham. However, in the Bible, the fathers determine a male child's tribal identity rather than the mothers so you won't find Lot in Christ's genealogies because the official line to him is through Isaac.

  13. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 20:1-3

    Gen 20:1a . . Abraham journeyed from there to the region of the Negeb and settled between Kadesh and Shur.

    In Moses' day, Kadesh was a jumping off point just prior to crossing over Wadi Araba into the region of Moab. (Num 20:14-16)

    According to freytag & berndt's map of Israel/Sinai: Kadesh is located approximately 46 miles southwest of Beer-sheva near El Quseima Egypt about 15 miles south of the town of Nizzana. Just northeast is the wilderness of Shur; a region adjoining the Mediterranean to the north, and the Suez Canal to the west. Shur extends somewhat south along the eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez.

    The very first mention of Kadesh was during El Ched's punitive expedition in Canaan. (Gen 14:7)

    No doubt the En-mishpatite people returned to Kadesh and told everyone about the heroic sheik who defeated the Babylonian contingent and set them free from El Ched's grasp. So Abraham was a legend in that area and everyone greeting him would very likely show him much respect.

    Abraham didn't actually settle down in Kedesh itself, but rather, nearby. He may have been camped in the exact spot where Ms. Hagar met the angel of the Lord in chapter 16; and at this point, she's still living at home with Abraham and Sarah.

    Gen 20:1b . .While he was sojourning in Gerar,

    Gerar hasn't been fully identified, but the site may be along one of the branches of Wady Sheri'a, at a place called Um Jerrar, near the coast southwest of Gaza and 9 miles from it. Gerar was apparently a prosperous city situated along a major caravan route; and Abraham was by this time a wealthy and powerful chieftain who would quite naturally make periodic trips to Gerar's railhead to auction off some of his livestock; and in turn, purchase much needed goods and hardware to supply his ranch. Gerar's location along the Mediterranean seaboard also made it a lucrative city in trade with foreign merchants.

    Genesis indicates that Gerar belonged to the Philistines, and it leads us to assume that Abimelech was their king, but experts are quite certain that Philistines didn't occupy this region until after the time of Abraham; in fact only a short time before the Exodus. It's likely, however, that the author of Genesis would quite naturally refer to the region as it was known in his own day. The town certainly existed in the Philistine period, because it's mentioned in connection with Asa, who defeated the Ethiopian host under Zerar and pursued them in their flight unto Gerar (2Chrn 14:13). In addition to Um Jerrar, another place in the vicinity known as Jurf el-Jerrar has been thought by some to be the site of Gerar.

    According to ERETZ Magazine, issue 64, Abimelech's land is an ample valley with fertile land and numerous springs of water.

    Gen 20:2 . . Abraham said of Sarah his wife: She is my sister. So King Abimelech of Gerar had Sarah brought to him.

    Does this sound familiar? Abraham has lied about his relationship to Sarah more than once. If he really believed God's promise to make of him a great nation, then he wouldn't worry about anybody killing him because dead men don't become great nations without children. Yes, he had Ishmael. But God said he and Sarah would have a boy together named Isaac. That boy was yet to be born. So Abraham will stay alive to engender Isaac.

    We might ask: what in the world did Abimelech want with a woman Sarah's age anyway. She was at least 89 years old by this time. But God had given Abraham's wife renewed vitality to bring a child into the world. So I don't think Sarah looked her age at all. I think she looked a whole lot younger; and with creamy, glowing skin too. But it could also be that Abimelech was up in years himself so that a girl of 89 would look pretty good. At my own current age of 70, a woman in her 40's is a chick to me.

    Gen 20:3 . . But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him: You are to die because of the woman that you have taken, for she is a married woman.

    This was an extremely dangerous situation for Sarah now that she was fertile. She was destined to bear Isaac and there could be no question about who the father was. It had to be Abraham. So if Abimelech were allowed to sleep with her, it would never be conclusive that Abraham was the true biological father.

    That's no doubt precisely why Joseph didn't sleep with the Lord's mom till after he was born; so there would be no question, at least in his own home; that her firstborn son was not his.

  14. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 20:4-8

    Gen 20:4a . . Now Abimelech had not approached her.

    It wasn't unusual in the ancient world for new additions to a harem to undergo a period of beautification; like Esther did. But I think something else happened. God may have tampered with Abimelech's ability to breed. In verse 17 it's revealed that God fixed it so no one in Abimelech's house could have children, including him. Do I have to spell it out? Hint: the problem can sometimes be remedied with Viagra; which wasn't available in that day.

    Gen 20:4b . . He said: O Lord, will You slay people even though innocent?

    There is an important principle in play here; and it's this: ignorance is no excuse. Though Abimlech wasn't aware of that principle; God was and saved the man's life by stopping him before he inadvertently crossed a line. Compare Num 15:27-29 where Israel's covenanted law stipulates that even when people sin inadvertently they have to bring a sin offering to the Levites.

    "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults." (Ps 19:12)

    The "secret faults" about which the psalmist prayed weren't skeletons in his closet; but rather, sins about which he was totally unaware.

    Gen 20:5 . . He himself said to me "She is my sister" and she also said "He is my brother." When I did this, my heart was blameless and my hands were clean.

    I can just about guarantee that Abimelech is developing a very strong dislike for the Abrahams right about now. He knew of Abraham's prosperity and about his skill in war. But what he hadn't known till now was that Abraham could be a bit dishonest at times. You can bet that really ticked Abimelech off. He just never expected a man like Abraham to pull a stunt like that. And the wife was in on it too! They were like grifters setting up a mark for a sting. That had to agitate the old boy just a bit; don't you think?

    Gen 20:6 . . And God said to him in the dream: I knew that you did this with a blameless heart, and so I kept you from sinning against Me. That was why I did not let you touch her.

    If Abimelech had touched Sarah, God would have taken it very personal. Those kinds of sins are the very worst because it's one thing to appear in court for stealing a car, but it's quite another to appear for stealing the judge's car. In other words: a sin against God is a trespass rather than just an ordinary act of conduct unbecoming.

    Gen 20:7a . .Therefore, restore the man's wife— since he is a prophet, he will intercede for you —to save your life. If you fail to restore her, know that you shall die, you and all that are yours.

    This is the Bible's very first appearance of a prophet; which in Hebrew is nabiy' (naw-bee') and simply means an inspired man; viz: a man influenced, moved, and/or guided by a divine connection.

    Abraham wasn't the first of God's inspired men. The earliest was Abel. (Luke 11:50-51)

    There's no record of Abraham ever foretelling future events like Isaiah and Habakkuk. So then, just because someone is inspired doesn't necessarily mean they're some sort of prognosticator.

    Divine inspiration is a very mysterious thing. People can be inspired and not even know it because God's influence is paranormal, and impossible to detect with the five natural senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Every Christian is supposed to be inspired (1Cor 2:11-15, 1Cor 12:7, 1John 2:26-27) which makes an inspired Bible teacher's job a whole lot easier.

    This is also the very first place in the whole Bible where the word "intercede" appears. Webster's defines it as: to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling their differences; viz: mediate.

    When you stop to think about it; mediation between God and Man by a human being is quite remarkable. It implies that the human being who mediates has to first be at peace with God or they would be in need of a mediator themselves before they could mediate for someone else (cf. Gal 6:1).

    I think it goes without saying, that mediators, then, have to be righteous first before they can qualify as candidates for the activity. This section in Genesis says a lot about Abraham's standing before God in spite of his bad habit of lying about Sarah.

    Who mediated for Abraham in those days? There's but one textual possibility and that's Mr. Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God back in chapter 14.

    But I don't think Abimelech was much impressed with Abraham's inspiration. The man was now a proven liar; and lost whatever credibility he might have once had in Gerar.

    "Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking smell: so does a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor." (Ecc 10:1)

    However, do you think Abimelech needed to be told twice? No way. He got on it lickety split at first light. But not because he feared Abraham. No, because he feared Abraham's god. Maybe Abraham's word was no good; but his god's word certainly was and Abimelech really took it to heart.

    Gen 20:8a . . Early next morning, Abimelech called his servants and told them all that had happened;

    Under normal circumstances Abimelech probably wouldn't have bothered to tell them what was going on. But since they were all in the same boat as he, and all inflicted with the same reproductive malady, I think he felt they deserved an explanation. I think he also wanted to set their minds at ease about their condition so they would know it wasn't permanent if only they sent Sarah back to her husband; a move which they would certainly question if he didn't give them a reason why.

    Gen 20:8b . . and the men were greatly frightened.

    They had good reason to be frightened. God gave them a token that He meant business by tampering with their ability to breed. So they knew something serious was afoot and that their king's nightmares weren't just bad dreams brought on by cheap Russian vodka tainted with fallout from Chernobyl.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  15. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 20:9-18

    Gen 20:9a . .Then Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him: What have you done to us? What wrong have I done that you should bring so great a guilt upon me and my kingdom?

    The very first God-given prohibition against adultery was given at Gen 3:16. Whether Abimelech was aware of it is unknown; but regardless, his culture believed it to be immoral. This is very interesting. Compare Rom 2:14-15.

    Gen 20:9b-10 . .You have done to me things that ought not to be done. What, then-- Abimelech demanded of Abraham --was your purpose in doing this thing?

    Abimelech is totally perplexed. The thing Abraham and Sarah perpetrated made no sense to him whatsoever. The best part of this is the scolding that Abimelech laid on the sacred couple. Abraham was a prophet. Prophets are supposed to be not only inspired; but also exemplary. But in this case, Abimelech, a pagan, was more righteous than a "holy" man.

    Gen 20:11 . . I thought-- said Abraham --surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.

    Abimelech didn't dispute that point; so I think it's probably safe to assume Abraham was correct in his estimation of Gerar's culture.

    Gen 20:12a . . And besides, she is in truth my sister,

    Abraham, true to form, exercised his usual brand of flexible morality. Yes, what he said was technically true. But it was not the whole truth; it was a half-truth: a deliberate deception, told with the intent to mislead.

    Gen 20:12b . . my father's daughter though not my mother's;

    The covenant that Yhvh's people later agreed upon with God, forbids intimacy between half-siblings.

    "The nakedness of your sister-- your father's daughter or your mother's, whether born into the household or outside --do not uncover their nakedness." (Lev 18:9)

    That law mandates excommunication for men who marry their half sister. And within the terms and conditions of the covenant; there is neither forgiveness nor atonement for it.

    "If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; they shall be excommunicated in the sight of their kinsfolk. He has uncovered the nakedness of his sister, he shall bear his guilt." (Lev 20:17)

    However, Israel's covenanted law doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction. Abraham lived many years before it was enacted; so he was immune to its taboos and punishments (Deut 5:2-4, Gal 3:15-18). That's an important Bible axiom; viz: when something isn't illegal; then it doesn't go on one's record as a broken law. (Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13)

    Gen 20:13 . . So when God made me wander from my father's house, I said to her: Let this be the kindness that you shall do me-- whatever place we come to, say there of me: He is my brother.

    Right about here Abimelech probably began scratching his head and wondered what kind of crazy religion Abraham practiced anyway. And he probably wondered what in the world God ever saw in this man to go to such lengths to protect him. A liar is not a good influence for God. It disgraces God, and makes His religion look stupid to outsiders.

    "You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For it's written that the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (Rom 2:23-24)

    "And now what do I have here? --declares the Lord. For my people have been taken away for nothing, and those who rule them mock --declares the Lord. And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed." (Isa 52:5)

    The people of God shouldn't be living in such a way as to bring disgrace to their sovereign.

    "Those who claim they belong to the Lord must turn away from all wickedness." (2Tim 2:19)

    "Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life becoming of your calling, for you have been called by God." (Eph 4:1)

    Gen 20:14-15 . . Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored his wife Sarah to him. And Abimelech said: Here, my land is before you; settle wherever you please.

    In other words: I don't care where you go as long as it's a great ways off from me!

    Abimelech didn't owe Abraham a single penny for anything. And God didn't order him to make restitution. He isn't trying to gain Abraham's good will by these gifts. With friends like Abraham; who needs enemies? But rather; he was showing God his intentions to mean well by Abraham; in spite of Abraham's foul deed.

    Gen 20:16 . . And to Sarah he said: I herewith give your brother a thousand pieces of silver; this will serve you as vindication before all who are with you, and you are cleared before everyone.

    Abimelech is really too kind. By the money, he told everyone that it was just a misunderstanding. In paying a fine to Abraham, he is publicly apologizing for taking the man's wife home with him; and Sarah's honor was protected because it is saying that she wasn't promiscuous like some woman I could name who have an itch to sleep with men in power.

    Gen 20:17-18 . . Abraham then prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his slave girls, so that they bore children; for the Lord had closed fast every womb of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, the wife of Abraham.

    Abraham's ultimate chagrin was having to pray for the very people whose lives he almost ruined with his nefarious scheme.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  16. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 21:1-9

    Gen 21:1 . . God took note of Sarah as He had promised, and God did for Sarah as He had spoken.

    Because God's word is sometimes slow and long in coming to pass, people are often inclined to scoff at what it says and lose confidence in His testimony. The Word told Noah that a flood was coming. Well . . it was many years before it arrived and by the time it came, only Noah and his family were prepared for it.

    God also promised a Messiah. But so many years have gone by since, that many now believe one will never come. God also promised He will personally round up the people of Israel and lead many of them back to their own land, and restore their covenanted boundaries, where they will become the center of world power and the seat of religious instruction. Some, giving up on that possibility, have suggested that today's troubled Israeli occupation is the fulfillment of that promise.

    Abraham came into Canaan when he was seventy-five, and Sarah sixty-five. That was twenty five years before this section. He is now one-hundred, and she ninety. Women that age cannot have children. So no one can ever give credit to those two for engendering Isaac. Although Isaac was conceived and born in the natural way, he was not a natural child. The credit must be given to a miracle. The people of Israel exist today only because El Shaddai willed them into existence.

    Gen 21:2a . . Sarah conceived

    That's not all that happened. The author said back in Gen 18:11 that Sarah's periods had stopped. So sometime prior to Isaac's conception, her periods came back. I wish I could have seen the look of shocked excitement and incredible joy in their faces when she showed Abraham the blood. He may have been grossed out a little, but I can guarantee you he was extremely thrilled because it meant Sarah's plumbing was back online.

    Her blood was the sunrise of a new day. Not just another day like all the others, but the beginning of an era of complete change in their lives. They would never be the same again. Parenthood is an irreversible state. It makes no difference if the children die, or leave home, or disown their moms and dads. After once children are engendered, those parents are always the parents. They were the two people who brought the children into the world and it can never be undone.

    Abraham had pinned all his hopes upon God's promise and now he realized he should have never doubted. God truly is a man of His word after all. (cf. 49:22-23)

    Yes, those who trust in the Bible's God don't have to worry about whether or not they have done something stupid and made a fool of themselves. He made good on His promise to give Sarah a baby boy, and some day He will make good on the promise to bring His people all home again.

    Gen 21:2b-3 . . and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken. Abraham gave his newborn son, whom Sarah had borne him, the name of Isaac.

    This is now the second son of Abraham for whom God chose the name. The first was Ishmael. That's quite an honor. It may not set well for many parents though. I think most of us would rather pick names for our own children ourselves; but Abraham is pretty good at obedience for the most part. God said the boy's name would be Isaac and that's what Abraham named him. Isaac, by the way, is the only one of the three patriarchs whose name God does not change later in their life.

    Naming a boy is very significant. The man who does the naming is legally declaring the boy to be his own son even if he isn't the biological father.

    Gen 21:4 . . And when his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him.

    Isaac is the very first male in the family on record to be circumcised precisely on the eighth day in compliance with the covenant's stipulation. I just want to point out that circumcision was not Abraham's idea. It was his response to El Shaddai's earlier mandate in Gen 17:10-14.

    Gen 21:5 . . Now Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

    Ishmael would have been fourteen (Gen 16:16) and Sarah ninety, since she and her husband were ten years difference in age. (Gen 17:17)

    Gen 21:6 . . Sarah said: God has brought me cheer; everyone who hears will laugh with me.

    Sarah's words are a double entendre. Isaac's name in Hebrew means laughter; so God not only gave her a bundle of joy, but cheer for her soul too.

    Gen 21:7 . . And she added: Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would suckle children! Yet I have borne a son in his old age.

    Well nobody in their right mind would have. Sarah was just too old. And actually, Abraham was too old too.

    "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old" (Rom 4:19)

    "And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore." (Heb 11:11-12)

    Gen 21:8 …The child grew up and was weaned, and Abraham held a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

    The age of weaning varied in ancient times; usually in the neighborhood of 2 to 5 years. Bible weaning implies a whole lot more than just putting a child on a bottle. It means they can speak and understand a language, feed themselves, brush their teeth, clothe themselves, and potty alone. In other words, you could pack them a bag and send them off to live with your aunt. (e.g. 1Sam 1:22-2:11). Samuel was at least three years old when his mom packed him off to live with the high priest. (2Chr 31:16)

    So Isaac was very likely around the same age as Samuel when Abraham and Sarah threw a weaning party for him. It was a day of good celebration and they were very proud of their little boy. He was past a major milestone and well along his way to independent manhood.

    Weaning isn't always a joyous occasion for some families. It can be a time passed over in deep sorrow for the parents of handicapped kids. Abraham and Sarah were very fortunate that their boy wasn't afflicted with Down's syndrome, Autism, or a neurodegenerative disease like Tay-Sachs.

    Gen 21:9 . . Sarah saw the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing.

    At this point, Ishmael was around 17 or 18 years old. (cf. Gen 16:16, Gen 21:5, Gen 21:8)

    It's hard to tell what kind of sport Ishmael was involved in. Some feel that he, the firstborn son, was picking on Isaac the younger sibling; and that's probably true because Gal 4:29 suggests that Ishmael was a bit of a bully. Others feel he was mocking the weaning party. But actually, nobody knows for sure. Maybe he was just swinging on an old tire in the backyard, and while Sarah was absently mindedly looking over there, a scheme spawned in her head.

    Not only was Ishmael Abraham's son, but, by law, he was Sarah's boy too. (Gen 16:1-2). But Sarah rejected Ishmael and never was much of a mom to him. So Ms. Hagar went through all that for nothing. On top of that, she was still a slave; and had no husband. She was, in reality, a single mom saddled with a child that she never really wanted in the first place.

    All of this created a home life that had become intolerable for everyone involved. Hagar gloated over Sarah's barrenness. Sarah, in turn, blamed Abraham for Hagar's attitude, and Ishmael, according to Gal 4:29, harassed Isaac (no doubt out of a spirit of sibling rivalry). Abraham loved Ishmael and was no doubt soft on Hagar. Plus, to make matters even worse; there were some very serious legal complications.

    Ishmael's legal position was quite an advantage. As Abraham's firstborn son, he had a right to a double portion of his father's estate (cf. Gen 48:22).

    NOTE: The reason Joseph inherited a double portion is because Jacob transferred the right of the firstborn to him after Reuben messed around with one of his father's servant-wives. (Gen 49:3-4, 1Chr 5:1)

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  17. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 21:10-12

    Gen 21:10-11 . . Sarah said to Abraham: Cast out that slave-woman and her son, for the son of that slave shall not share in the inheritance with my son Isaac. The matter distressed Abraham greatly, for it concerned a son of his own.

    Hagar had lived in Abraham's home for all those years; yet Sarah so hated her that she couldn't even speak Hagar's name. She called her "that slave-woman".

    How does a good and decent man like Abraham disown his own flesh and blood? If Ishmael were a gang-banger, a drug addict, an Islamic terrorist, or a career criminal it would be different. But he was really a pretty good kid and Abraham totally loved him. Being the lad's biological father, I'm sure Abraham felt very responsible for Ishmael's welfare. He and Ishmael had been a team together for seventeen or eighteen years. You just don't dissolve a bond like that as if giving away old clothes to Good Will.

    NOTE: By the customs of that day, Ishmael was just as much Sarah's son as Abraham's.

    Gen 21:12 . . But God said to Abraham: Don't be distressed over the boy or your slave; whatever Sarah tells you, do as she says, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be continued for you.

    So; was God backing Sarah? Not entirely. Sarah was no doubt highly motivated by unbearable tensions between herself and Hagar, and by the best interests of her own flesh and blood. But God had already decreed and predestined Isaac to be Abraham's heir apparent. Ishmael's position in the family was created by human meddling in Divine, long-range plans for the people of Israel. The man-made son had to be eliminated so the God-made son would have the preeminence, even though it would cause terrible grief for Abraham and Ishmael and Hagar. (cf. Ezra 9:1-10:44)

    The phrase "cast out" implies cruelty; and leaves a wrong impression. Sarah (and God too) wanted her own flesh and blood to follow in Abraham's footsteps instead of Hagar's boy Ishmael; and, in the case of slave mothers, there was a perfectly humane way to do it.

    The common laws of Abraham's day (e.g. the Code of Hammurabi and the laws of Lipit-Ishtar) entitled Ishmael to the lion's share of Abraham's estate because he was Abraham's firstborn biological son. However, there was a clause in the laws stipulating that if a slave-owner emancipated his child's in-slavery biological mother; then the mother and the child would lose any and all claims to a paternal property settlement with the slave-owner.

    The trick is: Abraham couldn't just send Hagar packing, nor sell her, for the clause to take effect; no, he had to emancipate her; which he did.

  18. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 21:13-14c

    Gen 21:13 . . As for the son of the slave-woman, I will make a nation of him, too, for he is your seed.

    Abraham certainly must have been worried what would become of Ishmael; so God reassured him his boy would be just fine.

    I think it's significant that God didn't refer to either Hagar or to Ishmael by name, probably because the emphasis here is upon Divine purpose instead of upon people.

    Gen 21:14a . . Early next morning Abraham took some bread and a skin of water, and gave them to Hagar.

    The Hebrew word for "bread" is lechem (lekh'-em) which just simply means food (for man or beast), which therefore includes grain. So Abraham didn't necessarily send the poor woman out on her own with a ration of bread and water like some sort of hardened criminal, but very likely provisioned Hagar and his son Ishmael with enough camper-grade food stuffs to keep them going for a while.

    But it's puzzling why Abraham didn't provide them with an escort; at least until they reached the safety of a village or a town. That suggests to me that Abraham fully believed God's promise to "make a nation of him" which implies that God Himself would look out for them from here on in.

    Gen 21:14b . . He placed them over her shoulder, together with the child,

    I would have hated to observe that scene. Abraham didn't dispatch a servant or a butler to equip Hagar. He did it himself. And he didn't just bring the provisions out to her and set it down at her feet. No. He put them up on her shoulder himself. You have to stand close to someone to do that; close enough to look them right in the eyes.

    There's no record of ever any ill will between Hagar and Abraham, nor any between him and his boy Ishmael either. Those three were truly family in every sense of the word-- mom, dad, and child. There couldn't have been a dry eye nor a cheerful face at any time during this excruciating farewell. If you've ever experienced something so upsetting as to make you nauseous, lead-bellied, and lose your appetite; then you know what I'm talking about. Anybody who can read this story without feeling the slightest twinge of compassion for any one of those three; has got to be the most insensitive clod on earth.

    Gen 21:14c . . and sent her away.

    The phrase "sent her away" is from the Hebrew word shalach (shaw-lakh') which is a versatile word that can be used of divorce as well as for the emancipation of slaves. In other words: Hagar wasn't banished as is commonly assumed; no, she was set free; and it's very important to nail that down in our thinking because if Abraham had merely banished Hagar, then her son Ishmael would have retained his legal status as Abraham's eldest biological son.

    Technically, Ishmael retained his status as one of Abraham's biological sons (Gen 25:9) but not legally; no, his legal association with Abraham was dissolved when he emancipated Ishmael's mother.

    I believe it's important to emphasize that Hagar and Ishmael weren't cut loose because they were no longer worthy to live in Abraham's camp any more. No. It was only as a measure to expedite God's future plans for Isaac. Even if Sarah hadn't proposed the idea of emancipating Hagar, I suspect that God would have eventually required it so anyway.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  19. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 21:14d-16

    Gen 21:14d . . And she wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

    The wilderness of Beer-sheba is about 50 miles south of Hebron.

    The Hebrew word for "wandered about" is from ta'ah (taw-aw') which means to vacillate. Webster's defines "vacillate" as: to waver in mind, will, or feeling; viz: to hesitate in choice of opinions or courses. (cf. Jas 1:8)

    As often as Hagar traveled up and down the land of Palestine with Abraham over the years, she no doubt knew her way around; so she's not blundering through the woods like a lost hiker.

    At this point, Hagar is thoroughly rattled and doesn't really know what to do next or even how she and Ishmael are going to survive in a land where no State programs for unemployed single mothers existed. And to top it off; she's a freed slave who now has to make all her own decisions and fend for her child and for herself on her own rather than simply comply with the demands of a master who provided for all her daily necessities.

    Slavery has its pluses and minuses; its upsides and its downsides; and it's not always to a slave's benefit to give them their walking papers. There's a provision in the old covenant that allows for a slave to remain a slave for life of their own free will. The law would apply to anyone living as a citizen in the land of Israel, whether Jew or Gentile. (Ex 21:2-6, Lev 24:22)

    Many of the slaves that were liberated after the American Civil War found themselves in the throes of instant poverty: unable to either read or to write, with no place to live, and zero prospects for gainful employment. I'm not saying slavery is a good thing. I'm only saying that, all things considered, it might be the better option for some people.

    I met guys in the Army who re-enlisted for the security of a steady paycheck, free meals, free health care, paid vacations, and rent-free/mortgage-free accommodations. They had to relinquish a degree of their freedom for those benefits, but in their minds, it was not a bad trade-off.

    Gen 21:15-16 . .When the water was gone from the skin, she left the child under one of the bushes, and went and sat down at a distance, a bowshot away; for she thought: Let me not look on as the child dies. And sitting thus afar, she burst into tears.

    The word "child" is misleading. The Hebrew is yeled (yeh'-led) which can also mean: a lad. Webster's defines a lad as: a male person; of any age between early boyhood and maturity; viz: boys and/or youths. (cf.

    Ishmael was hardly what modern Americans might call a child. He was near to eighteen years old at this time; if he was circumcised at fourteen and Isaac was weaned at three. (cf. Gen 16:16, Gen 21:5, Gen 21:8)

    One can only guess at the grief in Hagar's heart. Her life had come down to this: a lonely, impoverished, homeless death out in the middle of nowhere. In her distress Hagar had forgotten about 'Ataah 'Eel R'iy the god who sees people and knows their troubles. And she had forgotten all the predictions He made back in Gen 16:10-12 concerning Ishmael's future. There is just no way her son can be allowed to die at this time.

    When God's people lose confidence in His statements, they usually always get themselves into trouble. If only Hagar had trusted God, she wouldn't have despaired regarding Ishmael's life. He was perfectly safe. Don't you see? He had to live so God could keep His promise to multiply him; and so he could become a wild-burro of a man, and so he could live near the people of Israel like God predicted. So even if Hagar had perished all alone in the wilderness, Ishmael would have gone on to survive without his mother.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  20. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Genesis 21:17-21

    Gen 21:17a . . God heard the cry of the boy,

    I don't think Ishmael, at near eighteen, was bawling his eyes out like a little girl. Rather; his "cry" was a plea for help. Exactly what he said is unknown. But God heard him and responded. I strongly suspect that in those seventeen or so years with Abraham, Ishmael learned how to pray; and very likely he prayed at bed time with his mom Hagar. She knew Abraham's god too-- at first hand.

    God had promised Hagar and Abraham that He would multiply Ishmael (Gen 16:10, Gen 17:20). So God cannot allow Ishmael to die before generating a posterity.

    Gen 21:17b-18 . . and an angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her: What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heeded the cry of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.

    Now we're back on personal terms; and the angel speaks to Hagar by name rather than by her previous status as a slave; which would be inappropriate at this point because she's been emancipated.

    This particular angel wasn't an apparition but rather just a voice-- granted a very unusual voice. First it spoke for God, then it spoke as the Yhvh who would make good on the promise that God made to Hagar at Gen 16:10-11 and the one made to Abraham at Gen 21:13.

    Gen 21:19 . .Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and let the boy drink.

    I bet the water was right there all the time but Hagar was so exhausted and distraught that she hadn't seen it. Everybody gets that way once in a while. Sometimes the answer to our problem is right under our noses but oftentimes can't see it because we're just too upset at the time.

    Gen 21:20a . . God was with the boy and he grew up;

    I don't know why so many Christians and Jews have such a low opinion of Ishmael. How many of his detractors are able to boast that God was with any of them as they grew up?

    Gen 21:20b . . he dwelt in the wilderness and became a bowman.

    Archery must have become a traditional skill in Ishmael's family. One of his male progeny, Kedar, produced a clan of bowmen who used their skills not only in hunting, but also in warfare. (Isa 21:16-17)

    Gen 21:21a . . He lived in the wilderness of Paran;

    The Wilderness of Paran encompassed a pretty big area. It was south of the Negev, on the Sinai peninsula, roughly between Elat on the east and the Suez canal on the west.

    To look at that region today you'd wonder what appealed to Mr. Ishmael; but apparently it was a whole lot more pleasant in his day 3,900 years ago; which wouldn't surprise me since the Sahara itself was at one time pluvial and inhabited.

    Gen 21:21b . . and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

    A girl from Egypt was apparently a better choice than the girls of Canaan; from among whom Abraham would later not want a wife for his son Isaac (Gen 24:3-4).

    I wonder how Hagar traveled to Egypt. Did she go on to become prominent in the caravan business? I bet you one thing. She was very careful that her boy did not get himself hitched to a Sarah-type personality. And no way would Hagar ever have one for a mother-in-law either.

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017