Lot’s Incestuous Daughters

Lot’s daughters raped their father. Read the story in Genesis 19:30-38.

Lot & Daughters Flee Sodom

Image is from http://www.biblebios.com. It depicts Lot and daughters fleeing Sodom.

Heart of the story

After the destruction of Sodom, Lot took his two daughters to live in a cave in the hills. There, Lot was raped by both his daughters while he lay drunk. The daughters committed incest with their father.

Background

Lot was Abraham’s nephew. After separating from Abraham, Lot lived on a fertile plain which included Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar. At some point Lot married, sired two daughters, and moved into Sodom. The Bible does not give the names of Lot’s wife or daughters. Sodom was known for its depraved wickedness; nonetheless, Lot arranged for his daughters to marry two townsmen.

Before the marriage occurred, two angels arrived at Sodom. Thinking the angels were travelers, Lot insisted that they stay at his house. After the evening meal, men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house. The Sodomites demanded that Lot bring the two men outside so they could have sex with the men. Lot begged the townsmen not to defile his guest. He offered his two virgin daughters to the Sodomites to do whatever they wished with them rather than give up his two guests.

When the Sodomites attempted to take the two visitors by force, the angels struck the Sodomites blind. The angels told Lot to flee the city with his family because Sodom’s wickedness was so great that God was going to destroy the city. Lot believed the angels. Immediately he went to his future son-in-laws, told them what was about to happen, and asked them to flee with him. Both refused thinking that Lot was joking.

When dawn came, the angels grasped the hands of Lot and his family and led them safely out of Sodom.  The angels directed Lot and his family to flee Sodom, not look back, and not stop anywhere on the plain.  Afraid that disaster would overtake him as he fled across the plain to the mountains, Lot asked the angels if he could go to a nearby town called Zoar. The angels agreed to let Lot go to Zoar and not destroy the small town.  In the process of fleeing Sodom, Lot’s wife looked backward; she became a pillar of salt.

Sometime later, Lot became afraid to stay in Zoar and moved himself and his daughters to a cave in the hills. The Bible does not tell readers how long Lot and his daughters lived in the cave; however, some time later, the daughters became concerned about preserving their family line. On separate nights, both daughters got their father drunk and raped him. Both became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son who she named Moab, he became father of the Moabites. The younger daughter’s son was named Ben Ammi. He became the father of the Ammonites. The off springs of Lot and his two daughters, the Moabites and Ammonites, were among the worst enemies of Old Testament Israel.

Analysis of the father-daughters relationships:

In the ancient near East, fathers had the responsibility of finding husband for his daughters. Initially Lot met his responsibility; he obtained husbands-to-be for them in Sodom.  After the prospective husbands died in Sodom, Lot should have looked for other men to be his daughter’s mates.

We are not sure why Lot did not go to his kinsman Abraham or to the town’s people of Zoar to find husbands for his daughters. Perhaps Lot was too ashamed to go to Abraham after living among the wicked Sodomites. Possibly the townspeople of Zoar associated Lot with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and did not want Lot’s daughters as wives. Alternatively, Lot may have been so depressed over the loss of his wife and wealth that he had no energy to find wives for his daughters. Depression is often associated with over consumption of alcohol. Lot was so drunk on at least two nights that he was unaware that both daughters had sex with him.

Incest is sexual activity between two individuals who are too closely related to have such a relationship. Incest is taboo in almost every society. The incest prohibition remains constant even when a people will die out if there are no offspring. What could the daughters have been thinking when they decided to commit incest with their father without his consent?

Some alternative are:

1.      The daughters feared for their future. They knew that when Lot died, they would have no male kinsman to protect and provide for them. Also, without a male kinsman, the daughters had no stature in the community.

2.      Both daughters knew that Lot valued his two male guests more than they valued them. Lot offered to give his daughters to the Sodom in exchange for not harming the two men. Their father was willing to use them; in turn, the daughters decided to use their father to obtain security for themselves.

3.      The daughters’ conscious was so seared by living among the Sodomites that they did not consider their actions morally wrong. Every perversion was present in Sodom to include rape, homosexuality, bestiality, and incest.

Conclusion: Peter (2 Peter 2:7-8) described Lot as a righteous man tormented by the filthy lives of men he lived among. At the same time, it was Lot’s choice to live in Sodom and rear his daughters there.  Adeyamo (2006, p. 39) wrote that a godly upbringing and a righteous life is not enough if one does not keep in contact with people of God.

Copyright: Carolyn A. Roth, 12/13.

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