Probably one of the most memorable things that I saw while in college happened during my senior year. It was the beginning of the school year when I saw a crowd at the fountain near the center of campus. On a stage was a preacher who was talking to the crowd that was gathered. As I was walking by, I noticed that the crowd was getting very rowdy. It was at this time that I noticed that the crowd was screaming and booing at the preacher. Then what happened next shocked me. A young man jumped up on the stage and began yelling a question. “What about Lot? What about Lot and his daughters?” He then said something about the Bible condoning it.
It was clear that the young man believed that the Bible condoned what happened between Lot and his daughters. The topic of Lot and his daughters is found in Genesis 19:30-38. Before this passage, we are given some very basic information about Lot: 1) he is the nephew of Abraham (11:27); 2) that he travelled with Abraham to Canaan and Egypt (12:4; 13:1); 3) after Abraham and Lot came back to Canaan they separated, and Lot went to live near Sodom (13:10-12); and 4) he was living in Sodom when it was destroyed (19:1).
When Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed (19:1-29), Lot and his daughters fled to the mountains (19:30). While in the mountains Lot’s daughters became desperate to have children. In the Ancient Middle East, having children to preserve the family line was very important in society. Since it was only Lot and his daughters living in the mountains at that time, the daughters did the unthinkable. They got their father drunk and had an incestuous relationship with him and each had a son because of it.
Did the Bible Condone what happened?
The answer is quite simple: NO! First, Scripture declares that incest is a horrible sin (Leviticus 18:3). Second, like I wrote in a previous article on killing in the Bible, Scripture is a theological history. It gives us a record of God’s dealings with mankind and him offering salvation to sinners (see the article on killing in the Bible for more details on this).
Genesis 19 is telling readers about Lot and his daughters because it was an event that would have a major impact in salvation history. Genesis 19:36-38 tells us that the older daughter gave birth to a son who was named Moab. The younger daughter gave birth to Ben-Ammi. Moab was the ancestor of the Moabites while Ben-Ammi was the forefather of the Ammonites. Both of these peoples became two ancient nations (Moab and Ammon) that continuously fought against the Israelites. (Moab and Ammon make up the modern-day nation of Jordan, Israel’s eastern neighbor. Also, Ammon is the capital city of Jordan.)
One of the most disgusting idols in the Bible was Molech, a god of the Ammonites. Many children were sacrificed to this god (Leviticus 18:21; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6). Some kings of Israel actually sacrificed their own children to this deity causing God to punish his chosen people.
It is also important to note that Jesus was a member of the bloodline of Lot. Ruth was from Moab (Ruth 1:4). She is a part of Jesus’ ancestry in Matthew 1:5. Even though the Moabites were descended from an incestuous relationship, God chose to be a part of that family line when he became a man. This should show us how badly God wants to have a relationship with mankind, when he will even associate himself with a bloodline that contains incest, and actually be a part of it.
It is obvious why God allowed the Bible to record the incident between Lot and his daughters. It was an historical event that was important to God’s offering of salvation to mankind. Scripture was not condoning the behavior, simply reporting what had happened.
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