Posted by: Alicia | November 23, 2008

Why Did the Mob Visit Lot’s House?

Too often scriptures from the bible are used to make a point, when in reality the verse or verses have nothing to do with the argument at all.  A good example of this is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

If you’ve read my teaching on Genesis 19:1-25, then you already know the reason for God’s judgment against these two cities had nothing to do with homosexuality.  But instead it had to do with a corrupt government and spiritual leaders, and an overwhelming lack of concern for the poor, needy, widows and orphans (on top of many, many other horrible things).  

There was one more thing, however, that I didn’t touch on in my teaching; why did the mob come to Lot’s house in the first place?  What was the trigger that sent these people (by the way, it wasn’t just men), in a rage to Lot’s house to demand that he turn over his visitors so they could be interrogated?  To understand this we must first look 5 chapters (and approximately 26 years) prior to the Sodom and Gomorrah story, in Genesis Chapter 14.  Here is the chapter in its entirety:

Genesis Chapter 14:

1 And it came about in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim,

relief image of an Elamite

relief image of an Elamite

2 that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 All these came as allies to the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar. 8 And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim, 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar–four kings against five. 10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the hill country. 11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed. 12 They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom.

13 Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were allies with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.

17 Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;  20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all.  

21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” 22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, `I have made Abram rich.’ 24 “I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.”

In Summary:

According to this chapter, we learn that there was a war between the kings of Shinar, Ellasa, Elam, Goim (4 kings) and the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela (5 kings).  For 12 years the 5 kings (Sodom, etc.) had served Chedorlaomer (King of Elam), but in the 13th year they decided to rebel.

In the 14th year Chedorlaomer decided to conquer several cities, and as a result he successfully defeated the Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim, Horites, Amalekites and the Amorites.  And realizing they were next, the 5 kings decided to do battle with Chedolaomer and his allies.  However, Chedorlaomer was more powerful so the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled and fell into tar pits, and those who survived fled into the hill country.  Then, with everyone gone, King Chedorlaomer and his allies ransaked Sodom and Gomorrah and took all their goods and food, along with Lot and all his possessions (for he was living in Sodom).

And as the rest of the story goes, Abraham rescued Lot and got back all his possessions, and even gave the King of Sodom his possessions and people back, except a small share for the men that went with him into battle.

So what does all this have to do with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah?  A great deal.  But before we go into it, let’s step forward a few thousand years to the year 2001 AD; September 11th, 2001.   As we all know, this day changed the United States, and the world in many, many ways.  But the biggest thing it did, at least to those of us in the U.S., is it made us hypervigilant concerning terrorism.  We are all concerned about the possibility of another terrorist attack in our country, and as a result we, whether we want to admit it or not, question the motives of anyone that “looks” suspicious; especially right after the attacks.  We’ve all heard of the stories of women wearing headscarves and men with turbins being miss-tagged as possible terrorists.  And of anyone even partially “looking” Middle Eastern as coming under suspicion.

Well imagine, if you will, your entire population being taken as slaves, and all your property and food being stolen.  Would this not make you hyper-vigilant against it ever happening again?  I think so.  It would be for me.

With that in mind, it is very, very likely that the “roaming mob” was a group of vigilantees taking into their own hands the process of interrogating any suspicious foreign looking visitors.   Afterall, didn’t they need to keep this from happening again? 

Then along comes two strange looking men, who are met at the gate by Lot, the foreigner, and welcomed into his home.  Hmmm .. wasn’t Lot a friend of that foreigner by the name of Abraham?  Yes, and who is Lot anyway?  How can we trust him?  He’s not even one of us!  Let’s go get these two men and interrogate them ourselves and find out what he’s up to.  And you know the rest of the story.

Ending summary:

The story of Sodom and Gommorah actually had its beginning in the story of the “War of the Kings” in Genesis Chapter 14.  And if you take into account what happened in this war, you have a better understanding what was the driving force behind the mob in Genesis Chapter 19.  And with this understanding, you now have another explanation for the story of Sodom and Gommorah, and can help bring an end to the lies being perpetuated by the religious right.

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