The Story of Lot and His Daughters Essay examples

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The Story of Lot and His Daughters

As discussed in class, the Old Testament is a story of the constant struggle between the Lord and his authority, and humans and their rebellion. God brings down punishment upon Man, but saves a few righteous individuals. It is within the framework of this constant struggle that the rules of an evolving society are laid down and recorded. In the story of Lot and his daughters, we see the taboos of disobedience to the Lord, incest and poor hospitality condemned.

The pericope begins in Genesis 19, when the Lord tells Abraham that he will destroy Sodom unless he can find ten righteous men in the city. The angels of the lord come to Sodom to find its righteous men, and Abraham’s nephew, Lot, receives them. He treats them as honored guests, washing their feet and feeding them. A crowd of overly curious Sodomites harass Lot, demanding to see his guests. Lot protects his guests, even offering his two virgin daughters up in their stead.

This can be read in two ways. One sees this as an act of pandering his daughters out. This calls into question Lot’s values. His good treatment of the angels, and God’s subsequent protection of Lot, shows him to be righteous, so this must not be the case. I choose to go with the chain of thought that this is meant to be an example of the Sodomites’ lack of interest in women. They ignore the offer and try to attack Lot and his household.

Lot’s actions stress the importance of being a good host at a time when the only things that mattered were one’s family or tribe name, and one’s fair treatment of those one came in contact with. In Dante’s Inferno, in the Ninth Circle of Hell, traitors to guests are second only to traitors to benefactors as far ...

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...ventually attempting to curse and rule over them. In Deuteronomy 2:8-21, we see that the Lord had the Israelites leave both tribes alone, showing a small amount of favor for Lot and his descendants. In fact, the Moabites resurface throughout the Old Testament, at times even subjugating the Israelites (Judges 3:12-29). It is possible that the Lord used the Moabites to teach the Israelites the importance of staying true to him, again echoing the constant struggle between the benefactor and his family.

This rebellion and punishment simply repeat the cycle of the power struggle between God and Mankind that the Old Testament is based on. It is a book of lessons for living a life in a time when societies were still learning how to function. Through the story of Lot, three rules of society are re-stressed. They are to obey authority, be hospitable, and avoid incest.

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