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nephew of Abraham
Easton's Bible Dictionary | Smith's Bible Dictionary International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
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Genesis 11:27, 31 - Terah's grandson, son of Haran
Genesis 12:4-5 - Traveled with Abram (Abraham)
Genesis 13 - Separating, Lot chose the plain of Jordan for his flocks and Abram went to Canaan with his
Genesis 14 - Lot gets kidnapped
Genesis 19 - Corruption of sodomy at Sodom is punished; Lot escapes
Luke 17:28-32 | 2 Peter 2:7 - more about Lot
Obadiah 1:11 - apathy counts as approval when lots are cast
Jonah 1:7 - Casting lots to see who is responsible for storm
* (Heb. goral, a "pebble"), a small stone used in casting lots (Numbers 33:54; Jonah 1:7). The lot was always resorted to by the Hebrews with strictest reference to the interposition of God, and as a method of ascertaining the divine will (Proverbs 16:33), and in serious cases of doubt (Esther 3:7). Thus the lot was used at the division of the land of Canaan among the serveral tribes (Numbers 26:55; 34:13), at the detection of Achan (Joshua 7:14,18), the election of Saul to be king (1 Samuel 10:20,21), the distribution of the priestly offices of the temple service ( 1 Chronicles 24:3,5,19; Luke 1:9), and over the two goats at the feast of Atonement (Leviticus 16:8). Matthias, who was "numbered with the eleven" (Acts 1:24-26), was chosen by lot.
* (Heb. lot), a covering; veil, the son of Haran, and nephew of Abraham (Genesis 11:27). On the death of his father, he was left in charge of his grandfather Terah (31), after whose death he accompanied his uncle Abraham into Canaan ( 12:5), thence into Egypt (10), and back again to Canaan (13:1). After this he separated from him and settled in Sodom (13:5-13). There his righteous soul was "vexed" from day to day (2 Peter 2:7), and he had great cause to regret this act. Not many years after the separation he was taken captive by Chedorlaomer, and was rescued by Abraham (Genesis 14). At length, when the judgment of God descended on the guilty cities of the plain (Genesis 19:1-20), Lot was miraculously delivered. When fleeing from the doomed city his wife "looked back from behind him, and became a pillar of salt." There is to this day a peculiar crag at the south end of the Dead Sea, near Kumran, which the Arabs call Bint Sheik Lot, i.e., Lot's wife. It is "a tall, isolated needle of rock, which really does bear a curious resemblance to an Arab woman with a child upon her shoulder." From the words of warning in Luke 17:32, "Remember Lot's wife," it would seem as if she had gone back, or tarried so long behind in the desire to save some of her goods, that she became involved in the destruction which fell on the city, and became a stiffened corpse, fixed for a time in the saline incrustations. She became "a pillar of salt", i.e., as some think, of asphalt. (See SALT .)
Lot and his daughters sought refuge first in Zoar, and then, fearing to remain there longer, retired to a cave in the neighbouring mountains (Genesis 19:30). Lot has recently been connected with the people called on the Egyptian monuments Rotanu or Lotanu, who is supposed to have been the hero of the Edomite tribe Lotan.
(veil or covering ), the son of Haran, and therefore the nephew of Abraham. (Genesis 11:27,31) (B.C. before 1926-1898.) His sisters were Milcah the wife of Nahor, and Iscah, by some identified with Sarah. Haran died before the emigration of Terah and his family from Ur of the Chaldees, ver. 28, and Lot was therefore born there. He removed with the rest of his kindred to Charran, and again subsequently with Abraham and Sarai to Canaan. ch. (Genesis 12:4,5) With them he took refuge in Egypt from a famine,a nd with them returned, first to the "south," ch. (Genesis 13:1) and then to their original settlement between Bethel and Ai. vs. (Genesis 13:3,4) But the pastures of the hills of Bethel, which had with ease contained the two strangers on their first arrival, were not able any longer to bear them, so much had their possessions of sheep, goats and cattle increased. Accordingly they separated, Lot choosing the fertile plain of the Jordan, and advancing as far as Sodom. (Genesis 13:10-14) The next occurrence in the life of Lot is his capture by the four kings of the east and his rescue by Abram. ch. (Genesis 13:14) The last scene preserved to us in the history of Lot is too well known to need repetition. He was still living in Sodom, (Genesis 19:1) ... from which he was rescued by some angels on the day of its final overthrow. he fled first to Zoar, in which he found a temporary refuge during the destruction of the other cities of the plain. Where this place was situated is not known with certainty. [ZOAR] The end of Lotís wife is commonly treated as one of the difficulties of the Bible; but it surely need not be so. It cannot be necessary to create the details of the story where none are given. On these points the record is silent. The value and the significance of the story to us are contained in the allusion of Christ. (Luke 17:32) Later ages have not been satisfied so to leave the matter, but have insisted on identifying the "pillar" with some one of the fleeting forms which the perishable rock of the south end of the Dead Sea is constantly assuming in its process of decomposition and liquefaction. From the incestuous intercourse between Lot and his two daughters sprang the nations of Moab and Ammon.
The man who bore the name Lot (lot; Lot) is mentioned for the first time in Genesis 11:27, at the beginning of that section of Genesis which is entitled "the generations of Terah." After Terah's 3 sons are named, it is added that the third of these, Haran, begat Lot.
The reason for thus singling out but one of the grandsons of Terah appears in the next verse, where we are told that "Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees." For that period in the life of this family, therefore, which begins with the migration from Ur, Lot represents his father's branch of the family (Genesis 11:31). It is hardly probable that the relation between Abraham and Lot would have been what it was, had not Haran died; but be this as it may, we read this introduction of Lot into the genealogy of Terah as an anticipation of the story to which it furnishes an introduction, and in which Lot is destined to play an important part.
The sections of that story in which Lot appears are:
in Genesis 11, the migration from Ur to Haran;
In Genesis 14:14,16 Lot is termed the "brother" of Abraham; but that this does not represent a variant tradition is proved by reference to 14:12 of the same chapter (ascribed to "an independent source") and to 13:8 (ascribed to J; compare 11:28 J).
In the Bible, Lot finds mention only as the father of Moab and Ammon (Deuteronomy 2:9,19; Psalms 83:8), and in the passage in 2Pe already noticed; and, besides these places, in Luke 17:28-32. Here Lot represents the central figure in the destruction of Sodom, as Noah in the flood in the preceding context (compare the association of these two characters in 2Pe and the Koran). His deliverance is mentioned, the haste and narrowness of that escape is implied, and his wife's fate is recalled. In Jewish and Mohammedan lore (including many passages in the Koran itself), Lot is a personage of importance, about whom details are told which fancy has added to the sober traditions of old Israel. But particularly for Mohammed there was point of attachment in Lot's career, offered in Genesis 19:7,14. Like Mohammed to the men of wicked Mecca, Lot becomes a preacher of righteousness and a messenger of judgment to the men of wicked Sodom. He is one of the line of apostles, sent to reveal God's will and purpose to his contemporaries.
The common view of those who deny the historical reality of Lot is that this name simply stands for the ethnic group, Moab and Ammon. Wellhausen, e.g., expressly calls "Lot" a national name (Volksname). As to what is told of him in Ge [Genesis] he remarks:
"Were it not for the remarkable depression in which the Dead Sea lies, Sodom and Gomorrah would not have perished; were it not for the little flat tongue of land that reaches out into the swamp from the Southeast, Lot would have fled at once to the mountains of his sons, Moab and Ammon, and not have made the detour by Zoar, which merely serves the purpose of explaining why this corner is excepted from `the overthrow,' to the territory of which it really belongs" (Prolegomena 6, 323). Meyer confesses that nothing can be made of Lot, because "any characteristic feature that might furnish a point of attachment is entirely lacking." The first of the families of the Horites of Seir was named Lotan (Genesis 36:20,22), and this writer believes it "probable that this name is derived from Lot; but that Lot was ever a tribal name (Stammname) follows neither from this fact (rather the contrary) nor from the designation of Moab and the bene `Ammon as `Sons of Lot' " (Die Israeliten und ihre Nachbarstamme, 311; Compare 261, 339). If "Horite" was understood as "cave-dweller," the story in Genesis 19:30 might be adduced in support of this combination. But the most recent line of reasoning concerning these patriarchal figures makes their names "neither Divine names nor tribal names, whether in actual use or regarded as such, but rather simple personal names like Tom, Dick and Harry. .... Typical names they became .... so that .... Israel's story-tellers would connect the name of Lot with the overthrow of the cities" (Gressmann, article in ZATW, 1910). These names were chosen just because "they were very common at the time when the narratives were stamped into types"; later they became unfashionable, but the story-tellers held fast to the old names. "One sees from this at once into how ancient a time the proper names Abraham and Lot must reach, and understands therefore the more easily how they could be changed into tribal ancestors." It does not require the cautions, uttered by writers of this way of thinking, against regarding their views as a return to the old historical view of the patriarchs, to remind us that, in spite of all that may be said to the contrary, the present trend of thought among the most radical critics of the Genesis-traditions is much mote favorable to that conservative historical view than were the opinions which they have overthrown. So that it may justly be asserted, as Gressmann writes: "Confidence in tradition is in any case on the rise."
This woman, unknown by name, figures in the narrative of Lot that relates his escape from Sodom. She is mentioned in Genesis 19 only in verses 15-17, where she is commanded to flee from the doomed city with her husband and daughters, and is laid hold upon by the angelic visitors in their effort to hasten the slow departure; and in 19:26, where she alone of the four fugitives disobeys the warning, looks back, and becomes a "pillar of salt" This disobedience, with the moral state it implied and the judgment it entailed, is held up as an example by Christ in Luke 17:32. In the Scriptures this is all that is said of a person and event that furnished the basis for a great deal of speculation. Josephus (Ant., I, xi, 4) adds to the statement derived from Gen, "She was changed into a pillar of salt," the words, "for I visited it, and it still remains even now" (see also The Wisdom of Solomon 10:7).
Among Christian writers contemporary with and subsequent to Josephus, as well as among the Jews themselves and other Orientals, the same assertion is found, and down to recent times travelers have reported the persistence of such a "pillar of salt," either on the testimony of natives or as eyewitnesses. The question of the origin and nature of these "pillars" is a part of the larger question of Sodom and its neighborhood (see SALT; SIDDIM; SLIME); for that no one particular "pillar" has persisted through the centuries may be regarded as certain; nor if it had, would the identification of Lot's wife with it and with it alone be ascertainable. This is just an early, persistent and notable case of that "identification" of Biblical sites which prevails all over the Holy Land. It is to be classed with the myth-and legend-building turn of mind in simple peoples, which has e.g. embroidered upon this Old Testament account of the destruction of Sodom such marvelous details and embellishments.
The principal thing to observe is the vagueness and the simplicity of the story in Gen. For it does not necessarily imply the "metamorphosis" popularly attributed to it, in the strict sense of that word. And it lacks, even in a narrative like this, where the temptation would be greatest, all indications of that "popular archaeology" or curiosity, which according to some critics, is alleged to have furnished the original motive for the invention of the patriarchal narratives. "She became a pillar of salt," and "Remember Lot's wife": this is the extent of the Biblical allusions. All the rest is comment, or legend, or guess, or "science."
J. Oscar Boyd