Friday, May 09, 2014

9. Genesis 18-19 (Sodom and Gomorrah)

Genesis 18-19 finish out the week
  • Sacred trees: Genesis 18 switches back to YHWH. Once again, the LORD appears by way of messengers, yet it is understood as the LORD appearing. Once again, the LORD appears by the oaks of Mamre.
  • Ancient hospitality: Abraham runs to greet the three men, not because he knows they are angels, but because he is a righteous man. In the ancient world, kindness to strangers was a very important virtue in a world where travel could be very dangerous. Abraham thus contrasts significantly with Sodom in the next chapter.
  • Sarah laughs: Sarah gets criticized for laughing in this YHWH section. Abraham did not get criticized for laughing in the previous Elohim section.
  • God does what's right: Great quote--The LORD does what is right! There turn out not to be 10 righteous people in Sodom. After Abraham's intercession, Sodom will still be destroyed.
  • Lot's hospitality: Somehow there are now only two angels in Genesis 19. Lot shows the same virtue of welcoming strangers that Abraham did, welcoming them into his home.
  • Sodomy threatened: The men of the city want to rape the visitors. Think prison rape, not homosexuality. In fact, Lot offers them his daughters. These men would have been married and certainly had children. This is a heinous violation of the law of kindness to strangers and is an example of the violent impulse we also see in Judges 19
  • Biblical afterlife of Sodom: Jesus compares the rejection of God's messengers in Matthew 10:14-15 to the atrocious attitude of Sodom to strangers. Hebrews 13:2 reminds that we should host strangers because sometimes they are angels. This was a common idea in the ancient world (see the story of Baucis and Philemon and Acts 14). Jude 7 condemns the men of Sodom for going after "strange" (angelic?) flesh.
  • Cities destroyed: God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's wife turns into a pillar of salt.
  • Shameful Moabites and Ammonites: The story of Lot's daughters sleeping with him and bearing Moab and Ammon disgraced these neighbors of Israel. Their origins were scandalous.
Previous notes:
1. Genesis 1:1-2:3 (Creation)
2. Genesis 2:4-3:24 (The Fall)
3. Genesis 4-5 (Cain and Abel)
4. Genesis 6-9 (The Flood)
5. Genesis 10-11 (The Tower of Babel)
6. Genesis 12 (The Call of Abram)
7. Genesis 13-14 (Melchizedek)
8. Genesis 15-17 (Hagar and Ishmael)

Next post Monday on Genesis 20-22.

No comments: