Lesson 2—LOT COVETS THE PLAIN OF JORDAN
Not much information is given about Lot in the Old Testament scriptures. Genesis, chapter 13 tells the story of Abraham and Lot and how “the land [between Bethel and Hai] was not able to bear them” because their substance was great. Also the herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abraham began to quarrel about where their cattle would graze.
6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
Notice in Gen. 13:8-9 that Abraham was willing to allow Lot to choose the land he wanted and to take whatever was left for himself. Looking toward the plain of Jordan, before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot saw that it was as well-watered and lush as the Garden of Eden. Not considering the wickedness of the cities of the plain, Lot chose to dwell near Sodom because his heart coveted the well-watered pasture land where he could feed his cattle (Gen 13:12). By contrast, we see, “Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD” (Gen. 13:18). This action on Abraham’s part is even more magnanimous when we consider the custom of that day regarding elder members of a family as patriarchs.
How did Lot’s covetousness ultimately affect him and his family? Not long after this incident, we see Lot actually living in the city of Sodom when God determined to destroy it for its wickedness. In Genesis chapter 18, the LORD and two angels visited Abraham and told him what was in store for the wicked cities. Begging first for the city to be spared for the sake of 50 righteous, then 40, then 20 and finally 10, Abraham was sorely grieved to find there were not even 10 righteous souls in Sodom and that it most certainly would be destroyed.
In Genesis, chapter 19, the scene changed from Abraham to Lot himself, where two angels visited Lot to warn him to flee with his family before the city is destroyed. Seeing strangers going into Lot’s home, the men of the city demanded to “know” them. Because Lot could not control the Sodomites who wished to abuse the two visitors carnally, the angels struck the Sodomites blind to save Lot (Gen 19:1-11). Lot and his family fled the city. Lot’s wife, however, did not follow the angels’ orders and looked back at Sodom. Because of her disobedience she was turned into a “pillar of salt” (Gen 19:26). Jesus warned, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32) as a reminder of the disastrous results of disobedience. Even today, the perverted sexual orientation of Sodomites derives its name from this wicked city.
Following his escape from Sodom, Lot and his two daughters lived in a cave near Zoar (Gen. 19:30-38). His two daughters made their father drink wine and enticed him into incest. They claimed to do this because “there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth” (Gen 19:31). Out of that union came two sons, Moab and Ben-Ammi, the ancestors of the Moabites and the Ammonites, nations that perpetually gave trouble to Israel and Judah.
Lot’s character appears to be revealed by the major decision which he made when Abraham gave him the choice of land. He chose to pitch his tent with the worldly Sodomites, seeking riches and a life of ease. He prospered for a while, but this decision eventually led to his humiliation and the tragic loss of his wife and daughters.
1. Who was Lot’s father? What was the relationship between his father and Abraham?
2. Lot was Abraham’s _____________, who accompanied him from Mesopotamia to Canaan and to and from Egypt (Gen 11:27-31; 12:4-5; 13:1).
3. Why did Abraham not want to quarrel about the pasture land (Gen. 13:8)?
4. What disastrous decision caused Lot to lose his family and everything he had?
5. It would be quite easy for us to condemn Lot totally for his sin of covetousness, but what was God’s view of Lot (2 Pet. 2:6-9)?
6. How does Genesis 19 show Lot was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked…vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (Gen. 19:7). What other verses in Genesis 19 show Lot’s displeasure with what went on there?
7. What might cause Lot’s wife to look back toward Sodom?
8. Judging between Lot’s reaction to leaving Sodom and his wife’s reaction, who might have been the one to demand the family “pitch toward Sodom?”
9. The two daughters show such a lack of faith in bearing children by their father. What worldly wisdom guided their actions (Gen. 19:31)?
10. RESEARCH QUESTION: Genesis 13:10 speaks of the well watered plain of Jordan. “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.” Since Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire, what change has taken place in the appearance of the land area?