Sodom and Gomorrah
written by Moses* in Genesis 18:16-19:29
Abraham Pleads for Sodom
16 Then the men left and went to a place where they could look down at Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on their way. 17 And the Lord said to himself, “I will not hide from Abraham what I am going to do. 18 His descendants will become a great and mighty nation, and through him I will bless all the nations. 19 I have chosen him in order that he may command his sons and his descendants to obey me and to do what is right and just. If they do, I will do everything for him that I have promised.”
20 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “There are terrible accusations against Sodom and Gomorrah, and their sin is very great. 21 I must go down to find out whether or not the accusations which I have heard are true.”
22 Then the two men left and went on toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23 Abraham approached the Lord and asked, “Are you really going to destroy the innocent with the guilty? 24 If there are fifty innocent people in the city, will you destroy the whole city? Won't you spare it in order to save the fifty? 25 Surely you won't kill the innocent with the guilty. That's impossible! You can't do that. If you did, the innocent would be punished along with the guilty. That is impossible. The judge of all the earth has to act justly.”
26 The Lord answered, “If I find fifty innocent people in Sodom, I will spare the whole city for their sake.”
27 Abraham spoke again: “Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. I am only a man and have no right to say anything. 28 But perhaps there will be only forty-five innocent people instead of fifty. Will you destroy the whole city because there are five too few?”
The Lord answered, “I will not destroy the city if I find forty-five innocent people.”
29 Abraham spoke again: “Perhaps there will be only forty.”
He replied, “I will not destroy it if there are forty.”
30 Abraham said, “Please don't be angry, Lord, but I must speak again. What if there are only thirty?”
He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty.”
31 Abraham said, “Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. Suppose that only twenty are found?”
He said, “I will not destroy the city if I find twenty.”
32 Abraham said, “Please don't be angry, Lord, and I will speak only once more. What if only ten are found?”
He said, “I will not destroy it if there are ten.” 33 After he had finished speaking with Abraham, the Lord went away, and Abraham returned home.
The Sinfulness of Sodom
1 When the two angels came to Sodom that evening, Lot was sitting at the city gate. As soon as he saw them, he got up and went to meet them. He bowed down before them 2 and said, “Sirs, I am here to serve you. Please come to my house. You can wash your feet and spend the night. In the morning you can get up early and go on your way.”
But they answered, “No, we will spend the night here in the city square.”
3 He kept on urging them, and finally they went with him to his house. Lot ordered his servants to bake some bread and prepare a fine meal for the guests. When it was ready, they ate it.
4 Before the guests went to bed, the men of Sodom surrounded the house. All the men of the city, both young and old, were there. 5 They called out to Lot and asked, “Where are the men who came to stay with you tonight? Bring them out to us!” The men of Sodom wanted to have sex with them.
6 Lot went outside and closed the door behind him. 7 He said to them, “Friends, I beg you, don't do such a wicked thing! 8 Look, I have two daughters who are still virgins. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want with them. But don't do anything to these men; they are guests in my house, and I must protect them.”
9 But they said, “Get out of our way, you foreigner! Who are you to tell us what to do? Out of our way, or we will treat you worse than them.” They pushed Lot back and moved up to break down the door. 10 But the two men inside reached out, pulled Lot back into the house, and shut the door. 11 Then they struck all the men outside with blindness, so that they couldn't find the door.
Lot Leaves Sodom
12 The two men said to Lot, “If you have anyone else here—sons, daughters, sons-in-law, or any other relatives living in the city—get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The Lord has heard the terrible accusations against these people and has sent us to destroy Sodom.”
14 Then Lot went to the men that his daughters were going to marry, and said, “Hurry up and get out of here; the Lord is going to destroy this place.” But they thought he was joking.
15 At dawn the angels tried to make Lot hurry. “Quick!” they said. “Take your wife and your two daughters and get out, so that you will not lose your lives when the city is destroyed.” 16 Lot hesitated. The Lord, however, had pity on him; so the men took him, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city. 17 Then one of the angels said, “Run for your lives! Don't look back and don't stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won't be killed.”
18 But Lot answered, “No, please don't make us do that, sir. 19 You have done me a great favor and saved my life. But the hills are too far away; the disaster will overtake me, and I will die before I get there. 20 Do you see that little town? It is near enough. Let me go over there—you can see it is just a small place—and I will be safe.”
21 He answered, “All right, I agree. I won't destroy that town. 22 Hurry! Run! I can't do anything until you get there.”
Because Lot called it small, the town was named Zoar.
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
23 The sun was rising when Lot reached Zoar. 24 Suddenly the Lord rained burning sulfur on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah 25 and destroyed them and the whole valley, along with all the people there and everything that grew on the land. 26 But Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
27 Early the next morning Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood in the presence of the Lord. 28 He looked down at Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole valley and saw smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a huge furnace. 29 But when God destroyed the cities of the valley where Lot was living, he kept Abraham in mind and allowed Lot to escape to safety.