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And it came to pass, that when they had brought them forth abroad, that He said, Escape for thy life ; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain ; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

And Lot said unto him, Oh! not so my LORD.. Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto

me in saving my life : and. I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me and I die.

Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one : Oh let me escape thither, is it not a little one ? and my soul shall live.

And He said unto him, see I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither, for I cannot do any thing till thou be come hither.

T'herefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen' upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar,

Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven : and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

But Lot's wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

And Abraham gat up early in the morning, to the place where he stood before the Lord, And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and behold, and lo the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent


Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he over, threw the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him, for he feared to dwell in Zoar; and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.

And the first born bare him a son, and called his pame Moab; he was the father of the Moabites : and the younger she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi ; the same was the father of the children of Ammon.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. From comparing this section with the foregoing one, we may know, that the Angels who came to Lot were the same who had accompanied the Lord to Abraham's tent.

Of the nature and office of Angels we can form no perfect conception, for they are invisible to us at pre• sent;

oar ideas of them níust be collected from the Scriptures, which acquaint us, that, in comparison of the LORD God, they are imperfect beings*: that they are appointed as guardians to good ment; that they conduct departed souls to paradise $ ; that they desire the welfare of mankind s ; and will, at the last day, be employed in separating the wicked from the good. We are also taught, that Angels are not to be worshipped l.

Lot, as well as Abraham, supposed, from the form in which the Angels appeared, that they were men; and he was equally ready to shew courtesy to them, which they (purposely, as we may suppose) give him an opportunity of doing, that the goodness of God might be vindicated, in saving a man, who utterly disclaimed the crimes, which brought Divine judgmetits on the nativet of the place

* Job iy. 18. Matt. xxiv, 36. Heb. i. 4, 13. + Ps. dj. 11. Matt. xviii. 10. Heb. i. 14. Luke xvi. 28. Luke ii. 15. xv. 10. | Rev. xix, 10. xxii. 8, 9.

vindicated, '+ Ezek. xvi. 49,&c.

So great was the licentiousness of the inhabitants of Sodom, and its environs, that the weary traveller could not be invited to take refreshment in a private house, without being subject to the insults of a rade rabble. All that Lot could do towards protecting the strangers that came in co lodge with him, was, to expose himself to tre outrages of his wicked neighbours, which he did without hesitation. His heavenly guests, who were sent to save him, delivered him out of their hands, and. punished his impious adversaries, as their crimes de

. .. served.

Sodom, and the cities and country connected with it, were notorious for many sins. The prophet Ezekiel informs ust, that their iniquity consisted in pride, luxury, idleness, and want of charity to the poor, That the inhabitants were haughty, and abominable for the most detestable vices, and there was no good practised by them.

It seems that Lot did not make such expedition to depart, as the exigency of the case required. Perhaps he was solicitous to preserve his goods; but his angelic. friends hastened him and his family away, and conducted them safely out of the city: here the commission of the heavenly messengers ended; for we find it said in the next verse, that “when they had brought them forth “ abroad, He said, escape for thy life," &c. ; and by Lot's: answer it is evident, that the LORD manifested HIMSELF to him, and received the prayer, which would have been very improperly addressed to the Angels.

We are nct to suppose from the expression, “ I cannot : “ do any thing, &c." that God's power was limited. It * 2 Pet. ii. 7, 8.


refers to His merciful intention of saving Lot and his family, on which account alone He suspended the execution of the judgment He had resolved to bring upon the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is mentioned, that the sun was risen upon the earth. In all probability, this bright luminary shone with its usual lustre, and gilded the mountains and plains with its cheerful rays, while the luxurious and careless inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah either reposed on their -soft beds, or pursued with ardour their worldly affairs, without paying their early adorations to the God who made them. In a moment, the firmament melted with fervent heat, and a shower of fire and brimstone poured down on their devoted 'heads, burning up and destoying whatever grew on the surface of the ground, and tendering the earth from that time forth, unfit for culture or habitation *! From this instance' we learn, that the element of fire, as well as that of water, is entirely under the government of Divine Providence, and may be rendered either an inestimable blessing, or a most distressing evil.

The sin of Lot's wife is supposed to have been infide. lity t. Probably she did not believe that what had been revealed to her would come to pass. The judgment inflicted upon her was a most exemplary one, and remained for many ages à monument of an unbelieving souk Josephus, a learned Jewish històrian, says, that the Pillar of Salt was to be seen in his days. Interpreters tell us, that it did not consist of common salt, but of a metallic substance, such as was hewn out of rocks, like marble, with which it was usual to build houses

When Abraham, with anxious solicitude, repaired early in the morning to the place where he had the pre* Deut xxix. 93. Isa, xi i. 19. Jer. I, 40. f Wisd. x. 7, See Essay for a new Translation of the Bible.

ceding day stood before the Lord, how greatly must he have been affected with the awful sight which he beheld! Yet he arraigned not the justice of the LORD. He now understood, that nations are but as drops in the bucket, when God cometh to take vengeance on the wicked *.

The circumstances of the calamity not reaching Abraham, and of Lot's deliverance, are particularly pointed out by the sacred historian, and strongly intimate, that the whole transaction was directed by an over-ruling Providence.

Much practical instruction may be collected from the section before us. In the first place we learn from it, and the passages

of Scripture referred to, to be thankful to God for making known to us the ministry of Angels ; and we may

look forward with an increase of pleasure to a state, where, instead of being received with jealousy and envy as in. novating strangers, we shall find a set of benevolent friends, who have been accustomed to interest themselves in the welfare of mankind, and who will rejoice in our exaltation to as great a share of blessedness as they themselves enjoy.

We are also here taught another lesson of good nature and hospitality

We have likewise an additional instance of the interposition of Divine Providence, which shews, that the LORD, though He employs Angels as His ministers, does not abandon the human race to the government of imperfect beings; but is himself the SUPREME DisPoser of all events.

From the command given to Lot to escape, we are admonished, that it is better to leave our worldly possessions behind, than to stay and perish with the wicked.

* Isaiah xl. 15.


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