A Daily Genesis

Genesis 19:1-4

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 19:1a . .The two angels arrived in Sodom[/B]

The word for "angels" is from [I]mal'ak[/I] (mal-awk') from a root meaning to dispatch as a deputy; viz: a messenger; specifically of God, i.e. an angel and/or a prophet, priest or teacher-- someone who speaks for and/or represents another.

Mal'ak doesn't eo ipso indicate a celestial being; because the word is focused more on an office or a function rather than a person. According to verse 3, these angels were capable of consuming food the same as were Abraham's human guests up in Hebron. According to verse 10, they were gender specific; viz: males. So from all outward appearances, these particular mal'aks were normal, fully functioning human beings.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 19:1b . . in the evening,[/B]

The word for "evening" is [I]'ereb[/I] (eh'-reb) which technically means dusk; which Webster's defines as: the darker part of twilight after sundown. It's the same word as the evenings of Gen 1:5-31.

'ereb is a bit ambiguous. In spite of its technical meaning; 'ereb doesn't eo ipso indicate twilight. It can also indicate any daytime hour between high noon and sunset e.g. Sam 17:16 where Goliath taunted Israel twice a Day-- once in the morning, and once in the afternoon.

On the surface, the two men appear to be ordinary travelers pulling into town for the night after a day's journey. That's a sensible choice. Sodom was walled, and much safer than camping out in the field where they would be vulnerable to brigands and wild animals. In those days, the Jordan valley had lions in it and Canaan was still pretty much out on the lawless frontier.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 19:1c . . as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.[/B]

In those days the gate vicinity was an important civic location where people could pick up the latest news and conduct public business like elections, marriages, notary public, municipal court, rallies, and soap-box speeches. It was in the gate of Bethlehem where Ruth's husband Boaz defended her cause and claimed the woman of Moab for his wife. (Ruth 4)

Lot probably wrapped up every one of his days at the gate before going on home; kind of like an ancient Miller time. Even today, either a newspaper or a television news program caps the day for many men in America.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 19:1d . .When Lot saw them, he rose to greet them[/B]

Don't miss this man's courteous manners. Even living amongst the wickedest people in the whole region, Lot still practiced his uncle's brand of hospitality. No doubt a result of the years he spent under Abraham's wing. Actually Lot was a very good man in spite of his town's reputation. He stood out like a carnation blooming in a landfill.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 19:1e-2a . . bowing low with his face to the ground, he said: Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant's house to spend the night, and bathe your feet; then you may be on your way early.[/B]

Bowing low is both an act of worship and/or deference to one's superiors. The word is [I]shachah[/I] (shaw-khaw') the same word used at Gen 22:5 for Abraham's worship during the course of offering his son Isaac as a burnt offering; and during Abraham's bargaining with Heth's kin at Gen 23:7.

Something about the look of these strangers impressed Lot. He probably didn't take in every stranger who came to Sodom; but must have sensed something unusual in these two and decided right then and there that they must stay at his home that night.

The word for "lords" that Genesis' author chose for the messengers is [I]'adown[/I] (aw-done') which is a nondescript title of respect like Master, Sir, your Lordship, and/or Mister; and can apply to ordinary human beings like as in Rachel's respect for her father Laban in Gen 32:35.

Coupled with hospitality, was no doubt Lot's fear for these stranger's safety. Lot knew Sodom, and knew what might happen to those men if they stayed anywhere else but in his home and behind his walls. Exactly why Lot took an interest in these men's safety isn't stated. It could be that they were unusually handsome and well-favored, and he very well knew what happens to attractive strangers after dark in the town of Sodom. I suspect that those people enjoyed some very perverted live entertainment.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 19:2b . . But they said: No, we will spend the night in the square.[/B]

Their response was most likely a customary refusal, with the intention of accepting Lot's hospitality only after some polite resistance to test the sincerity of his offer. Their response to Lot is somewhat different than the response of the men who visited Abraham. Those accepted Abraham's offer immediately, and without resistance.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 19:3 . . But he insisted, so they turned his way and entered his house. He prepared a feast for them and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.[/B]

Lot's is the very first mention of unleavened bread in the Bible and it won't show up again until Exodus 12:8 in the Passover meal.

The Hebrew word for "unleavened" is [I]matstsah[/I] (mats-tsaw') which means, specifically: an unfermented cake or loaf; in other words: bread made with sweet dough rather than sour dough.

It's easy to make sour dough bread without the addition of cultured yeast simply by putting fresh dough in a warm place and letting nature take its course because even fresh non-yeasted dough retains a quantity of its own natural yeast after milling, which will cause fresh dough to go bad all by itself over time without the addition of cultured yeast. So it's not the yeast content that categorizes bread as leavened or unleavened; it's simply whether the bread is made with spoiled dough or fresh dough; viz: aged dough or new dough.

"Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" 1Cor 5:6)

In the days prior to baking with cultured yeast, cooks kept a supply of spoiled dough on hand for mixing with fresh dough and thus considerably reduced the time required for fermentation by taking advantage of the spoiled dough's yeast content. They probably didn't know all that much about the properties of fungi in those days but one thing they did know was that when they mixed some old dough with new and let it set for a bit, the blended batch tended to make a softer, puffy bread due to minute bubbles in the mix; which today we know is carbon dioxide.

But either way, bread with leavened dough takes longer to make because time has to be allotted for the yeasts to do their job. So if you're in a hurry to feed someone, then unfermented dough is the wiser choice; for example at Ex 12:1-11 the Lord's passover instructions dictate the use of unleavened bread no doubt due to the urgency of the Jews' departure from Egypt.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 19:4 . .They had not yet lain down, when the townspeople, the men of Sodom, young and old-- all the people to the last man --gathered about the house.[/B]

The word for "men" is from [I]'enowsh[/I] (en-oshe') : an ambiguous word that means: a mortal; a human being in general (singly or collectively). It can also mean: husband, person, and people.

So it wasn't just the males; it was everybody, young and old, gathered around Lot's door. All of the women, all of the kids, and all of the men. The entire town.

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