Very little is said of Lot’s wife and daughters, but as we read the account of their flight from Sodom, we learn more than we want to know from their behavior and their words.
We read in Genesis 13 that Abraham gave Lot a choice of where to move with his great herds, rather than have strife between their herdsmen. Lot chose the better land near the city of Sodom (Gen. 13:8-12).
Whether this was totally Lot’s choice or perhaps a decision his wife helped him make, because of the value of the land, we cannot know for sure (Gen. 13:10-11). At any rate, the wealth and beauty of the plain seems to have been the guiding force in this decision. Did they consider that they might be corrupted by the evil cities nearby (1 Cor. 15:33)? Note that they did not continue to live in the “well-watered plain” (Gen. 13:12) but moved even closer to the cities and their evil influences.
We can read that Lot himself was continually disturbed by what went on around him (Gen. 13:13; 2 Pet. 2:7-8)—probably for the sake of his wife and daughters. Today many families have agreed to move to a new place for the sake of a job, and yet they fail to consider whether the church is strong where they have decided to go. Should wives encourage husbands to choose a career in a wicked city where their Christianity will be smothered and their children lost?
In Genesis 14 we read of the five kings who came to make war on Sodom and Gomorrah, taking Lot and his family captive and seizing all their earthly goods (Gen. 14:1-2, 12). Abraham and his little band of 318 servants went to rescue Lot and restore his goods (Gen. 14:14-16). Think of the faith of those simple folk, who would be willing to stand against five ungodly kings! Though it seems incredible, Lot and his family return to the evil city (Gen. 19:1).
Lot’s wife and he show hospitality to what appeared to be complete strangers (Gen. 19:1-3; Heb. 13:2), because the men of the city would have attacked them. These “strangers” (Gen. 18:20-21; Gen. 19:1) gave the family a warning, which was not wholly accepted though the message was clear and probably well understood (Gen. 19:12-13). Lot’s sons-in-law (men betrothed to his daughters) did not heed the warning to flee (Gen. 19:14).
God urged Lot’s wife and family to escape without looking back, but too many physical attachments caused them to delay (Gen. 19:16). Finally they were forced out of the city and told to escape to the mountain (Gen. 19:17). Unfortunately the temptation to look back at the city she had loved was too great for Lot’s wife and, of course, she was turned into a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:26). The cities were destroyed by fire (Gen. 19:24-25).
What became of Lot’s daughters? The girls and their father demanded to go to Zoar rather than follow God’s command to flee to the mountains. Even though God gave them permission to go to the little city, they feared to remain there and so they dwelt in a cave (Gen. 19:30). Did their father displease God in doubting His care (Gen. 19:17-22)? Compare Lot’s and his daughter’s request to Balaam’s request in Numbers 22:9-12; 15-22. Even though God allows men to disobey His original command, He is not necessarily pleased (Num. 22:32-33). Undoubtedly God was also displeased with Lot and his daughters (Gen. 19:30).
Read of the incestuous conduct of Lot’s daughters (Gen. 19:31-38). It can never be God’s will that anyone do evil that good may come (Rom. 3:8). The end will never justify the means, and, of course, God will not, in any way, tolerate evil. Naturally, the lack of faith we noticed earlier in their disobedience to God’s commands to leave Sodom and flee into the mountain is the same lack of faith we see demonstrated in this incident. They did not trust God to find husbands for them and to give them children. Moab and Ammon eventually became nations, but they were the sons born because of this lack of faith (Gen. 19:37-38). These descendants of Lot’s daughters were to be the enemies of Israel for a long time to come (Num. 21:29; 22:1, 6; Judges 11:4; Deut. 23:3)—enemies of God’s chosen people.
Jesus warns us to remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32). Why is she to be remembered? She is remembered for looking back. Jesus tells us to leave the old life we have known and begin completely anew. Two major lessons we are to learn from Jesus’ statement concerning Lot’s wife are: 1) watchfulness for the Day of Judgment and (Matt. 24:42-44) and 2) not loving the world and the things of the world (1 John 2:15). Our Heavenly Father does not tolerate deliberate disobedience in anyone (Num. 20:8a, Num. 20:10-12). It was likely the same quality of heart in Lot’s wife, which caused her both to be unable to leave the city without being forced and to look back as she was leaving. What a terrible price she and her daughters paid for their fleshly choices (Gen. 13:11-13; Gen. 19:26).
All photo credits belong to Treasures of the Bible, Henry Davenport Northrop, D.D., published by International Publishing Company, 1894: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/