Who Was Lot In The Bible? A Biblical Study On the Life and Death Of Lot

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Who was Lot in the Bible?  What was it about his life that can help us learn something?

Who was Lot?

Lot was Abraham’s nephew and we know nothing about Lot until he and Abraham (Abram for now) and all his family are called by God into a land they had never seen as we read in Genesis 12: 1-2 where “the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing’ so “Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.  And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan” (Gen 12:4-5).  There is no record of why Lot’s father and mother didn’t come or if they were even around but apparently they had left Lot in Abraham’s care.

Who Was Lot In The Bible

Abraham and Lot Separate

When they get to the Negeb, Abram and Lot “had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock” (Gen 13:5-7a) so Abram graciously offered to give Lot the choice of land (Gen 13:9) so “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.).  So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east” (Gen 13:10-11a).  Lot selfishly chose the best land and then, “Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.  Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord” (Gen 13:12a-13) and that would prove to be a bad move.  Lot already had the choicest of land so why would he move his tent as far as Sodom?  Could it be the enticement of sinful practices going on there or a place where Lot could make more money in the sheep business?  For sure, Lot should have known better than to move his tent in among “great sinners against the Lord.”

Lot Taken Captive

When an alliance of kings swept into Sodom, the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela were defeated and fled into the hills.  When the victors came in, they took the spoils of war but also “Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way” (Gen 14:12) but “When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.  And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people” (Gen 14:14-16).  You would think that Lot would have learned his lesson but he remained in that wicked city, Sodom.

Lot’s Escape

When two angels came to take Lot and his family away, Lot was hesitant.  This seems incredible that Lot knew there were angels, messengers of God, and they told him the city was going to be destroyed by God’s judgment on the wicked in the city.  Once again the angels warned Lot and asked him “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it” (Gen 19:12-13) “So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, ‘Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.’ But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting” (Gen 19:14).

Sodom’s Destruction

In the morning, the angels had a great sense of urgency and said to Lot “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.  And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away” (Gen 19:15-17).  After they had reached Zoar, “the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.  And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.  But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” (Gen 19:24-26).  If Lot’s wife looked back, it must have been with regret for all she had left behind. God judged her for that instantly.

Lot’s End

Near the end of Lot’s life, he apparently lived in a cave because he was afraid of living in Zoar anymore (Gen 19:30) so there he was; living in a cave with only his two daughters with him.  His son in laws must have stayed behind in Sodom because they thought he was joking when Lot tried to warn them about God’s coming judgment.  Late in Lot’s life, his daughter’s realized that Lot had no heir so they got him drunk (Gen 19:32) and both of Lot’s daughters had children by him and “The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab.  He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi.  He is the father of the Ammonites to this day” (Gen 19:-37-38).  Lot’s descendants were born through sexual immorality and these two boys would end up as two of the worst enemies of the Israelites, well over 400 years later.   Lot ended up having illegitimate sons as heirs; ended up living in a cave, and apparently dies before Abraham does, and Abraham was older than Lot.  Things finally caught up with Lot and we hear nothing more from him again.

Conclusion

There are a lot of lessons to learn from Lot’s life.  He should have been more generous but wanted the best for himself and his flocks.  He moved too close to and got caught up into the things of that wicked city Sodom, perhaps again motivated by greed.  He originally was in the Negeb, and then he moved his tents closer to Sodom and finally moved right in.  He started out so good.  He had vast flocks and probably a lot of wealth, but because of some very poor choices, he ended up a widower and living in a cave.  God is surely trying to tell us something by including the story of Lot in the Bible.

Related reading for you: Sodom & Gomorrah: Bible Study with Lesson

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.





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