*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Genesis 19:18-21 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Genesis 19:18
  • Genesis 19:19
  • Genesis 19:20
  • Genesis 19:21

Lot replies that the mountains are too far to escape and requests to flee to a small town where he will be safe.

Lot proposes another idea in the midst of destruction, “I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die.” Lot argues that it was impossible to make it to the mountains before the disaster strikes. Lot recognizes the favor God has shown by saving his life. He argues for a town close by. But his argument could have more to do with living in a town than in escaping disaster. Even though his righteous soul was vexed in Sodom, we saw that he had become quite intimate with city life.  Therefore, he proposes taking sanctuary in the small nearby town of Zoar. 

Although Lot is grateful God will save him from the destruction, he bargained for a better landing spot than the mountains saying, “This town is near enough to flee to…please, let me escape there.”  This small city was scheduled for annihilation too. Lot was suggesting that Zoar was small and insignificant. Surely this little town could be spared that his life may be saved.
A further indication of God’s mercy in the context of the extensive judgment God grants Lot this request also, not to overthrow the town. Zoar was a member of the wicked cities, but it was spared because of Lot. The town will be spared, but we will see that it will end up as a snare to Lot, and he will end up in the mountains anyway.

Biblical Text

18 But Lot said to them, “Oh no, my lords! 19 “Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die; 20 now behold, this town is near enough to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not small?) that my life may be saved.” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this request also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken.

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