Lot was the son of Haran and nephew of Abraham. After his father’s death he was in the care of his grandfather Terah, with whom he migrated to Haran (Genesis 11:31).

Following Terah’s death he accompanied Abraham to Canaan, then to Egypt, and back to Canaan (Genesis 12:10; 13:1). Both men prospered until the land where they were could no longer support both of them. To ease their situation Abraham proposed that they separate, and left the choice of land up to his nephew.


Lot chose the plain of Jordan and made his abode at Sodom (Genesis 13:5-12). A few years later Lot was taken prisoner by Chedorlaomer, along with other captives of Sodom, but was later rescued and brought back by Abraham (Genesis 14:12-16).

Lot still remained in the city when the Lord decided to destroy it; he was sitting by the city gate where he met the messengers (angels) who had come to warn him. He begged them to spend the night in his house and they yielded to his entreaty.

When they were at supper they were besieged by a number of the city’s inhabitants, with the basest violation of hospitality, that the guests should be surrendered to them for a most shameful purpose, sodomy. Then Lot went to talk to the people, shutting the door to protect his guests, and tried resisting the demands of the crowd facing him. In order not to violate his hospitality toward his guests Lot offered his two daughters to the crowd. This enraged the crowd all the more.

They shouted at Lot that he was a stranger among them; who did he think he was that he could tell them what they could do? They demanded entrance to the house so they could get the visitors and have their way with them. Then the angels opened the door, hurriedly pulled Lot inside, shut the door, and smote the crowd with blindness. The angels them informed Lot of the forthcoming destruction of the city. Lot asked if he might take refuge at Zoar, the smallest of the cities of the plain.

His request was granted, but on their way Lot’s wife disobeyed the divine command «Look not behind thee.» Perhaps she did this unconsciously wanting to see her home for the last time, but for her disobedience, she was turned into a pillar of salt. When reaching Zoar, Lot was fearful and only remained there a short time before going to the nearby mountains to live in a cave (Genesis 19:1-30).

It was there that Lot’s two daughters, dreading the extinction of their family, got their father drunk with wine and slept with him. The oldest daughter bore a son, Moab, the progenitor of the Moabites; and the youngest daughter also bore a son, Ammon, the ancestor of the Ammonites. Lot is not mentioned anymore in the Old Testament.

However, he is alluded to in 2 Peter 2:7, 8 as being a «righteous man,» but is shown to have been a carnal worldly believer whereas his uncle, Abraham, was a man of faith. A.G.H.


Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, pp. 667-668
Kirsch, Jonathan. The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible. New York. Ballantine Books. 1997. p. 19