In Genesis 19, after Lot has brought the angels to his home, the men of the city come and demand that Lot bring them out, that they might have sex with them. Instead, Lot offers his two daughters:

"See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish." (Gen. 19:8, NKJV)

Was Lot offering up his virgin daughters to be raped by these men?

  • Related question and answers here: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/2662/…
    – Lesley
    Aug 12 '18 at 8:32
  • Children were given in marriage by their parents. Mating rituals in the ancient and/or pagan world (specifically for unmarried young people trying to find a suitable spouse) are known to have included orgiastic expressions (such as the one that is being described here). Lot lived centuries before the Law of Moses.
    – Lucian
    Aug 12 '18 at 22:49

The text seems to say exactly that: "you want my guests? I will not deliver them to you! Why not take my daughters instead (and possibly rape/kill them)?"

That may then be interpreted most often as either: "Protecting (male) guests is of course a higher value than protecting a female. Let's make a deal."


"Under no circumstances whatsoever will I render my guests to you"

Alternatively, in a more twisted way trying to read something positive into it, one might interpret that passage as:
"You want what? Let me counter that with… – […]" meaning: You cannot be serious, so neither am I" [Compare that to Reuben in Gen 42:37]

To make that perhaps a bit more concise, as commentator @Pascal's Wager put it:

Lot wasn't really offering his daughters but really meant: "I'll hand over my guests as soon as pigs fly."

This is a rare reading but the principal interpretation of "Das erste Buch der Tora: Genesis. Übersetzt und erklärt von Benno Jacob", Schocken: Berlin 1934, p. 455f.

But the want for interpreting this incidence as a positive thing in Lot' character does not have to stop there:

Even assuming that Lot is speaking in the typical, overstated style of ancient middle-eastern hospitality, this seems to be a ghastly suggestion. Maybe Lot is simply trying to demonstrate how evil the mob's demands are. Perhaps, if Lot really believes the men he is sheltering are messengers of God, he fears such an act will bring down immediate annihilation from God.
Bibleref: What does Genesis 19:8 mean?

Both actions – delivering the guests or the daughters – would be sinful and he doubles down on outrageous demands.

On the one hand

This whole plot point is and remains open to interpretation. It remains an offer made under distress of a desperate situation.

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    It is very hard to read your second understanding of "You cannot be serious, so neither am I" into the actual text here
    – user22655
    Aug 12 '18 at 20:39
  • @LangLangC Your theory that Lot wasn't really offering his daughters but really meant "I'll hand over my guests as soon as pigs fly" is interesting. I've never heard this interpretation before! I'm not sure I agree with it, but it still seems plausible. I upvoted your answer, although I advise you to edit it in order to make it more clear. I think רבות מחשבות had trouble understanding it, and I myself had some trouble too. But still, +1 Aug 13 '18 at 3:07

The short answer to the question is, unfortunately, "yes". Now, without wishing to defend Lot's appalling and despicable behaviour, allow me to offer some further comments about his situation. His actions speak very loudly about the customs of the time - visitors under one's roof were to be protected at all cost.

The story perfectly illustrates the complete indecision created in a person where culture clashes with principle. Just as Abraham was unaware (initially) that his visitors were supernatural, so was lot. This was quickly dispelled when the mob was blinded. However, despite Lot's early training in ethics and morality, his absorption of Sodom's sex-laden culture made him incapable of a principled decision.


Genesis 19:1-11: “The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night sand wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.”

Lot had moved to Sodom, even though he knew what it was, and he “sat in the gate” (Genesis 19:1). “Sitting in the gate” meant that Lot had so entered into the society of Sodom that he was a judge there (Genesis 19:9). In spite of his position, the men of Sodom had no respect for him because they knew he was a hypocrite. What Lot did, in offering up his daughters to spare his guests, is indefensible. Yet the angels protected Lot and his daughters in spite of Lot’s lack of character and worldly viewpoint. Lot meant to appease the men of Sodom so that the hospitality of his house would not be damaged, but he makes the wrong choice in offering his own daughters, and God’s messengers overruled him. So the answer to your question (from a Protestant perspective) is yes.

  • Would you say Lot showed some degree of faith and obedience in wanting to protect the angels, but came short of faith and morality in trying to please the worldly men?
    – SaltySub
    Aug 12 '18 at 9:18
  • 4
    The question is not asking for my opinion on whether Lot showed some degree of faith and obedience. If David Stokowski wants views on that, then that question will have to be asked by him, otherwise this will go outside the scope of the question that has been asked.
    – Lesley
    Aug 12 '18 at 12:40

As despicable as it sounds, "Yes" Lot offered his virgin daughters to all the men of the City to do as they pleased. Lot was also aware of the supernatural status of the Men. Genesis 19:1b "...and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground"

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    As despicable as it sounds - Does it ?
    – Lucian
    Aug 13 '18 at 19:30

Yes, Lot offered his two daughters to the men of Sodom to protect the guests under his roof. Many of the commentaries make some excuses for this sad and deplorable offer to appease the wicked, but the record is clear. His two virgin daughters who were "married" (Gen. 19:14) to his sons-in-law must have been betrothed, as a betrothal was considered the contract agreement, with bride price / wealth paid and the marriage was officially binding at that point.

Lot's daughters were still under his roof, and still his to protect. Lot should not have made such a hideous offer to those wicked men of Sodom.

Excerpt from Gill's Exposition on Gen. 19:8 -

"this was a very great evil in Lot to make such an offer of his daughters; it was contrary to parental love and affection, an exposing the chastity of his daughters, which should have been his care to preserve; nor had he a power to dispose of them in such a manner: and though fornication is a lesser evil than sodomy, yet all evil is to be avoided, and even it is not to be done that good may come: nothing can be said to excuse this good man, but the hurry of spirit, and confusion of mind that he was in, not knowing what to say or do to prevent the base designs of those men; that he might be pretty certain they would not accept of his offer, their lust burning more after men than women; that this showed his great regard to the laws of hospitality, that he had rather sacrifice his daughters to their brutal lusts, than give up the men that were in his house to them; and that he might hope that this would soften their minds, and put them off of any further attempt; but after all it must be condemned as a dangerous and imprudent action: " Source: Biblehub

Matthew Poole's Commentary has:

"Do ye to them as is good in your eyes, whatsoever your purpose or pleasure is. See the same phrase Genesis 20:15 41:37 Numbers 24:1, &c. A most imprudent and sinful motion, whereby he yielded to one sin to prevent another, contrary to Romans 3:8, and exposed his daughters’ chastity, which he was obliged to preserve, and which indeed he had no power to expose, especially seeing they were betrothed to other men, Genesis 19:14. " Source: Ibid.

But, what is compelling is that the Holy Spirit does not gloss over or hide the sins and weakness of man. He gave us an accurate account of the events, which speaks greatly to the infallible and genuine inspiration of the scriptures. If man had written this account, would it have been so even handed and unbiased in its report? We can say NO, as even the commentaries offered by men make excuses for Lot. God presented Lot's actions as they occurred.

That God recorded Lot's actions does not mean that God approved them. The record is the record. God's words are true and inspired. What He has recorded men doing and saying are just that... a record of their actions both of the good and the evil that was done.

Could we speculate that there was another solution to Lot's problem? Could he have gotten on his knees and prayed for God to help him? Would the angels then have revealed their purpose and rescued all of them from danger before Lot sinned? We have every reason to know from the scriptures that God would have answered such a prayer, just as He had rescued Abraham, and Daniel, and David, and many others who asked.

Lot had an eye problem. He looked through worldly eyes at the green pastures of the valley and chose what appeared an easy path. He should have had full faith and dependence upon His Father in heaven. That he did not is the reason Lot often missed the mark.

  • God would have answered such a prayer - Are you sure about that ? (Matthew 26:39-44 and 4:6-7).
    – Lucian
    Aug 15 '18 at 22:54
  • @Lucian, you are comparing the predestined plan of salvation through the sacrifice of Christ to a prayer for rescue of Lot? Or David, or Daniel? The cup that Christ was to endure could not be moved to another or the plan would have failed.
    – Gina
    Aug 15 '18 at 23:13
  • Was Christ less righteous than Lot ? If the divine ears were deaf even to His prayer, why would Lot's hypothetical one fare better ? According to Jewish tradition, echoed by Saint Paul in Hebrews 11:37, Isaiah was sawed in half. Was he perhaps also less righteous than Lot ?
    – Lucian
    Aug 15 '18 at 23:32

While the account appears appalling to some of us, it seems that Lot was not rebuked for offering his daughters to the mob, nor for the incest. The below commentary is the first one I've found that addresses another way of viewing the account.

In Deut. 2:19, God protects the land given to Ammon as a son of Lot.

19 And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.


...The underlying reason for the sympathetic treatment of the daughters of Lot apparently stems from Ruth the Moabite’s tracing her lineage to them and the subsequent descent of King David and, eventually, of the Messiah, from Ruth’s marriage to Boaz. According to the midrashic account, when Lot was commanded to rescue his two daughters from the destruction the angels already foresaw that Ruth the Moabite and Na’amah the Ammonite would descend from them (Gen. Rabbah 50:10).

In addition, when Scripture tells of the incestuous act by the daughters of Lot, who say: “that we may preserve seed from our father” (Gen. 19:34), it uses the word zera (“seed,” or “offspring” in a more general sense), and not “son,” since the intent of the Holy One, blessed be He, was related to the Messiah (Gen. Rabbah 51:8). Thus, from a historical perspective, this act was essential for the future advent of the Messiah. ...

This midrash reiterates the purity of their intentions, since they lay with their father only a single time, to ensure the continuity of the world. Just as Ruth acted for an ideal when she went down at night to the threshing floor of Boaz, so, too, the daughters of Lot acted altruistically (Gen. Rabbah 51:10).

  • Lot was not rebuked... for the incest - Why exactly would he be rebuked for a situation where he seems to have been the victim ?
    – Lucian
    Aug 15 '18 at 22:59