In the narrative in Genesis 13 we are told of how after a conflict between Lot and Abraham's herdmen the two decided to go separate ways.Lot is said to have chosen the Jordan valley while Abraham went the other way

Genesis 13:11 ESV

11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. 12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom

Immediately after Lot separated from Abraham we are told how Sodom and Gomorrah were exceedingly wicked

Genesis 13:13 ESV

13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord

Was Lot aware of how wicked the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were?.

3 Answers 3


Was Lot aware of how wicked Sodom and Gomorrah were when he chose the Jordan valley?

Peter sheds some light on this question, 2 Peter 2:

6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority.

Peter contrasted the righteous Lot with the unrighteous people of the flesh who despised authority.

Now back to Genesis 13:

8So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

Lot was following Abraham's lead/authority. Abraham let him choose first.

10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.

Zoar was mentioned but not Sodom. This was Lot's righteous reason to choose the land that was like the garden of the Lord. There was no mention of Sodom yet. He did not choose according to the corrupt desire of the flesh.

(This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)

Note the literary device of irony. The readers now know something that Lot didn't. It initiates the literary suspense.

11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east.

Innocently, Lot had chosen.

The two men parted company: 12Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.

Readers' response: What?! Did he not know that that's a bad idea. The suspense continues. I don't think he knew the wickedness of Sodom at this point and the next verse suggests that as well:

13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

Now it is revealed that Sodom was wicked. What's going to happen to Lot's family living with such wicked people? The suspense continues.

Was Lot aware of how wicked Sodom and Gomorrah were when he chose the Jordan valley?

Probably not, he innocently chose the land toward Zoar because it looked like the garden of the Lord. He might not have even known about Sodom at this point in time. According to Peter, Lot was not the kind of man who followed the corrupt desire of the flesh and despised authority.


I think it's fairly natural to assume that Lot chose the jordan valley because it was the most fertile land and the best land (which it was). There really aren't many river valleys in Israel. Abraham was stuck with the hill country, which is not so good for livestock as a river valley.

But being that the land was fertile, the richest towns would be on it, and being rich towns, they would be more likely to be wicked. However the fact that Lot chose the land meant that there was still room for his flocks to roam, and so the valley wasn't filled up. There was free, fertile lad to be had, and the fact that some of his neighbors had odd practices did not bother Lot so much in comparison to the richness of the land.

However what I believe is the case is that Lot didn't understand how much the practices of the natives (most likely Perizites) offended God, and this is because Lot didn't have the type of spiritual vision that Abraham had.

God revealed himself to Abraham and called him his friend. Lot's position was the nephew of the one who had the revelation, and so he didn't see clearly.

It's important to remember that everything about the story of Abraham is a reference to sight. There is a constant (even to the point of embarassment) stream of puns in the text relating to seeing and Abraham. The weak root r-'-h which means see, is in the center of Abrahams name and that r-' pun is constantly made in the story of Abraham. He is the one who sees, and his stories are all about spiritual sight. The meaning of Lot, on the other hand, is "covering", which is the opposite of seeing. Lot does not see, but Abraham sees. Thus Lot did not see the wickedness of the land as well as the narrator of Genesis, even though he certainly must have been aware of their reputation.


It doesn't matter. He chose based on what he saw.

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

The story alludes to Genesis 3.

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Both Lot and Eve were carnally motivated.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2)

The direction Lot went is also a hint that he didn't choose wisely. They split between Betel (house of God) in the west and Ai (heap of ruins) in the east. “... and Lot journeyed east.”

The next time Lot appears in the book, he lives in Sodom. So between splitting with Abram and moving into the city, he definitely got aware of it's wickedness.

Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. (Genesis 13:12)

And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. (Genesis 14:12)

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