Q: #196. Why did Lot offer his daughters to the men of Sodom to be raped (Gen 19:8)?
A: This horrifying story is found in (Gen 19:1-11). First let’s look at the context.
Two angels came to Sodom (looking like men), and when Lot saw them, he invited them to spend the night at his house. They refused at first, saying they would spend the night in the town square, but when Lot insisted, they went. Once they arrived, the men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house and demanded that Lot send the angels out so that they could have sex with them. Lot refused, but instead offered to give them his virgin daughters to have sex with. They would not accept Lot’s offer, and began to break the door down. The angels then pulled Lot inside and struck the crowd with blindness.
Why would Lot make such a horrible offer to the mob of men? We cannot know with certainty, but several suggestions are offered.
1. The first seems obvious from the Bible. Sodom and Gomorrah were very godless cities, and Lot had earlier chosen to live in these cities when given a choice by Abraham (See: Gen 13:1-13). He dwelt in Sodom, and apparently had become more comfortable than he should have in this godless city. It seems apparent by looking at later verses in (Gen 19) that Lot had compromised his faith and testimony quite a bit.
For example, when the angels told Lot and his family to leave the city because it would be destroyed for its wickedness, Lot went to his sons-in-law to tell them, and they thought he was “joking” or had “lost his senses” (Gen 19:14). They didn’t believe him and stayed, ultimately dying with the others in the city.
Later, after the cities had been destroyed, and Lot’s wife had died (because she disobeyed God), Lot’s 2 daughters got him drunk and slept with him on successive nights so they could have children… (Gen 19:30-38).
Taking this into account, it is a little easier to see why Lot could have made such a wicked offer, seeing how backslidden he had become.
2. In Eastern tradition, it was extremely important for visitors to be treated well. Their well-being, safety, and happiness were often placed above anything else, because if they were mistreated, it would reflect badly on the host, or even the city. In this situation, perhaps Lot placed the angels safety above even his own family.
3. It is possible that Lot offered the mob of men his daughters because he knew they were homosexuals, and thought they would refuse his offer and leave.
4. Some suggest that because men were more valued than women in those times that this may have played a role (I tend to doubt this).
Whatever the reason Lot did this, amazingly, God later called Lot a “righteous” man in the New Testament (2 Pet 2:6-8). Although he had many faults, (2 Peter) says Lot was “tormented” by the sins of his culture “day to day.” Yes, Lot made some very poor and severely wrong choices, but ultimately he did have genuine faith, did hate sin, and was righteous. This should give Christians hope as well that if we hate sin, and repent, God will forgive us. We are made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ (Phil 3:9)(Rom 3:21-22), not by what we do.