Sunday Scripture-The Righteousness of Lot and the Levite

Following in the vein of the Dawkins clip two posts ago I thought we would take a look at the timelessness of biblical morality.  Remember the story:  Lot is found to be the only righteous person in Sodom and Gomorrah and so the Lord sends to angels to get Lot and his family the heck out of Dodge.  We’ll pick up the story in Genesis 19:

Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.  when Lot saw them he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.,  And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on  your way.” 

So they accept his invitation and Lot prepared a feast for them and baked them unleavened bread.  This was part of the custom of Lot’s day.  It was considered extremely bad form to refuse hospitality to a visitor.  While they were eating the wicked men of Sodom caught wind of Lot’s two visitors.  Soon a mob surrounds the house composed of young and old men. 

and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.”

But Lot was a good man and refused the request and defended his two guests.  How did this righteous man of God do this?

But Lot when out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly.  Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like;only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.

I will say that there isn’t a believer around who would condone Lot’s actions in this chapter.  But what bothers me about the verse is that nowhere is this action condemned by God or anyone else  in the bible.  Why would a righteous God who is so busy in the Old Testament judging humanity and other individuals for sins not condemn this action?  Other great men of the bible were punished greatly for far less transgressions.  And this is not the only time it happens.  Take a look a Judges chapter 19 for an absolutely horrific tale of a Levite surrendering his concubine to a similar mob.  The mob ravages her throughout the night and the concubine returns to the house and collapses at the door.  The kind, gentle Levite see her lying there and tells her to get up.  But when she doesn’t answer he places her on his donkey nd takes off.  When he gets back to his own place, he cuts her into twelve pieces and sends each piece to the twelve tribes of Israel as a message about the foul deeds of the men who committed this atrocity.  Chapter 20 continues the story of the righteous indignation of the Israelites against the men of Gibeah for what they did to the concubine and the murderous revenge they planned to inflict. 

Neither of these actions are condemned by God.  Neither is the fact that the Levite had a concubine in the first place.  Were these simply examples of otherwise righteous men who were themselves flawed and in need of the grace of God?  Why was this treatment of women tolerated by anyone let alone God?  Because the bible is not the written word of some god in the sky but rather a collection of writings reflecting the misogynistic culture of the time.  If any one today did these types of things in the name of religion they would rightly be convicted of murder and rape.  Being a flawed human being means having a temper, being selfish, or prideful or greedy.  Murdering, rape and genocide are examples of morally bankrupt criminals.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Meghan on May 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Also, no one seems to question the logic of sending beautiful male angels to rescue Lot and his family from a city that is(often interepretated as) teeming with oh-so-evil gay men.


  2. God DID condemn the gay crowd outside God’s house, or did you not see it written?
    He struck them blind!


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