Rev. Fred Gilley\r\nRetired Minister\r\nCondemning biblical Lot and his unnamed daughters for incest is so easy. The story (in Genesis 19:30-38) is widely known from various translations.\r\nTo refresh our memories, Lot\u2019s herds and flocks were combined with livestock owned by Uncle Abram (Abraham). The combination was more than the land could support, and Uncle Abraham gave his nephew (Lot) first choice of separating directions.\r\nLot chose the fertile valley that included the soon to be doomed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, leaving sparse grazing to his presumably older uncle.\r\nThe Lord \u201cappeared\u201d to Abraham (the first patriarch) as one of three men in the heat of the day. Abraham ran from his tent door, greeted them, and offered the customary hospitality to travelers. Announcing the birth of an heir within a year seems to have been the primary reason for the visit.\r\nMenopausal Sarai (Sarah), Abraham\u2019s wife and half-sister, laughed and later denied that she had. Sarah knew she and Abraham were too old to expect parenthood.\r\nThe Lord is portrayed as being undecided about sharing plans for the doomed cities with Abraham. After two men (angels?) leave for Sodom, the Lord decides to inform Abraham and the bargaining began. Abraham blocked the Lord\u2019s path, but concern for Lot\u2019s future probably prompted him to ask if the righteous will be destroyed with the wicked. He even chided the Lord with, \u201cShall not the judge of all the earth do right?\r\nDestruction will be withheld if 50 righteous citizens can be found, the Lord promised. Bargaining continued, although Abraham feared he was trying the Lord\u2019s patience. They ended at ten.\r\nThe two men (angels) arrived in Sodom and attracted Lot\u2019s immediate attention. Lot must have learned manners from his uncle, for he offered hospitality that automatically included protection. The visitors declined, saying they would spend the night in the street, but Lot was persistent, and they accepted his invitation.\r\nBefore they could lie down, males of all ages surrounded Lot\u2019s house. They pressed Lot to send the men out \u201cthat we may know them.\u201d (Biblical use of \u201cto know\u201d connotes intimacy, often implying at least the equivalent of sexual intimacy.)\r\nLot went out, closed the door behind him, and begged the men not to act so wickedly. He offered his two virgin daughters, which few modern fathers would consider. Perhaps Lot was reasonably certain his daughter offerings would be refused.\r\nBefore the men could force their way past Lot, the angels opened the door, pulled Lot inside, and blinded the offenders. They warned Lot to flee to the mountains with his family. He also was warned not to look back.\r\nMs. Lot looked back and became a reported pillar of salt.\r\nLot and daughters had special permission to go only as far as Zo\u2019ar. For an unknown reason, lack of welcome, or suspicion, or fear by Zo\u2019ar citizens or visitors, Lot went to the original mountain destination and lived in a cave. The daughters conspired to give Lot too much wine and become impregnated by their father without his knowledge, first the elder and the younger the following night. They had two sons-grandsons.\r\nSomeone has determined the chances of couple fertility are one in 50; one in 2,500 for two pregnancies on successive nights; one in 10,000 for two boys. The story is less about incest than ulterior motives.\r\nKey words are \u201cour father is old\u201d and there is no Hebrew man for us. Hebrew is added to the text, because men must have been in Zo\u2019ar and Abraham was only a day\u2019s journey away, but the daughters could not have known their great-uncle survived. Their world had burned, probably a reinterpretation of burning bitumen.\r\nA man lived after death through his sons. Lot\u2019s daughters may have wanted to insure their father\u2019s future. An equal possibility could have been degrading Hebrew enemies and near kinsmen who hindered Israelite well-being.\r\nThe elder sister named her son Moab, from whom the Moabites descended. Ammonites descended from the younger sister\u2019s son, Ben-am\u2019min. Edomites, Ishmael\u2019s traditional descendants, blocked Promised Land entry by weaker desert tribes during exodus from Egypt. Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar, a concubine. Sarah gave permission, but disunity resulted from Sarah\u2019s jealousy and Hagar\u2019s fertility flaunting.\r\nThe incest story deserves at least a reading behind the words and between the lines.