[b-hebrew] Abraham, Sarah, Lot and Lot's Wife: Part II of II

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Dec 27 12:43:39 EST 2007

Stephen Shead:
Part II of II.
3.  You wrote:  “Lot's wife may have been unable to bear more children. Far 
more importantly, your leap of logic is nowhere stated, nor even faintly hinted 
at, in the text. Where is there the slightest indication of Lot's wife's 
attitude to producing a son? Her major moment in the narrative - the "pillar of 
salt" incident - has, in the text itself, nothing to do with bearing children, 
but rather with her attachment to the condemned city.”
Why does Lot’s wife die at Sodom, while Lot and Lot’s two youngest daughters 
survive the fiery destruction of Sodom?  In your view, is it a “coincidence” 
that Lot’s wife never bore Lot a son?  In your view, is it a “coincidence” 
that each of Lot’s two youngest daughters insists on bearing a son/grandson for 
their father?
The reason why Lot’s wife deserved to die at Sodom is because she considered 
her own health issues to be more important than what should have been her 
all-important goal:  bearing a son.  Why do we constantly get Lot and Lot’s wife 
interspersed with the main couple, Abraham and Sarah?  Precisely to contrast Lot
’s wife unfavorably with beloved Matriarch Sarah.  Sarah gives up 24 regular 
years off of what otherwise would have been her life expectancy in order to 
accomplish the supreme goal of bearing Abraham a son in her old age.  That is 
why she is buried with full honor in Hebron.  By sharp contrast, Lot’s wife is 
turned into a “salt”/royal statue for failing to try to bear Lot a son after 
bearing him only four daughters who became teenagers.
4.  You wrote:  “Why, if this is a "fine justification", do the girls [Lot’s 
daughters] have to keep it hidden from their father and get him blind drunk 
before sleeping with him?”
That is to show two things.  First, that Lot had no untoward desires toward 
his daughters.  Second, that it was Lot’s daughters who themselves insisted on 
taking the physical risk that their health might be adversely impacted by 
getting pregnant at such a young age.
It is easier to see that if you know Amarna.  Akhenaten’s daughter #2 was 
impregnated by him at age 12, and died at age 13 in childbirth.  In 3,000 years 
of Egyptian iconography, the most terrible grief depicted is when Akhenaten and 
Nefertiti mourn the death of their young teenage daughter in childbirth.  So 
this was a delicate issue for Akhenaten.  He wanted everyone to think that 
each of his 12-year-old daughters insisted on bravely trying to bear their father 
the craved-for male heir, rather than that Akhenaten had pressured them into 
it.  That is precisely what is depicted at the end of chapter 19 of Genesis.
5.  You wrote:  “As for your equally astounding claim that father-daughter 
unions are not prohibited by the Mosaic Law, Lev 18:17 is perfectly clear.”
Here is what Leviticus 18: 17 says:
“Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter; thou shalt 
not take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her 
nakedness:  they are near kinswomen;  it is lewdness.”
That means that according to the later law of Moses, as long as one’s wife 
was living, one could not sire a child by one’s wife’s daughter.  The sensible 
theory of that rule was that as long as one’s wife was living and could bear a 
son, there was no need to sire a son/grandson by one’s wife’s daughter.
But Lot’s wife died at Sodom.  Now Lot has no living wife.  And Lot has no 
male descendant.  That was the perfect situation in the ancient world, including 
among the Hebrews, for the son-less widower to sire a son/grandson by his 
deceased wife’s daughter.
The Hebrews did not condemn such a father-daughter union.  (For what it’s 
worth, father-daughter unions were common in Egypt, especially for the pharaohs.) 
 There is no statement in Leviticus that a man shall not uncover the 
nakedness of his daughter.  No, the prohibition, rather, is that as long as the man’s 
wife is living, the man shall not uncover the nakedness of the man’s wife’s 
daughter.  Such a prohibition ended upon the death of the man’s wife.

The author of the Patriarchal narratives approves of the audacious, brave 
actions of Lot’s two youngest daughters.  Once again, that story must be there, 
with that particular point of view, in order for me to have any hope of viewing 
the Patriarchal narratives as coming straight out of the well-documented 
secular history of the mid-14th century BCE.  I must have daughters trying to bear 
a son/grandson for their son-less father, with the author approving of the 
daughters’ behavior in that regard.  And that is just what is found at the end 
of chapter 19 of Genesis.
The fact that this particular, peculiar theme regarding Lot’s daughters is 
not reprised in the rest of the Bible is not surprising.  The Patriarchal 
narratives “march to the beat of a different drummer”, because they are so very, 
very old, dating all the way back to the mid-14th century BCE.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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