194 They had not lain down when the men of the city, of Sodom,—from lads to elders—encamped around the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we may know them!”
Lotwent out to them at the entrance and closed the door behind him. 7 Lot said, “My brothers, don’t do harm. 8 Look, I’ve got two daughters who have never known a man. Let me bring them out and you do to them whatever you wish. Only, don’t do anything to these men for they have come under the shadow of my roof-beam!”
9 They said, “Step aside!” And they said, “This one came as a sojourner and wants to play-the-judge with us. Now we will do worse to you than to them!” They pressed against Lot and moved to break down the door.
Between the evening meal and bed, in the quiet of one’s castle, all hell breaks loose. A lynch mob surrounds the house. How they mobilized and focused on these particular visitors is not known. It may have been a nightly ritual and tonight it was Lot’s turn? One of his business dealings may have made an enemy? Did the strangers’ desire to see manifest the underlying cause of outcry?
It is claimed that all the males of the city were outside. That left Lot—only one of a minimum of ten needed to save Sodom from destruction. [Note: The bargaining between Abraham and YHWH implied ten males—this is a patriarchy.]
The demand is for Lot to go back on his hospitality to strangers and turn them over to be raped, demeaned, debased, abused, to cry.
A tent entrance, a city gate, a house door all are a transition place between the known and the unknown. Here, we can slam them shut on everything “other” or fling them open. Here, we can deal with projections of ourself or enter into a transformative encounter.
Here, Lot values the host-guest relationship. Here, Lot enters the lust for power, control, continuation by attempting to shift the focus to his virgin daughters in a proposed trade, offering them as a substitute to be raped.
There is no satisfactory way of understanding this scene. The very offer of his daughters removes Lot from his status as a good guy. The needed ten merciful/just people, those not causing others to cry, is now back to zero. YHWH has all the evidence needed to rain destruction on Sodom and its environs.
It is of interest to note that the citizens of Sodom recognize the purpose of the strangers—to see, to gather evidence, for a judgment on them. Their best response is not that of a later Ninevah, but to subdue or destroy the seekers of information. This is similar to responses today to investigative journalists. And so they surge forward, threatening to do worse to Lot than to his guests.
For those of a certain age: Were Pauline present, this would be the next peril to be faced. Stay tuned.