Genesis 21:14–21

2114 Abraham rose early in the morning, took some bread and a skin of water, and gave them to Hagar—placing them on her shoulder. He gave her the child and sent her away.
     She left and wandered through the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. 15 When the water in the skin ran out, she flung the child under one of the bushes 16 and went away from him to sit a bowshot away. She thought, “I can’t see the child die.” She sat at a distance and raised a cry and wept.
     17 God heard the lad’s cry, and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the lad’s voice where he is. 18 Rise, lift the lad, and grasp his hand for I will make a great nation from him.” 19 God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, filled the water skin, and gave the lad a drink. 20 God was with the lad; he grew up, settled in the desert, and became an expert archer. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother found him a wife from Egypt.

Sarah says, “Send her away!” G*D says, “Do as Sarah says.” With this double set of instructions running against Abraham’s own sense, he sends Hagar and Ishmael off with a picnic basket of food and water to face the Negeb wilderness. It should be noted that Ishmael is in his mid-teens at this point.

When the initial supplies have been consumed, and a thirst rose that could not be slaked, Hagar abandons Ishmael under a shading bush and goes to sit under another bush at some distance so she need not watch Ishmael’s death by dehydration. There she waters the soil with the last of her tears.

It is reported that G*D hears the cry of the “lad” even as the cry of Sodom was heard. Why Hagar’s cry is not noted, remains a mystery but rings of patriarchy. Note: “Lad” will also be a later designation of Isaac when bound by Abraham.

When Sodom’s cry was heard, G*D engaged Abraham; when Ishmael is heard, Hagar is engaged. A two-fold involvement began with a rhetorical question, “What’s up, Hagar?” and was followed by directions to rise, return to Ishmael, and to hold him by the hand for he will be the founder of a great nation. How is such positive thinking going to help? Is this adding insult to dying teen?

Either under her bush or while holding Ishmael’s hand, Hagar opened her eyes and saw what wasn’t there before or what she couldn’t see before—a well of water. Readers may remember Hagar’s previous well of Beer-Lahai-Roi, where she was seen and now when Ishmael is heard. Wells are a recurring motif of renewal and worth noting as they come along.

For whatever reason, when the waterskin from Abraham was empty, it was not abandoned in the disillusion of dehydration. Hagar refills the skin and revives Ishmael.So it was that Ishmael survived the wilderness and it became his home. Along the way, Ishmael became known as a hunter of all within a bowshot. Eventually, Hagar arranged for a wife for Ishmael from her Egyptian heritage (anticipating Abraham’s arrangement for Isaac to have a wife from his ancestral family in Mesopotamia). 

Genesis 21:8–13

218 The child grew and was weaned. Abraham prepared a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. 9 Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. 10 And she said to Abraham, “Drive out this slave-woman and her son! This slave-woman’s son shall not share inheritance with my son, with Isaac.”
     11 This is terribly bad in Abraham’s eyes because the boy was his son. 12 God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be evil in your eyes about the boy and the slave-woman. Whatever Sarah says, listen to her voice, for through Isaac shall your seed be called by your name. 13 I will make the son of the slave-woman into a great nation, too, because he is also your seed.”

After Isaac’s birth and nursing came growing and weaning and time to celebrate making it through a dangerous time of life. In concise form, we go from Sarah’s fear of being laughed at to her interpretation of Ishmael’s laughter as laughter at her or a claim of birthright. Whether that was Ishmael’s meaning or Sarah’s fear or lack of trust in a promise about Isaac will not be known.

There, in the middle of a celebration, community falls apart as languages or meanings are confused. The immediate response is Sarah’s—“Send my mocker away!” This response has been building for a while. Sarah desires that her victory of a son never falls into question and is a significant part of the scene.

The question of inheritance, of substance, is yet another attempt to guarantee a promise made by another. This demand is as transparent as placing Hagar on Abram’s lap—forcing G*D’s hand (similar to Christian Zionists attempting to force Jesus to return). There will be no question of inheritance—only Isaac will be the start of the main branch in Abram’s family tree.

Sarah’s solution is not understood by Abraham. It is not that Abraham has any greater trust in YHWH, but he does have years of experience with Ishmael as his only son. Abraham sees Sarah’s demand as “evil.”

Immediately we find a bargaining G*D back at it with Abraham in the reversed role of arguing against a judgment of evil or offense.

The laughter of Ishmael, like it or not, is a discount of Sarah and a usurping of Isaac as the genuine laughter of G*D. As a result, G*D supports Sarah’s decision, separating individual persons from doctrinal and tribal judgments.

Whatever innocence Ishmael may claim, he is an analog of Sodom. Through some yet unspecified method, Ishmael will be the father of a nation, even as Lot became the father of two nations through the unorthodox route of incest.To claim one is called or named is to run headlong into decisions that never measure up to the fullness of mercy and justice—privilege always makes itself known.

Genesis 21:1–7

211 Now YHWH singled out Sarah and carried out just what YHWH had promised her. 2 Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the set-time God had told him. 3 Abraham named his son, the one Sarah bore him, Isaac. 4 Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, just as God had charged him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born. 6 Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me. Everyone who hears about it will laugh at me.” 7 She said, “Who could have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse sons? Well, I’ve borne him a son in his old age!”

For Sarah’s sake, all the wombs of Abimelech’s kingdom had been closed. Now, for Sarah’s sake, she has been singled out to have her womb finally opened at the ripe age of ninety. Of course, the background of this attention is the fulfillment of a promise to Abraham. Before hearing from Sarah, it is noted that Abraham names the boy Isaac (Laughter) and circumcises him on his eighth day of life. The eight days echo a first creation of six days and a Sabbath and an additional day for now being in a next creation after a flood.

With this personal and tribal myth actions completed, we turn to hear Sarah reflecting on the ambiguity of her situation of having a new baby suckling at old dugs. There is an unbridled joy here as well as a primal joke by an ancient-of-days coyote leaving discomfiture in his wake.

The Hebrew for laughter is here followed by an indeterminate preposition. Readers will need to decide whether Sarah means that whosoever hears this tale will laugh to hear of it or laugh for joy or laugh with Sarah or laugh at Sarah. The possibilities for confusion about the meaning of this birth may end up with this moment being a classic absurdist scene (as Kafka noted about a ninety-year-old becoming a mother in his parable on Abraham).

Sarah seems to favor the absurdist view as she remarks, “Who in their right mind would have ever thought they would say, ‘Sarah’s nursing!’”

With a recognition that, whether it makes any sense or not, the promise to Abraham many years prior in Haran that Abraham would begin a great nation is now underway. The first piece is in place after a series of risks to Sarah with Pharaoh and Abimelech and Abraham warring to save Lot and worn out with covenant services and seemingly in-vain promises.

Genesis 20:8–18

208 Early in the morning, Abimelch rose and summoned all of his servants and spoke all of this. The men were terrified. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? What offense did I commit against you that you have brought this great offense to me and my kingdom? Deeds not to be done you have done to me.” 10 Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you foresee when you did this thing?”
     11 Abraham said, “I thought to myself, ‘No one reveres God here and they will kill me on account of my wife.’ 12 Factually, she is my sister, my father’s daughter though not my mother’s daughter, and she became my wife. 13 When the gods caused me to wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is the faithfulness I expect from you: in each place to which we come, tell them, “He is my brother.”’”
     14 Abimelech took flocks, cattle, male and female slaves, and gave them to Abraham; Abimelech sent back Sarah, his wife. 15 Abimelech said, “My land is before you. Settle wherever seems good in your eyes.” 16 To Sarah, he said, “I’ve given your brother one thousand pieces of silver. Let it serve you as a shield against public disapproval and a sign you are publicly vindicated.” 17 Abraham interceded with God; God restored Abimelech, his wife, and his women servants to health, and they gave birth… 18 for YHWH had obstructed every womb in Abimelech’s household on account of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

To have a vision is one thing; to act on a vision is quite another thing. Abimelech acts on his vision that he is facing a life or death situation. First, Abimelech acknowledges his fear in a manner not befitting a king by sharing it with others. Second, Abimelech calls out a source of his problem—Abraham.

Two issues surface regarding Abraham’s character. The first is his lack of ability to see YHWH at work beyond what YHWH is doing with Abraham. Though working most obviously at a tribal level, YHWH is doing so within a context of all creation which has been divided at Babel and shown its dark-side with the “sons of gods and daughters of men” and inhospitality at Sodom.

Secondly, Abraham has been living in fear since leaving Haran. His beautiful half-sister and wife is not only a joy to his inner self but a source of danger in the wider world. A stronger man may desire Sarai/Sarah and kill Abram/Abraham, as husband, to capture Sarah. If Abraham tells a half-lie, as brother, he may both stay alive and get additional substance by acting as a pimp with Sarah.

Before this revelation, readers were not aware of Abraham’s long-standing Plan B—deniability—for self-preservation—descendants be damned.

We also now learn that the threat to Abimelech had a sign or plague that was active before the vision. A long-enough time had elapsed for it to be noticed there were no more births in the pipeline of Abimelech’s household. This may have sensitized Abimelech to the importance of his dream that identified Sarah as the cause of tribal infertility.

Bottom-line, Abraham gets Sarah back, plus more sheep and cattle and silver and land and slaves—a lucrative deal. Abimelech gets fruitfulness and multiplication restored to him—not profitable in the short-term, but better than death.

Genesis 20:1–7

201 Abraham traveled onward to the Negeb, and he settled between Kadesh and Shur as a sojourner in Gerar. 2 Abraham said of Sarah, his wife, “She’s my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent and had Sarah taken.
     3 But God appeared to Abimelech in a dream of the night and said to him, “You are a dead man because of this woman you took. She is a wedded wife.”
     4 But Abimelech had not gone near her, and he said, “Lord, will you really kill a nation when it is innocent? 5 Did not he say to me, ‘She’s my sister!’ and didn’t she, she, too, say, ‘He’s my brother!’? With the wholeness of my heart, I have acted with clean hands.”
     6 God said to him in the dream, “I know that your heart was pure when you did this. And so, I kept you from offending against me, and I did not allow you to touch her. 7 Now send back the man’s wife for he is a prophet who will intercede for you so you may live. But if you don’t return her, know that you are doomed to die, you and all that belongs to you!”

What appears as an out-of-place repeat of Abram’s/Sarai’s misadventure with a Pharaoh, has significant differences in their new relationship with YHWH as Abraham/Sarah. Among these is a context of travel not being need-based. In the first instance, a famine drove matters and foreshadowed troubles while in Egypt. Here Abraham does what Abraham has done, travel the region of Canaan—Gerar being a Canaanite city-state in the western Negeb (the side Lot and his daughters are on).

Another difference is how the Pharaoh of Egypt and the king of Gerar (Abimelech) are apprised of the danger they are in. Pharaoh gets plagues; Abimelech gets direct address in a vision.

Returning to the story as placed directly after the incest of Lot’s daughters with their father, there is a continuation of family traits—from nephew to uncle and down to this day. An interesting exercise is to compare and contrast the story of Lot, post-Sodom, and Abraham, pre-Binding of Isaac.

Were Abraham in Sodom, his action of playing the wife-sister game and throwing the parentage of any subsequent children into doubt would be counted as a reason for cries originating from Sodom. The difference between Lot offering his daughters to be raped (ironic how that got turned around) and Abraham offering Sarah to be a king’s concubine is semantic. The end result would be a huge question about a child being the result of G*D’s covenant or promise—whether it was from Abram’s/Abraham’s seed.

And so we have Abimelech echoing Abraham’s bargaining for Sodom—“Will you destroy the innocent?”

Abimelech seems to be closer to YHWH than Abraham as Abimelech is directly kept from being compromised by the double ploy by Abraham and Sarah to short-circuit the long-delayed promise of a son. In everyday terms—Abimelech would make a dandy surrogate. Well, no better, it seems than Abraham with Hagar.

The ending here seems strained with Abraham labeled a prophet when it is Abimelech who carries more prophetic weight with his vision and sense of justice.

Genesis 19:29–38

1929 When God destroyed the cities of the plain, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot away from the disaster that overtook each town in which Lot settled. 30 Lot headed up from Zoar and settled with his two daughters in the high country. Lot and his two daughters dwelt in a cave. 31 The firstborn daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there are no men in the land to come to bed as befits the way of all the earth! 32 Come, let us give our father wine to drink and lie with him, so we may keep our father’s seed alive.” 33 That night they gave their father wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with her father, and he knew not when she lay down or arose. 34 The next day the firstborn said to the younger, “Last night I lay with my father. Let’s serve him wine tonight too, and you go in and lie with him so that we will both keep our father’s seed alive.” 35 They served their father wine that night as well, and the younger daughter lay with him, and he knew not when she lay down or arose. 36 Both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn daughter gave birth to a son and named him Moab; he is the tribal-father of today’s Moabites. 38 The younger daughter also bore a son and named him Ben-Ammi; he is the tribal-father of today’s Ammonites.

It is now confirmed that YHWH’s concern for Lot was based less on Lot’s basic hospitality than on Abraham’s hospitality of abundance. It is suggested, in elliptical fashion, that Lot moved from small town to small town as they fell apart following a deluge of stinking fire. Eventually, Lot and his daughters ended up where the messengers had first directed him—the high wilderness away from cities. Lot now returns from whence he came, but without all the resources he initially took to the Plain.

From working his way into the city and culture of Sodom, Lot finds himself living in a cave. This man of the city has lost his drive. He no longer flourished off the land but has retreated beneath it—already dead while still breathing.

If Lot has lost his will, his daughter take matters in their own hands. They need more bodies for the basics of living in a wilderness. Being away from others, the only practical avenue open is that of incest. Though readers may come up with other options, the daughters do not. They speak of their actions as a keeping Lot alive (perpetuating his “seed”), not of lust.

The plan to “lie” with Lot comes close, here, to the act of rape. The actual intercourse is phrased in asexual terms, befitting an unconscious Lot.

The daughters’ plan worked. They become pregnant. The subsequent children were named Moab and Ben-Ammi. Over time they develop into nations—the Moabites and the Ammonites.

The people in Abraham’s line will find their relations with Moab will wax and wane. Moab will be the place where Moses looked at a Canaan he did not enter and Ruth, a Moabite, is an ancestress of king David. The Ammonites lived north of the Moabites and Edom (later from Esau, lived south of the Moabites. These are the highlands east of the Jordan River (reminiscent of being east of Eden). Canaan/Israel lies west of the Jordan. There are a variety of connections and relations through the generations. Readers could spend hours investigating the various branches of the extended family tree and their interactions.

Genesis 19:23–28

1923 As the sun rose over the earth, Lot arrived in Zoar; 24 and the YHWH rained brimstone and fire from the skies upon Sodom and Gomorrah. 25 YHWH destroyed these cities, all the plain, everyone who settled in the cities, and all that came from the soil. 26 Lot’s wife looked back; she became a pillar of salt.
     27 Soon after sunrise, Abraham came to the place where he had stood with YHWH,28 and looked out over Sodom and Gomorrah and over all the land of the plain. He saw dense-smoke rise from the land like the dense-smoke from a kiln.

Lot and what was left of his family arrive in Zoar at a time of sunrise. Barring a miraculous conveyance, this is chronologically a day or two later. There was time to wonder if it has been wise to depart so hurriedly and to leave so much substance behind.

When Lot and family finally arrived in Zoar, YHWH looses fire and brimstone from the heavens through a break in the latest vault protecting the order of our experienced world from the waste of nothingness. A rain of burning stones reverses and buries all that had arisen from the soil—creation reversed. Image here a saltshaker transformed into a volcano and vigorously applied to the area. Burning sulfur all around—no exceptions, no escape.

This is a second deluge, not wiping out the entirety of the world, but a part of it. First a flood of water; second a rain of fire. Since “a fire next time” has arrived it now leaves open any next reversal of life. Readers will vary in their response from any of the Left-Behind books, to weather-caused world-wide famine, to the return of Jesus to save us from a next destruction. A few readers may even reject any further troubles and tootle merrily along.

It should be noted that Lot’s wife was in Zoar when she “looked back.” Popular depictions of this scene have her still on the way to Zoar. This can be used as a folk-explanation of rock formations in that area that resemble a female form, but the storyline better connects this regret of a loss of a past to the next verses of Abraham looking out over this scene.

Abraham, coming at sunrise to the same place he has bargained with YHWH, brings this episode to a first conclusion. Abraham is safe on the highland of Canaan and Lot is momentarily safe in little Zoar. Readers may pause here to imagine what Abraham might have learned about mercy and justice, about political decision-making, and what Lot was experiencing with the loss of his place, property, and wife and married daughters (and grandchildren?). What has been resolved?

Genesis 19:10–22

1910 The messengers put out their hand and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 Those near the entrance of the house, from the smallest to the largest, were struck with blinding light and unable to find the entrance.
     12 The men said to Lot, “Who’s still with you here—sons, daughters? Take anyone else you have in the city out of this place. 13 We are about to destroy this place because the cry to YHWH has been confirmed and we are sent to destroy it.”
     14 Lot went out to speak to his sons-in-law who had married his daughters and said, “Rise; get out of this place, for YHWH is about to destroy this city.” But they saw this as a joke.
     15 When dawn rose, the messengers urged Lot, “Rise, take your wife and your two daughters who remain with you, so you are not swept away in the punishment of this city.” 16 Lot lingered, and, with YHWH’s compassion, the men seized his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters and took him out, and brought him outside the city.
     17 When they brought them out, the men said, “Escape for your lives! Don’t look back! And don’t stop anywhere on the plain. Escape to the mountains so that you are not swept away.”
     18 Lot said to them, “No, please, my lords. 19 I’ve found favor in your eyes and you have shown kindness in saving my life, but I can’t escape to the mountains in case the wickedness here might cling to me there, and I die. 20 That town is close enough to escape to, and it’s small. It’s small, right? Let me escape to that small place, and I will live.”
     21 He said to Lot, “I’ll do this favor for you as well; I won’t overthrow the town you have described. 22 Hurry! Escape to it! I can’t do anything until you arrive there.” That is why the name of the city is Zoar/Small.

Modern military technology uses blinding light as a non-lethal weapon. Shock grenades are a local expression of disorienting the senses of sight and hearing, incapacitating opponents.

The particular mechanism used by the information-seeking travelers to produce a blinding light is not known. The result of a moment of defensive force is information sharing (we will report the cries heard are real and not addressable by any means other than destruction) and planning (take those close to you away, now!, lest you be caught in the destruction).

Apparently, Lot was given sunglasses so he could see in the blinding light and he went out to his sons-in-law in the gathered crowd (apparently Lot had other daughters than the two still at home), rather than to his daughters. This may be a question of time and distance or a recognition of patriarchal dominance—that wives are only an extension of and property of the man-of-the-house and they are not capable of independent choice.

With the rejection from his sons-in-law, Lot yet delayed his leaving. It took active intervention by his guests to move Lot and his un-named wife and daughters beyond the city gate. This is claimed to be an act of compassion toward Lot. Such passivity on Lot’s part is more worthy of pity than compassion and may have elements of concern left from Abraham’s bargaining on behalf of Sodom.

Lot has his own bargaining that limits the field of destruction. Rather than flee to the hills, into wilderness, which is discomforting for the city dweller he has become, Lot bargains for a “small” nearby town that shouldn’t take too much on YHWH’s part to exempt from a larger destruction. This small Zoar was last heard of as one of the sacked cities rescued by Abram.

This proposal was granted, and the four refugees headed for Zoar, some 20–40 miles hence. Their arrival there was to be a trigger for the destruction of the Valley of Jordan (including Sodom and Gomorrah) that once was seen as green and productive. Short-term profit can blind us to how it is gained—upon the cries of people.

Genesis 19:4–9

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!”
     6 Lot went 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.

Genesis 19:1–3

191 The two messengers entered Sodom at sunset, while Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. Lot saw them, rose to greet them, and bowed low, brow to the ground. 2 He said, “Please, my lords, turn aside and come to your servant’s house to spend the night and bathe your feet. Then, you can get up early and continue on your way.”
     The two said, “No, we will spend the night in the city square.” 3 Lot pressed them hard, until they turned aside and entered his house. He prepared a meal-with-drink and baked unleavened bread. They ate.

YHWH has left the Terebinths of Mamre. Two messengers, who had earlier left the Terebinths, have arrived in Sodom. It is evening after a geographically long journey. Lot is sitting in the public space at Sodom’s gate.

The public space is a place to gather for news of the city, including gossip, the doing of business, and application of justice. Lot began his time outside of Sodom with substantial substance, flocks and household. When he and it were taken as a spoil of war, Abraham rescued Lot and his property. News and trade are sufficient reasons to be present in this public space, and it doesn’t hurt to have the honor of being the nephew of a war hero who returned Sodom’s fortunes to it.

Lot rises, like Abraham, to come forward and greet these two travelers. No mirage here—two.

Lot also acts hospitably, inviting these two to stay with him—to spend the night and be refreshed before continuing on their way.

For whatever reason, a humble response that triggers increased invitation or a desire to see Sodom at its darkest, the messengers declined Lot’s offer. He importuned the two into coming with him. The two turned aside from their first response and had a meal with unleavened bread. Lot’s feast seems meager compared with Abraham’s. There is no mention here of a fatted calf (it is the city, after all—not as easy to get fresh food in the evening, after the market stalls were bare from the day’s trading). In a comparison of bread, Lot’s everyday fare comes up short of Sarah’s fresh bread of the finest flour. Sodom is not quite as hospitable as Abraham’s tent. As a test of the quality of life in Sodom, the two messengers might well have an initial positive response. Their notes could indicate a generous welcome, above and beyond what strangers might expect in a city from which had arisen cries of injustice and hostility. There is no reason to suspect that a minyan of ten righteous folks is not present, that Sodom is not guilty of causing an outcry.