In Vayera, Avraham asks HaShem to save Sodom if even 10 righteous people exist. Sodom gets destroyed. Are there any sources that say Sodom had any righteous people, even if less than ten?

2 Answers 2


The Midrash in Bereishis Rabbah 49:13 discusses this:

וַיֹּאמַר אַל נָא יִחַר לַה' אוּלַי יִמָּצְאוּן שָׁם עֲשָׂרָה (בראשית יח, לב), וְלָמָּה עֲשָׂרָה, כְּדֵי כְּנִיסָה לְכֻלָּם. דָּבָר אַחֵר לָמָּה עֲשָׂרָה, כְּבָר נִשְׁתַּיֵּר בְּדוֹר הַמַּבּוּל שְׁמוֹנָה וְלֹא נִתְלָה לָעוֹלָם בִּזְכוּתָן. דָּבָר אַחֵר לָמָּה עֲשָׂרָה, שֶׁהָיָה סָבוּר שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁם עֲשָׂרָה, לוֹט וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וְאַרְבַּע בְּנוֹתָיו וְאַרְבָּעָה חֲתָנָיו.

And he said, “Let not my Lord be angry..."What if ten should be found there?” (Bereishis 18:32) - And why 10? 1) So that everyone can enter (i.e. according to Eitz Yosef to come together in prayer as a quorum and count as an effective assembly of prayer). 2) Alternatively, why 10? Since there already remained in the generation of the flood eight (i.e. Noach, his three sons and their wives), which was not enough for the world to hang in their merit. 3) Alternatively, why (did he ask for) ten? Since he reasoned that there were ten there - Lot and his wife, and his four daughters and four sons-in-law.

So according to this third point Avraham reasoned that in theory there should be at least ten righteous people in the form of Lot and all his family.

  • Hadn't they burned one of Lot's daughters for being kind to a pauper? Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 21:25
  • I don't know where that features in the chronology of events? Maybe it happened only after this initial assessment?
    – Dov
    Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 21:26
  • 1
    I don't see how this is relevant. Avraham was clearly mistaken.
    – N.T.
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 3:09
  • 1
    I disagree. He may well have been mistaken but as far as his cheshbon in asking for Hashem to spare 10, he assumed that Lot and his family would cover this number.
    – Dov
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 7:53

Rashi to Genesis 19:4 says explicitly that there were no righteous people:

כל העם מקצה. מִקְּצֵה הָעִיר עַד הַקָּצֶה, שֶׁאֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶם מוֹחֶה בְיָדָם, שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ צַדִּיק אֶחָד אֵין בָּהֶם:

ALL THE PEOPLE FROM EVERY QUARTER — from one end of the city to the other end, and no-one protested, for there was not even one righteous person amongst them (Genesis Rabbah 50:5).

Note that this is referring to all those attacking Lot's house, so it could be that Lot was considered a righteous person.

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