5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

What are the facts that happened before this event that led people to ask to Lot this? (If there are) Why he give such a strong answer? Obviously because a messenger of G-d cannot be touched and he must protect him, but he does not even try to bargain or to persuade people not to touch the angels and he immediately offers them his daughters. Why? Maybe this facts are not strange since we are talking about Sodoma, but maybe further explanation will help me to understand better this passage. Thanks.

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    the translation above is from NIV, a Christian translation. this is quasi-relevant because a more "accurate" translation which preserves ambiguity is "that we may know them", which may not refer to intimate relations. Commented May 30, 2013 at 0:01
  • @josh waxman: Pardon, but what leads you to believe that their request was anything but a demand to have sexual relations with Lot's guests? If indeed the men of Sedom were asking Lot, "Bring them outside so that we can get to know them, and chat with them, and ask them what they do for a living, and maybe drink some tea, etc.," why does Lot respond with, "My brothers, please do not do evil!" (אַל־נָא אַחַי תָּרֵֽעוּ) as if just talking to people and getting to know them is considered evil...? Christian translation or not, it's spot on. They men of Sedom wanted to have sex with Lot's guests.
    – user2088
    Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 22:00
  • "and we will 'know' them" can be taken as "and we will beat them up". taking it as sexual relations is interp. see here: parsha.blogspot.com/2005/11/parshat-vayera-sin-of-sodom.html Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 22:36
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    e.g. Saadia Gaon renders it as the ambiguous 'and we will fall upon them', which may connote violence. recall they tried violence upon Lot, not a homosexual act. reasons to think sexual: Lot's offer of daughters, and the parallel of the concubine of Gibeah. still, watch out for interpretations within translations., @H3br3wHamm3r81 Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 22:44
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    and see Ibn Caspi who says explicitly that it was not the sexual act: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9459&st=&pgnum=63 Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 22:46

2 Answers 2


It seems the idea of Lot's suggestion is two-fold (both intended to portray Sodomites in not as bad a light as Divine Justice perceives the scene):

  1. Substitute sodomy, prohibited for Noachides, with sleeping with an unmarried girl, which is allowed for them.
  2. Diverting punishment of the people toward his guests and subsituting it for uncontrolled sexual urge.

Particularly in light of the 2nd consideration, they protest that they did not come to fulfill a sexual urge, but rather to exercise the law of the town. This is what brings down the Divine punishment - not monstrous behavior by itself, but institutionalizing it as law...

In addition, the concept of offering his own daughters for such a proposition was disapproved of by Hashem (Lot's good intentions notwithstanding) -- the medrash learns

A man usually allows himself to be killed in order to save his wife and children, while Lot was willing to allow the townspeople to abuse his daughters. In response to this, the Holy One, blessed be He, says to Lot: By your life, the improper act that you intended to be done to your daughters will indeed be committed, but to you. (Tanchuma Vayera 12)


(Presumably, Lot doesn't yet know that these men he's housing are special, he just thinks it's nice to have guests -- something he picked up from his uncle Abraham.)

There's an angry mob surrounding the house, in a town known for its wickedness -- and that wickedness, according to classical Jewish thought, was a system that enforced "no freeloaders and no charity to encourage freeloaders!"

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