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I've been reading Bereishit 19 in the Sefaria and Chabad translations, and I'm a little confused with the daughter situation. In verse 8, trying to protect his guests, Lot offers the Sodomites his two daughters "who have not known(Sefaria)/were not intimate with(Chabad) a man". Then, verse 14, there's a difference in the translations that has me confused. Lot speaks to his "sons-in-law" in a futile attempt to save their lives, who were either "the suitors of his daughters"(Chabad), or "had married his daughters"(Sefaria). Which was it? If they were just suitors/engaged, that would explain Lot's words in verse 8. But if they were actually married, then -- what? Was he just stalling for time(maybe recognizing and hoping for the angels' help?) by offering them virgin daughters? Did he actually have four daughters, two married and two virgins? Verse 15 doesn't seem to help, describing two "remaining daughters"(Sefaria), which could mean two of four total, or two daughters "who are here"(Chabad), which might mean either that there are just two and they were in the house during the incident or two in the house and two stayed with their unbelieving husbands.

How has this been historically understood in the literature - were there two (just engaged) or actually four daughters?

  • There were actually five - source to come tomorrow!! – Joshua Pearl Dec 25 '16 at 19:16
  • Why not two married daughters and two celibate daughters? – kouty Dec 25 '16 at 20:19
  • Exactly - but then why the difference in translations between "who had married" and "suitors of"? Looks to me like it might have been a topic of discussion/commentary in days past, so I figured I'd ask what our forebears thought it meant. Also, I remember reading something about how later on they did something so they could get pregnant their first time..they seemed to know an awful lot for virgins... – Gary Dec 25 '16 at 20:47
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I have no source for any of this, but I always thought of Lot has having four daughters: two are married (and are not mentioned within the text), while two of them are unmarried. Lot's four daughters, plus his two sons-in-law, himself and his wife comes to eight people. The specific arrangement that Abraham had made with God hinged on his finding ten righteous people within the city, and notwithstanding the possibility that Lot and his family didn't count as "righteous" anyway, we only get ten if we include the two angels.

I've always felt that there might be something interesting to learn out from the fact that they didn't include their own number to the tally, but have not found anything on the subject. (Clearly, this doesn't answer your question, but it was too long for a comment and it does at least speak to part of your question, despite being unsourced.)

  • Verse 14 makes it look like the son-in-laws wouldn't make the count - laughing at Lot when he was trying to save them..disrespectful!. – Gary Dec 26 '16 at 6:36
  • @Gary, perhaps having married into the family of Avraham Avinu would count for something when it comes to righteousness, esp. viz. the S'dom connection. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jan 25 '17 at 16:13
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    @NoachMiFrankfurt - perhaps, indeed! But - they still disrespected their elder, especially a father in law. Thinking about it, Avraham's family got quite big, considering us, the Ishmaelites, and Keturah's offspring...if we/they were all righteous, the world today would be a better place! – Gary Jan 26 '17 at 2:40
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The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 50:9) says he had four daughters, two of whom were married, and two betrothed.

  • Well, there's a sourced answer! Tempted to mark it as The Answer--but is there anything else? Is that basically the only authoritative source, that everyone accepts, or were there others? Joshua never posted the five daughter source. – Gary Jan 26 '17 at 2:51

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