When the burgeoning camps of Abraham and his nephew, Lot, became so large the same area could no longer support their flocks, the two men separated (Genesis 13:1-7). Lot took one look at the lush, fertile, well-watered plain of Jordan, and said, “That’s the place for me” (Genesis 13:10-11). While that might have seemed like a no-brainer choice, it was actually an unwise one. Why? The answer was simple: Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other ungodly cities of that plain were located there.
Lot began by dwelling at times in each of those cities, but it wasn’t too long before he took up permanent residence in perversely wicked Sodom (Genesis 13:12-13) . It seems likely that he sold all his flocks his herds, moved into town, and became an official “city boy.” That accounts for him living in Sodom when the soldiers of an alliance army of eastern kings raided the city, looted it, and carried off him and Sodom’s other citizens as prisoners of war (Genesis 14:1-12). Fortunately for Lot, Abraham (known then as Abram) had 318 well trained and well armed servants in his camp, a personal army formidable enough to attack the alliance army, defeat it, and rescue Lot along with everyone and everything the enemy army had taken (Genesis 14:13-24).
Lot’s capture and subsequent rescue should have been enough of a scare to keep him out of Sodom, but the next thing the Bible records of him he is “sitting in the gate” of Sodom (Genesis 19:1). Since the trials and other legal matters of ancient cities were conducted at the gates, any man who held a seat at a city gate had to be a prominent citizen, perhaps a judge or a member of the city’s ruling council. The point is that rather than separate himself from Sodom as a result of him becoming a prisoner of war for a while, Lot not only resettled in the city but actually immersed himself deeper into it in the years that followed.
Accordingly, it was at some point that he took a wife — evidently she was a woman from Sodom — and became a father many times through her. So by the time God’s two angels showed up to rain fire and brimstone down upon Sodom, Lot had sons, unmarried daughters, married daughters, and sons-in-laws (Genesis 19:12-22). The Bible indicates the total number of family members was ten (Genesis 18:32-33).
As for Lot’s wife, the Old Testament never tells us her name and only mentions her in regards to the story of the destruction of Sodom. She was along with Lot and their two unmarried daughters when he led them out of the city and away from the fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:15-16). Lot could force those three to flee with him because they all lived under his roof, but he couldn’t force his other family members so they ended up dying in the city’s destruction (Genesis 19:14). Perhaps he would have had more influence with them if he hadn’t lost his testimony through years of being a player in Sodom.
But what happened to Lot’s wife? Once she, Lot, and their two unmarried daughters were out of Sodom, she looked back longingly toward the city and was immediately turned into a pillar of salt as God’s judgment upon her (Genesis 19:26). Why was God so hard on her? It was because He knew that her heart would always be in Sodom. Even when He made His disapproval of the city obvious to her, she sided with the city over Him.
It’s obvious that Lot’s wife was right at home in Sodom. Every day she looked upon the city’s pride, laziness, unconcern for the poor (Ezekiel 16:48-50), and homosexual culture (Genesis 19:1-11; Jude v.7) and saw nothing wrong with it all. As backslidden as Lot was, at least he was bothered by the city’s litany of sins and spent his life under conviction for continuing to live in the midst of such a place (2 Peter 2:6-8). His wife, on the other hand, had no such qualms. She was almost certainly a lost unbeliever, which (if the assessment is correct) made her marriage to Lot an “unequal yoke” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
It’s no wonder that Jesus left us with the solemn reminder, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). He wants us to hate sin as much as He hates it. He wants us to be convicted by the way we (at best) tacitly approve of the sins around us, or (at worst) take part in those sins (Romans 1:26-32; Ephesians 5:11). He wants us to value holiness over worldliness. He wants us to pursue repentance rather than carnality. Most of all, He wants us to choose Him over all the allurements this life has to offer. The love that Lot’s wife had for her “Sodom” cost her everything. So tell me, do you have a “Sodom” that you refuse to give up? If you do, you had best be on the lookout for God’s judgment because it it surely on its way. Such is always the case with Sodoms.