The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
Sodom and Gomorrah
Genesis xviii: 1,
to xix: 30.
Abraham, for we shall call him now by his new name,
was sitting in the door of his tent, when he saw
three men coming toward him. He knew from their
looks that they were not common men. They were
angels, and one of them seems to have been the Lord
God himself, coming in the form of a man.
When Abraham saw these men coming, he went out to
meet them, and bowed to them; and he said to the one
who was the leader:
"My Lord, do not pass by; but come and rest a little
under the tree. Let me send for water to wash your
feet; and take some food; and stay with us a little
So this strange person, who was God in the form of a
man, sat with his two followers in Abraham's tent,
under the oak-trees at Hebron. They took some food
which Sarah, Abraham's wife, made ready for them,
and then the Lord talked with Abraham. He told
Abraham again that in a very little time God would
send to him and Sarah a little boy, whose name
should be Isaac. In the language that Abraham spoke,
the name Isaac means "laughing;" because Abraham and
Sarah both laughed aloud when they heard it. They
were so happy that they could scarcely believe the
Then the three persons rose up to go, and two of
them went on the road which led toward Sodom, down
on the plain of Jordan, below the mountains. But the
one whom Abraham called "My Lord" stopped after the
others had gone away, and said:
"Shall I hide from Abraham what I am going to do?
For Abraham is to be the father of a great people,
and all the world shall receive a blessing through
him. And I know that Abraham will teach his children
and all those that live with him to obey the will of
the Lord, and to do right. I will tell Abraham what
I am going to do. I am going down to the city of
Sodom and the other cities that are near it, and I
am going to see if the city is as bad as it seems to
be; for the wickedness of the city is like a cry
coming up before the Lord."
And Abraham knew that Sodom was very wicked, and he
feared that God was about to destroy it. And Abraham
"Wilt thou destroy the righteous with the wicked,
the good with the bad, in Sodom? Perhaps there may
be fifty good people in the city. Wilt thou not
spare the city for the sake of fifty good men who
may be in it? Shall not the Judge and Ruler of all
the earth do right?"
And the Lord said:
"If I find in Sodom fifty good people, then I will
not destroy the city, but will spare it for their
Then Abraham said again:
"Perhaps I ought not to ask anything more, for I am
only a common man, talking with the Lord God. But
suppose that there should be forty-five good people
in Sodom, wilt thou destroy the city because it
needs only five good men to make up the fifty?"
And the Lord said, "I will not destroy it, if there
are forty-five good men in it." And Abraham said,
"Suppose there are forty good people in it,—what
then?" And the Lord said, "I will spare the city, if
I find in it forty good men." And Abraham said, "O
Lord, do not be angry, if I ask that if there are
thirty good men in the city, it may be spared." And
the Lord said, "I will not do it, if I find thirty
good men there." And Abraham said, "Let me venture
to ask that thou wilt spare it if twenty are there."
The Lord said: "I will not destroy it for the sake
of twenty good men, if they are there." Then Abraham
said, "O, let not the Lord be angry, and I will
speak only this once more. Perhaps there may be ten
good men found in the city." And the Lord said, "If
I find ten good men in Sodom, I will spare the
And Abraham had no more to say. The Lord in the form
of a man went on his way toward Sodom; and Abraham
turned back, and went to his tent.
You remember that Lot, the nephew of Abraham, chose
the land of Sodom for his home, and lived there,
though the people were so wicked. You remember, too,
how Lot was carried away captive when Sodom was
taken by its enemies, and how he was rescued by
Abram. But after all that had happened, Lot went to
live in Sodom again; and he was there when the
angels came to Abraham's tent.
Two of the angels who had visited Abraham went down
to Sodom, and walked through the city, trying to
find some good men; for if they could find only ten,
the city would be saved. But the only good man whom
they could find was Lot. He took the angels, who
looked like men, into his house, and treated them
kindly, and made a supper for them.
The men of Sodom, when they found that strangers
were in Lot's house, came before the house in the
street, and tried to take the two men out that they
might do them harm, so wicked and cruel were they.
But the men of Sodom could do nothing against them,
for when they tried to break open the door, and Lot
was greatly frightened, the two angels struck all
those wicked men blind in a moment, so that they
could not see, and felt around in the dark for the
Then the angels said to Lot:
"Have you here any others besides yourself, any
sons, or sons-in-law, or daughters? Whomever you
have, get them out of this city quickly, for we are
here to destroy this place, because it is so very
Then Lot went to the houses where the young men
lived who had married some of his daughters, and
said to them:
"Hurry, and get out of this place, for the Lord will
But his sons-in-law, the husbands of his daughters,
would not believe his words; they only laughed at
him. What a mistake it was for Lot to live in a
wicked city, where his daughters were married to
young men living there!
And when the morning was coming, the two angels
tried to make poor Lot hasten away. They said:
"Rise up quickly, and take your wife, and your two
daughters that are here. If you do not haste, you
will be destroyed with the city."
But Lot was slow to leave his house, and his married
daughters, and all that he had; and the two angels
took hold of him, and of his wife, and his two
daughters; and the angels dragged them out of the
city. God was good to Lot, to take him out of the
city before it was destroyed.
And when they had brought Lot and his wife and his
daughters out of the city, one of the angels said to
"Escape for your life; do not look behind you; do
not stop anywhere in the plain; climb up the
mountain, or you may be destroyed!"
And Lot begged the angels not to send him so far
away. He said, "O my Lord, I cannot climb the
mountain. Have mercy upon me, and let me go to that
little city that lies yonder. It is only a little
city, and you can spare it. Please to let me be safe
And the angel said, "We will spare that city for
your sake; and we will wait until you are safe
before we destroy these other cities."
So Lot ran to the little city, and there he found
safety. In the language of that time, the word "Zoar"
means little; so that city was afterward called Zoar.
It was the time of sunrise when Lot came to Zoar.
Then, as soon as Lot and his family were safely out
of Sodom, the Lord caused a rain of fire to fall
upon Sodom and the other cities on the plain. With
the fire came great clouds of sulphur smoke,
covering all the plain. So the cities were
destroyed, and all the people in them; not one man
or woman or child was left.
While Lot and his daughters were flying from the
city, Lot's wife stopped, and looked back; and she
became a pillar of salt, standing there upon the
plain. Lot and his two daughters escaped, but they
were afraid to stay in the little city of Zoar. They
climbed up the mountain, away from the plain, and
found a cave, and there they lived. So Lot lost his
wife, and all that he had, because he had made his
home among the wicked people of Sodom.
And when Abraham, from his tent door on the
mountain, looked down toward the plain, the smoke
was rising from it, like the smoke of a great
And that was the end of the cities of the plain,
Sodom, and Gomorrah, and the other cities with them.
Zoar alone was saved, because Lot, a good man,
prayed for it.
Sodom and Gomorrah