LOT (Heb. לוֹט), son of Haran, grandson of Terah, and nephew of abraham (Gen. 11:27). Upon Haran's death in Ur, Terah took Lot with him when, with Abraham and Sarah, he left the city for the land of Canaan. After Terah's death in Haran (11:32), Abraham accepted Lot into the fold of his family in accordance with his patriarchal responsibility to the son of his deceased brother (12:4). Lot accompanied Abraham in his journeys from Haran to Canaan, from Canaan to Egypt, and from Egypt back to Canaan (12:5; 13:1). Abraham and Lot then passed through the Negev into the Benjamite hill country seeking pasture for their livestock which had multiplied in Egypt (12:16; 13:2). A personal quarrel then broke out between their respective shepherds, for "the land would not support them staying together" (13:6). In order to avoid strife, particularly between "kinsmen," Abraham suggested to Lot that they part company. He gave his nephew first choice of the land, whereupon Lot chose the fertile Jordan plain, and settled near Sodom (13:8–12). The biblical narrative tacitly contrasts Abraham's benevolence with Lot's self-interest, and points out that Lot chose to reside with the people of Sodom who "were very wicked sinners against the Lord" (13:13). Abraham continued to show concern for Lot even after their separation. When Lot and his property were captured by chedorlaomer and his allies, Abraham pursued them, rescued Lot, and brought him back safely to Sodom (14:1–16). Parallels have been pointed out between Noah's position in the flood story and that of Lot in Sodom's destruction (19:1–29). In both cases, God's natural, destructive forces act against man because of his wickedness, and both narratives emphasize God's choice in saving the one worthy person of that generation. Lot's righteousness is not mentioned but his hospitality forms a clear contrast to the perversions and wickedness of the people of Sodom (19:2–10). Lot carried his hospitality so far in protecting his visitors, that when the Sodomites demanded to "become intimate" with them he offered his virgin daughters in their place (19:8). Lot is rescued from Sodom for the sake of Abraham (19:29), but his personal merit is implied in the contrast with his sons-in-law who frivolously disbelieved in the destruction of Sodom (19:14), and with his wife who, disobeying orders, looked back, only to become a pillar of salt (19:17, 26). After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot, who had found protection in Zoar, took to the hills and lived in a cave with his two daughters (19:23, 30). Here, the girls, believing all other males to have become extinct, got their father drunk and without his knowledge committed incest with him (19:31–35). As a result, Lot's older daughter became the mother of moab and his younger daughter the mother of ben-ammi (19:36–38). The name "sons of Lot" (Deut. 2:9, 19; Ps. 83:9) in biblical reference to Moab and Ammon is probably based on this etiological story. It has been argued that the narrative of Lot and his daughters may be an indication of retributive punishment of Lot for offering his daughters to the Sodomites in place of his visitors. Just as he had allowed the claims of courtesy to transcend morality, so his daughters permitted their concern for the propagation of the species to outweigh the laws of incest. Yet, although offensive as Lot's offer may be to modern readers, the fact is that fathers had disposition over their daughters to the extent that they could even sell them into slavery (Ex. 21:7; according to rabbinic law a father could marry his daughter to a man who is disfigured and has boils; see Ket. 9b). In addition, the narrator does not condemn the actions of the women but informs us twice (Gen. 19:32, 34. that the daughters of Lot were motivated by the desire to preserve the human species, using the same phrase "to keep seed alive" that he uses for YHWH's words to Noah in Genesis 7:3 in the command to bring the animals onboard the ark. In other words, Lot's two daughters acted much in the manner of Tamar, who continued the family line by soliciting sexual intercourse from her father-in-law, which likewise violates the rules of incest (Lev. 18:15, 20:12), and which act is praised by the author of Ruth 4:12. (See also the rabbinic evaluation below.) The present form of the Lot narrative leaves an unmistakable impression of Israelite ascendancy over Ammon and Moab: Haran, Lot's father and the grandfather of Ammon and Moab, was the youngest of Terah's sons, while Abraham was the oldest; Lot was continually in need of Abraham's protection and help; the incestuous union between Lot and his daughters disgraces their offspring, the Ammonites and Moabites. The Dead Sea Scroll's Genesis Apocryphon (20–21), written in Aramaic, embroiders the scriptural narrative. According   to this source, Lot not only accompanied Abraham to Egypt but also functioned there as spokesman to Pharaoh's agent. He acquired great possessions, obtained a wife, and built himself a house in Sodom. -In the Aggadah The rabbis often represent Lot in an unfavorable light although in some sources he is praised for his virtues, the word ẓaddik of Genesis 18:23 being applied to him. When, however, he separated himself from Abraham, he at the same time separated himself from God (Gen. R. 41:5–7). He chose to settle in Sodom because of his lustful desires (ibid.). There he became a usurer (51:6). He was appointed head of the local tribunal (50:3), according to some, because he was the worst of all the five judges there (Tanh. B, Va-Yera 21). Although Lot owed his deliverance from Sodom to Abraham's intercession (Mid. Hag. to Gen. 13:11), it was also his reward for not having betrayed Abraham in Egypt when he said that Sarah was his sister (Gen. R. 51:6). A greater reward, however, is that the Messiah will be descended from him through Ruth the Moabite and Naamah the Ammonite (see Gen. R. 51:8 and Naz. 23b–24a). Lot had learned the virtue of hospitality from Abraham and invited the angels to his home although in Sodom this was punishable by death (PdRE 25). As a reward for this act, Israel was forbidden to wage war against his descendants (Yalkut 2 (1877), 782 on Is. 15). The whole night Lot pleaded in favor of Sodom (Lev. R. 23:9). Only the two unmarried daughters of Lot followed him when he left the city (Gen. R. 51:9). Lot is condemned for the negligence which caused him to sleep with his two daughters (Gen. 19:30–38). Although he was not aware of what he was doing he allowed himself to become intoxicated again after he had found out what had happened to him with his elder daughter. However, his daughters' intention was honorable (Hor. 10b). ISLAM Lūṭ (Lot) accompanied Abraham when he left Aram-Naharaim (Sura 29:25), but Muhammad has set aside an important place for him in his prophecies because he regards him to have been, like himself, a prophet sent to rebuke the wicked (22:43; 26:160; 37:133). The name of Sodom, however, is not mentioned in the Koran. It appears that the positive description of Lot in the Koran was influenced by Christian literature, because in the Jewish Midrashim there is no such appreciation. Muhammad's attitude toward the wife of Lot is negative (66:11). The later descriptions found in the works of Ṭabrī, Thaʿlabī, and al-Kisāʾī show an extensive familiarity with the events of Lot's life. They particularly deal at length with the description of the wickedness of Lot's wife, who reported the good deeds of her husband to the men of Sodom. The influence of the Jewish Midrash (Gen. R. 51:5) is obvious. Islamic legend, however, also influenced subsequent Jewish aggadot. For Lot in the arts see sodom and Gomorrah. (Haïm Z'ew Hirschberg) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Skinner, Genesis (ICC, 1912), 251–67, 306–14; S.E. Loewenstamm, in: EM, 4 (1962), 447–9; N. Sarna, Understanding Genesis (1967), index; S.R. Driver, The Book of Genesis (1911), 151–5, 197–205; G. von Rad, Das erste Buch Mose (1952), 142–6, 184–92. IN THE AGGADAH: Ginzberg, Legends, index. IN ISLAM: Tabarī, Ta'rīkh, 1 (1357, A.H.), 205–16; Thaʿlabī, Qiṣaṣ (1356, A.H.), 86–90; Kisāʾī, Qiṣaṣ (1356, A.H.), 148–9; M. Gruenbaum, Neue Beiträge zur semitischen Sagenkunde (1893), 193ff.; H. Speyer, Die biblischen Erzählungen im Qoran (1931, repr. 1961), 157–8; J.W. Hirschberg, Jüdische und christliche Lehren im vorund frühislamischen Arabien (1939), 58, 122–4; Kuenst linger, in: Rocznik Orientalistyczny, 9 (1930), 281–95 (Ger.); Heller, in: Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam (1953), S.V. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: T. Alexander, in: JBL, 104 (1985), 289–300 (extensive bibl.); F. Spina, in: ABD, 4:372–74; "Lūṭ," in: EIS2, 5 (1986), 832–33 (incl. bibl.).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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