The departure from the land – The withdrawal of grace

“The two angels came to Sodom at the evening and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom; and Lot saw them and rose up to meet them; and he fell down on his face to the earth and said: ‘Behold now, my lords, turn aside, I pray you, into your servant’s house and tarry all night and wash your feet, and you shall rise up early and go on your way.’ And they said: ‘Nay; but we will abide in the public square all night.’ And he urged them greatly; and they turned to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread and they ate.”

“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house around, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. And they called unto Lot and said unto him: ‘Where are the men that came in to you this night? Bring them out unto us that we may know them.’ And Lot went out to them at the door and shut the door after him. And he said: ‘I pray you, my brethren, do not act wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out to you, and do to them as is good in your eyes; only to these men do nothing; for as much as they are come under the shadow of my roof.’ And they said: ‘Stand back.’ They added: ‘This fellow came to sojourn here and wants to play the judge; now will we deal worse with you than with them.’ And they pressed sorely upon Lot and drew near to break the door. But the angels put forth their hand and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door.”

“Then they smote the men who were at the door of the house of Lot with blindness, both small and great; so that they became unable and wearied to find the door. And the angels told Lot: ‘Do you have anyone else here besides? son-in-law and your sons and your daughters, and whoever you have in the city; bring them all out of this place; for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxed great before HaShem; and HaShem has sent us to destroy it.’ And Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who married his daughters, and said: ‘Up, get yourselves out of this place; for HaShem will destroy the city.’ But he seemed to his sons-in-law as though he was jesting. And when the morning came, the angels hastened Lot, saying: ‘Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here; lest you be swept away in the iniquity of the city.’ But he lingered; and the angels laid hold upon his hand and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; HaShem being merciful unto him. And they brought him forth and set him without the city.”

“And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said: ‘Escape for your life; do not look behind you neither stay here in the Plain; escape to the mountain, lest you be swept away. And Lot said: ‘Oh, not so, my Lord; behold now, Your servant has found grace in Your sight, and You have magnified Your mercy, which You have shown me by saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest the evil overtake me and I die. Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one; oh, let me escape thither–is it not a little one? –and my soul shall live.’ And HaShem told him: ‘See, I have accepted what you want also concerning this thing, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Hasten then, escape there; for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.'”

“Then HaShem caused to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from HaShem out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before HaShem. And he looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the Plain, and beheld the smoke of the land which went up as the smoke of a furnace” (Gn 19:1-28).