What Happened to Lot’s Daughters?

While Lot himself seemed to have escaped scrutiny and have earned the good graces of men and God, perhaps earning his way into heaven, we might well wonder about his daughters. After all, their behavior in the cave in which they stayed with him has been enough to make the pious blush for centuries.

In Genesis 19:30, the account describes Lot and his two daughters dwelling in a cave after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, afraid to live in Zoar. The story describes how the daughters initiate the idea of committing incest with their father, and ply him with wine until he’s drunk so that they may do it. The passage, however, say that they make him drink wine (presumably with his consent, not by force), and that he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. The passage does not clarify whether or not Lot knew of the plot, or if he condoned it. It is difficult to claim, however, that he was entirely unawares, as fornication does require a minimum degree of physical participation of the male.

The eldest daughter gives birth to Moab, the father of the Moabites whose boundaries are described in The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 25:9. The younger daughter gives birth to Ben-Ammi, father of the Ammorites, who becomes one of Israel’s main rivals (and whom the Israelites are commanded to avoid fighting with in Deuteronomy 2:19. Later, in the Book of Judges, both tribes – the Moabites and the Ammonites – join forces against Israel.

But while it may seem like a good cause by today’s standards to send them all to hell, the bible makes no mention of their punishment. In fact, in the New Testament, in Luke 17:20, Jesus refers to the days of the Son of Man, the days of Lot, and refers only to remembering Lot’s wife – who turned into a pillar of salt for looking back at God’s destruction – as a cautionary tale. 2 Peter 2:6 also refers to this part of the story, but not the events of the cave.

Some argue that Lot’s wife and children were still infected with the sinful nature of the Sodomites, but this theory seems to all too conveniently excuse Lot his own actions. Others say that this is another instance of showing men and women with all of their earthly flaws, which was not uncommon in the passages of the Old Testament. While the Ammonites and the Moabites were later wiped out, perhaps God saved these children from damnation, and in doing so showed his grace.

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