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Genesis 19: Guess What the Sodomites are Up to

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Sodom & Gomorrah: Urban renewal, Biblical style


It's Thursday!  That means it's time for another chapter of the Bible, rewritten because, well... it just reads better this way!  Enjoy!

Lot was hanging out by the gate of Sodom where he met two angels.  He promptly stood up and bowed down.  “Please stay over at my place so I can wash your feet and you can get an early start tomorrow on your trip.”  As tempting an offer as it is to have a strange man grovel in front of you and beg to wash your feet in his house, the angels said, “No, we’ll just sleep in the town square.”  Could the town square at night really be less dangerous than the house of a guy with a foot fetish?  In Sodom, your chances were about 50/50.  But Lot, knowing that the sure way to get what you want is to keep on wheedling, eventually got them to come over and made them dinner.

They were still up when the house was surrounded by the locals, by every man in town.  “Lot!” they cried.  “Where are those guys you were talking to?  Send ‘em out!  We wanna do ‘em!”

Lot came to the door, locking it behind him, and said, “Aw, c’mon, don’t do that.  That’s gross and immoral.  Look, let’s keep this decent.  I’ve got two virgin daughters inside.  You can have them.  Just leave these guys alone, okay?  I’m looking after them, and I’ve got moral standards.”  The crowd wasn’t having it.  “Outta the way!  You’re just a damned immigrant, and now you’re trying to tell us how to live!  We value our culture, and we don’t like your foreign ways!  We wanted to rape the men in your house, and you tried to get us to rape your virgin daughters instead!  Since you won’t assimilate, you’re gonna get it worse than they were!  And then we’re gonna build a wall to keep your kind out!”  The angry, anti-immigrant mob pushed Lot away from the door, smashed the door in, and dragged him inside.  Somehow they shut the smashed door.  Before they set about what they were going to do, the lights went on, bright, so bright that no one could see a thing.

Then the angels said to Lot, “If you have any other family in this city, get ‘em out and get ‘em out now.  Sodom is going down.  Yahweh says he’s heard enough complaints, so it’s urban renewal time.”  Lot took off to find his daughters’ fiancés.  When he found them, he told them that Yahweh was going to burn the city down, and they did what anyone would do when a crazy old man tells you in the middle of the night that a divine force is going to burn you alive unless you start running right now: they laughed.

At the break of dawn, the angels told Lot to take his wife and daughters and leave, or they’d go down with the fiancés and the city and anyone else who was there.  Lot started to think that maybe this did sound a little crazy, and that maybe after staying up all through that crazy night, he might want to sleep on it first.  The angels weren’t having it, and they grabbed him, his wife and his daughters by their wrists and dragged them to Sodom’s city limits.

The angels said, “Run to the hills!  The desert is lovely this time of year.  When you’re gone, no rubbernecking!”  Lot still didn’t like it.  “Oh, come on!  You’ve done a lot for me by getting me out of the city and saving my life and all, but I can’t head out into the wilderness.  I’m a city dweller at heart!  Do you know what kind of restaurant delivery options are out there?  I’ll die!  At least let me go to that little town over there.  It’s a nice suburb, if a little rustic.”  One of the angels said, “Okay, I’ll do you a favor and won’t wreck that town, even though Yahweh doesn’t like it when we countermand Him.  So head on over there; we can’t get to the wrecking until you get there.  That’s why we’ll call that town Zoar.”

“Er… what?”

“We can’t destroy Sodom until you get to that town.  That’s why we’re going to call that town Zoar.”

“Zoar?” asked Lot.  “Why Zoar?”

“Because we can’t destroy Sodom until you get there.  That’s why.”

“Okay, but I don’t see the connection.  I mean, the town already has a very nice name, and now you’re going to call it Zoar, which I don’t get at all—“

“Quit stalling!”  And Lot and his wife and daughters were on their way.  Just as sunrise ended, they entered Zoar, eager to tell the locals that their town had been renamed for some reason.  But first came the fireworks.  Yahweh tore into Sodom with fire and brimstone—the literal kind—and also wrecked Gomorrah, which also must have been pretty bad, but it couldn’t have been as bad as Sodom, since sodomy was frequently a crime in the millennia following this day, but no one was every convicted of gomorrahy.  Both cities and the plain around them were incinerated, killing every human, animal and plant.  Lot’s wife apparently wasn’t listening when the angels warned them about watching the mess and was turned into a pillar of salt because… because… well, just because.

The next morning, Abraham looked up and saw that God had indeed gone ahead and trashed both cities, where there were fewer than ten decent citizens each.  There were possibly two decent citizens in Sodom—Lot’s daughters’ fiancés—but two is less than ten, so there it is.

The newly widowed Lot, deciding that he didn’t like Zoar so much after all, did head for the hills where he set up housekeeping in a nice cave with his two daughters, which solved all his problems.

His daughters felt differently about it and they had a discussion.  “Dad’s old and there’s no one here to marry us in a normal ceremony.  Plus we had perfectly good fiancés incinerated back home.  So there’s only one decent way to preserve our genes: let’s get Dad drunk and have sex with him, for the good of family values.”  That night they got their father smashed and somehow slept with him without him knowing about it.  Both got pregnant by their father.  The elder daughter named her boy Moab, who eventually fathered a race called the Moabites; the younger daughter named her boy Ben-Ammi, who eventually fathered a race called the Ammonites; and everyone learned the lesson that sodomy is icky but that incest is just fine.

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