Glossary of Terms



Harper’s Bible Dictionary

edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)

Lot, the son of Abraham’s brother Haran. Lot is first mentioned in Gen. 11:31 as migrating with his uncle Abraham and grandfather Terah from Ur of the Chaldeans toward Canaan. After Terah’s death in the Syrian locale of Haran, Lot accompanied Abraham on his journey into Canaan (12:1-9) and to and from Egypt (12:10-20; 13:1). Upon their return, a quarrel between Lot’s and Abraham’s herdsmen (13:7) prompted Abraham to propose an amicable separation, offering Lot his choice of where to settle. Lot preferred the well-watered Jordan plain and its prosperous towns. Abraham settled in Hebron.

Lot appears in Genesis 14 as a captive in a battle between five kings of the Jordan plain and four invading Mesopotamian kings. Abraham, with only 318 men, defeated and pursued the invaders beyond Damascus, recovering Lot and his possessions. Abraham indirectly aided Lot a second time (18:23-33) when he pleaded with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction because of the few righteous among its inhabitants. God nevertheless destroyed the cities but first sent divine emissaries to rescue Lot and his family (19:1-29). The emissaries appeared as wayfarers and reluctantly accepted Lot’s hospitality. When rowdy townsmen sought to harm the newcomers, Lot pleaded with them, offering his daughters instead. But the emissaries blinded the mob, and, with some difficulty, persuaded Lot and his wife and daughter to leave. Lot pleaded for a refuge in the nearby town of Zoar (Heb., ‘trifle’), which the emissaries, pressed for time, granted. On departing, Lot’s wife, looking back at the destruction, turned into a pillar of salt. Lot’s daughters, believing themselves the world’s sole survivors, plied Lot with liquor and cohabited with him, conceiving Moab (Heb., ‘of the same father’) and Ben-ammi (Heb., ‘son of paternal kin’), ancestors of Israel’s Transjordanian neighbors, the Moabites and Ammonites (Gen. 19:30-38).


Topical index of terms
Edited for by Robert Nguyen Cramer
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