Verse 38. "Ben-ammi" - ym[ b Ben-ammi, the son of my people. Both these names seem to justify the view taken of this subject above, viz., that it was merely to preserve the family that the daughters of Lot made use of the above expedient; and hence we do not find that they ever attempted to repeat it, which, had it been done for any other purpose, they certainly would not have failed to do. On this subject Origen, in his fifth homily on Genesis, has these remarkable words: Ubi hic libidinis culpa, ubi incesti criminis arguitur? ? Quomodo dabitur in VITLO QUOD NON ITERATUR IN FACTO? Vercor proloqui quod sentio, vereor, inquam, ne castior fuerit harum incestus, quam pudicitia multarum. "Where, in all this transaction, can the crime of lust or of incest be proved? How can this be proved to be a vice when the fact was never repeated? I am afraid to speak my whole mind on the subject, lest the incest of these should appear more laudable than the chastity of multitudes." There is a distinction made here by Origen which is worthy of notice; a single bad act, though a sin, does not necessarily argue a vicious heart, as in order to be vicious a man must be habituated to sinful acts.
The generation which proceeded from this incestuous connection, whatever may be said in extenuation of the transaction, (its peculiar circumstances being considered,) was certainly a bad one. The Moabites soon fell from the faith of God, and became idolaters, the people of Chemosh, and of Baal-peor, Numbers xxi. 29; xxv. 1-3; and were enemies to the children of Abraham. See Numbers 22.; Judg. iii. 14, &c. And the Ammonites, who dwelt near to the Moabites, united with them in idolatry, and were also enemies to Israel. See Judg. xi. 4, 24; Deut. xxiii. 3, 4.As both these people made afterwards a considerable figure in the sacred history, the impartial inspired writer takes care to introduce at this early period an account of their origin. See what has been said on the case of Noah's drunkenness, chap. ix. 20, &c.
THIS is an awful history, and the circumstances detailed in it are as distressing to piety as to humanity. It may, however, be profitable to review the particulars.
1. From the commencement of the chapter we find that the example and precepts of Abraham had not been lost on his nephew Lot. He also, like his uncle, watches for opportunities to call in the weary traveler. This Abraham had taught his household, and we see the effect of his blessed teaching. Lot was both hospitable and pious, though living in the midst of a crooked and perverse race. It must be granted that from several circumstances in his history he appears to have been a weak man, but his weakness was such as was not inconsistent with general uprightness and sincerity. He and his family were not forgetful to entertain strangers, and they alone were free from the pollutions of this accursed people. How powerful are the effects of a religious education, enforced by pious example! It is one of God's especial means of grace. Let a man only do justice to his family, by bringing them up in the fear of God, and he will crown it with his blessing. How many excuse the profligacy of their family, which is often entirely owing to their own neglect, by saying, "O, we cannot give them grace!" No, you cannot; but you can afford them the means of grace. This is your work, that is the Lord's. If, through your neglect of precept and example, they perish, what an awful account must you give to the Judge of quick and dead! It was the sentiment of a great man, that should the worst of times arrive, and magistracy and ministry were both to fall, yet, if parents would but be faithful to their trust, pure religion would be handed down to posterity, both in its form and in its power.
2. We have already heard of the wickedness of the inhabitants of the cities of the plain, the cup of their iniquity was full; their sin was of no common magnitude, and what a terrible judgment fell upon them! Brimstone and fire are rained down from heaven upon these traders in iniquity; and what a correspondence between the crime and the punishment? They burned in lust towards each other, and God burned them up with fire and brimstone.Their sin was unnatural, and God punished it by supernatural means.Divine justice not only observes a proportion between the crime and the degree of punishment, but also between the species of crime and the kind of punishment inflicted.
3. Disobedience to the command of God must ever meet with severe reprehension, especially in those who have already partaken of his grace, because these know his salvation, and are justly supposed to possess, by his grace, the power of resisting all solicitations to sin. The servant who knew his lord's will and did it not, was to be beaten with many stripes; see Luke xii. 47. Lot's wife stands as an everlasting monument of admonition and caution to all backsliders. She ran well, she permitted Satan to hinder, and she died in her provocation! While we lament her fate, we should profit by her example. To begin in the good way is well; to continue in the path is better; and to persevere unto the end, best of all. The exhortation of our blessed Lord on this subject should awaken our caution, and strongly excite our diligence: Remember Lot's wife! On the conduct of Lot and his daughters, See note on "ver. 31".