In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, why would God kill Lot’s wife, Sarah, by turning her into a pillar of salt for simply looking in the wrong direction? *Warning of impending sarcasm.* God is a merciful God……….. right.

This is the 14th of 50 Questions Christian’s can’t answer. If you click on the link you will see my responses on numbers 1-13.

Turned her into a pillar of salt just because she looked the wrong way? Yet another strawman representation of a Biblical passage.

Here is an example of a strawman. On February 8th, 2015, 27 year old Sawyer Flache, a graduate of Texas State University, and father of two lovely daughters, was shot and killed just for laying down on his driveway.

The actual story was about a young man named Sawyer Flache, who obviously suffered from some kind of mental break down. He had been shooting up his neighborhood for several hours, and then also fired several times at a police helicopter. The police had surrounded him and his home, called to him multiple times to drop his weapon, but he ignored their commands. He had been prone on his driveway reloading his weapon and was seen again aiming at the police helicopter when he was shot and killed. 1

When you read the full story, you can understand why the police shot and killed him. It was not just for laying down on his driveway.

Genesis 19:26 says that Lot’s wife looked back. According to Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionary, the word for looked, nabat, means to look intently at or to regard with pleasure. This was not a passing glance, but a longing gaze that may have been full of regret for what was lost, as opposed to thankfulness for having escaped from the city.

The story in Genesis 19 starts with Lot in a position of respect or authority, since he met the two men (angels) at the gate of the city, but things quickly got out of hand as the men of the city wanted to rape the guests Lot invited into his home.

Then Lot offered his two daughters to the mob outside. Three things can be understood from this horrendous offer.

First is the low place women held in that culture, and still do today. For example, in Saudi Arabia women must be totally veiled in public, cannot drive anywhere in the Kingdom, and for the first time, in 2015 women will finally be allowed to vote. 2 In many countries, women are not to be educated, and experience segregation on the level of Jim Crow laws held in the U.S. prior to the 1960’s.

Second is the importance of guests in one’s home. Marcus Luttrell in his book, (which was made into a movie some of you may have seen), Lone Survivor, tells the story of his being rescued by an Afghan village chief named Mohammad Gulab. Luttrell wrote, “He was doing it not for personal gain but out of a sense of honor that reached back down the generations, two thousand years of Pashtunwalai tradition: You will defend your guest to the death.” 3 Luttrell was the only one of his team to survive this mission, and he owes his life to Mohammad Gulab and his adherence to the Pashtunwalai tradition still alive today.

Third is the depravity that had reached into that culture. To offer up his own daughters to the men of the city to protect his guests seems unconscionable, even in light of the Pashtunwalai tradition.
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were wicked, perverted, and without morals. These passages make it quite clear what the inhabitants of those cities were guilty of. Isaiah 1:10-17, Ezekiel 16:49-50, Jeremiah 23:14, Jude 1:6-7 are just a few.

I can’t help but imagine Lot himself was tainted by this depraved society. The next chapter we find how polluted his daughters had become due to the culture of Sodom and Gomorrah. When it was time to flee the city, none of his other family or friends would listen. Even the men who were to marry his daughters thought Lot was joking. Genesis 19:12-14 Later, when Lot, his wife, and his daughters were fleeing the destruction, Lot’s wife turned and met her destruction.

Not for just looking in the wrong direction, but for an attitude of the heart. A conscious decision that ended her time on earth. She was no less wicked than those who stayed behind. Some theologians have even speculated that she may have returned for some possessions because Jesus had warned us not to return to the house in the days of his return, and then promptly compared such an action to Lot’s wife. Luke 17:31-32

Yes, He is a loving God, but thankfully He is a just God that brings about consequences for our actions. He looks at our heart, not just our physical actions, or insignificant behaviors. 1 Samuel 16:7


1. “Officer kills man shooting at APD helicopter.” KXAN., 8 February 2015. Web. 3 April 2015.
2. “Eleven things women in Saudi Arabia can’t do.” The Week., 24 February 2015. Web. 6 April 2015.
3. Luttrell, Marcus. Lone Survivor. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2007. Print.

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