Genesis 18–20: On Sordid Sins and the Glimmer of Grace, Even in Sodom and Gomorrah (Bible Talk, Ep. 6)

In this episode of Bible Talk, Alex Duke chats with Jim Hamilton and Sam Emadi about Genesis 18–20. These chapters cover some of the darkest episodes in all of Scripture. We see the wages of sin—death—on full display. And yet, we also see glimmers of God’s grace and mercy.

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2:00 / Why this episode at the beginning of Genesis 18 that gives us no new information? Why the “detour” from the story about the seed?

5:20 / Let’s get into the details here. Who in the world are these “men”? Are they God? Angels? It’s so confusing! Jim gets an alley-oop from Augustine here.

12:08 / Finally: there’s a disagreement between Jim and Sam! Anakin has turned his back on Obi-Wan.

15:05 / Why does Moses highlight the ridiculousness of God’s promise to Abrahaham again? And why does the Bible highlight so many stories about barren women?

19:20 / How do these repeated instances of barren women eventually lead to Jesus? How does it make sense of other passages in the New Testament?

22:00 / Toward the end of Genesis 18, the Lord wonders if he should hide himself from Abraham. What’s going on there?

25:00 / The Lord knows he’s not going to change his mind. So why does he haggle with Abraham about how many righteous people are in Sodom? What’s the point of this story?

28:45 / This episode of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19) is downright detestable. Why does Moses include these events? And how in the world can the New Testament refer to Lot as “righteous” (2 Peter 2:7)?

34:05 / Genesis 19:16 tells us that, even after he responded to God’s warning in faith, Lot “lingered.” What can we learn about God’s character and man’s nature from what happens next?

37:25 / What can we learn from Lot’s wife? What does Jesus have to say about her? To answer this question, Jim lists several similarities between the flood in Genesis 6–9 and these episodes in Genesis 19. Jim concludes: “What God did at the flood, God did at Sodom.”

42:30 / How can we learn to read our Old Testaments better?

44:00 / Does the Lord save Lot because of . . . Abraham’s intercession?

45:40 / Sam asks Jim a curious question about “Zoar,” and Jim gives us some application about prayer.

47:30 / The end of Genesis 19 is exceedingly dark. Why does the Lord want such sordid stories in his sacred scriptures? Sam offers convicting reflections on Lot’s ruin.

50:25 / How is there a little glimmer of grace even in this terrible story?

53:40 / Why more repetition in Genesis 20? Abraham tells the same lie he told in Genesis 12. Why?!

57:00 / Sam asks Jim another question about some Hebrew word. . .

59:50 / What does this story with Abimelech have to do with the main thrust of these Genesis chapters: the promised son that is coming to Abraham?

1:02:08 / Jim thinks Genesis 11–22 is a chiasm. (Download here.) That’s why we get so many repeated stories.


1:07:20 / Some people say that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality but a lack of hospitality or attempted rape. Sam explains why that is simply wrong.

1:11:25 / Jim, how to you preach such dark and difficult passages of Scripture to an entire congregation?

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PDF: Chart comparing Genesis 6-9 and Genesis 19

Image: The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, John Martin (1852)

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