“Unit 6: Day 1, Genesis 19,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 6: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide
After three messengers of the Lord (holy men; see Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 19:18 [in Genesis 19:12, footnote a]) visited Abraham, by the Lord’s command, they traveled to Sodom and insisted that Lot and his family leave before the city was destroyed. Lot’s wife disobeyed counsel from God’s servants and perished. After the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, Lot’s oldest daughter devised a wicked plan to preserve posterity for her father.
Have you ever heard of someone who had something bad happen to them because they were in the wrong place or with people who were making wrong choices?
Genesis 19 gives an account of a family that experienced negative consequences because they chose to remain in a place of wickedness.
As you learned in a previous lesson, three holy messengers visited Abraham and told him that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their wicked inhabitants would be destroyed. Read Genesis 19:1, looking for whom the three messengers met when they arrived in Sodom. (According to the Joseph Smith Translation [see footnote a], there were three angels or messengers, not two.)
Genesis 19:2–3 records that Lot greeted the three messengers and invited them to stay at his house for the night so they would not have to remain in the streets of Sodom.
Read Genesis 19:4–7, looking for what the men of Sodom requested of Lot.
The phrase “that we may know them” means that the men of Sodom wanted to participate in sexual activities with Lot’s visitors.
Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 19:7–15 (compare Genesis 19:5–10; the bold italic text represents material added by the Prophet Joseph Smith; the
7 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in unto thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
8 And Lot went out of the door, unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
9 And they said unto him, Stand back. And they were angry with him.
10 And they said
11 Wherefore they said unto the man, We will have the men, and thy daughters also; and we will do with them as seemeth us good.
12 Now this was after the wickedness of Sodom.
13 And Lot said, Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, plead with my brethren that I may not bring them out unto you; and ye shall not do
14 For God will not justify his servant in this thing; wherefore, let me plead with my brethren, this once only, that unto these men ye do nothing, that they may have peace in my house; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
15 And they
The men of Sodom became angry with Lot when he refused their evil intentions toward his guests. They then threatened to take by force not only Lot’s visitors (the holy men) but also his daughters for immoral purposes. The Joseph Smith Translation shows that Lot did not offer his daughters to the wicked men of the city as the King James Version of this account says. In fact, Lot tried to reason with the men of Sodom, asking them not to harm his daughters or his guests. Notice how Lot’s behavior toward his family and the holy messengers was righteous and that God would not justify the wickedness proposed. Lot knew that God would not tolerate allowing his daughters to be abused.
When Lot tried to reason with the men of Sodom, they attempted to force their way into his house. The holy messengers miraculously protected Lot and his family by smiting the men with blindness. How do the actions of the men of Sodom help demonstrate the wickedness of the people in this city?
Read Genesis 19:12–13, looking for what the holy men instructed Lot to do with his family.
Next, read Genesis 19:14–16, looking for how Lot and his family responded to the instructions from the holy men. Then list at least two examples illustrating that Lot and his family were reluctant to leave Sodom:
As you read Genesis 19:17, look for specific instructions the messengers gave to Lot, his wife, and his daughters.
Look in Genesis 19:24–26 to learn what happened as Lot was leaving Sodom with his wife and daughters.
As you read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, underline the possible reasons, in addition to “look[ing] back,” why Lot’s wife was turned into a “pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26):
“Apparently what was wrong with Lot’s wife was that she wasn’t just looking back; in her heart she wanted to go back. …
“It is possible that Lot’s wife looked back with resentment toward the Lord for what He was asking her to leave behind” (“Remember Lot’s Wife” [Brigham Young University devotional address, Jan. 13, 2009], 2; speeches.byu.edu).
It is also possible that Lot’s wife may not have merely looked back but may have returned to Sodom (see Luke 17:28–32).
This account of Lot and his family leaving Sodom can be compared to our own experience of forsaking sin and evil influences.
Using what you have learned from the example of Lot’s wife, complete the following principle: To forsake sin and evil influences, we must .
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What are some ways a person might be tempted to “look back” upon sins or evil influences that were previously a part of his or her life? Why is it dangerous to do so?
What are some things a person can do to leave sins or evil influences entirely behind?
Genesis 19:30–38 tells us that after Sodom, Gomorrah, and other cities were destroyed, Lot and his two daughters went to a nearby mountain to live in a cave. In an effort to preserve the seed, or offspring, of their father, the firstborn daughter proposed a wicked and deceptive plan to intoxicate their father and lie with him so they could each become pregnant (see Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 19:37 [in Genesis 19:31, footnote a]; see also Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 19:39 [in Genesis 19:35, footnote a]). As a result of this wickedness, each daughter had a son. The sons’ descendants became the Moabite and Ammonite nations. There is no justification for Lot’s daughters’ choice to break the law of chastity.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How do you think Lot’s life might have been different if he had chosen to follow the example of Abraham and stay away from Sodom and the other wicked cities in the plains?
From Lot’s decision to place himself and his family close to unrighteous influences, we can learn important principles such as the following: If we choose to associate with unrighteous influences, then we may experience consequences we will regret. Our choices may affect not only ourselves but others as well.
- In your scripture study journal, list some examples of unrighteous influences that some young people choose to associate with in our day. Then answer the following questions:
What are some consequences that can come to you personally from associating with these unrighteous influences?
What are some consequences that your poor choices may have on friends, family members, or others?
The following account was given by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson of the Presiding Bishopric. He tells of a friend of his named John, who, with his friends, experienced consequences because of their choices involving a party they attended in Japan. As you read, look for examples of the principles you have studied today.
“Some years ago, John was accepted at a prestigious Japanese university. He would be part of the international student program with many other top students from around the world. …
“Soon after John’s arrival, word of a party to be held on the rooftop of a private residence spread among the foreign student population. That evening, John and two friends made their way to the advertised address.
“Following an elevator ride to the top floor of the building, John and his friends navigated the single narrow stairway leading to the rooftop and began mingling with the others. As the night wore on, the atmosphere changed. The noise, music volume, and alcohol amplified, as did John’s uneasiness. Then suddenly someone began organizing the students into a large circle with the intent of sharing marijuana cigarettes. John grimaced and quickly informed his two friends that it was time to leave. Almost in ridicule, one of them replied, ‘John, this is easy—we’ll just stand in the circle, and when it is our turn, we’ll just pass it along rather than smoke it. That way we won’t have to embarrass ourselves in front of everyone by leaving.’ This sounded easy to John, but it did not sound right. He knew he had to announce his intention and act. In a moment he mustered his courage and told them that they could do as they wished, but he was leaving. One friend decided to stay and joined the circle; the other reluctantly followed John down the stairs to board the elevator. Much to their surprise, when the elevator doors opened, Japanese police officers poured out and hurried to ascend the stairs to the rooftop. John and his friend boarded the elevator and departed.
“When the police appeared at the top of the stairs, the students quickly threw the illegal drugs off the roof so they wouldn’t be caught. After securing the stairway, however, the officers lined up everyone on the roof and asked each student to extend both hands. The officers then walked down the line, carefully smelling each student’s thumbs and index fingers. All who had held the marijuana, whether they had smoked it or not, were presumed guilty, and there were huge consequences. Almost without exception, the students who had remained on the rooftop were expelled from their respective universities. …
“… As for John, the consequences in his life have been immeasurable. His time in Japan that year led him to a happy marriage and the subsequent birth of two sons. He has been a very successful businessman and recently became a professor at a Japanese university. Imagine how different his life would have been had he not had the courage to leave the party on that important evening in Japan. …
“… There will be times when you, like John, will have to demonstrate your righteous courage in plain view of your peers, the consequence of which may be ridicule and embarrassment. … Be courageous! Be strong!” (“Be Valiant in Courage, Strength, and Activity,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 51–52).
Have you ever been in a situation like John’s? Think about ways you can avoid being around unrighteous influences and what you will do if you find yourself in a tempting situation.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Genesis 19 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: