Lot's daughters

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Gentileschi, Artemisia - Lot and his Daughters - 1635-1638

Lot's daughters are four women, two unnamed people in the Book of Genesis, and two others, including Paltith, in the Book of Jasher.[1]

Only two daughters are mentioned in Genesis 19, while Lot and his family are in Sodom. Two angels arrive in Sodom, and Lot shows them hospitality. However, the men of the city gather around Lot's house and demand that he give them the two guests so they could rape them. In response, Lot offers the mob his two daughters instead, noting that they are virgins (verse 19:8). The mob refuses Lot's offer, and the angels strike them with blindness, and then warn Lot to leave the city before it is destroyed.

Genesis 19:14 indicates that Lot has sons-in-law. The Hebrew text indicates that they are married to Lot's daughters, while NIV interprets the expression as "pledged to marry" his virgin daughters. Robert Alter suggests that verse 19:15 ("your two daughters who remain with you") indicates that Lot's two virgin daughters left with him, but that he had other, married daughters who stayed behind with the sons-in-law.[2]

Lot's wife turns into a pillar of salt, but Lot and his daughters escape to Zoar, and end up living in a cave in the mountains. In Genesis 19:30-38 Lot's daughters got their father drunk, and over two consecutive nights had sex with him without his knowledge. They both got pregnant. The older daughter gave birth to Moab, while the younger daughter gave birth to Ammon. Some say that Lot's daughters may have feared that they were the last humans on Earth and wanted to preserve the human race, however this perspective is illogical because they knew people lived in the nearby village of Zoar.[3]

Many scholars have drawn a connection between the episodes of Lot's daughters. According to Robert Alter this final episode "suggests measure-for-measure justice meted out for his rash offer."[4]

Lot and his daughters, by Peter Paul Rubens

A number of commentators describe the actions of Lot's daughters as rape. According to Esther Fuchs the text presents Lot's daughters as the "initiators and perpetrators of the incestuous 'rape'."[5]

Jan Matsys, Lot and His Daughters, 1565.


  1. ^ Book of Jasher.
  2. ^ Alter, Robert (2008). The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary. p. 93.
  3. ^ Kadari, Tamar (2015-10-24). "Lot's Daughters: Midrash and Aggadah". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  4. ^ Alter, Five Books of Moses, p. 92.
  5. ^ Fuchs, Esther (2003). Sexual Politics in the Biblical Narrative: Reading the Hebrew Bible as a Woman. p. 209. ISBN 9780567042873. Retrieved 10 July 2015.