Genesis 19:12-17, 24-26

Most people know the story of Lot’s wife who was turned into a pillar of salt. However, let me offer a brief review. Two angels came to Sodom where Lot and his family were living. In the course of the evening they informed Lot they were there to destroy Sodom. The next morning as the angels removed Lot, his wife, and two of his daughters out of Sodom before destroying it, the angels exhorted them to not look back. Unfortunately for Lot’s wife, she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.

There is currently a particular interpretation of why Lot’s wife looked back. I understand the complexity of scripture and the layers of meaning one may derive from them. I would like to offer my personal perspective on why she turned back, starting with the events of the previous night.

The angels arrive in Sodom and Lot goes and meets them. He strongly encourages them to spend the night in his home, to which they consent. After dinner there’s a bit of an episode with the locals and Lot is saved by the angels. The angels have had enough and this is were I interject the verses.

Verse 12: The angels ask Lot, “Hast thou here any besides.”, meaning his two daughters in their home. They then tell him, “[W]hatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place…”.

Verse 14: Well Lot did have others in the city and he “…went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.”

So how I see this is that Lot has more daughters who have married. We don’t know how many. And I imagine being married, they probably have children. Lot tells them what’s going to happen, but they don’t believe him. Imagine if you went to your married children’s home and told them and their spouse that your city is going to be destroyed by God tomorrow and they need to come with you and flee the city. I imagine some may respond as Lot’s sons in law did. Maybe some would need to think it over. Regardless, Lot returned home, apparently unsuccessful in his attempt to get them to come with him.

Verses 15 & 16: These verses are the most telling to me. Verse 15 says the angels “hastened Lot”. Then in verse 16 it says, “And while he (Lot) lingered, the men (angels) laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters…and they brought him (them) forth, and set him (them) without the city.” Basically, they forcefully removed them.

So Lot is “lingering” around in the morning. Why?? I mean if I knew destruction was imminent, I’d be in a hurry to leave and would probably be bugging the angels to get me outta there. But Lot is lingering. Could it be that he’s delaying, hoping that maybe his sons in law and/or daughters changed their minds during the night? Is he thinking about his grandchildren? Its probable he had some.

Whatever the reason for his delay, the situation reached “go time” and the angels had to act.

Once Lot, his wife and two daughters, reach safety, brimstone and fire rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The sound must have been deafening and the sight terrifying. We know the destruction was so great that Abraham could see it from where he was living (vv 27 & 28).

As I read and think about this story, I’m convinced that the reason Lot’s wife looked back was to see if any of her other children, and perhaps grandchildren, had not heeded Lot’s warning and were somewhere behind them, trying to catch up. I can imagine her wondering if any had escaped and she looked to see. Women are different from men in many regards, and I find it easy to believe that a loving mother and grandmother would risk looking back to see if any had followed.