This essay explores the first segment of the Lot sub-narrative of the Abraham cycle (Gen 11:27–25:10). The study adopts a narrative close reading approach and canonical theological hermeneutical framework in its reading strategies (with the canon’s reception history undergirding its plausibility structures), aiming ultimately at unfolding the world of possibilities of being-in-the-world in the text, particularly from an ethical standpoint. The study shows Lot, enmeshed in his sense of marginality from YHWH’s repeated covenantal promises of progeny to Abraham, ditch time-tested tradition and embark on a quest for freedom and a home of his own, consequently, assuming significance and security in Sodom (where he sat on the city council at the gate). His initial assumed marginality in Abraham’s home attains reality in Sodom, where the Sodomites desirous of ‘having fun’ with Lot’s angelic guests (who were on a search for justice) reprimands Lot, a mere immigrant—in their view—for his audacity to rebuke them. The visitation of YHWH’s justice on Sodom renders the self-serving Lot homeless, driving him to ultimate marginality, as he inhabits the liminal space of an incestuous cave dweller. A theologico-ethical appropriation of the narrative draws attention, first, to the temptation often to be so caring to outsiders and yet be so unkind to those closest to us (like Lot). Second, tradition is a stabilising force in society and jettisoning it unnecessarily creates cascading disequilibria. Third, alienation from God is the grand source of all liminality. Fourth, inordinate desires lead to choices that bring about a breakdown in the social order. Fifth, like Lot, we need to catch heaven’s heartbeat for the oppressed and become voices for their justice in our time.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).