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See The True Story Of Lot’s Wife And The Pillar Of Salt

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What happened to Lot’ s wife, and why was she turned into a salt pillar? The brief version of the story is that Lot and his family were advised not to look back on the destruction of Sodom while fleeing the city soon before God destroyed it with fire and brimstone. Lot’ s wife defied the command and became a salt pillar.

But why a salt pillar? This strange tale appears to have its origins in the Dead Sea’ s unique topography. Let’ s look at it more closely.


Lot was Abraham’ s nephew and the son of Haran. His name is supposed to be derived from the phrase ” to wrap closely. ” In Canaan, he was Abraham’ s friend and traveled with him until they decided to separate ways. Lot made the decision to travel to Sodom.

Despite the fact that they had parted ways, Abraham remained vigilant in his search for his nephew. When God told Abraham that he was about to demolish the city of Sodom because of its people’ s ” grievous” immorality, Abraham pointed out that there were some decent people living there.

Following that is a strange section in which Abraham persuades God to spare all of the city’ s population if only ten righteous persons can be found within it.

Then, in Chapter 19, we meet Lot in Sodom, with its impending doom looming over him. Two angels are dispatched by God to the city, and Lot meets them at the city gates. He invites them inside his home, referring to himself as their servant, so they can eat and sleep that night.

When the men of Sodom learn that Lot is living with multiple men (or what they believe to be men), they pound on his door, asking that Lot ” bring them out vnto us, that we may know them” (19: 5). That’ s ‘ know’ in the classic ‘ biblical sense, ‘ as a man knows his wife: carnal knowledge, to put it another way. The practice of s3xual encounters between men became known as sodomy, after the city, because this is what the men of Sodom practiced.

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By today’ s standards, a lot of the tale does not appear good. To protect the angels from the multitude of men outside his door, he offers the men his two daughters, explaining to the audience outside that neither of his daughters has ‘ known man, ‘ that it, they’ re virgins. The men of Sodom, thankfully (from our perspective), aren’ t interested in such a deal.

The angels then take care of the men at the door, blinding them before urging Lot to assemble his family, as the city is about to be destroyed, and he, his daughters, and his relatives must go as soon as possible.

Surprisingly, after claiming that his daughters had never met a male, Lot proceeds to get his sons- in- law (probably to make the idea of his daughters more alluring to the men at his door, he was lying to them. ). They, on the other hand, believe he’ s wearing them and refuse to accompany him out the door.

When morning arrives, the angels rush Lot, his wife, and his daughters out of Sodom, telling them not to look back at the destruction that is about to befall the city. God instructs Lot to seek sanctuary in the mountains, but Lot asks the ability to travel to Zoar, a nearby city.

As a result of God’ s agreement to spare that city, Lot, his wife, and their daughters set off for Zoar.

God rains fire and brimstone down on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as soon as they leave. There is, in reality,

were there two additional cities destroyed in the disaster: everyone knows ‘ Sodom and Gomorrah, ‘ and the two are frequently coupled in this way, meaning that just two cities were destroyed. In truth, God’ s anger consumed the cities of Admah and Zeboiim as well. At Lot’ s request, the plain’ s fifth city, Zoar (also known as Bela), was spared.

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Despite God’ s instruction to Lot not to look back at the devastation of the cities, Lot’ s wife did, and she was turned into a pillar of salt as a result (19: 26). The following morning, Abraham sees the smoldering ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In a strange postscript, Lot leaves Zoar and goes to live in a cave with his daughters, who make their father drunk on wine and lie with him, so they both conceive his offspring. Their descendants are the Moabites and the children of Ammon, respectively.


What is the significance of this story? Is it pure fantasy (unless we choose to take the story literally and treat it as a piece of history)?

In a separate essay, we discussed the possibility that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was caused by a real- life catastrophic catastrophe, such as an earthquake or electrical storms. But what about Lot’ s wife’ s metamorphosis into a pillar of salt, one of the oddest episodes in the Bible?

The meaning of Lot’ s wife’ s metamorphosis may be easier to understand from a theological standpoint. In Greek myth, the lyricist Orpheus fell in love with the lovely Eurydice, only for her to die soon after; Orpheus traveled to Hades, the Underworld, in an attempt to resurrect his lover. His wish was granted– but only on the condition that he promise not to look back at Eurydice as she followed him out of Hades until they were both safely back in the world of the living. Orpheus couldn’ t help but give it a short peek. . . Eurydice was permanently gone to him.

Both Orpheus and Eurydice’ s story and Lot’ s wife’ s story about the pillar of salt contain a marital connection in which one of them disobeys a god’ s command and looks back at something, with devastating results. Lot’ s wife loses her life and becomes a condiment, while Orpheus loses his wife (again). In both situations, this is the (heavy) penalty for looking back after being specifically ordered not to by a god. The aim is to accept these laws without question, much as it is in the account of Adam and Eve and the Fall of Man, when Adam is commanded not to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

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But, if we assume that Lot’ s wife is gazing back longingly and wistfully on the life of sin that she and her husband have (reluctantly, in her case? ) left behind, the story may take on a new dimension.

The turning of Lot’ s wife into a pillar of salt, like so many other Old Testament legends portraying the bizarre and seemingly impossible, has been attributed to the peculiar configuration of the cliffs around the Dead Sea. As the authors of the Dictionary of the Bible point out, at the southwest end of that lake (the Dead Sea is merely a’ sea’ in name) there is indeed a large mass of salt that spans north- south.

This 600- foot- high salt mound is five miles long, three miles wide, and five miles wide. To put it another way, it’ s enormous. In the image above, you can see a smaller version of this construction.

Jebel Usdm, or’ mountain of Sodom, ‘ is the name given to this salty mass. This massive formation is made up of crystallized rock salt, chalky limestone, and gypsum. It’ s supposed to have a human- like appearance. So this is most likely where the narrative of Lot’ s wife and her metamorphosis into a (large) pillar of salt came from: a biblical ‘ Just So’ story, if you will.


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