The story of Lot’s wife is famous, retold countless times, important life lessons are drawn from the tragedies she experienced and the fateful decision she made in the last hour of her life. And even though we never learn her name, we only have a glimpse of who she was, there is still much we can find out.
We begin by watching two wealthy men, one elderly, one young and virile, looking out over the cities of the plain, located near what is today the Dead Sea in the southernmost end of Israel. During the Middle Bronze Age, the approximate time Abraham would have arrived with all his flocks, herds, hundreds of servants and warriors, and his family, this is a fertile valley, with fresh running rivers and springs, a robust agriculture and rich forests.
Behind them is arid high country, scrub brush, rocky foothills. Below them is the lush Valley of Siddim, or salt, verdant pasturelands, and prosperous settlements. The elder speaks, “You choose, for the Lord has given it all.” The younger man purses his lips, weighing his options. Surely his uncle realizes what he is offering.
Lot’s eyes finally rest on Sodom, the jewel of the plain, its magnificent walls with their generous and well-fortified gates. Within it is a well-planned lattice of streets, fine homes, and palace and temple complex rivalling all the other cities, including Gomorrah. He slowly nods his head, realizing in his heart he has made a decision.
Arrayed around them, the shepherds and herdsmen of both men wait with anticipation. Lot raises his arm and points toward the sea with its cities, and gives a short nod in Sodom’s direction. “I choose the plain, uncle.” And the elder Abraham agrees, watching with regret and sorrow the son of his dead brother depart.
He turns back, his shoulders sagging a little. May God watch over that young one, he prays.