My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):
For many who have been the victims of incest or molestation, this story is almost unbearable to read. It brings up too many painful memories.
Others unfairly paint the daughters as “harlots” or “wanton women” and accuse them of terrible sin. Early scholars pointed to the name of the youngest daughter’s son, which translate Son of My People, and even accused her of flaunting her wickedness.
But I read this story another way. These young women were placed in a horrible situation, and made the heroic decision to choose life.
Remember, Lot’s daughters and their father had narrowly escaped destruction in Sodom. They saw the entire valley destroyed by fire. They fled to the small village of Zoar, and then had to flee Zoar for fear of more destruction. As far as they could tell, they and their father might be the last people on earth. At the very least, they were two women alone with only a half-crazy and drunken man for protection (a fate meaning certain death and possibly worse in the ancient Near East).
Faced with few alternatives, these women chose to do what they must to create a family and a clan. And it wasn’t an easy decision, either. Remember, Lot was not only their father but the man who had offered them up to be gang raped by an angry mob in Sodom. The revulsion they felt for him must have been intense. But they did the hardest thing they’d ever done — they chose life.
The end of the story is that they became the ancestresses of great nations. Moab, the oldest daughter’s son, became the father of the Moabites. The Moabites, you’ll remember, were Ruth’s people. And Ruth was the grandmother of King David, who was the ancestor of Jesus. In a real sense, we are still benefiting from these two women’s difficult decision to live, despite everything.
Thought for the day: Celebrate your own decisions to choose life, even when you had to make tough decisions.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.