Artworks
Lot and his Daughters

Contributor

The story of Lot and his daughters is just about the creepiest story to ever hit the Bible.

Here’s how it goes. Lot, his wife, and daughters all live in a city called Sodom, known for rampant sinning (ie., sodomy, oral sex, bestiality, etc.). It wasn’t the greatest place but they had a house there and everything seemed fine. That is until God decided to pass judgment on the town, which obviously resulted in the whole thing being consumed by fire and brimstone. God loved that.

But before this judgment occurred, Abraham, Lot’s uncle, asked God to spare Sodom and his nephew. God said fine but only if he found ten righteous people in the city. Two angels disguised as men were sent to Sodom to assess the situation. They went straight to Lot’s house and dined with him. When a crowd formed outside and demanded to “know” these men (aka rape them), Lot said no but you can have my virgin daughters. What a hero, that Lot! The crowd got really angry at this point and said they were going to do a lot worse (pun not intended) to him than they would have done to the men (angels) inside. Then the angels revealed themselves, blinded the crowd, and pulled Lot inside. They told him to flee with his family and never look back because there was no way God wasn’t going to destroy Sodom at this point.

So Lot took his wife and daughters and they fled. But when Lot’s wife turned around to see Sodom in flames, she turned into a pillar of salt. This transformation makes no sense but it’s in the Bible so you know it definitely happened. And then it was just Lot and his daughters, hiding in a cave. The oldest daughter, noticing that there were exactly zero suitors in the cave, decided that the only way to preserve the bloodline at this point is if she had sex with her father. So on the first night, the daughters got their father drunk and the oldest slept with him, which is just so icky. Even worse though was that the youngest daughter thought that this was a brilliant plan and also got her father drunk and slept with him. They both got pregnant and went on with their lives.

So we know that Artemisia Gentileschi loved a good heroine, but why would she paint a story in which the women were so bad? She painted this scene precisely because the women were portrayed as evil. This artwork, when done by someone like Artemisia Gentileschi, turns into a commentary on the absurdity of portraying powerful women as evil. In all likelihood this story was twisted in order to make the daughters look like the bad guys and warn men against “the power of women to lead men astray.” Gentileschi warns against the warning, and in doing so celebrates strong women. Because, really, whose idea do you think it was get incestuous? 

 

Sources

Sources

  1. "Bible Gateway Passage: Genesis 19:30-36 - New International Version." Bible Gateway. Web. 16 Feb. 2018.
  2. Fuchs, Esther. Sexual Politics In The Biblical Narrative. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2003. Print.
  3. "Lot And His Daughters – Works – Emuseum." Emuseum.toledomuseum.org. Web. 16 Feb. 2018.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Lot and His Daughters (Artemisia Gentileschi, 1635-1638)

Lot and His Daughters is a 1635-1638 painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, now in the Toledo Museum of Art

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Check out the full Wikipedia article about Lot and His Daughters (Artemisia Gentileschi, 1635-1638).