Even though this well-known historical account would seem to be adequately explained by Scriptures and understood by most everyone, it also seems that upon closer examination there would appear to be crucial information that has virtually gone unnoticed.
When several key passages of the narrative are more carefully scrutinized, one will discover something quite unexpected, especially regarding the true identity of who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
With this information in hand, we will proceed to examine the pertinent verses of Scriptures with the intent to uncover Yahweh’s truth of the matter.
The method of our investigation that will be utilized is as follows: the relevant verses of the narrative will be given in the form of two texts with their respective English translations.—1.) Hebrew Masoretic Text (BHS) and 2.) Targum Onkelos (TGO).
We have utilized late 2nd century CE Aramaic text called Targum Onkelos to provide a text that has retained the name Yahweh in the form of a circumlocution consisting of the Hebrew letters יוי.
Why then would the scribes use the circumlocution יוי (Yahweh) if the original had eloahim or some other substitute? All indications are that the scribes of this Aramaic edition followed a Masoretic text which used Yahweh at those places where the sacred name was eliminated.
This detail clearly indicates that the original Masoretic text had the name Yahweh where this text differs with Targum Onkelos.
There will be emphasis given with all caps along with red type as needed. Other notations will be explained as we go along.
Also, As required, after each relevant verse, an explanation for clarity. As you will notice, some verses are self-explanatory and will need no comment.
And YAHWEH APPEARED UNTO HIM (ABRAHAM) in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.
BHS – וַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ יְהוָ֔ה בְּאֵלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א וְה֛וּא יֹשֵׁ֥ב פֶּֽתַח־הָאֹ֖הֶל כְּחֹ֥ם הַיֹּֽום׃
Then YAHWEH APPEARED TO HIM (ABRAHAM) at the plains of Mamre while he was sitting at the gate of the tent, while the day was hot.
TGO – וְאִתְגְּלִי לֵיהּ יְויָ בְּמֵישְׁרֵי מַמְרֵא וְהוּא יָתֵיב בִּתְרַע מַשְׁכְּנָא כְּמֵיחַם יוֹמָא׃
And he (Abraham) lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, THREE MEN STOOD BY HIM: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground.
BHS – וַיִּשָּׂ֤א עֵינָיו֙ וַיַּ֔רְא וְהִנֵּה֙ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֔ים נִצָּבִ֖ים עָלָ֑יו וַיַּ֗רְא וַיָּ֤רָץלִקְרָאתָם֙ מִפֶּ֣תַח הָאֹ֔הֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָֽרְצָה׃
Then he (Abraham) lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, THREE MEN WERE STANDING BY HIM. So he saw them and ran towards them from the gate of the tent, and bowed down to the ground.
TGO – וּזְקַף עֵינוֹהִי וַחֲזָא וְהָא תְּלָתָא גּוּבְרִין קָיְמִין עִלָּווֹהִי וַחֲזָא וּרְהַט לְקַדָּמוּתְהוֹן מִתְּרַע מַשְׁכְּנָא וּסְגֵיד עַל אַרְעָא׃
And said, MY SOVEREIGN, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant.
BHS – וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֗י אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ אַל־נָ֥א תַעֲבֹ֖ר מֵעַ֥לעַבְדֶּֽךָ׃
Then he said, YAHWEH, if now I have found mercy in your eyes, do not now pass by your servant.
TGO – וַאֲמַר יְויָ אִם כְּעַן אַשְׁכַּחִית רַחֲמִין קֳדָמָךְ לָא כְעַן תִּעְבַּר מֵעַל עַבְדָּךְ׃
• Notice, according to Targum Onkelos, Abraham recognizes that at least one of the men is named Yahweh.
Forward to Verse 13
And YAHWEH SAID UNTO ABRAHAM, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
BHS – וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֑ם לָ֣מָּה זֶּה֩ צָחֲקָ֨ה שָׂרָ֜ה לֵאמֹ֗ר הַאַ֥ףאֻמְנָ֛ם אֵלֵ֖ד וַאֲנִ֥י זָקַֽנְתִּי׃
Then YAHWEH SAID TO ABRAHAM, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Will I truly give birth when I am old?’
TGO – וַאֲמַר יְויָ לְאַבְרָהָם לְמָא דְּנָן חַיֵּיכַת שָׂרָה לְמֵימַר הַבְּקוּשְׁטָא אוֹלֵיד וַאֲנָא סֵיבִית׃
Is any thing too hard for YAHWEH? At the time appointed I will return unto you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
BHS – הֲיִפָּלֵ֥א מֵיְהוָ֖ה דָּבָ֑ר לַמֹּועֵ֞ד אָשׁ֥וּב אֵלֶ֛יךָ כָּעֵ֥ת חַיָּ֖ה וּלְשָׂרָ֥ה בֵֽן׃
Can anything be concealed from before YAHWEH? At the appointed time I will return to you, at the time when you are alive, and Sarah will have a son.”
TGO – הֲיִתְכַּסַּא מִן קֳדָם יְויָ פִּתְגָמָא לִזְמַן אֲתוּב לְוָתָךְ כְּעִדָּן דְּאַתּוּן קַיָּימִין וּלְשָׂרָה בַר׃
Forward to Verse 16
And THE MEN ROSE UP from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
BHS – וַיָּקֻ֤מוּ מִשָּׁם֙ הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים וַיַּשְׁקִ֖פוּ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י סְדֹ֑ם וְאַ֨בְרָהָ֔ם הֹלֵ֥ךְ עִמָּ֖םלְשַׁלְּחָֽם׃
Then THE MEN STOOD UP from there and looked out over the face of Sodom. And Abraham was going with them to accompany them.
TGO – וְקָמוּ מִתַּמָּן גּוּבְרַיָּא וְאִסְתַּכִיאוּ עַל אַפֵּי סְדוֹם וְאַבְרָהָם אָזֵיל עִמְּהוֹן לְאַלְווֹאֵיהוֹן׃
And YAHWEH SAID, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do.
BHS – וַֽיהֹוָ֖ה אָמָ֑ר הַֽמְכַסֶּ֤ה אֲנִי֙ מֵֽאַבְרָהָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר אֲנִ֥י עֹשֶֽׂה׃
Now YAHWEH had said, “Should I conceal from Abraham what I am about to do.”
TGO – וַיויָ אֲמַר הַמְכַסֵּי אֲנָא מֵאַבְרָהָם דַּאֲנָא עָבֵיד׃
Forward to Verse 20
And YAHWEH SAID, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous.
BHS – וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֔ה זַעֲקַ֛ת סְדֹ֥ם וַעֲמֹרָ֖ה כִּי־רָ֑בָּה וְחַ֨טָּאתָ֔ם כִּ֥י כָבְדָ֖המְאֹֽד׃
Then YAHWEH SAID, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and indeed their sin has grown very strong.”
TGO – וַאֲמַר יְיָ קְבִילַת סְדוֹם וַעֲמוֹרָה אֲרֵי סְגִיאַת וְחוֹבַתְהוֹן אֲרֵי תְּקֵיפַת לַחְדָּא׃
I (Yahweh) will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I (Yahweh) will know.
BHS – אֵֽרֲדָה־נָּ֣א וְאֶרְאֶ֔ה הַכְּצַעֲקָתָ֛הּ הַבָּ֥אָה אֵלַ֖י עָשׂ֣וּ כָּלָ֑ה וְאִם־לֹ֖אאֵדָֽעָה׃
I (Yahweh) will be revealed now, and I will judge if they have done according to their outcry that has come before me. I will totally destroy them. If they do not repent, I (Yahweh) will take vengeance.
TGO – אֶתְגְּלֵי כְעַן וַאֲדוּן הֲכִקְבִילַתְהוֹן דְּעַלַת לִקְדָמַי עֲבַדוּ אַעֲבֵיד עִמְּהוֹן גְּמֵירָא אִם לָא תָּיְבִין וְאִם תָּיְבִין לָא אֶתְפְּרַע׃
And THE MEN turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: BUT ABRAHAM STOOD YET BEFORE YAHWEH.
BHS – וַיִּפְנ֤וּ מִשָּׁם֙ הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים וַיֵּלְכ֖וּ סְדֹ֑מָה וְאַ֨בְרָהָ֔ם עֹודֶ֥נּוּ עֹמֵ֖ד לִפְנֵ֥ייְהוָֽה׃
Then THE MEN turned from there and went to Sodom, WHILE ABRAHAM WAS STILL MINISTERING IN HIS PRAYER BEFORE YAHWEH.
TGO – וְאִתְפְּנִיאוּ מִתַּמָּן גּוּבְרַיָּא וַאֲזַלוּ לִסְדוֹם וְאַבְרָהָם עַד כְּעַן מְשַׁמֵּישׁ בִּצְלוֹ קֳדָם יְויָ׃
• Notice that one of the men named Yahweh stays behind to speak further with Abraham.
And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
BHS – וַיִּגַּ֥שׁ אַבְרָהָ֖ם וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הַאַ֣ף תִּסְפֶּ֔ה צַדִּ֖יק עִם־רָשָֽׁע׃
Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you destroy the righteous with the guilty in anger?”
TGO – וּקְרֵיב אַבְרָהָם וַאֲמַר הֲבִרְגַז תְּשֵׁיצֵי זַכָּאָה עִם חַיָּיבָא׃
Forward to Verse 26
And YAHWEH SAID, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
BHS – וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֔ה אִם־אֶמְצָ֥א בִסְדֹ֛ם חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים צַדִּיקִ֖ם בְּתֹ֣וךְ הָעִ֑ירוְנָשָׂ֥אתִי לְכָל־הַמָּקֹ֖ום בַּעֲבוּרָֽם׃
Then YAHWEH SAID, “If I should find in Sodom fifty innocent ones in the midst of the city, then I will forgive all the place on account of them.”
TGO – וַאֲמַר יְויָ אִם אַשְׁכַּח בִּסְדוֹם חַמְשִׁין זַכָּאִין בְּגוֹ קַרְתָּא וְאֶשְׁבּוֹק לְכָל אַתְרָא בְּדִילְהוֹן׃
And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak UNTO THE SOVEREIGN, which am but dust and ashes.
BHS – וַיַּ֥עַן אַבְרָהָ֖ם וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הִנֵּה־נָ֤א הֹואַ֙לְתִּי֙ לְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־אֲדֹנָ֔י וְאָנֹכִ֖יעָפָ֥ר וָאֵֽפֶר׃
Then Abraham answered and said, “Behold now, I have spoken much BEFORE YAHWEH, even though I am dust and ashes.”
TGO – וַאֲתֵיב אַבְרָהָם וַאֲמַר הָא כְעַן שָׁרִיתִי לְמַלָּלָא קֳדָם יְויָ וַאֲנָא עֲפַר וּקְטַם׃
Note that Targum Onkelos has “Yahweh” instead of “sovereign.”
Forward to Verse 30
And he (Abraham) said unto him, Oh let not THE SOVEREIGN be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
BHS – וַ֠יֹּאמֶר אַל־נָ֞א יִ֤חַר לַֽאדֹנָי֙ וַאֲדַבֵּ֔רָה אוּלַ֛י יִמָּצְא֥וּן שָׁ֖ם שְׁלֹשִׁ֑יםוַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֔ה אִם־אֶמְצָ֥א שָׁ֖ם שְׁלֹשִֽׁים׃
Then he (Abraham) said, “Let not the anger of YAHWEH grow strong and I will speak. Perhaps thirty are found there?” Then he (Yahweh) said, “I will not do this if I should find there thirty.”
TGO – וַאֲמַר לָא כְעַן יִתְקַף רוּגְזָא דַּיויָ וַאֲמַלֵּיל מָאִם יִשְׁתַּכְחוּן תַּמָּן תְּלָתִין וַאֲמַר לָא אַעֲבֵיד גְּמֵירָא אִם אַשְׁכַּח תַּמָּן תְּלָתִין׃
Note that Targum Onkelos has “Yahweh” instead of “sovereign.”
Forward to Verse 32
And he said, Oh let not THE SOVEREIGN be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he (Yahweh) said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
BHS – וַ֠יֹּאמֶר אַל־נָ֞א יִ֤חַר לַֽאדֹנָי֙ וַאֲדַבְּרָ֣ה אַךְ־הַפַּ֔עַם אוּלַ֛י יִמָּצְא֥וּןשָׁ֖ם עֲשָׂרָ֑ה וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אַשְׁחִ֔ית בַּעֲב֖וּר הָעֲשָׂרָֽה׃
Then he said, “Let not now the anger of YAHWEH grow strong and I will speak but this time. Perhaps ten are found there?” So he (Yahweh) said, I will not destroy it on account of ten.”
TGO – וַאֲמַר לָא כְעַן יִתְקַף רוּגְזָא דַּיויָ וַאֲמַלֵּיל בְּרַם זִמְנָא הָדָא מָאִם יִשְׁתַּכְחוּן תַּמָּן עַסְרָא וַאֲמַר לָא אֲחַבֵּיל בְּדִיל עַסְרָא׃
Note that Targum Onkelos has “Yahweh” instead of “sovereign.”
And YAHWEH went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
BHS – וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ יְהוָ֔ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר כִּלָּ֔ה לְדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֑ם וְאַבְרָהָ֖ם שָׁ֥בלִמְקֹמֹֽו׃
Then the glory of YAHWEH was taken up when he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
TGO – וְאִסְתַּלַּק יְקָרָא דַּיויָ כַּד שֵׁיצִי לְמַלָּלָא עִם אַבְרָהָם וְאַבְרָהָם תָּב לְאַתְרֵיהּ׃
• Notice that the male named Yahweh proceeds to Sodom some time after the other two men who had left earlier.
AND THERE CAME TWO ANGELS TO SODOM AT EVEN; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.
BHS – יָּבֹאוּ שְׁנֵ֨י הַמַּלְאָכִ֤ים סְדֹ֙מָה֙ בָּעֶ֔רֶב וְלֹ֖וט יֹשֵׁ֣ב בְּשַֽׁעַר־סְדֹ֑םוַיַּרְא־לֹוט֙ וַיָּ֣קָם לִקְרָאתָ֔ם וַיִּשְׁתַּ֥חוּ אַפַּ֖יִם אָֽרְצָה׃
THEN THE TWO ANGELS ENTERED SODOM IN THE EVENING, as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. Lot saw them and rose up toward them, and bowed down before them on the ground.
TGO – וְעָאלוּ תְּרֵין מַלְאֲכַיָּא לִסְדוֹם בְּרַמְשָׁא וְלוֹט יָתֵיב בְּתַרְעָא דִּסְדוֹם וַחֲזָא לוֹט וְקָם לְקַדָּמוּתְהוֹן וּסְגֵיד עַל אַפּוֹהִי עַל אַרְעָא׃
• Notice that these two men are now identified as also being angels. These angels arrive before the other angel named Yahweh who had stayed behind talking with Abraham.
Forward to Verse 10
But the men (angels) put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
BHS – וַיִּשְׁלְח֤וּ הָֽאֲנָשִׁים֙ אֶת־יָדָ֔ם וַיָּבִ֧יאוּ אֶת־לֹ֛וט אֲלֵיהֶ֖ם הַבָּ֑יְתָהוְאֶת־הַדֶּ֖לֶת סָגָֽרוּ׃
Then the men (angels) stretched out their hand and brought Lot in to them, into the house, and they shut the door.
TGO – וְאוֹשִׁיטוּ גּוּבְרַיָּא יָת יְדֵיהוֹן וְאַעִילוּ יָת לוֹט לְוָתְהוֹן לְבֵיתָא וְיָת דַּשָּׁא אֲחַדוּ׃
Forward to Verse 12
And the men (angels) said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place.
BHS – וַיֹּאמְר֨וּ הָאֲנָשִׁ֜ים אֶל־לֹ֗וט עֹ֚ד מִֽי־לְךָ֣ פֹ֔ה חָתָן֙ וּבָנֶ֣יךָ וּבְנֹתֶ֔יךָוְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־לְךָ֖ בָּעִ֑יר הֹוצֵ֖א מִן־הַמָּקֹֽום׃
Then the men (angels) said to Lot, “How many more do you have here? A son-in-law, your sons, and your daughters, and all that you have in the city, bring out from the place.
TGO – וַאֲמַרוּ גּוּבְרַיָּא לְלוֹט עוֹד מָא לָךְ הָכָא חַתְנָא וּבְנָךְ וּבְנָתָךְ וְכֹל דְּלָךְ בְּקַרְתָּא אַפֵּיק מִן אַתְרָא׃
FOR WE (ANGELS) WILL DESTROY THIS PLACE, because the cry of them is waxen great BEFORE THE FACE OF YAHWEH; and YAHWEH HATH SENT US TO DESTROY IT.
BHS – כִּֽי־מַשְׁחִתִ֣ים אֲנַ֔חְנוּ אֶת־הַמָּקֹ֖ום הַזֶּ֑ה כִּֽי־גָֽדְלָ֤ה צַעֲקָתָם֙ אֶת־פְּנֵ֣ייְהוָ֔ה וַיְשַׁלְּחֵ֥נוּ יְהוָ֖ה לְשַׁחֲתָֽהּ׃
FOR WE (ANGELS) ARE GOING TO DESTROY THIS PLACE, for the outcry against them has multiplied BEFORE YAHWEH, and YAHWEH HAS SENT US TO DESTROY IT.
TGO – אֲרֵי מְחַבְּלִין אֲנַחְנָא יָת אַתְרָא הָדֵין אֲרֵי סְגִיאַת קְבִילַתְהוֹן קֳדָם יְויָ וְשַׁלְּחַנָא יְויָ לְחַבָּלוּתַהּ׃
• Carefully notice that these two men or angels are the ones who left for Sodom prior to the other angel who was speaking to Abraham. The angel who was speaking to Abraham carried the name Yahweh. Also, these two angels say that they were sent by Yahweh to destroy Sodom. This also indicates that, at minimum, one of these two angels will take part in the destruction of Sodom. Keep in mind, the other angel named Yahweh has not yet arrived.
And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for YAHWEH WILL DESTROY THIS CITY. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
BHS – וַיֵּצֵ֨א לֹ֜וט וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־חֲתָנָ֣יו לֹקְחֵ֣י בְנֹתָ֗יו וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ ק֤וּמוּ צְּאוּ֙מִן־הַמָּקֹ֣ום הַזֶּ֔ה כִּֽי־מַשְׁחִ֥ית יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־הָעִ֑יר וַיְהִ֥י כִמְצַחֵ֖ק בְּעֵינֵ֥יחֲתָנָֽיו׃
Then Lot went out and spoke with his sons-in-law who had married his daughters, and he said, “Rise up, go out from this place, for YAHWEH IS GOING TO DESTROY THE CITY.” But it was as though he was joking in the eyes of his sons-in-law.
TGO – וּנְפַק לוֹט וּמַלֵּיל עִם חַתְנוֹהִי נָסְבֵי בְּנָתֵיהּ וַאֲמַר קוּמוּ פּוּקוּ מִן אַתְרָא הָדֵין אֲרֵי מְחַבֵּיל יְויָ יָת קַרְתָּא וַהֲוָה כִּמְחַיֵּיךְ בְּעֵינֵי חַתְנוֹהִי׃
And when the morning arose, THEN THE ANGELS HASTENED LOT, SAYING, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
BHS – וּכְמֹו֙ הַשַּׁ֣חַר עָלָ֔ה וַיָּאִ֥יצוּ הַמַּלְאָכִ֖ים בְּלֹ֣וט לֵאמֹ֑ר קוּם֩ קַ֨חאֶֽת־אִשְׁתְּךָ֜ וְאֶת־שְׁתֵּ֤י בְנֹתֶ֙יךָ֙ הַנִּמְצָאֹ֔ת פֶּן־תִּסָּפֶ֖ה בַּעֲוֹ֥ן הָעִֽיר׃
And when the morning dawned, THE ANGELS PRESS LOT SAYING, “Rise up, take your wife and your two daughters who have been found faithful with you, lest you be punished for the sins of the city.”
TGO – וּכְמִסַּק צַפְרָא הֲוָה וּדְחִיקוּ מַלְאֲכַיָּא בְּלוֹט לְמֵימַר קוּם דְּבַר יָת אִתְּתָךְ וְיָת תַּרְתֵּין בְּנָתָךְ דְּאִשְׁתְּכַחָא מְהֵימְנָן עִמָּךְ דִּלְמָא תִּלְקֵי בְּחוֹבֵי קַרְתָּא׃
Note that the number of angels now present is revealed in verse 16.
And while he lingered, THE MEN (ANGELS) LAID HOLD UPON HIS (LOT’S) HAND, and upon the hand of HIS WIFE, and upon the hand of HIS TWO DAUGHTERS; YAHWEH being merciful unto him: and THEY BROUGHT HIM FORTH, and set him without the city.
BHS – וַֽיִּתְמַהְמָ֓הּ וַיַּחֲזִ֨קוּ הָאֲנָשִׁ֜ים בְּיָדֹ֣ו וּבְיַד־אִשְׁתֹּ֗ו וּבְיַד֙ שְׁתֵּ֣י בְנֹתָ֔יובְּחֶמְלַ֥ת יְהוָ֖ה עָלָ֑יו וַיֹּצִאֻ֥הוּ וַיַּנִּחֻ֖הוּ מִח֥וּץ לָעִֽיר׃
But he held back, so the men seized his hand, and the hand of his wife, and the hand of his two daughters, for YAHWEH had compassion on him, and HE BROUGHT HIM OUT and set him outside the city.
TGO – וְאִתְעַכַּב וְאַתְקִיפוּ גֻּבְרַיָּא בִּידֵיהּ וּבְיַד אִתְּתֵיהּ וּבְיַד תַּרְתֵּין בְּנָתֵיהּ בִּדְחָס יְויָ עֲלוֹהִי וְאַפְּקוּהִי וְאַשְׁרְיוּהִי מִבַּרָא לְקַרְתָּא׃
• Note, it is readily apparent that when early morning appeared as stated in verse 15 that the angel named Yahweh who conversed with Abraham had already arrived. We see in verse 16 that the angel Yahweh had mercy on Lot and proceeded to bring him out from the city along with his family.
And it came to pass, WHEN THEY HAD BROUGHT THEM FORTH abroad, that HE SAID, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
BHS – וַיְהִי֩ כְהֹוצִיאָ֨ם אֹתָ֜ם הַח֗וּצָה וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הִמָּלֵ֣ט עַל־נַפְשֶׁ֔ךָ אַל־תַּבִּ֣יטאַחֲרֶ֔יךָ וְאַֽל־תַּעֲמֹ֖ד בְּכָל־הַכִּכָּ֑ר הָהָ֥רָה הִמָּלֵ֖ט פֶּן־תִּסָּפֶֽה׃
And it came about WHEN HE BROUGHT THEM OUTSIDE, that HE SAID, “Have compassion on yourselves. Do not look behind you, and do not stay in any of the plain. Escape to the mountain, lest you be punished.”
TGO – וַהֲוָה כַּד אַפֵּיק יָתְהוֹן לְבָרָא וַאֲמַר חוּס עַל נַפְשָׁךְ לָא תִּסְתַּכִי לַאֲחוֹרָךְ וְלָא תְקוּם בְּכָל מֵישְׁרָא לְטוּרָא אִשְׁתֵּיזַב דִּלְמָא תִּלְקֵי׃
Notice that Targum Onkelos states that “HE” brought them out instead of “THEY.”
And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, MY SOVEREIGN.
BHS – וַיֹּ֥אמֶר לֹ֖וט אֲלֵהֶ֑ם אַל־נָ֖א אֲדֹנָֽי׃
Then Lot said to them, “Please, YAHWEH.
TGO – וַאֲמַר לוֹט לְהוֹן בְּבָעוּ יְויָ׃
• Notice that according to Targum Onkelos that Lot is calling out to Yahweh among the men/angels.
Forward to Verse 21
And he (Yahweh) said unto him, See, I have accepted you concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which you hast spoken.
BHS – וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֔יו הִנֵּה֙ נָשָׂ֣אתִי פָנֶ֔יךָ גַּ֖ם לַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֑ה לְבִלְתִּ֛י הָפְכִּ֥יאֶת־הָעִ֖יר אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּֽרְתָּ׃
Then he (Yahweh) said to him, “Behold, I will honor you even in this matter, so as not to overthrow the city that you have sought after.
TGO – וַאֲמַר לֵיהּ הָא נְסֵיבִית אַפָּךְ אַף לְפִתְגָמָא הָדֵין בְּדִיל דְּלָא לְמִהְפְּכִי יָת קַרְתָּא דִּבְעֵיתָא עֲלַהּ׃
Haste thee, escape there; for I (Yahweh) cannot do any thing till you be come there. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
BHS – מַהֵר֙ הִמָּלֵ֣ט שָׁ֔מָּה כִּ֣י לֹ֤א אוּכַל֙ לַעֲשֹׂ֣ות דָּבָ֔ר עַד־בֹּאֲךָ֖ שָׁ֑מָּהעַל־כֵּ֛ן קָרָ֥א שֵׁם־הָעִ֖יר צֹֽועַר׃
Hurry, escape there, for I (Yahweh) am not able to do anything until you go there.” Therefore they called the name of the city Zoar.
TGO – אוֹחִי אִשְׁתֵּיזַב לְתַמָּן אֲרֵי לָא אִכּוֹל לְמֶעֱבַד פִּתְגָמָא עַד מֵיתָךְ לְתַמָּן עַל כֵּן קְרָא שְׁמַהּ דְּקַרְתָּא צֹעַר׃
Forward to Verse 24
Then YAHWEH RAINED UPON SODOM and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire FROM YAHWEH OUT OF THE HEAVENS.
BHS – וַֽיהוָ֗ה הִמְטִ֧יר עַל־סְדֹ֛ם וְעַל־עֲמֹרָ֖ה גָּפְרִ֣ית וָאֵ֑שׁ מֵאֵ֥ת יְהוָ֖המִן־הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃
Then YAHWEH CAUSED TO RAIN UPON SODOM and Gomorrah brimstone and fire FROM BEFORE YAHWEH, FROM THE HEAVENS.
TGO – וַיויָ אַמְטַר עַל סְדֹם וְעַל עֲמֹרָה גּוּפְרֵיתָא וְאִישָׁתָא מִן קֳדָם יְיָ מִן שְׁמַיָּא׃
Note, there can be no doubt that there is a Yahweh on earth calling for fire and brimstone from a Yahweh in the heavens.
And he (Yahweh) overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
BHS – וַֽיַּהֲפֹךְ֙ אֶת־הֶעָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔ל וְאֵ֖ת כָּל־הַכִּכָּ֑ר וְאֵת֙ כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵ֣י הֶעָרִ֔יםוְצֶ֖מַח הָאֲדָמָֽה׃
Then he (Yahweh) overthrew these cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and the vegetation of the ground.
TGO – וַהֲפַךְ יָת קִרְוַיָּא הָאִלֵּין וְיָת כָּל מֵישְׁרָא וְיָת כָּל יָתְבֵי קִרְוַיָּא וְצִמְחַהּ דְּאַרְעָא׃
Forward to Verse 27
And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before YAHWEH.
BHS – וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֥ם אַבְרָהָ֖ם בַּבֹּ֑קֶר אֶל־הַ֨מָּקֹ֔ום אֲשֶׁר־עָ֥מַד שָׁ֖ם אֶת־פְּנֵ֥ייְהוָֽה׃
Then Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he ministered in his prayer before YAHWEH.
TGO – וְאַקְדֵּים אַבְרָהָם בְּצַפְרָא לְאַתְרָא דְּשַׁמֵּישׁ תַּמָּן בִּצְלוֹ קֳדָם יְויָ׃
Note that this verse is specifically stating that the person/angel that he was speaking to was named Yahweh!
Forward to Verse 29
And it came to pass, when ELOAHIM DESTROYED the cities of the plain, that ELOAHIM REMEMBERED Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.
BHS – וַיְהִ֗י בְּשַׁחֵ֤ת אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־עָרֵ֣י הַכִּכָּ֔ר וַיִּזְכֹּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־אַבְרָהָ֑םוַיְשַׁלַּ֤ח אֶת־לֹוט֙ מִתֹּ֣וךְ הַהֲפֵכָ֔ה בַּהֲפֹךְ֙ אֶת־הֶ֣עָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־יָשַׁ֥ב בָּהֵ֖ןלֹֽוט׃
Then it came about when YAHWEH DESTROYED the cities of the plain that YAHWEH REMEMBERED Abraham, and he sent Lot away from the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities where Lot was dwelling.
TGO – וַהֲוָה בְּחַבָּלוּת יְויָ יָת קִרְוֵי מֵישְׁרָא וּדְכִיר יְויָ יָת אַבְרָהָם וְשַׁלַּח יָת לוֹט מִגּוֹ הֲפֵיכְתָא כַּד הֲפַךְ יָת קִרְוַיָּא דַּהֲוָה יָתֵיב בְּהוֹן לוֹט׃
Note that Targum Onkelos states that Yahweh destroyed the cities while the Masoretic Text has eloahim.
Now here is where it becomes rather interesting.
In Gen. 18:23, it is acknowledged that the one angel named Yahweh, who was speaking with Abraham, was going to destroy Sodom.
In Gen. 19:13, it is clearly evident that THE TWO ANGELS, who had arrived prior to the other angel named Yahweh, say to Lot that YAHWEH HAD SENT THEM TO DESTROY SODOM. Keep in mind, Scriptures dictate that the one who sends out others is father Yahweh.
And THE FATHER WHO SENT ME (Yahushua) has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen. (John 5:37)
Base upon this information, it is clear that there are at least two angels who were involved in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. One can be identified as an angel who arrived early, and the other is the one specifically named Yahweh, who remained behind to talk with Abraham.
Then, in Gen. 19:15-18, early morning arrives, and it seems that the angel named Yahweh was now present based upon Lot’s pleading with Yahweh himself.
Finally, in Gen. 19:24, there can be no doubt that there was more than one personage named Yahweh who participated in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. One was located on the earth; the other was located in the second or third heavens.
Maybe it’s time to just think about it.