Forty women: 4. Lot’s wife

The mob are at the door.

Men are yelling, throwing things, banging on your door. You know what they want. Not you. Not your beautiful daughters. Nor even your husband.

They want the men. The strangers. The men your husband insisted on inviting into your house tonight. It’s not that you mind showing hospitality. You just would rather not have everything you own destroyed in the process.

Lot’s gone out to speak to them. To talk to them, he said, persuade them. Judging by the growing noise and clamour, it’s not going all that well. Thank God the guests have gone and dragged him back inside. You breathe again, but your heart is still racing. What have you done to deserve this? What have any of you done?

The crowd seem to have dispersed, thankfully. But now the men are saying you have to leave. Flee the city. Leave your house. Leave everything. Lot’s nodding, agreeing with them. He’s gone to find the men who’ve pledged themselves to the girls. The whole family is going, it seems. At the crack of dawn, you, Lot and the girls. Their fiancés have decided not to come. At least they were given a choice, you find yourself thinking as you pack. Just what you can carry, the men warn. You’ll need to move fast. Terrific.

Wouldn’t it be better if the men just left? Everything was fine before they came. Just fine. And it’ll be fine when they’ve gone.

We’re not going, they say. We’ve got a job to do here in Sodom. And in Gomorrah.

You’ve never wanted a night to last longer. But up the sun comes, as it always does. Lot hesitates and for a moment, just for a moment, you think he’s going to see sense and refuse to go. And then one of the men grabs his hand, and another gets the girls, and one of them grasps hold of you and you’re all being rushed out of the city before you get a chance to protest.

It’s been quite a night. There’s been fear: real, deep terror. And rushing in after it, anger, that you’ve been put in such a situation. You don’t know where you’re going or why you’re leaving. Safety, they say, these strangers who’ve brought nothing but trouble into your home. We’re saving you, but you need to hurry. We’re bringing you out of danger, but there’s no time. Run. As fast as you can. And don’t look back.

But you don’t know these men. Why should you believe them?

You know Sodom isn’t a great place. You’ve been scared there. You’ve been unhappy there.
But you don’t know where you’re going. Why should you think it will be any better?

You know it was full of wickedness. Depravities that you don’t even know the name for.
But you weren’t involved with the worst of it. It wasn’t that bad, your life there, was it?

They men are telling you that God is about to destroy the city because the people there are so wicked.
But God doesn’t do that kind of judgement any more, not since the Great Flood. Didn’t he promise he wouldn’t do it again after that, anyway?

And so you turn your head for one last look.

Forty women: 5. Lot’s daughters