Why did Lot’s daughters go unpunished for their sin?

According to today’s standards of morality, Lot’s daughters’ plan of perpetuating the family name would be strongly condemned, even though moral degeneracy is widespread. However, there seems to be a great difference between engaging in sexual practices for mere pleasure and fleshly gratification, and for the serious business of procreation.

It is possible that a young woman at that time was somewhat limited in her choice of a companion whom she could wed, and companions often bore a certain relationship to each other. The conversation between Boaz, a distant relation to Naomi, mother-in-law to Ruth the Moabitess, and another male relative (Ruth 4), points to the then-existing plan.

Lot’s daughters’ intended husbands had perished in the overthrow of Sodom. No other plan for motherhood may have been to them as acceptable as the plan they took. And the fact that Lot was later classified as a “just” man seems to infer that his action was not condemned by God.

This last portion of Lot’s story has been taken to be both positive and negative. On the positive side was the focus of people at that time upon preserving “seed” at any cost. The negative aspects of the story stem from the drunkenness and incest that played a central role in the plan of the daughters. Says one commentator, “Their conduct was worthy of Sodom, and shows quite as much as their previous betrothal to men of Sodom, that they were deeply imbued with the sinful character of that city.”

The narrative clearly shows these people as survivors of God’s judgments at the time and as the benefactors of His mercy. It is possible that there is more to history at this point than we are told. Lot is mentioned as the father of the Moabites and the Ammonites (Deut. 2:9, 19) and both groups continued to play an important role in later Biblical history.

In the book of Ruth, Ruth the Moabitess shows great character and godly virtue. During the Babylonian exile, the Moabites and Ammonites provided a safe refuge for Jews who had fled from Judah (Jer. 40:11).

Whatever was right or wrong about the conduct of Lot’s daughters, the children and their descendants were not under stigma because of it. The Moabites were excluded from the Israelites’ worship, but this exclusion was based on their mistreatment of Israel during the time of the conquest and not on the misconduct of their parents.

It is never God’s practice to condemn the children for the sins of the parents.