Welcome to Weekly Guest Post 8 of the book tour The Door is Open by Andrew Court. Watch for a weekly guest post for the next several weeks on my site!
Why did Abraham stop at ten? Why not one? ‘Ten’ is certainly an interesting number. Pythagoras called it the Perfect Number, the Number of Man. Abraham may have been aware that God would one day reveal Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, and perhaps he felt there should be a minimum of at least one person keeping each commandment if Sodom was to be saved. Some legends suggest that Abraham recalled that Noah had eight righteous souls in his family, and since these eight had not been sufficient for God to spare that whole generation there was no need now to continue this conversation. Or perhaps, as some legends suggest, he simply felt confident that his nephew Lot, along with his wife, four daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren, would more than total ten righteous souls.
But more than likely the story simply means that, while a certain degree of negativity and evil can be tolerated, forgiven, and eventually redeemed, there comes a point where it is simply too extreme and too dangerous, and has to be annihilated.
Abraham, of course, made no claim to be the enforcer of this code: his role was solely to plead for Mercy – a good reminder for many contemporary people who feel called upon to personally judge and punish their particular choice of ‘sinners’. After all, the people in this story – including the horrible citizens of Sodom – are all symbols of qualities living inside us. They do not represent some ‘other’ person. This entire story is taking place right now within the confines of every human soul. The real meaning of the story is that the negativity and evil that has to be ‘annihilated’ is our own.