The Pillar of Salt
BY JEAN BAPTISTE COROT, THE FAMOUS FRENCH NATURALISTIC PAINTER, DIED 1875. THE
ORIGINAL IS IN THE DURAND RUEL COLLECTION.
“But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”—Gen., 19, 26.
THUS Lot escaped from Sodom, even as Noah had escaped from the earlier destruction caused by the flood. But unlike Noah, Lot found that even his own family had grown corrupt during the days of his residence in Sodom. They hesitated to obey him; they halted and hung back. The guarding angels had almost to drag them forth from their city of pleasure. “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said [God said] escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.”
Even as they fled, the Lord’s destruction fell upon all the plain. Behind them they heard a great storm and the roaring of whirlwinds. “And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” Yet, despite all the tumult, Lot’s wife disobeyed the divine command; despite the direct warning “lest thou be consumed,” she looked behind. Immediately, slain by the noxious vapors or by the direct blast of heavenly wrath, she perished, “she became a pillar of salt.”