The subject is taken from the Old Testament (Genesis 19: 30). Lot and his daughters are shown fleeing the sinful city of Sodom after being warned of its destruction by God. Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt for disobeying instructions not to look back at the city. The daughters later seduced their father in order to ensure the survival of his line.
Since the late 18th century this painting has been regarded as a companion piece to the artist's 'Susannah and the Elders'. However, the two pictures were not painted as a pair.