As soon as the angels got them outside, one of them said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop anywhere on the plain! Run to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” Genesis 19:17 (HCSB)
But his wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:26 (HCSB)
Lot’s wife, who had been so blessed by God and so near to safety, was caught up in the destruction. Her action in looking back was in direct opposition to the command: ‘Do not look behind you or stay anywhere in the plain’ (19:17). Jesus said, ‘Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it’ (Luke 17:32-33).
Lot’s wife tried to hang on to her life in Sodom and lost her life in the great conflagration. We can know great privileges and yet still belong to the world and come under God’s wrath. John Bunyan closes the first part of Pilgrim’s Progress with this warning: ‘Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction.’
Philip H. Eveson, Welwyn Commentary Series – The book of origins: Genesis simply explained
Verse 26 reports that Lot also lost his wife; by looking back she evidenced her affections for her life at Sodom. Lot’s wife may have been a Sodomite; there is no mention of her prior to chap. 19, unless we are to assume she was among the “women” (14:16) rescued by Abram. In any case, the woman is nameless, no more than a prop in the story whose tragic end became a dreaded lesson (Luke 17:32).
The description “looked back” is the same language in the angel’s prohibition (v. 17). The feature of “salt” in the Dead Sea area (cf. “salt sea,” 14:3) and its sterile effects on arable land may explain the casting of her figure in the mineral. Her physical translation into an edifice of salt, probably to be understood as a coating of salt, testified to the consequence of disobedience and was an appalling reminder of the events at Sodom (Luke 17:28-29,32).