The Sin of Sodom – exactly what was it?

Sodom is referenced multiple times in the Bible as an example of great sinning. And what might that sin be? 

In Isaiah 1:10-17 it is thought to be injustice, not rescuing the oppressed, defending the orphan, pleading for the widow.

In Jeremiah 23:14 it is adultery. In Ezekiel 16:48-49 it is the sin of not aiding the “poor and needy.”

In Zephaniah 2:8-11 the sin is bullying, boasting and pride.

In the Wisdom of Solomon 19:14 it is “the bitter hatred of strangers.” 

The sin is not about being gay. It is not about non-straight sexual orientation. The sin of Sodom was lacking hospitality, not being just, bullying, hating strangers, not caring for those marginalized.  Funny, they are all things Churches (and individuals for that matter) sorely need to keep in mind and be better at practicing when it comes to how we do or do not welcome LGBTQ folk into our lives. After all, in today’s society, who is more marginalized, more bullied, more treated like a “stranger,” than them?

The following article is the best explanation of the Genesis Sodom and Gommorah episode that I have ever read.  I know that several of you will avhe difficulty with the conclusions reached but I ask you to read the (very long) article and have an open mind -put out of your mind what you think the story is about.  Allow your self to read this article with a fresh mind, as if you’d never heard of Sodom and Gomorah!

The Rescue of Lot

The story of the destruction of Sodom and its sister city of Gomorrah is of compelling interest today because of the current debate in the churches over homosexuality. In the course of this debate, these two chapters of Genesis have been degraded from a story of God’s justice and providence to a diatribe against specific sexual acts, rendering the story repugnant and useless for any other spiritual purpose. Our intent here is not to formulate a position on sexual morality, but to rescue this Bible text from the crossfire of dispute, restoring its original theological significance and devotional value.

The Current Interpretation

Traditionally, the story is interpreted as demonstrating the sin of Sodom. The usual interpretation runs as follows: God and Abraham have a conversation in which God reveals to Abraham the plan to destroy the cities on account of their wickedness. Since Abraham’s nephew Lot lived in that area, Abraham was concerned that Lot might innocently be included in the destruction and bargained God down to an agreement that if just ten righteous people were found in the city, the entire city would be saved. God then sent angels to the city, and they went to Lot’s house. After nightfall, all of the men of the city gathered at Lot’s door and demanded that Lot bring out his guests so that the crowd could rape them. The crowd is interpreted as consisting of raging homosexuals intent upon rape. Lot begs them not to do this and offers them his two virgin daughters for sexual abuse instead. The crowd becomes angrier and turns on Lot; but before they can do anything, the angels snatch Lot into the house and strike the crowd with blindness. The angels decide that this is the last straw for Sodom, forcibly remove Lot and his family from the city and throw the switch. Thereafter the city is spectacularly destroyed, demonstrating God’s wrath against homosexuals forever.

Is this true? Or is the traditional interpretation of the story a misunderstanding? Let’s go through the story verse by verse and see if this traditional interpretation is borne out by more than a superficial reading.

A Fresh Look at the Story of Sodom

The biblical record of the destruction of Sodom is contained in Genesis 18 and 19, and is one of a chain of episodes in the life of Abraham. The story begins with an appearance of God to Abraham:

And the Lord appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.”
—Genesis 18:1-3, RSV

It is important to note that the Lord appears to Abraham in a group of three “men.”

The next verses (4 through 8) describe in detail how Abraham went about extending his hospitality to the strangers. Anyone who is well read in the Old Testament will recognize Abraham’s behavior as being the normal response to unexpected visitors. Then in verses 9 through 15 an account is given of the circumstances surrounding the announcement of the future birth of Isaac, which is not relevant to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Then the men set out from there, and they looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him?”
—Genesis 18:16-18, RSV

What is not mentioned here, but is relevant, is that Abraham’s nephew Lot had recently settled near Sodom (Genesis 13:12), and so the destruction of Sodom would be of more than passing interest to Abraham. God’s thoughts continue:

“No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
—Genesis 18:19, RSV

God is anthropomorphically represented here as “realizing” that the situation presents the opportunity to teach Abraham about justice and righteousness. Therefore, we should expect the remainder of the story to show unambiguous righteousness and justice on the part of God.

Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.”
—Genesis 18:20-21, RSV

Here God tells Abraham that He plans to personally determine the guilt of both cities. Then:

So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the Lord.
—Genesis 18:22, RSV

Here the group of three visitors breaks up. The Lord remains with Abraham, the “men” leave for Sodom and only Sodom. Therefore, one of the group stays behind, while two leave—and it turns out that only two arrive at Sodom. Since the one who stayed behind is described as being the Lord, the two “men” who departed must have been something else—as it later turns out, they were angels.

Why Were the Angels Sent to Sodom?

What was the mission of the two angels who left for Sodom at this point? Well, the mission was not to determine the guilt of the city. First, God promised to make a Personal determination of the guilt of the cities in verses 20 and 21. Since God cannot lie, this task could not have been delegated to the angels who had just left. Second, God promised to evaluate both cities, but the angels left for Sodom and never visited Gomorrah. If their mission had been to evaluate the cities, then God would be unfair for destroying Gomorrah for Sodom’s deeds. This would contradict the point of the story, which was (as God said) to showcase God’s justice. Therefore, their mission cannot have been to judge the city.

While the two angels are on their way to Sodom, Abraham bargains with God. As is stated above and in Genesis 19:29, Abraham’s concern is that his nephew Lot would perish unjustly in the destruction. God allows Abraham to bargain down to an agreement that if only ten good people are found in Sodom, the entire city will be spared. The purpose of the conversation, which is recorded in Genesis 18:23-32, is to emphasize that God may spare the wicked for the sake of the righteous, but would never punish the righteous for the sins of the wicked.

And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place. The two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face toward the earth.
—Genesis 18:33-19:1, RSV

The physical form that represented God left Abraham, but is not depicted as going to Sodom or Gomorrah. Thus we conclude that God’s promised evaluation of the facts in the case is not recorded in Genesis.

A Brief Recapitulation

God and the two angels came to Abraham in the heat of the day (mid-afternoon), ate a large meal which required extensive preparation (the main course was on the hoof), and had a lengthy conversation. Then the two angels set out for Sodom on foot and arrived there at dusk the same day. Later on in Genesis 19:13, the angels explain to Lot that they have been sent to Sodom to destroy the city. It is obvious that the investigation was completed and the fate of the cities determined before the angels were dispatched. The angels were not sent on a fact-finding mission, they were sent to execute a sentence. Therefore the conversation between God and Abraham could not have had any effect upon the fate of Lot and his family or the people of the city of Sodom. The purpose of the conversation was to educate Abraham about righteousness and justice, as God stated in Genesis 18:19.

Lot Invites the Angels

Picking up where we left off:

And (Lot) said, “My lords, turn aside, I pray you, to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise up early and go on your way.”
—Genesis 19:2a, RSV

Lot is extending routine hospitality to the strangers, just as Abraham had done earlier. As mentioned above and in Genesis 13:12, Lot was a newcomer to Sodom and not a native. It is very likely that the natives of this city would be suspicious if total strangers entered the walled city (the gate mentioned in the text indicates walls) at dusk and proceeded to spend the night at a newcomer’s house without introduction or explanation. In that day of petty local wars which are described in great abundance throughout the Old Testament, strangers that acted this way could very well turn out to be spies and the vanguard of a surprise attack. Since the angels knew this, they did not want to cause Lot any difficulties and responded to his invitation:

They said, “No; we will spend the night in the street.”
—Genesis 19:2b, RSV

Problems With the Angel’s Response

The angels’ response to Lot’s invitation cannot be explained by the traditional “homosexual rape” theory; since by staying in the street they would only be tempting the allegedly lusty and homosexual populace to rape them all the sooner. It would be as if the pastor of a modern church, a good and righteous man, encountered angels from God. When invited to stay at the parsonage, they respond, “No, we’d rather spend the night at the homosexual bath house!” Since we know that these angels were sent by God and were carrying out God’s purposes, the traditional interpretation presents us with a serious problem, because we know that no temptation to do evil comes from God. (James 1:13-14).

But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”
—Genesis 19:3-5, RSV

What Does it Mean to “Know” Someone?

The traditional interpretation of this story is that the phrase “that we may know them” means that the men of the city desired to rape the angels who were guests in Lot’s house. The Hebrew word translated “know” in the above text can either mean “be acquainted with” or “have sexual intercourse with,” so both are possible translations at this preliminary stage. Because of tradition, and because an alternative interpretation of this passage is lacking, most modern language Bibles interpret this word as indicating rape. However it must be pointed out that in the 936 occurrences of this Hebrew word in the Old Testament, “know” with the meaning of sexual intercourse only occurs about a dozen times, and then it only describes marital sex. Those who interpret the Hebrew word “know” in this verse to mean homosexual rape should have a lot of explaining to do. Normally when an interpretation depends upon one word having a unique, unlikely and unprecedented meaning, most scholars are inclined to discard the interpretation as contrived and as serving some unspoken purpose of its proponents. In this case, the fact that this is the traditional interpretation spares its advocates a lot of work.

If “Know” Means Rape…

For the sake of argument however, let us set the linguistic evidence aside for the moment and pretend that these two interpretations of the Hebrew word “know” have equal merit and explore how each possibility fits into the context.

The writer goes to great pains to inform us that every single male of the city desired to “know” the strangers. Therefore the traditional view leads to two rather improbable but inescapable conclusions: 1) that the male population of Sodom was 100% homosexual; and 2) that the sexual appetites of the entire population happened to coincide one fateful night! Since the strangers entered the city at dusk in an era with limited artificial lighting and went straight to a foreigner’s house, it is much more reasonable to believe that the entire male population of the city would be interested in cross-examining potential spies about their intentions in town. Thus the men of the city have a stronger motivation for wanting to “get to know” the strangers than they do for wanting to rape them. The story reads more logically and plausibly if we interpret the men of Sodom as belligerently desiring to interview suspected spies.

Reconstructing the Author’s Purpose

The only reason for maintaining that “know” means “rape” is a desire to preserve the perceived purpose of the story. If the purpose of the story is to exhibit Sodom’s sin and demonstrate the reason why it was destroyed, then it is only by interpreting “know” as “rape” that this interpretation makes any sense at all. If the men of Sodom only wanted to interview possible spies, then their conduct is completely in order even if we could show that they were rude or pushy. If we assume that the point of the story is to showcase Sodom’s sin, then the most we could get out of the story is a divine overreaction to breaches of etiquette. This is patently silly.

So let us determine the point of the story. To accomplish this, we must first determine the chronology of events and the relationships between them. In order for the destruction of the city to have been even partly caused by the men attempting to “know” the angels, the judgment would have to come after this event. A judgment invariably comes after a crime. Did the judgment of Sodom occur before the angels’ visit or after the men of Sodom came to Lot’s door? In addition, the story can only be about the sin of Sodom if the angels were empowered to judge or to gather facts to be used in judgment. Otherwise, the conduct of the people of Sodom during the angels’ visit would come after the judgment and therefore could not be a factor in it. And we have demonstrated:

  • The judgment was to be passed by God, not the angels. God’s visit to Sodom is not depicted.
  • The angels revealed that they had been sent to destroy the city, therefore the judgment was passed before they were sent and the crime which led to the judgment came before that.
  • The nature of the agreement that God made with Abraham was that a righteous population of ten would save the city. Thus if the angels had been sent to determine the fate of the city, they should have been taking a census of righteous people, not freeloading at Lot’s house until some neighborhood toughs ticked them off.
  • The judgment was to have been of both cities, yet the angels only visited one!

The Purpose of the Story Revealed

Therefore the title of the story is not “The Sin of Sodom” ; rather it is “The Rescue of Lot.” God already knew there were less than ten righteous people in town and sent the angels to remove the few righteous who were there so that it could be destroyed without unfairly punishing anyone. The fate of the city was sealed before the events of Chapter 18. God’s rescue of Lot taught Abraham about divine justice. The difficulties involved in the rescue are related as a consolation for righteous people who are in difficult straits.

The Difficulties of Persisting in Error

However, if we persist in interpreting the men of Sodom as desiring to rape the “men” who visited Lot, we have serious difficulties in the next few verses:

Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men; for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
—Genesis 19:6-8, RSV

If the traditional view of homosexual rape is accepted, then we are puzzled as to why Lot would address an angry rapacious homosexual mob as “brothers” —especially considering the usage of this word in the Old Testament.

Also we are confronted with a very uncomfortable moral problem: Lot’s offer of his virgin daughters as a substitute can then only be construed as permission for the mob to gang-rape them! (It is obvious that the daughters were “acquainted with” their father and their fiancés, so the word “know” in this verse must refer to marital intercourse. Thus we are informed that the daughters are virgins.)

Earlier, God stated that His purpose in this story was to show God’s righteousness and justice. According to the traditional interpretation, the men of Sodom threatened Lot’s guests with homosexual rape, but were prevented from doing so by the angels’ intervention. The traditional view also has it that Lot offered his daughters for a gang-rape by an angry mob, but this offer was never taken up. Therefore, the traditional view would have us believe that the men of Sodom were spectacularly destroyed for a crime they planned but did not commit, whereas Lot was mercifully spared despite the fact that he also planned an uncommitted crime! This does not square with God’s purpose in the incident, which was to demonstrate righteousness and justice! The traditionalist’s only way out is to assert that gang-raping women was of no import in that age; an assertion which flies in the face of the evidence in archaeology and in other parts of the Pentateuch. All the traditional view could demonstrate is that Abraham’s friendship with God got his nephew Lot over a rough spot… that is, connections in the right places are more important than a moral character.

In addition, Lot’s action in allegedly volunteering his daughters as a substitute for the men in the gang rape is irrational: how could anyone who lived in an exclusively homosexual community, as Lot is reputed to have done, be so naive as to offer girls to homosexuals intent upon raping men? Lot’s offer is not only immoral, it is demented!

The traditional interpretation presupposes that Lot came from a culture that severely deprecates homosexuality and exacts spectacular, even cruel penalties for it; yet in his attempt to avoid it, he betrays total ignorance on the most superficial level of the nature of the offense.

Many commentators who advocate the sexual interpretation of this story confess that they are at a loss to explain Lot’s conduct. The liberals explain it away by alleging a second class status for women. Not only are they flagrantly reading twenty-first century social concerns into the distant past, their theory is flatly contradicted by God’s insistence in Genesis 20-21 that the heir of the promise to Abraham be born of the proper mother. The conservatives explain it by avowing that homosexuality is such a horrible sin, that offering one’s daughters for rape (otherwise a serious crime) becomes virtuous in comparison. Some even interpret it as a sex education lecture: a graphic demonstration of how the men should direct their sex drives! This desperate argumentation is repulsive even to its advocates.

The Difficulties Are Not in the Text

All of these difficulties vanish if we use the other translation possibility that the crowd wanted to “be acquainted with” the strangers. Lot addresses the men as “brothers” meaning that he considered himself to be one of them. If Lot were a member of the community, then the men were committing a gross violation of Lot’s hospitality to his guests by dragging them out for interrogation by the militia. The character of the crowd is not violent at this point, and Lot’s offer of his daughters is defensible: he is offering them in trust to men he calls brothers as hostages to guarantee the conduct of the strangers. Family members were commonly given as hostages to enforce and guarantee agreements, and the Old Testament is filled with examples. This offer is in the spirit of compromise; the hostages are supposed to make the interrogation unnecessary.

The Text Refutes the Current View

If the traditional interpretation of the story were correct, we would expect the response of the crowd to be something on the order of: “Forget the girls, man; send out those good-looking guys!” However, what they really said was this:

But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now will we deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door.
—Genesis 19:9, RSV

The crowd is not recorded as rejecting Lot’s daughters because they are female; something we should expect if the crowd consisted of homosexual men looking for a good time. They threatened Lot with rougher treatment than they had planned for the visitors. If they had intended to rape the visitors, then we should interpret this as a threat to subject Lot to even rougher sexual abuse. However, an attempt to rape Lot is curiously missing from the record. The more this passage is scrutinized, the less tenable a sexual interpretation becomes.

The Real Issue at the Door

In contrast to what the traditional interpretation would lead us to expect, the reaction of the crowd is indignation that Lot, an outsider, would presume to call their action improper. We see immediately that there is a difference of opinion about Lot’s standing in the community—Lot thinks he is an insider (he calls the men “brothers” )—the men of the city consider Lot an outsider (“this fellow came to sojourn” ). This disagreement is the core of the controversy: if Lot were an insider, the action of the men in violating his hospitality was indeed wicked as Lot had said. If, however, Lot were an outsider as the men of the city thought, then Lot’s action in bringing total strangers inside the city walls at dusk and whisking them into his home at night was extremely suspicious, especially since the citizens of the town had no opportunity to speak with the visitors. Lot’s attempted compromise is considered meddling and is rejected, and in their indignation, the crowd surges against Lot and nearly breaks down his door.

But the men put forth their hands and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves groping for the door.
—Genesis 19:10-11, RSV

An Overlooked Surprise!

Note here that the alleged “sin of Sodom” never took place!

Then the men said to Lot, “Have you any one else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any one you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up, get out of this place; for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons- in-law to be jesting.
—Genesis 19:12-14, RSV

The Angels’ Assessment of the Sons-In-Law

Three things are evident from this passage: First, that the angels intended to rescue the sons-in-law, and that they were worthy of exemption from punishment. Second, that the angels had been sent to destroy the city and thus not to judge it. The judgment had to have been decided before they were sent and before the incident with the crowd had taken place. Third, that the sons-in-law that the angels intended to rescue were outside the house during the crowd scene earlier and were involved in it—since it is clearly stated in the text that all the men and boys in town were in the crowd demanding to “know” the visitors. If the traditional rape theory is correct, then the angels’ intent is questionable; the sons-in-law would be eligible for rescue because of their luck in associating with the nephew of a friend of God, and not because of righteousness or justice. God’s purpose in the story would be thwarted. But if the crowd scene earlier had only been a misunderstanding and was recorded as being one of the complications involved in rescuing Lot’s righteous family, then the sons-in-law could be innocent of wrongdoing and worthy of sparing. Aside from righteousness, no other reason for sparing the sons-in-law presents itself; none is given in the text.

Why the Sons-In-Law Disobeyed

The sons-in-law were warned to leave town the evening before its destruction, but they thought Lot was joking and disobeyed the warning. Some conclude that the sons-in-law were disobedient because they were unrighteous and deserved destruction, but this theory is unwarranted. If that were true, then we wonder why these two unrighteous men were singled out for preferential treatment in the form of a useless warning. The angels would either have not warned them at all and saved the useless effort, or all Sodom would have been warned so that all could prove their unrighteousness by their disobedience. The only explanation is that the sons-in-law were warned because they were righteous and deserved to be spared. They disobeyed because they possessed free will and elected to disregard the warning, as Lot’s wife did later on. (No one suggests that the disobedience of Lot’s wife proves her unrighteousness!) It is clear that they perished in the destruction simply because they did not follow instructions. Even the righteous can make careless, even fatal mistakes.

The family beds down for the night, and the action resumes at the crack of dawn:

When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him forth and set him outside the city. And when they had brought them forth, they said, “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley; flee to the hills, lest you be consumed.” And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me, and I die. Behold, yonder city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there-is it not a little one?-and my life will be saved!”
—Genesis 19:15-20, RSV

The Mercy of God to a Righteous Man

It is obvious that Lot has not realized (at least until this point) that his visitors are angels because he lingers. As with the sons-in-law, God’s justice is served and the angels’ mission is completed upon the delivery of the warning. The angels are not required to enforce obedience. It is Lot’s prerogative to obey or disobey. According to Ezekiel 33:1-6, those who willfully disregard a warning and perish as a result bear the responsibility for their own demise. However, the Lord is so merciful to Lot that the angels grab him by the hand and give him a shove in the direction of obedience. He, his wife and his daughters are instructed to flee and not look back. Lot bargains for a shorter, more realistic distance; the angels agree. As Abraham learned in his bargaining with God, Lot experiences that God will spare the wicked if it is necessary for the preservation of the righteous:

He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Make haste, escape there; for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
—Genesis 19:21-26, RSV

Lot switches from addressing both angels to addressing only one of them. Exactly where this change occurs in the narration is unclear in the Hebrew; it does not affect our interpretation. The angels facilitated the destruction of the area by warning the righteous inhabitants, and the fire and brimstone came down from the “Lord in heaven.” This reconfirms the earlier statement that the two figures who dealt with Lot were angels and that neither of the two was a representation of God. Also, the sons-in-law were not the only innocent people to suffer when they ignored instructions; Lot’s wife also disobeyed and perished.

The Survivors and the Aftermath

There had been six righteous people in Sodom: Lot, his wife, his two daughters and their fianc?-four short of the ten required for sparing the city. Three of these lost their lives to disobedience leaving only three survivors of the catastrophe: Lot and his two daughters.

And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord; and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace. So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.
—Genesis 19:27-29, RSV

The Author’s Explicit Statement of Purpose

Here, at the end of the story, we find a summary of what it was about: the Rescue of Lot. In rescuing Lot, God remembered Abraham’s desire that the innocent not perish in the punishment of the wicked. It is true that some innocent people did perish, but only because they took matters into their own hands and disobeyed. God’s righteousness and justice are demonstrated by the rescue, which was God’s purpose for the story from the very beginning.

Confirmation from Other Scriptures

In 2 Peter 2:9 the story is presented as an example of how God rescues the righteous from the punishment of the wicked. (If the traditional interpretation were correct, the divinely inspired writer of 2 Peter 2:9 would be in error about the point of this story!)

Genesis 18:1-19:29 is the Rescue of Lot. It presupposes that Sodom was sinful, but does not disclose that sin.

Puzzles for Eisegetes

A few questions for those who still hold to the traditional “homosexual rape” theory:

  • Why didn’t the angels make an effort to seek ten righteous people?
  • Why did God allow the angels to judge the city contrary to His promise to do it Himself?
  • Why did the women of Sodom die in the destruction?
  • If the altercation at the door caused the destruction to be unleashed, why did the people of Gomorrah and the other neighboring towns die?
  • If the men of the city were destroyed because they wanted to rape the angels, why wasn’t Lot destroyed for offering his daughters for rape?
  • How does the story demonstrate God’s righteousness and not just simple favoritism?
  • Why was Sodom destroyed if the men of the city never committed the alleged sin?
  • Why would God’s angels prefer to spend the night in the street since in doing so they would be blatantly tempting the men to sin?
  • Why would God send His angels to entrap people into sinning?
  • If God’s discipline and control over His angels is so lax, what hope does this story give us?
  • If the angels destroyed the city in reaction to the mob’s alleged rape attempt, why did they wait until the next morning to do it? If they were waiting for a prearranged time, it means that the time of the destruction (as well as the destruction itself) was set before the angels were dispatched.

Since we cannot escape the fact that the sons-in-law were in the crowd demanding to “know” Lot’s visitors (the text makes it amply clear that all the men in town were in the crowd and that the sons-in-law were in town but not in Lot’s house), how could Lot be considered righteous if he allows his daughters to marry homosexuals?

Why the Current Interpretation Must be Abandoned With Alacrity

It is clear that the traditional “homosexual rape” theory involves too many theological difficulties and presents us with too many discrepancies and contradictions. We are given a haphazard God who plays favorites; we are given holy angels who follow orders so loosely they should have been placed on probation; we see a man rescued for “righteousness” whose character is as questionable as the criminals from whom he is rescued. This murky mess cannot be explained away by asserting that there were lower moral standards in the distant past or that the writer had an unenlightened concept of God—the mess is caused by the interpreter, not the text. The traditional interpretation is theologically defective because of its characterization of a haphazard God. It is morally offensive because some crooks get punished and others get off because they have friends on the outside. It is scripturally unsound, because it requires conduct on the part of God’s representatives that other parts of the Bible assure us is impossible. It is logically inconsistent because it requires people to react absurdly and ignores chronology. It is intellectually dishonest because it inserts the interpreter’s meaning instead of extracting the author’s meaning. It is, from a literary standpoint, unwarranted because it ignores parts of the story in interpreting other parts.

The traditional “homosexual rape” theory must therefore be discarded as theologically defective, morally offensive, scripturally unsound, logically inconsistent, intellectually dishonest, and unwarranted.

What Should Have Been Obvious All Along

The following is a summary of the events in Sodom described in Genesis chapters 13, 18 and 19:

Because their households have grown too large for them to camp together, Abraham and his nephew Lot part company, Lot taking the low lands. Lot eventually moves his camp to Sodom.

Sodom loses a local war. All the inhabitants, including Lot and his household, are carried into captivity. Abraham rescues the whole city in order to rescue Lot and restores it. In gratitude for his victory, Abraham gives God’s High Priest Melchizedek ten percent of all he owns. The King of Sodom imitates this action and offers to give Abraham ten percent of his property in gratitude. Abraham turns down the offer, saying that he doesn’t want the reputation of benefiting from an unrighteous man’s gifts.

Three “men” appear to Abraham to announce the birth of his son. After a long and pleasant visit, two depart. The third turns out to be God and tells Abraham of a plan to destroy Sodom and the surrounding region. Concerned that Lot would be destroyed unjustly in the cataclysm, Abraham reaches a bargain with God that a population of ten righteous people will abort the disaster. God departs.

Meanwhile, the two “men” who had left the company of God and Abraham arrive at the gate of Sodom and find Lot sitting there. Lot offers them routine hospitality, which they turn down, being mindful of Lot’s status as a newcomer in town and not wanting to place him in jeopardy. They prefer to spend the night in the street, where their actions will be in plain view of the entire citizenry. Lot becomes very insistent about his invitation, so they allow him to have his way and suffer the consequences of his own poor judgment. Shortly before bedtime, all the men of the city gather outside Lot’s house, demanding that he bring out the visitors for questioning. Lot goes outside, closes the door behind him and talks to the assembly. He addresses the crowd as fellow citizens and asks them not to disturb his guests. If they are concerned that the outsiders might be spies, then he is willing to hand over his daughters as hostages to guarantee their conduct. Lot points out that this is no empty gesture; the daughters are virgins. (Sleeping over at a friend’s house would only be a minor inconvenience for the girls.) The crowd is not mollified by Lot’s proposal; in fact it is angered that Lot, an outsider, would presume to judge the way they run the town’s affairs. The crowd surges against Lot, pressing him against the door. The angels in the house reach out, grab Lot and bring him in. They disperse the crowd by striking them with blindness.

The angels ask if Lot has any other relatives in town and reveal that they were sent to destroy the city. This means that Abraham’s bargaining and Lot’s angry town meeting have no bearing on the fate of the city, since God had commissioned the angels before either of those two events occurred. Lot informs the angels of his two sons-in-law and receives instructions to warn them, which he proceeds to do. They do not heed the warning because they think it is a joke. Then Lot’s family settles down for the night and goes to sleep. Just before dawn, the guests awaken the family and urge them to flee. Lot lingers, so they grab him by the hand in an act of unusual mercy and help him up. The angels instruct the family to flee to the hills without looking back. Lot points out that the distance is too great and asks permission to flee to a small town. Permission is granted, but haste is urged. (Lot’s assurance that the town is very small betrays that he suffered the common misconception that God delights in punishing as many evil people as possible.) When Lot’s family reaches the town, the destruction is unleashed. Lot’s wife, like the sons-in-law, disobeys instructions. She looks back and is transformed into a pillar of salt.

Meanwhile up in the hills, Abraham’s morning constitutional takes him by the place that overlooks Sodom and he finds that the region has been destroyed.

The Author’s Purpose Vindicated

The title of the story is given as “The Rescue of Lot” in Genesis 19:29. The message to God’s people is plain: if you have fallen into bad company and find yourself entangled there, do not worry. God knows how to preserve you from the punishment of the wicked and will rescue you from their midst.

Let’s rescue this uplifting message of hope from the sleazy, almost pornographic interpretation forced upon it by tradition. Whatever God’s opinion on homosexuality may be, it is not set forth in this passage.

The Sin of Sodom

In all this there is no mention of the nature of the sin that brought about the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah and the neighboring towns. To find the sin of Sodom, we must search elsewhere in the Bible…

We have just demonstrated that the events of Genesis 18:1-19:29 describe the rescue of Lot from the destruction of Sodom, and do not reveal the offense that brought about the destruction. To discover the nature of Sodom’s sin, we will now examine every biblical reference to the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Searching Among the “Sodomites”

The traditional view that Sodom was destroyed because of a homosexual rape attempt has been around for a very long time. It lead to the invention of the word “sodomy” in the English language. As a legal term, “sodomy” has developed over the years to include prohibited sex acts of almost every type, depending on the legal jurisdiction. But because of the word’s obvious derivation, it is generally felt that “sodomy” refers to homosexuality in general or to one particular homosexual sex act in specific. This is the meaning of the term outside the courtroom. As a consequence, “sodomite” refers to an individual homosexual. These words and usages are exclusive to the English language; none of the biblical languages has a word like “sodomy” which derives from the name of either Sodom or Gomorrah and denotes any kind of sexual sin—or any other kind of sin, for that matter. Likewise, the word “sodomite” in Hebrew or Greek only has the meaning of “resident of Sodom,” which is how it is always translated.

When the King James Version of the Bible was translated in 1611, the Hebrew word “qadesh” was rendered “sodomite,” because it was believed at that time that “qadesh” referred to a person who engaged in the sexual practices ascribed to the men of Sodom by their understanding of the story of the rescue of Lot. Therefore, the word “sodomite” appears in the King James Version for the word “qadesh” in the following passages:

1 Kings 14:24
1 Kings 15:12
1 Kings 22:46
2 Kings 23:7
Deuteronomy 23:17

The King James translators did not have the wealth of archaeological information that we have, and their mistake can be excused. The term “qadesh” is the masculine form of the Hebrew word “qadeshah” which means “cult prostitute.” This second term was correctly translated by the King James translators as “harlot.” We now know that the pagan cults of the Old Testament used male and female prostitute-priests and incorporated sex acts and orgies into their ceremonies. The idea was that the worshiper could have sexual communion with the pagan deity (usually a fertility god), the prostitute priest acting in proxy. The King James translators missed a clue in the word itself: “qadesh” and “qadeshah” derive from the Hebrew word for “holy” ; a puzzling fact until we realize the pagan religious purpose of the prostitution. Another clue they missed was in the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. It makes it very clear that these terms refer to pagan priests. When we realize the true meaning of these words, it explains why the “sodomites” all lived together in the Temple and were evicted during religious reforms.

Responsible modern translators translate the words “qadesh” and “qadeshah” in a manner that makes it clear that pagan prostitute priests are meant.

Therefore, if our English translation contains the words “sodomy” or “sodomite,” we know that this is a reference to pagan religion. The meaning of these English words and their similarity to the name of Sodom has its origin outside the Bible and does not aid us in discovering the sin of Sodom.

Searching the Towns of Sodom and Gomorrah

Unlike the words “sodomy” and “sodomite,” we can be sure that if our translation contains the words “Sodom” or “Gomorrah,” the original text contains them also. Examining the circumstances under which these cities are mentioned could shed light on the nature of Sodom’s sin.

In addition to the story of the rescue of Lot, Genesis refers to Sodom and Gomorrah in two other places. In Genesis 13:9-13 the circumstances under which Lot came to live in the area of Sodom and Gomorrah are related. The flat statement is made that the men of Sodom were very wicked, but the details we seek are not given. In Genesis 14:8-17 a petty local war is recounted which involved both Lot and Abraham. Lot and his possessions were captured in the war, and Abraham sent his men to rescue him. Al though we might pick sides against Sodom in this war, we find no clue as to the sin that later led to Sodom’s destruction.

Because Sodom’s destruction was spectacularly sudden and complete, Biblical writers made use of the event as an example of how quick, unexpected or comprehensive God’s judgment of wrongdoers would be.

In many places, the punishment of those who are enemies of God’s people, who break God’s commandments or who reject the Gospel is compared to the punishment that Sodom received. The passages in this group are: Deuteronomy 29:23, Lamentations 4:6, Amos 4:11, Zephaniah 2:9, Matthew 10:15, Matthew 11:24, and Luke 10:12. The sin of Sodom is not revealed in these passages: the imposition of the same penalty does not mean the same crime was committed. Whatever the crime of Sodom was, it was not rejecting the Gospel; and yet the crime of Sodom and the act of rejecting the Gospel are given the same punishment. Death by stoning, for example, was prescribed for various crimes. Knowing that someone died by stoning does not allow us to deduce the crime without further information. Examples from the New Testament: Two men were crucified with Jesus; although all three suffered the same penalty, they were accused of different crimes. In John 8, a woman was nearly stoned for adultery. In Acts 6-7, Stephen was stoned; but for blasphemy, not adultery. To infer that the woman committed blasphemy or that Stephen was an adulterer would indicate somewhat less than rigid logic. Thus, passages that prescribe Sodom’s punishment for various crimes do not allow us to deduce that Sodom’s crime was the same.

In the following passages, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is used as an example of total annihilation: Isaiah 1:9-10 (quoted in Romans 9:29 for the same purpose), Isaiah 13:19, Jeremiah 49:18 and Jeremiah 50:40. These passages also do not indicate Sodom’s sin.

In Deuteronomy 32:32 the enemies of God in general terms are likened to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, and in Jeremiah 23:14 Israel is likened to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. These passages do not state Sodom’s sin or cite what God’s enemies, Israel, and Sodom and Gomorrah all have in common. We still have no legitimate clue to Sodom’s sin.

In 2 Peter 2:6 the story of the rescue of Lot is given as an example of how God rescues the righteous from the punishment of the wicked, but does not state what the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were.

In Revelation 11:8 the name “Sodom” is used as an allegorical name, and nothing is said about Sodom’s sin.

Bible Writers Explicitly Identify Sodom’s Sin!

There are only two passages remaining in the Bible which mention either Sodom or Gomorrah or both. They are the only passages which contain an outright, plain language declaration of Sodom’s sin. They are Jude 7 and Ezekiel 16:44-58.

Jude 7

The wording of Jude 7 varies significantly from translation to translation, and most speak of “sexual immorality” or “unnatural perversion” in disappointingly vague ways. Most of these translations are very broad, and whether they include or refer to any specific sexual act is a matter of interpretation rather than reading.

The editors of the popular “Living Bible” paraphrase do interpolate wording which unambiguously refers to homosexuality and identifies it as the sin of Sodom. These words have no basis in the Greek, as we shall see. They were inserted in the spirit of a true paraphrase which combines the Bible text with the paraphrasers’ interpretation to give the reader a pleasant reading experience free of intellectual puzzles. Because a paraphrase combines fact and interpretation, it prejudices the outcome of serious study and thus cannot be used for that purpose. Paraphrases should be restricted to devotional use.

The King James Version renders Jude 7 as follows:

Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
—Jude 7, KJV

In the original Greek, the phrase “giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh” is worded as follows:

’εκπορνευσασαι και απελθοσαι ’οπισω σαρκος ’ετερας
(ekporneusasai kai apelthousai opiso sarkos heteras)
—Jude 7, Greek

The King James renders it literally. The first word of the Greek phrase is formed from the Greek word porneia which is usually translated “fornication.” It is immediately recognizable as the root of our English word “pornography.” It and its derivatives are used in the New Testament, the Septuagint, and contemporary secular writings to denote illicit sexual practices of all types. The related terms pornos and porne referred to male and female prostitutes, usually religious, who were attached to a porneia or house of prostitution. (The meaning of porneia gradually changed from the house of prostitution to the institution of prostitution itself.) After New Testament times, when pagan worship died out, the word “porneia” came to mean any form of sexual misconduct. However, at the time Jude was written, the word ekporneusasai (or “giving themselves over to fornication” ) meant “giving themselves over to (religious) prostitution” —in other words, the people of Sodom “prostituted themselves out.”

The last four words in the Greek phrase above (“going after strange flesh” ) make a little more sense when it is realized that “strange” in King James’ day meant “different” or “from elsewhere” —much as a “stranger” is different from us and from elsewhere.The Greek word heteras means “another of a different kind.” This part of the phrase cannot refer to homosexuality, as the adjective is incorrect for that purpose. (Homosexuality is when one has sex with another of the same kind. The Greek word allos would have been used, if that were the author’s intent.) The phrase also cannot refer to the angelic visitors, because angels do not, cannot, and never have had flesh. The word for “flesh” here is the New Testament technical term for “human nature” ; thus we would have angels preempting the baby in the manger in Bethlehem. This interpretation degrades the incarnation of Christ and requires the creation of a new doctrine that angels may take on human nature at any time. True, Lot and the townspeople did not know that the visitors were angels, but the writer of Jude did. To interpret these words to refer to the angels creates more problems than it solves. There is also little evidence to support the idea that the “different” flesh referred to bestiality, although the wording might permit it. The naturalistic meaning of the phrase “different flesh” would simply be “people of different towns or tribes.”

This passage can be understood when we examine the little word “and.” “And” can have two meanings: it can connect two events which are simultaneous (“She played the piano and enchanted the audience.” ) or which occur one after the other (“He drove to the store and bought a quart of milk.” ) If we interpret “and” in the first sense, the Greek phrase means:

They prostituted themselves out, even pursuing people from other towns.

The meaning is clear. Sodom and Gomorrah were engaged in a very high degree of activity in pagan sex cults, and were recruiting from nearby towns. As we know from archaeology and the Bible, these cults engaged in a variety of grossly immoral activities which included such extreme acts as self-mutilation and infant sacrifice.

Ezekiel 16

Ezekiel 16:44-58 goes into greater detail than Jude 7 and in plainer language. It is the only passage in the Bible that identifies the sin of Sodom in so many words. In this passage, Ezekiel is prophesying to Jerusalem and begins by comparing the Jews to Sodom and Samaria. Ezekiel states that Sodom, Samaria and Jerusalem are morally equivalent except that Jerusalem sinned worse in engaging in “abominable practices.” In the Old Testament, an “abomination” was a religious wrong. Pork chops, dead bugs, pagan idols, left-over sacrificial meat and pagan prostitute-priests were all abominations; whereas sex crimes not associated with pagan religion were never called “abominations.” Thus this passage refers to the Jews’ perennial cycle of adopting, then purging pagan religious practices; a constant theme in the Old Testament. Otherwise Ezekiel would be crediting Jerusalem with a more fervent embrace of homosexuality even beyond what Sodom is alleged to have done!

Beginning in verse 49, the sin of Sodom is revealed. There were two sins: first a lack of concern about the poor and needy despite their wealth. A very serious sin in a day where the poor and needy simply begged in the streets until they died. The second sin consisted of haughtiness and abominable practices. Unless we are willing to assign a special meaning to the word “abomination” when it applies to Sodom (an intellectually dishonest approach which reveals that someone has a doctrinal ax to grind), we must assume that this charge refers to pagan religious practices as it does elsewhere in the Bible.

God’s Surprising Promise to Sodom!

Beginning in Ezekiel 16:53, God promises to restore the fortunes of Sodom and Samaria, since Jerusalem made them look good by comparison.

Even More Difficulties for the Eisegetes!

Proponents of the “homosexual rape” theory of Genesis 18-19 are posed with the following difficulties:

  • How can the word “abomination” have a specialized second meaning which applies only to Sodom?
  • How could Jerusalem be corroborated as being a hotbed of homosexual activity in Ezekiel’s day, worse than Sodom!

The Biblical Writers Resolve all Difficulties

However, as we have presented it, all these difficulties have been resolved. Jude 7 and Ezekiel 16 agree totally that one of the sins of Sodom was pagan religious practices. This is a sin that the Jews committed over and over, sometimes with greater enthusiasm than the pagans. Sodom as a pagan town is believable. Jerusalem as a homosexual town is not. Ezekiel cites a second sin that Sodom committed—lack of concern for the poor and needy.

Jesus said that all the Law and Prophets could be summed up in two laws: Love God, and Love your neighbor as you love yourself. If Jesus was right, and if He stated these principles in the order of importance, then the sin of Sodom was indeed very grave. They committed the two greatest crimes, which are violations of the two greatest laws: They committed idolatry, and thus did not love God; and they neglected the poor and needy, and thus did not love their neighbors. Jude and Ezekiel concur on this.

The writer of 2 Peter agrees with us that the main point of Genesis 18-19 is the rescue of Lot.

No biblical writer uses the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to condemn any form of sex. Jewish tradition, in the form of the Talmud and the Mishna, never applied a sexual interpretation to the story of the rescue of Lot. The current sexual interpretation of Genesis 18-19 originated after the time of Christ and became dominant only after several centuries. One of its original proponents was Josephus, who has a strong influence on Christian fundamentalist doctrine today.

Jesus on the Importance of Correct Exegesis

There is no biblical basis for interpreting the story of Sodom and Gomorrah as having anything to do with homosexuality, except because of a fairly recent tradition. And about such religious traditions which obscure the Word of God, Jesus has the following to say:

…Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written,
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.”
You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.
Mark 7:6-8, RSV

130 thoughts on “The Sin of Sodom – exactly what was it?

  1. Of course that’s correct!

    But good luck getting anyone to read the text for what it actually says.

    Most would rather read their own bigotry and interpretation into the text than deal honestly with it as obvious from the Revelation thread or because they read it in Pastor B. Igot’s 1820’s pamphlet “Jesus hates Poofs”.

    You will instead be thronged by those saying you hate God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, the Saints, marriage, Jews, cheese, tomato sauce, cricket, AFL, cyclists……..

  2. Wow, so Sodom was “destroyed” because they failed to invite people in for dinner?! O……..k………..

  3. @Greg

    “you don;t like to read do you Roundhouse?”

    I don’t waste time reading humanist manifestos against the orthodox teaching of the church.

    “You are stuck in your brainwashed view of it being about homosexuality”

    I am more than willing to have my mind and beliefs changed by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, but until I find any scriptural evidence to prove that homosexuality is AOK and that Christians should allow them to practice their perversions with the full blessing of the church I will continue to follow the orthodox teaching and interpretation of scripture, particularly those in the New Testament that call their practices unnatural and perverse. And no amount of leftist, humanist and revisionist rubbish you and Bones post here will change the truth in scripture one iota, no matter how hard you and he beat your chests, wring your hands, and pat yourselves on the back. The only ones being brainwashed are those of you who have exchanged God’s truth for the lies of the devil. But then, you don’t believe in him either, do you?

  4. Roundhouse…the article is purely about what is the sin of Sodom…not whether gay sex is ok or not. If you are truly open to having your mind changed please read the entire article and then comment.

    In no wa,y shape, or form is it possible to claim this article is a humanist manifesto. Read it and then comment v

  5. I read the article Greg. Quite frankly, it’s the same tripe as any other homosexual apologists articles on the subject. I have seen them all. That’s why my first comment was so dismissive of this post. It’s the same old stuff, only the author’s name is different.

    And like every other article of the same ilk, we see people twisting, stretching, and manipulating the text to try and make it say what they really would like it to say. Of course, even a first year theology student could blast giant holes through the “arguments” presented, but people like you and Bones and the author hope that no one with any real knowledge of scripture and Hebrew will read it, relying instead on naive and ignorant readers to swallow the lies being peddled.

    Anything to find an excuse to continue in their homosexual lifestyle without having to acknowledge that what they are doing is wrong and against God’s natural laws, or so as to appear “inclusive” and “tolerant” so that they receive the praises of men.

  6. ‘The sin of Sodom was lacking hospitality, not being just, bullying, hating strangers, not caring for those marginalized.’

    Oh dear, oh, dear, oh dear! Of course! Just like the gay people! Oh dear!

  7. Good to see your not keeping your thoughts and feelings to yourself about gays, Steve.

    Just showing how much of a tosser you are.

  8. Roundhouse regularly has gay people come around to his house to threaten his guests with anal sex.

    Happens all the time.

    Everyone knows gays are like that.

  9. @Bones

    “Roundhouse regularly has gay people come around to his house to threaten his guests with anal sex.”

    Next time I’ll invite you over. You’d feel right at home 😉

  10. “Next time I’ll invite you over. You’d feel right at home ”

    Can I bring my wife or will you offer up your daughters instead?

  11. @Steve

    “‘The sin of Sodom was lacking hospitality, not being just, bullying, hating strangers, not caring for those marginalized”

    What the author, and of course Greg and Bones are saying, is that you and I and the Christian Church in general are deserving of the same fate as Sodom and Gemorrah because when it comes to the gay issue, we appear to be lacking hospitality, bullying and not caring for the “marginalised” (meaning gays).

  12. Well Roundhouse, don’t just tell me you can pick holes in the argument, pick them!

    I don’t think that you realise that there are two parts to the post…my initial comments and then the actual article which starts at the authors name.

    The whole argument lives and dies and the translation of the word that in English is rendered “know”, so show me how the author has got it wrong and you are right.

  13. What the author, and of course Greg and Bones are saying, is that you and I and the Christian Church in general are deserving of the same fate as Sodom and Gemorrah because when it comes to the gay issue, we appear to be lacking hospitality, bullying and not caring for the “marginalised” (meaning gays).

    I judged too quickly…you do understand. Excellent.

  14. @Greg

    “so show me how the author has got it wrong and you are right.”

    Ok. In the Hebrew the term used here in Genesis 19:5, as well as in Judges 19:22 is “venede’ah”, literally “(bring) them out to us that we may have relations”. The Brown Driver Briggs lexicon, which is considered to be far more scholarly than the commonly used Strong’s Concordance, states that whilst the word “yada”, which comes from the root word venede’ah can mean all of those definitions that the author said the word did mean, because it is followed by an accusative, it’s proper definition in the context is “know a person carnally, of sexual intercourse”, specifically of “man subject and object (of sodomy)”. See, easy. And I am no Hebrew scholar.

  15. Roundhouse is right on this one as far as the Hebrew word.

    There are similarities between the Sodom and Gomorrah account in Genesis and the treatment of the strangers at Gibeah in Judges 19. It’s almost identical except that the men actually take the Levite’s concubine.

    Genesis 19

    3 Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4 Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people [a]from every quarter; 5 and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may [b]have relations with them.”

    Judges 19

    22 While they were [p]celebrating, behold, the men of the city, certain [q]worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have [r]relations with him.”

    And this concludes with

    25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them; and they raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn. 26 [t]As the day began to dawn, the woman came and fell down at the doorway of the man’s house where her master was, until full daylight.

    The similarities of the story must mean that the verb here implies sexual relations and I gather the two Hebrew words are the same. I couldn’t be bothered looking them up at the moment.

    They certainly weren’t interviewing the Levite’s concubine.

    Both accounts are horrendous and shocking visavis the treatment of strangers, the brutality of gang rape and the treatment of women.

    In both instances the perpetrators of a perpetual (bi/homosexual) rape and actual heterosexual rape are wiped out.

  16. What is known is that anal rape was rife in the Ancient Middle East especially with regard to captured enemy soldiers.

    It was a display of total dominance by the victor and total submission and feminity of the loser.

    Homosexual rape A third method of feminizing enemy sol~
    diers in the ancient world was anal rape, with the victor in the dominant/active position and the vanquished in the subordinate/passive one. These positions are used symbolically in various animal species to code dominance, as in the hold-bottom ritual of dominance-submission among male stump-tailed macaques (Figure 6.5).

    Homosexual rape was used in various ancient Middle Eastern and Greek societies to assert dominance relationships (as it is used today_ in, e.g., US prisons), and this practice was more common in war than in domestic society, although found both places. “[T]he anal rape of male captives … [was] notoriously
    rife in the ancient world.” A Greek vase from the fifth century BC (see Figure 6.6) illustrates a fleeing bent-over Persian man pursued by a victorious Greek with erect penis in hand. Warriors of this period “kidnapped boys as well as women.”

    Conquests: sex, rape, and exploitation in wartime

  17. Interesting that the article didn’t mention Jesus’s own words in Matthew 10:5-15

    5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not [f]go [g]in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, [h]preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven [i]is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9 Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a [j]bag for your journey, or even two [k]coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his [l]support. 11 And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay [m]at his house until you leave that city. 12 As you enter the [n]house, give it your [o]greeting. 13 If the house is worthy, [p]give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, [q]take back your blessing of peace. 14 Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

    Sort of puts it in perspective a bit. Definitely a case where Jesus condemned those who were inhospitable to his disciples as being worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.

    The chapter concludes with

    40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these [af]little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

    ‘Little ones’ of course are the disciples, not children.

  18. Ancient Jewish tradition certainly doesn’t mention homosexuality as the sin of Sodom. Lines up with the Ezekiel passage.

    From the Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin

    Folio 109a

    Our Rabbis taught: The men of Sodom waxed haughty only on account of the good which the Holy One, blessed be He, had lavished upon them. What is written concerning them? — As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it it is burned up as it were with fire. The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold. There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen: The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lions passed by it.18 They said: Since there cometh forth bread out of [our] earth, and it hath the dust of gold, why should we suffer wayfarers, who come to us only to deplete our wealth. Come, let us abolish19 the practice of travelling20 in our land, as it is written, The flood breaketh out from the inhabitants,’ they are forgotten of the foot; they are dried up, they are gone away from men.21

    Raba gave the following exposition: What is meant by the verse, How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: ye are all as a bowing wall, and as a tottering fence?22 This teaches that they used to cast [envious] eyes at wealthy men, place them by a leaning wall, thrust it upon them, then go and take their wealth. Raba expounded: What is meant by the verse, In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light?23 This teaches that they used to cast [envious] eyes at wealthy men, and entrust balsamum into their keeping, which they placed in their storerooms. In the evening they would come and smell it out like dogs, as it is written, They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.24 Then they would go, burrow in, and steal the money, [and as for their victim —] They cause him to go naked without clothing,25 that they have no covering in the cold.26 They lead away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.27 They remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed them.28 And he [the victim] shall be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.29 R. Jose taught this in Sepphoris. That night [after his lecture] three hundred [houses] were broken into in Sepphoris. So they came and harassed him. Said they to him, ‘Thou hast shown30 a way to thieves!’ He replied, ‘Could I have known that thieves would come?’31 When R. Jose died, the gutters of Sepphoris ran with blood.32
    [Reverting to the misdeeds of the Sodomites] they ruled: He who has [only] one ox must tend [all the oxen of the town] for one day; but he who has none must tend [them] two days.33 Now a certain orphan, the son of a widow, was given oxen to tend. He went and killed then’ and [then] said to them [the Sodomites],

    Sanhedrin 109b

    ‘He who has an ox, let him take one hide; he who has none, let him take two hides.’ ‘What is the meaning of this?’ they exclaimed. Said he, ‘The final usage [i.e., the disposal of the ox when dead] must be as the initial one; just as the initial usage is that he who possesses one ox must tend for one day, and he who has none must tend two days; so should be the final usage: he who has one ox should take one hide, and he who has none should take two.’ [Likewise, they ruled,] He who crosses with the ferry must pay one zuz [for the privilege], but he who does not, [entering by another way] must give two. If one had rows of bricks every person came and took one, saying, ‘I have taken only one.’ If one spread out garlic or onions [to dry them], every person came and took one, saying, ‘I have taken only one.’

    There were four judges in Sodom, [named] Shakrai, Shakurai, Zayyafi, and Mazle Dina.1 Now, if a man assaulted his neighbour’s wife and bruised her, they would say [to the husband], ‘Give her to him, that she may become pregnant for thee.’ If one cut off the ear of his neighbour’s ass, they would order, ‘Give it to him until it grows again.’ If one wounded his neighbour they would say to him [the victim], ‘Give him a fee for bleeding thee.’ He who crossed over with the ferry had to pay four zuzim, whilst he who crossed through the water had to pay eight. On one occasion, a certain fuller happened to come there. Said they to him, ‘Give us four zuzim [for the use of the ferry].’ But, protested he, ‘I crossed through the water!’ ‘If so,’ said they, ‘thou must give eight zuzim for passing through the water.’ He refused to give it, so they assaulted him. He went before the judge, who ordered, ‘Give them a fee for bleeding and eight zuzim for crossing through the water. Now Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, happened to be there, and was attacked. When he went before the judge, he said, ‘Give them a fee for bleeding thee.’ Thereupon he took a stone and smote the judge. ‘What is this!’ he exclaimed. He replied, ‘The fee that thou owest me give to this man [who attacked me], whilst my money will remain in statu quo.’ Now, they had beds upon which travellers slept. If he [the guest] was too long, they shortened him [by lopping off his feet]; if too short, they stretched him out. Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, happened to go there. Said they to him, ‘Arise and sleep on this bed!’ He replied, ‘I have vowed since the day of my mother’s death not to sleep in a bed.’ If a poor man happened to come there, every resident gave him a denar, upon which he wrote his name, but no bread was given him. When he died, each came and took back his. They made this agreement amongst themselves: whoever invites a man [a stranger] to a feast shall be stripped of his garment. Now, a banquet was in progress, when Eliezer chanced there, but they gave him no bread. Wishing to dine, he went and sat down at the end of them all. Said they to him, ‘Who invited thee here?’ He replied to the one sitting near him, ‘Thou didst invite me.’ The latter said to himself, ‘Peradventure they will hear that I invited him, and strip me of my garments!’ So he took up his raiment and fled without. Thus he [Eliezer] did to all, until they had all gone; whereupon he consumed the entire repast. A certain maiden gave some bread to a poor man, [hiding it] in a pitcher. On the matter becoming known, they daubed her with honey and placed her on the parapet of the wall, and the bees came and consumed her. Thus it is written, And the Lord said, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah, because it is great:2 whereon Rab Judah commented in Rab’s name: On account of the maiden [ribah].3

  19. Ah but we must needs be guard against the sin of Sodom and be ready to entertain strangers, and nothing is stranger than what people do in trying to throw a rope over their own sexuality. Would we welcome one struggling with issues and demonstrate Christian love and compassion or act like a “demon straight”?

    Personally, I do not see an opportunity for power in relationships which do not have the natural connectivity of male and female – just ask a Sparky what a lead with two male plugs is termed. But I also know that in this world of delusion and confusion, that gender confusion is more about natural influences than supernatural. Apparently the most prolific practitioners of sodomy are not gay people but more just good ‘ol perves.

    And let’s face it Greg, God is not as down on what some folk do than some folk might imagine – simply look how He regarded Cain who slew his own brother. Did He build a prison and man it with guards? Did He send fire from heaven? Did he say for that you will burn for eternity?

    I began to learn in earnest what the sin of Sodom was about 12yrs ago and this posting you have made is actually an answer to an inquiry I made a few days ago about an incident which happened to me around 2000 when God literally burnt the “Sodom and Gomorrah” out of me – and it concerned deep issues of forgiveness and of being gracious toward others – so to put what the sin of Sodom was or is in a nutshell I would say that it is the God-denying and defying gracelessness by which our hearts are seared and we become hardened against God, and so against His creation, and in my instance without even realizing that it were so. I did not realize that I had held one close to me in bondage to unforgiveness and so I too was bound and ignorant.

    It would seem that the Sodomites were obviously living in the bounty of God and that they had quite a lifestyle going on and the reason why mercy is toward them is that they would have been ignorant of God’s goodness, their hardened hearts being closed off. With Jerusalem there is a greater accountability as it is or was the center of God’s dealings with Man and with knowledge comes accountability.

    As to whether God’s messengers may manifest on earth, having met two of them in my life at critical junctures, I would say that once you have met and heard from one, you know it. But they are rather anonymous too, preferring to simply convey the message they are sent with. One who came into my shop was about close to 7ft tall and built like a Linebacker, with shoulders like an Ox, long flowing hair, cleanly dressed but almost like he was incognito, and to this day I can remember everything about him except his face, which is like a blank in my memory. He spoke to me and it was like someone opening me up with a sword and spilling my guts on the counter – he regarded me and said, “You weren’t expecting that, were you” and walked out – I ran to the door to see where he went and there was no one out there – he had walked out the door and simply disappeared in a straight street with very few people about – vanished. So when theologians say God’s messengers cannot manifest on earth I have to say that they are speaking from a theoretical viewpoint rather than from knowledge.

    Years later I asked God why I could picture him quite clearly yet his face was a blank – and He said, “My messengers prefer to be anonymous, they know that it is about the message, and not the messenger.”

    So in summation, Sodomy is NOT the sin of Sodom, nor is homosexuality, but it is all about your regard to your fellow human beings as being creations of the Most High God.

    Perhaps the most compelling lesson we can teach children is that they are indeed a unique individual creation, expressions of God, utterly unique and special and loved of God – just like everyone else…

  20. Of course, a simple reading of Jude would tell you that the problem was sexual immorality.

    <bSodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

    This was the chief issue amongst others which Ezekiel confirms that, besides the pride, greed and idleness, they ‘were haughty and committed abomination’ before God.

    Peter confirms Jude,

    …turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) —

    Filthy conduct being the NKJ translation of aselgia, ‘wantonness, lasciviousness, unbridled lust, licentiousness’.

  21. The next question that should be asked is, did God wipe them out, or was it a natural disaster? Your thoughts?

  22. @Greg

    “The whole argument lives and dies and the translation of the word that in English is rendered “know”

    Sure does. And the argument has died. Gone. Kaput. Destroyed.

  23. If it were a natural disaster it would not be a judgment.

    God may use nature, of course, but nature itself is random and not selective in its major upheavals.

    The text clearly reveals that He overthrew the cities.

    If it were a natural disaster, then it would be accidental.

  24. @Steve

    When we read the actual text, it appears clear that God exacted judgement upon Sodom and Gemorrah for their sins. But this view flies in the face of so many other scriptures that say that God does not use or do evil for His purposes (James 1:13), and that He judges no one (John 5:22). God isn’t schizophrenic. He either uses evil, or He doesn’t. We cannot have it both ways. God can’t be a bit bad on Thursdays but good the rest of the week. The truth is, its not God doing it. Death is an enemy (1 Cor 15:26), and Satan is the father of death and a murderer (John 8:44). Satan is the bringer of death, so God cannot in any way use death or destruction to exact judgement upon anyone, ever. So, what happened to Sodom and Gemorrah then? Any ideas? Anyone?

  25. So if a police officer catches a thief in the act and presents him before the magistrate, who then sends him down for three years as prescribed in the law, is the magistrate being evil for depriving the thief of his liberty? Is the police officer evil for arresting him and presenting him before the magistrate?

    Justice isn’t evil, it is a result of the law.

    Th magistrate and police officer are not evil. They are upholding he known law of the land. The Bible says they are ministers of God sent for our protection.

    How is God evil if he upholds justice?

    Sodom rejected God’s justice. The cry of wickedness went up to heaven. He came and judged them Himself and found them wanting, making an example of them.

    This example is written, according to Jude and Peter, for our admonition. It is a warning to all generations to uphold the commandments of God, by which I mean the Perfect Law of Liberty.

    I’m afraid you misquoted John 5:22 contextually.

    John 5
    22 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
    23 “that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

    God has committed all judgment to the Son.

    Jesus did not come to condemn anyone, but clearly states that those who sin condemn themselves. he also says that the devil is judged, therefore those who are obedient to the devil are judged with him, and have become the children of wrath.

    Death is the wages of sin. God said to the first man, “In the day that you sin you shall surely die” and when he sinned death entered. God proclaimed it. The man took it rather than life.

    God gives us a the choice between live and death, blessing and cursing, good or evil. If we choose sin and death how is God evil? he offered life. If we choose sin we choose death. God is just.

    James actually says that God tempts no one.

    James 1
    13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
    14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
    15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

    So God is not tempted by evil, but the law in itself is not evil. It is the breaking of the law which produces the penalty.

    Upholding justice and pronouncing he sentence isn’t evil where the law is just.

  26. “The whole argument lives and dies and the translation of the word that in English is rendered “know”

    Like hell it does.

    For starters the behaviour of the gangbangers in Genesis is no different to the gangbangers in Judges. How anyone can consider that as normal hetero/homosexual behaviour can only be someone with an axe to grind. Or someone who thinks that hetero rape is not as bad as gay rape.

    Secondly, the Old Testament’s morals are obviously immoral in our culture. Eg offering up women to appease gangbangers.

    The ending of Judges 19 is horrific but I suppose the concubine just had to suck it up, being raped and cut up by her lover and all. (Apparently that last bit was ok).

  27. @Steve

    Yep, you’ve got it! God didn’t judge them. They judged themselves! But, the question must be asked, who set the judgement in the first place? God? Remember, before the law there was no judgement for sin (Romans 5:13). When Cain killed able, did God condemn him? No, instead He placed a mark upon Him and protected him. By rights Cain should have received some kind of judgement for taking his brother’s life, but instead God allowed no one to harm him.

    So, who “judged” Sodom and Gemorrah? Satan! The Jews believed that Satan was God’s agent, executing judgement by acting as the prosecuting attorney. In this they were half right. I’m pretty sure I have been able to prove to you that God does not use Satan for His purposes, so we can certainly discount the first part of this belief the Jews had. But the second part still stands. We know that Satan is a legalist. He will always accuse us, and he will always condemn us, and he will use the law to do that every time. The bible tells us that the law is death (2 Cor 3:7-14), and that Satan was the murderer from the beginning and the father of death. He will use death to exact judgement upon mankind, because the law is death, and he’s a legalist. That’s where the judgement of Sodom and Gemorrah came from. Not from God, but from Satan. And why was Satan able to judge Sodom and Gemorrah? Because their actions, not just in their homosexuality and depravity, but in their total rejection of God, caused them “judge” themselves, or remove themselves from the protection of the Almighty, allowing Satan, who is the god of this earth, to do to them whatsoever he desired, whether it was a plague, a natural disaster, or a flood.

  28. Roundhouse is right on this one as far as the Hebrew word.

    No he’s not.


    “The whole argument lives and dies and the translation of the word that in English is rendered “know”

    Sure does. And the argument has died. Gone. Kaput. Destroyed.

    Ahhm…no, all you’ve done is go with one meaning of the word ‘know’ and not explained why it is not the other meaningThe Hebrew word translated into English as ‘Know’ appears over 900 times in the bible and only in a few does it mean sexual intercourse. What is it in the Genesis account (other than what you have been told it means) that makes it mean “let us have sex with them” rather than “let us get to know them”

    Here are the meanings of the word Yada

    AV – know 645, known 105, knowledge 19, perceive 18, shew 17, tell 8,
    wist 7, understand 7, certainly 7, acknowledge 6, acquaintance 6,
    consider 6, declare 6, teach 5, misc 85; 947

    1) to know
    1a) (Qal)
    1a1) to know
    1a1a) to know, learn to know

    1a1b) to perceive
    1a1c) to perceive and see, find out and discern
    1a1d) to discriminate, distinguish
    1a1e) to know by experience
    1a1f) to recognize, admit, acknowledge, confess
    1a1g) to consider
    1a2) to know, be acquainted with
    1a3) to know (a person carnally) yada
    1a4) to know how, be skilful in
    1a5) to have knowledge, be wise
    1b) (Niphal)
    1b1) to be made known, be or become known, be revealed
    1b2) to make oneself known
    1b3) to be perceived
    1b4) to be instructed
    1c) (Piel) to cause to know
    1d) (Poal) to cause to know

    Now explain to me why having sex with the angles is the only one that fits the story?

    Explain to me why the author of the above article is incorrect in his argument. Read the section on WHat Does it Mean to Know Someone.

    Answer this – if ALL the men of the city were gathered at the door wanting to have sex with the Angels that would mean that Lot’s future son’s in law were among them – why did the Angels warn Lot to take them out of the city as well and flee as well? Shouldn’t they aveh perished along with all the other SSodomites? Why did the women and children of Sodom perish along with the men? Guilt by association?

    A thorough reading of the account – leaving aside the traditional understanding, does not leave room for the understanding to be that of having sex with the Angels but rather to interrogate them to find out why they are in their city so late at night and going to the newcomers house?

  29. Of Course Steve your citing of the passage in Jude has problems – the Greek word translated strange is the word Heteros – which just means another of a different kind – which is not homosexual now is it? If it had meant homoseaxual it would have used the word allos – another of the same kind

  30. @Greg

    I gave you the reason why the meaning of the word yada in this passage means sexual intercourse, specifically referring to sodomy. Do with that what you will. Look, I understand why you are so desperate to diminish and explain away any and all references to the sin of homosexuality in the bible. I would probably do the same thing if I were in your position. But a desire for the bible to not say something it really does say still does not take away the truth in it.

  31. In anycase God had alreadey decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah before the events in Gensis 19 – so it could not ahve been the events surrounding the rescue of Lot that triggered the judgement – so, even if you stick with the traditional translation of the men wanting ot have sex with the Angels, it was not was not that which God deemed required the destruction fo the two towns. I mean why wipe out Gomorrah as well? They weren’t involved in the so called attempted pack rape.

    No matter how you look at it it just does not make sense…upon decvent exploration…for this narrative to be about homosexuality.

  32. Another issue is that “anshei ha’ir, anshei S’dom.” translated “men of the city, even the men of Sodom” can equally be translated as “the people of the city, the people of Sodom.” Now if your organising a gay pack rape youre not going to invite the whole family along to watch are you?

    It fits the context adn the history of the region far better to understand that the people of Sodom were concerned about strangers coming to their town at night adn going straight to a newcomers (Lot’s) house…they coudl be spies for other Cities they were fighting with, they could be up to no good “lets get them adn get to konw them so we can be assured we are safe” make much more sense.

    Now it is entirely likely they were going to be pretty rough in their ‘interrogation’ because they were going to be treating Lot even worse after he dared to offer them his daughters in order for them to not harm the Angels.

  33. @Greg

    You’re flogging a dead horse with this one mate. Every bible version of the passage in Genesis states the same thing – it was homosexuality. Those hundreds of translators and experts in the Hebrew language over thousands of years are much smarter than you and these dudes who are trying to make the passage say something it doesn’t really say. Give it up. You are wrong.

  34. Roundhouse – you did – but your explanation is just one of several…it is not the only plausable translation. Also you use a lexicon that was published in 1906 (you don’t like modern scholarship do you?) The Lexicon you call scholarly may have been at the turn of the 19th Centrury, but if you tried to call it scholarly in any university today you would be laughed off the campus.

    Let’s have a look at what the Hebrews themselves thought the passage in Gensis meant – the best and easiest way to do this is to check the Septuagint! Hewbrew to Greek and we can know what they thought it meant (I might add that I did get a distinction in Greek whilst in college…biblical koine Greek).
    Danker, Frederick W, [ed. “A Greek-­‐English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature.” (Chicago, IL: University
    of Chicago, 2000.)] which is a much better, up to date and modern Lexicon shows that the Hebrew writers of the Septuagint used the word συγγενωμεθα (suggenometha) which means to become acquainted with or to prove who [you] are – it has no sexual conotations whatsoever. The word translated as know in relatoin to the daughters however is an entirely different word, εγνωσαν: egnosan, which does have a sexual connotation. So in the Hewbrew one word ‘yada’ which when translated by hewbrews into greek becomes two different words – one meaning get to know and the other meaning to have sex.

    Your turn

  35. “Those hundreds of translators and experts in the Hebrew language over thousands of years are much smarter than you and these dudes who are trying to make the passage say something it doesn’t really say.”

    These are the same people who didn’t have a problem with slavery.

    “it was homosexuality”

    No it wasn’t.

  36. “Sodomy” – a Biblical Word Study that Might Surprise You

    Contemporary Biblical scholarship is clearly demonstrating that some of the Church’s understanding of specific aspects of human sexuality have been built on the gradual adoption of highly inaccurate cultural interpretations of specific Biblical narratives. We owe it to ourselves, as Anglicans and as Christians, to set before ourselves – and before the world – the clearest and most accurate understandings of the Biblical text. Such understandings go a long way to removing the unhelpful dichotomies of ‘biblically orthodox’ and ‘revisionist’ that have grown up around the human sexuality debate and which are so glibly thrown around – dichotomies that are not only ultimately facetious, but seriously wrong.

    One such Biblical narrative that has been seriously abused over the centuries is the Genesis 19 account of ‘the sin of Sodom’, which has become a touchstone in the Anglican ‘sex wars’.

    Roman Catholic scholar, Mark Jordan in his book The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology (1997) shows that the term “sodomy” originated in the eleventh century as a new classification of certain ‘clerical sins’. While early church fathers such as St. Ambrose and Origen clearly associate sodomy with inhospitality, by the time of St. Augustine, cultural associations around the word, communicated through secular poetry and legend shifted both its denotative and connotative meanings.

    In fact, says Jordan, this evolved definition has permanently colored how we conceive of sexuality and indeed created the hitherto unknown sexual categories of “homosexual” and “heterosexual”. In terms of the Sodom story, says Jordan,

    “The bible never links the story of Sodom with homosexuality. To use the Sodom story as evidence that the Bible condemns homosexuality is totally inaccurate. It is an anachronism, projecting later Church interpretation onto the biblical text, which is essentially about hospitality….”

    “Even if the story were about lust, it is about rape, not homosexuality. The Sodomites were not “gay”. They were rapists. This is why Lot could offer his daughters in replacement, why the Judges version of the tale actually has a female substitute, and why those few Biblical references to Sodom as being sexually-related speak in general terms rather than specific ones.”

    As Jay Michaelson, currently as PhD student in Jewish thought at Hebrew University points out, “The Bible condemns many things in the story of Sodom (lack of hospitality, humiliation of fellow human beings, brutality and violence toward others, pride, decadence, serious breech of human ethical obligations), but homosexuality is not one of them.”

    Indeed, as Michaelson explains, the story of Sodom is in a biblical section where hospitality and ethics are central themes – Abraham welcoming three strangers to his tent; Abraham and king Abimelech. “Reading the story of Sodom as being about homosexuality is like reading the story of an axe-murderer and saying it’s about an axe,” concludes Michaelson.

    Ezekiel’s condemnation of Sodom (Ezekial 16: 49-50) bears this out: “Behold,” the prophet says in God’s voice, “this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and did abominations before me, and I took them away as I saw fit.” (note: “toevah” or “abominations” is used 39 times in Ezekial – 29 times referring to idolatry, five times to female prostitution and idolatry, twice to heterosexual adultery, once to violence, and once to usury). To read “homosexuality” into this context has absolutely no basis in the text.

    Again, in his reference to Sodom, the prophet Amos links Sodom with oppression of the poor, crushing the needy, and ethical wickedness:

    “Hear this word, children of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, bring and let us drink. I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” (Amos 4). In his ministry, Jesus similarly refers to Sodom as an example of divine punishment for social injustice (Matt. 10:15, Matt. 11:23-24, Luke 10:12). In this context, the Book of Jude’s reference to “Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns (gave) themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion” refers to brutal sexual violation, not to same sex relationships.

    “And since Jude’s homiletical purpose is to preach against contemporary antinomians, he obviously is not talking about homosexuality, but rather the view of some heretics that the coming of Christ had obviated the need to obey the law in general. To twist this sole linkage of Sodom and immorality into some blanket condemnation of homosexuality is, at best, facetious” (Jay Michaelson).

    This kind of careful exegisis that makes use of careful word study as well as cultural, historical and spiritual context when discerning the Word of God to us in Holy Scripture needs to be acknowledged, and certainly helps us to put the writings of Augustine and Aquinas, among others, who equate “sodomy” with homosexuality, or at least homosexual behaviour, into a meaningful context.

    Needless to day, careful study of Scripture that ‘rightly divides the word of truth’ is incumbent on all Christians, and might have gone a long way to stop the horror surrounding the death and burial of David Kato.

  37. @Bones

    Ahhh, the old slavery defence. The fall back for anyone without a real argument. Next you’ll mention the Nazis!

  38. Every bible version of the passage in Genesis states the same thing – it was homosexuality

    Nope, most translation in fact don’t refer in anyway to sex…most of the older translations are ambiguous – and if you look at the Septuagint, you can see that it is in fact quite clear that sex is not being referred to.

    Texts that use the verb “to know”:

    Hebrew, Torah: yada = “know” (c. 1280 B.C.E.)

    Greek, Septuagint: συγγενωμεθα (suggenometha) = “know” (3rd – 1st century B.C.E.)
    [Note: This Greek word basically means to “get acquainted,” but like the Hebrew “yada,” it does occur a few times in ancient texts in similar idiomatic use implying sexual knowledge.]
    Latin Vulgate: cognoscamus = “know” (5th century)

    Wycliff Bible: “that we `knowe hem” (1395)
    Miles Coverdale Bible: “that we maye knowe them” (1535)
    The Geneva Bible: “that we may knowe them” (1587)
    The Bishop’s Bible: “that we may knowe them” (1568)
    Douay-Rheims Bible: “know” (1764 revision)
    King James Version “know” (1611)
    Webster Bible Translation: “know” (1833)
    Young’s Literal Translation “know” (1898)
    Darby Translation “know” (1890)
    American Standard “know” (1901)
    Jewish Publication Society Old Testament: “know” (1917)
    21st Century King James Version “know” (1994)
    English Standard “know”(2001)

    Bible Martin: connaissions = “know” (1744)
    Darby: connaissions = “know” (1872)
    Louis Segond: connaissions = “know” (1910)
    La Bible Catholique Crampon: connaissions = “know” (1923)
    La Traduction Œcuménique de la Bible: connaissions = “know”

    Sagradas Escrituras: conozcamos = “know” (1569)
    Reina-Valera Antigua: conozcamos = “know” (1569 & 1602)
    Reina-Valera 1960: conozcamos = “know” (1960)
    La Sagrada Biblia: conozcamos = “know” (1978)
    La Biblia de las Américas: conozcamos = “know” (1986-1997)

    Elberfelder: erkennen = “know” (1871-1985)
    Luther Bible: erkennen = “know” (1545)
    Schlachter: erkennen = “know” (1951)

    La nuova Diodati: conoscere = “know” (1991)
    Luzzi/Riveduta: conosciamo = “know”

    Portuguese, by João Ferreira de Almeida Atualizada: conheçamos = “know” (1628-1691)
    Russian, Synodal Version: познаем = “know” (1876)
    Bulgarian: познаем = “knowledge” (1940)
    Icelandic: kenna = “know”
    Japanese (新改譯): 彼らをよく 知りたいのだ = “know”
    Japanese (口語譯): われわれは 彼らを 知るであろう = “know”
    *Afrikaans: beken = “know” (1953)
    *Albanian: njohim = “meet”
    *Czech: poznáme = “know”
    *Dutch: bekennen = “profess/confess”
    *Greek, Moderne: γνωρισωμεν (gnorisomen) = “know”
    *Hungarian: ismerjük = “know”
    *Maori Bible: mohio = “know”
    *Vietnamese: biết = “know”
    Texts that use verbs meaning “sex”:

    Old English:
    Junius Manuscript (poetic paraphrase): hæman = “intercourse” (c. 1000)

    Tyndale Bible: “do oure lust with them” (1534)
    Bible in Basic English: “take our pleasure with” (1949)
    Amplified Bible: “know (be intimate with) them” (1954-1987)
    New American Standard: “have relations” (1960-1995)
    New Life “have sex” (1969)
    New International Version “have sex” (1973-1984)
    New King James Version “know them carnally” (1982)
    The Message: “have our sport with” (1993-2002)
    Contemporary English “have sex” (1995)
    New Living Translation “have sex” (1996)
    New International Reader’s Version: “have sex with” (1996-1998)
    Holman Christian Standard Bible: “have sex with” (1999-2003)
    Today’s New International Version: “have sex with” (2001-2005)
    World English Bible: “have sex” (still in draft version)
    The Net Bible: “have sex” (1996-2005)

    Bible en Français Courant: prendre notre plaisir = take our pleasure (1997)
    La Bible du Semeur: couchions avec = “sleep with” (1999)
    Bible de Jerusalem: en abusions = “misuse” (2003)
    La Bible Chouraqui: pénétrons-les = “penetrate”
    Bible des Témoins de Jéhovah (Jehovah’s Witnesses): ayons des relations = “have relations”

    Einheitsübersetzung: mit ihnen verkehren = “to consort with” (1960-1980)
    Lutherbible (revised): über sie hermachen = “set or pounce upon” (1984)
    Gute Nachricht Bibel: mit ihnen Verkehr haben = “have intercourse with” (2000)

    Nueva Versión Internacional: acostarnos = “lie down with” (1999)
    Traducción del Nuevo Mundo de las Santas Escrituras (Jeh. Wit): tengamos ayuntamiento = “have sex”

    Reina-Valera 1995: conozcamos = “know” (1995)
    [Note: This is the most recent Reina-Valera edition. It keeps the same translation as those listed in the previous section, but adds the following commentary:
    “Conozcamos: es decir, Tengamos relación sexual con ellos. La pretensión de los habitantes de Sodoma incluye dos delitos: la perversión sexual y la violación de la ley de la hospitalidad. Acerca del primero de estos pecados, cf. Lv 18.22; 20.13; Dt 23.17-18; Ro 1.26-27.”
    “That is to say, “we may have sexual relations with them. The pretensions of the inhabitants of Sodom included two crimes: sexual perversion and violation of the law of hospitality. About the first of these sins, cf. … etc.]
    C.E.I/Gerusalemme: abusarne = “misuse” (1986)
    Nuovo Riveduta: abusare = “misuse”
    Traduzione del Nuovo Mondo delle Sacre Scritture (Jeh. Wit.): rapporti = “relations”

    Haitian Creole: kouche = “sleep”
    Chinese NCV: 我們要與他們同房。= “sexual intercourse with them”
    *Portuguese, O livro: “possuí-los” = “possess them” (2000)

    As for your plainly stupid argument that the text does not suggest God destroyed S&G:

    Genesis 18:17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”

    Why would God say God was about to do it if in fact satan was about to do it? All thourgh chapter 18 Go refers to Godself as the one who is about to destroy S&G

  39. “Ahhh, the old slavery defence. The fall back for anyone without a real argument. Next you’ll mention the Nazis!:

    It must be ok. I mean it was ok for 1800 years and the Biblical scholars thought it was ok. Paul thought it was ok.

    And a Hitler video too.

  40. @Greg

    A reviewer of Danker’s lexicon says this – A few selected criticisms of BDAG will encourage critical and careful use of this lexicon. First, some words definitions seem to be (at least in part) driven by modern ideological or religious concerns (Danker himself acknowledges this in his Foreward).

    Enough said, really. With the liberal church’s handwringing about not wanting to offend the homosexual lobby, it is quite conceivable that Danker’s has stretched the definition of the word yada to suit. Therefore, whilst his lexicon might be useful in some instances, I will stick with the tried and tested Brown, Briggs Driver lexicon.

  41. OK lets say thats true – what about the writesr of the Septuagint who were not liberals adn who were Hebrew? Why did they use two different words?

  42. @Bones

    “It must be ok. I mean it was ok for 1800 years and the Biblical scholars thought it was ok. Paul thought it was ok.”

    I see this “argument” on many of the atheist websites I go to. It’s a simplistic argument at best, something a twelve year old might engage in, thinking that they are so smart and insightful, yet in reality it is an argument that should be ridiculed.

    Well done Bones. Well done.

  43. @Greg

    “You might liek to comment on what I said about your fallacious concept of Satan destroying S&G”

    I already did. Read my post to Steve earlier. No need to repost it.

  44. Roundhouse says

    “When we read the actual text, it appears clear that God exacted judgement upon Sodom and Gemorrah for their sins… God cannot in any way use death or destruction to exact judgement upon anyone, ever ”

    Aaaah we have a budding liberal in our midst.

    “So, what happened to Sodom and Gemorrah then? Any ideas? Anyone?”

    Well firstly did they even exist? That’s debatable.

    Secondly its plain from the Old Testament that natural disasters were seen as judgments by God hence the term ‘acts of God’.

    Thirdly different people wrote the Bible with their own ideas of God, judgment etc. Hence you have conflicting ideas.

  45. @Bones

    “Well firstly did they even exist? That’s debatable.”

    Jesus spoke as if they did. That’s good enough for me.

    “Secondly its plain from the Old Testament that natural disasters were seen as judgments by God hence the term ‘acts of God’.”

    True. Many things were attributed to God in ancient times because they a) didn’t know who God really was i.e Job and his friends, and b) because they believed everything good and everything bad came from God. That’s why Jesus revealed who His Father really was (John 17:25-26)

    “Thirdly different people wrote the Bible with their own ideas of God, judgment etc. Hence you have conflicting ideas.”

    You’ve got it. Every writer of the OT used their own limited understanding, idioms, figures of speech and world-views when they wrote what they wrote.

  46. @Greg

    “what about the writesr of the Septuagint who were not liberals adn who were Hebrew? Why did they use two different words?”

    I don’t have a copy of the septuagint to check whether this is the case or not. But I did find a Greek/English interlinear bible online, and this is what the English version of the septuagint Greek says of Genesis 19:5 –

    “And they called out Lot, and said to him, Where are the men that went in to thee this night? bring them out to us that we may be with them.”

    Seems pretty clear, don’t you think?

  47. no its not clear at all – its not translated accurately.

    You say you’ve answered my questoin but you haven’t – why did God refer to himself as destroying S&G if Satan was the one doing it? Your comments to Steve aren’t any answer at all in this case….Don;t get me wrong…I agree that God does not destroy…but we have an issue here in that God does say God is going to in this story.

    I’m pleased to hear that if it was good enough for Jesus to believe S&G existed that it is therefrore enough for you. I hope, therefore, that you will now adopt Jesus’ reference to unfaithfulness as being worse than whatever Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of. In Matthew 10 and 11 Jesus refers to towns who fail to accept missionaries or who fail to repent following miracles being shown them, as worse off in the day of judgement that S&G.

  48. @Greg

    “I hope, therefore, that you will now adopt Jesus’ reference to unfaithfulness as being worse than whatever Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of. ”

    It wasn’t unfaithfulness they were guilty of. They rejected Jesus. They judged themselves by rejecting their saviour. These towns were a type and shadow of what happens to people when they reject Jesus. He was using Sodom and Gemorrah as an example they would understand.

  49. @Greg

    “why did God refer to himself as destroying S&G if Satan was the one doing it?”

    The writer of Genesis (accepted as Moses) was simply writing from his own and his antecedents understanding of God. Don’t forget, Moses wasn’t there. He was writing down the oral traditions stories that had been handed down for many generations before he wrote the Pentateuch. This does not in any way however diminish the truth and veracity of the text. Those entrusted in keeping the oral traditions would have considered it a sacred duty to keep them as accurate as possible. They would have made sure that the stories were always correct, and would have shunned embellishment and exaggeration. But, because of their limited understanding of who God is and of His character, they would have assumed that it was God who said these things.

  50. But, because of their limited understanding of who God is and of His character, they would have assumed that it was God who said these things.

    I agree – so our understanding of the nature of God has progressed since those days? But becuase they assumed God didn’t like homosexiuality we shoud assume that too?

  51. @Greg

    “so our understanding of the nature of God has progressed since those days? But becuase they assumed God didn’t like homosexiuality we shoud assume that too?”

    Our understanding of God certainly has progressed. The New Testament confirms this. However, the New Testament also confirms that homosexuality is sinful and not acceptable for a believer to engage in.

  52. but if your understanding of God has progressed from the old testament – why not from new?

  53. @Greg

    “but if your understanding of God has progressed from the old testament – why not from new?”

    Because the New Testament was the completion or fulfilment of the Old.

  54. I would have thought that people would be jumping at opportunities to not have to hate other people for being who God created them to be – I’d have thought as Christians some way of lookgin at scripture that allowed for the love of individuals for each other to be in harmony with a loving God would be sought after with a passion.

    But it seems that people are far more interested in keeping their deeply held beliefs rather than rejoice at being wrong and glad that they can now celebrate the love of others.

    I for one join with Phyllis Tickle when she writes in The Great Emergence

    To approach any of the arguments and questions surrounding homosexuality in the closing years of the twentieth century and the opening ones of the twenty-first is to approach a battle to the death. When it is all resolved–and it most surely will be–the Reformation’s understanding of Scripture as it had been taught by Protestantism for almost five centuries will be dead. That is not to say that Scripture as the base of authority is dead. Rather it is to say that what the Protestant tradition has taught about the nature of that authority will be either dead or in mortal need of reconfiguration. And that kind of summation is agonizing for the surrounding culture in general. In particular, it is agonizing for the individual lives that have been built upon it. Such and ending is being staved off with every means available and resisted with every bit of energy that can be mustered. Of all the fights, the gay one must be–has to be–the bitterest, because once it is lost, there are no more fights to be had. It is finished. Where now is the authority?blockquote>

  55. @Greg

    “things might have moved on since then”

    Certainly we should move on from the milk of the gospel and move on to weightier things (Hebrews 5:12-13), but not move on or ignore and dismiss the teaching of the bible because it offends our leftist, new age, inclusive philosophies.

    “I wold have thought that people woul dbe jumping at opportunities to not have to hate seomthing other people did”

    And this is the mistake people make when debating this entire issue. Disagreement with and opposition to something based upon scriptural teaching is NOT hatred. Just because 40 or so people in the Westboro Baptist church hold up signs saying “God hates fags” does not mean that the rest of the Christian church hates gay people as well. I have three gay friends, and I love them dearly. I would love for them to come into a saving relationship with Jesus, but because they have the same misunderstanding of God that you do, they think that He and His followers hate them, no matter how many times I try to explain to them that this is completely untrue. The truth is, it’s not their homosexuality that condemns them, it’s not their sin, it’s their refusal to follow Jesus that condemns them.

  56. I don’t think that God hates them – in fact I would say that it is your understanding of GOd that stops them from wantiong to enter into any sort of relationship with God. I’m not a folower of the Jesus you and Steve talk about..don’t recognise him at all.

  57. @Greg

    ” I’m not a folower of the Jesus you and Steve talk about..don’t recognise him at all.”

    Wow, how tragic that you feel so superior that you would deign to place yourself and your knowledge above Jesus.

  58. @Greg

    “I place my knowledge above that of you and Steve”

    Says the guy who stated that Jesus believed that the earth was flat.

  59. Bones

    “Thirdly different people wrote the Bible with their own ideas of God, judgment etc. Hence you have conflicting ideas.”


    “You’ve got it. Every writer of the OT used their own limited understanding, idioms, figures of speech and world-views when they wrote what they wrote.”


    That goes for the New Testament as well. Our understanding of the world has moved on since then.

  60. @Bones

    “Our understanding of the world has moved on since then.”

    It has. But that does not mean that our understanding of the word has to change because of it. The New Testament is as relevant to us now as it was to the first century church. We just need to know how to read it properly, utilising our modern knowledge and resources

  61. “Says the guy who stated that Jesus believed that the earth was flat.”

    Why wouldn’t He, everyone else did?

    Do you equate Jesus as being without sin as being unable to make a mistake eg get a maths sum wrong or drop a catch or whatever sport they played or hit His hand with a hammer?

    Jesus as a babe could work out Bill Gates Windows 8 programming, a cure for cancer and pi to the infinite place.

    If not, why not?

    Was choosing Judas a mistake?

    I question if someone was unable to make a mistake whether or not they are truly human.

  62. @Bones

    “Why wouldn’t He, everyone else did?”

    No they didn’t.

    Job 22:14 Thick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see, And He walks above the circle of heaven.’

    Prov 8:27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

    Isa 40:22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

    Also, Pythagoras believed the earth was round, as did Plato and Aristotle.

    “Was choosing Judas a mistake?”

    Judas’ role had been prophesied by Zechariah:

    “And I said unto them, If you think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver. And Jehovah said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter, in the house of Jehovah” (Zechariah 11:12-13).

    No mistake there I’m afraid Bones

  63. Greg the word for sexual immorality in Jude is actually ekporneo, followed by ‘strange flesh’, which is hetero sarx, which clearly indicates ‘different flesh of another kind’, or ‘not the usual flesh’, which could be understood as ‘not the normal sexual relations’.

    Peter backs this up, as indicated, and Ezekiel gives ‘abomination’, which can refer to homosexual acts, which God considered an abomination in the law.

    This indicates the Sodomites were sexually deviant in some way. If the men were pursuing what they considered men it is easy to determine that they were possibly bisexual, or homosexual.

    The cities were already judged. The event was a confirmation of deviance of some kind.

    You’re clutching at straws.

  64. Greg,
    I place my knowledge above that of you and Steve

    That’s OK, but the text is above even you, and clearly indicates sexual deviance as one of the issues, if not the major issue, at Sodom.

    And your understanding of what the OT texts mean by ‘knowing’ someone in context with the Sodom account is so far removed from the accepted understanding as to make your knowledge inferior to all other translators.

  65. I put my understanding above anyone’s who can’t see that the sexual sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was rape.

  66. btw the text isn’t above anyone. It’s just words unless you have the correct understanding. The Bible’s not magic. The text is beholden to our interpretation.

  67. @Bones

    “I put my understanding above anyone’s who can’t see that the sexual sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was rape.”

    So, you place your own knowledge above Gregs then? Coz both Steve and I agree with you that the intention of the men of Sodom was to rape the two men.

  68. @Bones

    “Roundhouse, Year 2 maths has a circle as a 2d shape ie flat.”

    Comprehension isn’t your strong suit, is it? Still, why let facts get in the way of your delusions? Whatever it takes to make yourself believe that you are smarter than you actually are, hey?

  69. @Bones

    I understand what you are saying, I just think it’s a stupid argument. Do you really, really, really believe that they were describing a 2D planet, or are you just trying to be a d*ck? I’d hazard a guess and say it’s option number 2, but, then again you have proven yourself to have a kindergarten level of understanding of scripture previously, so maybe you do actually think that.

  70. @Bones

    I haven’t seen you throw in the atheists stock standard “but the bible says four corners of the earth” and “the sun rises and sets” malarkey that they truly think are the “smoking guns” to “prove” that the bible thinks the earth is flat. Or are you saving this “argument” for your fait accompli?

  71. @Bones

    Firstly, I don’t hate gays. No Christian, apart from the nutjobs at Westboro Baptist Church. Secondly, it was intended to be homosexual rape. Let me spell it out for you, and I’ll type slowly so you can keep up – the MEN of Sodom wanted to rape the MEN in Lots house. MEN wanting to rape MEN. Ergo it was HOMOSEXUAL rape. Got it?

  72. woops, accidentally deleted some of my post. It should say “No Christian, apart from the nutjobs at Westboro Baptist Church hates gays.”

  73. Yawn! Owned you again.

    Actually it was considered a sin to study the stars so must of what the Hebrews knew they got from other cultures.

    Hebrew astronomy

    The firmament

    Like most ancient peoples, the Hebrews believed the sky was a solid dome or firmament with the Sun, Moon and stars embedded in it.[2]

    Conceptions of Heaven and Earth

    In the Talmud, as in the Bible, the heavens and the earth designate the two borders of the universe, with the heavens a hollow sphere covering the earth. One tannaitic authority states that the sphere consists of a strong and firm plate two or three fingers in thickness, always lustrous and never tarnishing, another estimates the diameter of this plate as one-sixth of the sun’s diurnal journey,[citation needed] while another, a Babylonian, estimates it at 1,000 parasangs (approx. 3728 miles). Yet another authority states that the diameter of the firmament is equal to the distance covered in 50 or 500 years and this is true also of the earth and the large sea (Tehom) upon which it rests.[7]

    The distance of the firmament from the earth is a journey of 500 years, a distance equivalent to the diameter of the firmament, through which the sun must saw its way in order to become visible.[8] The firmament, according to some, consists of fire and water, and, according to others, of water only, while the stars consist of fire.[9] East and West are at least as far removed from each other as is the firmament from the earth.[10] Heaven and earth “kiss each other” at the horizon and between the water above and that below there are but two or three fingerbreadths.[11] The earth rests upon water and is encompassed by it.

    According to other conceptions the earth is supported by one, seven, or twelve pillars. These rest upon water, the water upon mountains, the mountains upon the wind, and the wind upon the storm.[12] The nations of antiquity generally believed that the earth was a disk floating on water. There is also mentioned the terrestrial globe, kaddur, though it may also be translated as “disk”. When Alexander the Great attempted to ascend to heaven he rose even higher and higher, until the earth appeared as a globe and the sea as a tray’.[13] The earth is divided into three parts, habitable land, desert, and sea.

    The heavenly bodies and their motions

    Two different cosmologies can be found in the Talmud. One is a flat Earth cosmology resembling descriptions of the world in the mythology of the Ancient Near East. The other, resembling ancient Greek astronomy, is the geocentric model, according to which the stars move about the earth.


    I mean how else could Satan show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world?

  74. “Firstly, I don’t hate gays. No Christian, apart from the nutjobs at Westboro Baptist Church. Secondly, it was intended to be homosexual rape. Let me spell it out for you, and I’ll type slowly so you can keep up – the MEN of Sodom wanted to rape the MEN in Lots house. MEN wanting to rape MEN. Ergo it was HOMOSEXUAL rape. Got it?”

    So therefore this passage cannot be used to discriminate against or condemn homosexuals in committed relationships.

    Which is what has been argued.

  75. @Bones

    “So therefore this passage cannot be used to discriminate against or condemn homosexuals in committed relationships.”

    Maybe not. But many passages in the New Testament call homosexuality for what it is – perverse and an abomination. Jesus also made it quite clear what God’s plan for marriage is, and it ain’t two blokes. So, take it up with Him Bones.

  76. @Bones

    “I mean how else could Satan show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world?”

    I was taking a sip of my soft drink when I read this and I almost spat it all over my computer screen! My God, how dumb are you?! Unbelievable!

  77. @Bones

    “Mission accomplished.”

    So, you’ll crow over semantics, yet ignore several other scriptures that actually prove my point? Ok

  78. Bones, you are using poor methodology if you think you can eliminate sexual deviance as a reason for the demise of Sodom and Gomorra.

    As has been pointed out several times, the cities were already judged to be wicked before the angels went in to confirm the wantonness of the inhabitants. Jude and peter reveal that their sins were sexual deviance, and the indulging in strange flesh.

    Ezekiel uses ‘haughtiness and abomination’ as well as alluding to their pride, greed and sloth. Others add inhospitality. It seems the Sodomites and people of Gomorra were not a very godly lot to the point of being judged.

    You have attempted to muddy the waters by claiming gang rape as the problem, but in fact the Sodomites were already habitual sexual deviants, amongst other things, before the angels arrived.

    What you are attempting to say is that there were some very wicked gang rapists in Sodom who did demand to ‘know’ or have sexual relations with the angels, whom they thought were men, but that there were other very nice, domesticated male couples in lasting, loving relationships who were probably at home reading the Bible to each other when the wicked rapists were on the streets, so it had nothing to do with them, so we should just allow modern gays to marry each other and get over it.

    Methinks there’s a whole lotta eisegesis going on here, and it’s not Jude or Peter who are responsible for the error contained in the idea that the sin of Sodom was merely a lack of hospitality.

  79. Haughtiness – overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors

    I was taking a sip of my soft drink when I read this and I almost spat it all over my computer screen! My God, how dumb are you?! Unbelievable!

  80. Would you agree Raymond that in this instance you are like the inhabitants of Sodom, ie have committed Sodomy

  81. Typically wazza speed reads and locks in on one word at the expense of context and accuracy.

    You forgot the ‘abomination’ and its consistent link with sexual immorality, and the further use of the interesting phrase ‘strange flesh’, which, contrary to Greg’s slippery claim, isn’t referring to heterosexual relations, but quite the opposite, abnormal sexual relations, which could only point to sexual relations which are atypical.

    Of course, to you, homosexual sex is perfectly usual and normal, even though a relatively small proportion of the adult community engage in it in any meaningful way, and the male act is a physically non-human design compromise in many ways, and, in a worldly sense, you would be politically correct, but this doesn’t make it Biblically right.

    So, quite apart from the unusual means of sexual penetration for the purposes of gratification, the completely impotent reasons for anal sex, and the non-regenerative nature of the act, you make something for which men are not physically suited a quite usual thing to do.

    Looking at it from your viewpoint, I understand your perspective on this. But I’m trying to look at it from God’s perspective, and from a purely marital vantage it doesn’t add up as anything but participation in what Jude accurately terms immoral ‘strange flesh’ sexual expression.

    Your liberal approach is, in many ways, admirable, but, Biblically, sexual intercourse is considered a practice between married couples for the purpose of covenant, pleasure and reproduction.

    Your liberality is reasonable in a secular sense, but we are not secular socialists or liberals, but disciples of Christ who follow God’s purposes, not those of the world.

    The haughtiness was the attitude behind the sexual immorality, as it often is. It is the middle finger of rebellion against God’s will. So it was not haughtiness alone which set the Sodomites apart, but also what they did with it.

  82. @wazza

    “Would you agree Raymond that in this instance you are like the inhabitants of Sodom, ie have committed Sodomy”

    Not at all. Laying aside the sheer ridiculousness of your “sodomy” construct, it was a stupid statement that Bones made, and I literally almost spat my drink all over my keyboard. So, are you going to contribute something useful, or are you just going to make up stuff to suit the leftist anti-bible agenda like you and the other two always do?

  83. the angels went in to confirm the wantonness of the inhabitants

    Steve the Angels did not go in to confirm the wantonness of the inhabitants (otherwise they should have had to go to Gomorah as well), they went in to warn and rescue Lot and his family. If judgement is already made, confirmation is not required.

    Raymond the whole point of this thread is to determine that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality and you ahve confirmed that – so there you go – goal achieved, just as Bones proclaimed. Thank you

  84. Greg, You may have all knowledge, but you fall short on comprehension or the ability t convert knowledge into logic.

    God said he would have to go down and see for himself the wickedness of Sodom.

    You have not shown that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality alone.

  85. Tht is true Steve, but we have shown that it was not being gay! You can not use the sodom story as an anti gay polemic. If it was not why I believe it to be (rough interrogation) then it is straight men wanting to humiliate through sexual dominance and not homosexuality!

  86. @Greg

    “otherwise they should have had to go to Gomorah”

    It is believed that they were twin cities in close proximity to each other, in much the same way as we have Forster-Tuncurry, Albury-Wadonga and Tweed Heads-Coolongatta. You’re just trying to throw in another distraction.

  87. @Greg

    “it is straight men wanting to humiliate through sexual dominance and not homosexuality!”

    Why? You have not in any way established that it was not homosexuality. Prove it.

  88. What was the sin of Eve?
    She put her faith in what the serpent told her, and no longer in God’s word(Jesus).So then the sin of Sodom, first stems from the sin that leads to death;the one sin that brings about every other sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, bringeth forth death.

  89. “Bones, you are using poor methodology if you think you can eliminate sexual deviance as a reason for the demise of Sodom and Gomorra.”

    Anal rape is a sexual deviance.

    It occurs to me that you think your interpretation of scripture is greater than Isaiah’s, Ezekiel’s, Jeremiah’s, Zephaniah’s and Solomon’s who don’t share your homophobic interpretation.

  90. What’s really interesting is the way God says that He’s going to go down and see if the good people of Sodom (or rather “bad” people)
    were really as bad as what He had heard.

    And then Abraham bargaining from 50 to 45 to 40 to 30 to 20 to 10.
    He was really pushing it…..

    Whichever way you look at it, it’s one amazing story that is pretty hard to understand from our point of view.

    God having to check things out for himself? And then sending angels anyway ….
    Abraham bargaining and reasoning the way he did with God?
    Lot offering his daughters?
    And then after all that Lot’s wife copping it like that? Be honest. Who among us hasn’t thought it would have been tough to not look back? and then been really feeling hardly done by for turning up as salt for just one peek.

    Yes, I had lots of questions for the Sunday School teachers back in the day.

    Learned some history btw I knew about Dresden but didn’t know about Operation Gomorrah in Hamburg in 1943. Horrifying.

    Anyway glad to see you guys are all alive and well and in healthy fighting spirits!

    Just don’t completely devour each other.


  91. Greg,
    straight men wanting to humiliate through sexual dominance and not homosexuality

    And the difference is…?


    Now you’re getting desperate!

    As I’ve said countless times when this hoary chestnut comes up, I am not afraid of homosexuals, nor do I fear their lifestyle.

    In fact I have not interpreted the texts much at all, but mainly displayed them for your own perusal.

    I have presented the evidence that scripture considers the reason for God’s judgment of Sodom included greed, pride, idleness and sexual depravity, which is clearly connected with homosexual lust, and it is the sexual immorality which is emphasised by both Jude and Peter in the New Testament.

    Your appeal to gang rape is a distraction and an appeal to a throw-away, almost peripheral, reason for judgment, as if it were of no consequence, when, in fact, Sodom was judged before the angels were threatened by the men of Sodom. They were already known for their greed, pride, idleness and sexual depravity, and it is the latter which is the reference point for Jude in indicating why God judged them.

    I am glad to see, however, that you and Greg are taking a far more literal view of scripture.

  92. I read the article and agree that it’s worth taking a fresh look at the story after taking off protestant glasses and the traditional way of looking at things.

    The discussion of the word “know’ was interesting as was Talmudic views and the way the word know was translated in the septuagint.

    It seems pretty clear to me that the story and everything else written about the people of Sodom is that they were completely rotten.
    Lacking in hospitality…? Yeah, but that’s the understatement. They were renowned for cruelty to outsiders. They were going to be judged because they were just TOO bad.

    And at the end of the story, the account of them surrounding the house and wanting the two angels shows their ultimate act of evil and rebellion against God’s ways and order.

    At this point in the game, when there are daily assaults on those who are not supportive of gay marriage and relationships, I’d actually like to be able to conclude that gay marriage is okay. It would make life simpler.

    The thing that gets me about the story is Lot offering his daughters – but that’s not the only thing I can’t relate to living in the 21st century.

    On the subject of homosexuality, I don’t think the OT writers made any distinction between heterosexual/homosexual male on male sex.

    Personally I can’t see a case for saying that the religious leaders and writers of the OT would approve two men being in a loving committed monogamous sexual relationship. I can’t see any evidence that such a relationship would have been accepted among Jesus disciples, or Paul’s.

    The question of whether or not things have changed and should change is a separate one and worth considering given the numbers of people who claim to be homosexual, feel they can’t “change”, and also because of the position of psychologists.

    I do think that it’s a great idea to have an article like this and for us to study it on it’s merits without insulting the position of others.

    I’ll read over it again. The older I get the more I realize that once you have a position in your mind it’s really hard to see things differently – whether about politics, history or people.

  93. And the difference is…?

    They are straight – not homosexual…and gays don’t want to humiliate – they want to love and be intimate

  94. Steve proves that you can have a literalist interpretation of the bible and not have a clue. Maybe a gay person made a pass at him or a guy didnt return his calls. There has to be some reason he hates gays.

  95. I don’t hate gays.

    So why am I depressed at the news that Gomer Pyle USMC got married….to a man …

    (just being honest – don’t beat me up)

    How weird is that?
    Next they’ll be telling us that Rock Hudson was gay!
    Que sera sera…

  96. The incredibly talented gospel recording artist Steve Taylor put it this way in his song “Whatever Happened to Sin?” – in 1983.

    I heard the Reverend say
    “Gay is probably normal in the Good Lord’s sight
    What’s to be debated?
    Jesus never stated what’s right”
    I’m no theology nut, but
    The Reverend may be a little confused
    For if the Lord don’t care
    And he chooses to ignore-ah
    Tell it to the people
    Of Sodom and Gomorrah

  97. 30 years ago I would have agreed with him.

    I’ve got all of Steve Taylor’s albums. He was like the thinking Christian musician.

    Even a prophet. (Not the fortune telling kind)

    A lot changes in 30 years. People totally drop out of Christianity.

    Steve hasn’t recorded for 20 years. I’m interested in what he’s doing now and if his views have changed.

  98. Actually, I don’t hate gays, or anyone.

    If anyone hates gays it’s you and Greg, Bones, because you don’t have the love to tell them the truth.

  99. “because you don’t have the love to tell them the truth.”

    The truth, which is you hate them and God hates them so much He’s gonna burn em forever.

  100. No, the truth that arsenkoites – man-coitus by men – is sin.

    But, I have to say, it’s no less sin than unforgiveness, or continuous anger, or adultery, or theft, or lying, or coveting another man’s wife, or, according to Jesus, hatred, which he called tantamount to murder, or even foul speech out of your mouth, witchcraft, licentiousness, men being effeminate, and a host of other things Christians are admonished to avoid, confess and repent of.

    Perhaps you allow all of these things in your household and tolerate sin in your own life which causes you to press for allowing sinners to remain sinners without letting them know what is condemning them.

    Bu I forget. You don’t believe in eternal separation for sinners. You preach a form of universalism for mild sin with annihilation for the real bad sinners.

    So where does arsenkoites fit into this for you? Mild sin? Or sin which leads to annihilation?

  101. Hey Steve, 8 out of 10. God made male and female – like the plugs and sockets in your house – nature itself declares the Creators intent. It is plain that Paul by inspiration wrote that it is for the sin of NOT acknowledging, recognizing and or reverencing God as Creator, that He ABANDONED THEM to do what was not proper – it was the abandonment judgment of God – He left them (us?) to their own devices – to their own internal darkness.

    It would be kind of like providing a beautiful home for vagrants who had no intention paying the rent nor up-keeping the Man-sion as it should be, so the result of rebellion is inevitably ruination.

    As for eternal separation – how do you qualify that from the Bible – given that the word translated eternal actually means ‘age lasting’ or for an indeterminate period of time – and with Ephesians 1:10 – come on, you are people of the Book, are you not? Read this an try and dove-tail eternal separation into it – simply, you cannot – and by the way, as for tithes – God will bless you if you tithe but He will not curse you if you don’t! We give way over the tithe, and we are blessed above measure – the temptation is to take it easy when we can all do more for the kingdom by helping the poor and charity begins with looking after your own and spilling over to others, so that they too become givers and not greedy little fascists or sniveling commies.

    9. And He declared to us the sermon of His will, that which from the beginning He had consecrated through him,
    10. The supreme reign over the fulfillment of all the Ages, so that everything that is in heaven and on earth is renewed through Christ all over again. (From the Head)
    11. And we are chosen by him, according to how we were consecrated at the beginning, and according to how He wished everyone to be deployed by the intentions of his will.

    You see, it is not about our will, but His. Paul hammered this home in Romans – for all died in Him and ALL were resurrected in Him – it is not about we who will but the Potter who fashions us according to His Will, and His Will is LOVE. Love is not license, and while Paul enjoined us to contemplate and to celebrate love’s unique attributes he also commanded that one miscreant be given up to Satan for the destruction of his flesh (abandoned to the oblivionation of the flesh), so that his spirit might be saved. Did you get that Steve – and guess what? The sinner repented and was restored to fellowship.

    God’s gold standard is INTENTION, and to HIM, to INTEND to do is as if you have already done it – sheesh – how many clues does He have to give us? He had a LAMB SLAIN before the FOUNDATIONS of the worlds! His intention has always been redemption, never has it been to destroy or cut off anyone.

    Just as the flesh and spirit of man is about to go through a mass circumcision and separation, so too the Body will be circumcised and separated by the Sword of the Word, the Weapon of God’s Awesome Power. This is what is coming – the end of the Church Age and the beginning of the kingdom reign in a New Earth and a New Heaven – the OLD shall pass away, God will roll it up like a scroll.

    In the meantime, if you want free will, then to you it shall be ICHABOD – but if you want a FREED WILL, then to you it shall be the Seven Spirits of God who keep you company – lest it be seven others, if you know what I mean. I do not pretend to have attained, but I see the Mark, and recognize the prize and i push on, knowing that my redemption from this flesh draws near. When that final cut is made and I am free from the fetters of the flesh, the connection to the lower nature completely severed, then you will see a NEW MAN, created in righteousness – until then, I like you all am a work in progress, but Jesus did say that it is possible to be perfected in Love, even as our Father in heaven is perfect in Love – if it were not so, He would not have said so.

    This same circumcision is coming to all of Christendom, indeed to the world. It began in earnest when the fruit of the Olive fell from the tree.

  102. { come on, you are people of the Book, are you not? }

    Ian, -1 out of 10, for trying to sound like a Lleyton Hewitt personified swami.

  103. Eyes and you guys, your answer to earnest debate is to simply disavow and insult. You address the man rather that the matter, because you have not understood what God not having respect to any man’s person means. He does not play favorites – the kingdom wage is one dinarius for all and double honor in this life for the faithful servant who lays down his life, but that was only Paul’s suggestion.

    For those who did not sense or feel it, the Pope’s resignation has set in motion a change in the Spirit realm, as has the second coming of Barrack Obey-Mao since his confirmation oath. The shift was quite notable, as is evidenced by the change in Greg!

    This is guys – it starts in earnest now – the next six months should be something of a roller coaster ride – if your money is tied up in mutual funds or if you are expecting a pension – good luck. I expect that it will start in Christchurch with another EQ which will signal the start of a chain of quakes and events.

    The Big One will finish off NZ but this is only the beginning – and when Wellington goes and all the Poli parrots shuffle off this mortal coil and join the choir invisible, the resulting tsunamis will devastate the East Coast of Oz. Check you history books, I bet you had some doozies about 1450AD?

    Reality TV will have nothing on this. This is history unfolding before our very eyes.

    24. To Him, then, who is able to guard you from depravity and molestation and resurrect you without malediction,
    25. The only God our Savior, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who assumed His glory with joy — [to Him, then,] be glory, supremacy, honor and greatness, now and for all eternity (until the end of the universe of universes), amen.

  104. @Ian

    I agree that Obama getting elected was significant, and getting re-elected was really significant. So is the Pope’s resignation – first in half a millenium. Esp when it’s just come out that there were in fact contributing factors.

  105. Yeah Q, like the Italian Chief Prosecutor wanted to arrest him the instant he would set foot outside the Vatican, but through feverish negotiations, so the story goes, it was decided that he should stand down.

    Let’s face it, it would have meant Civil War in Italy between the Communists and Fascists – left and right.

    The story about the papers concerning Vatican sex and money scandals is a sacrificial offering to the media and the masses – a cover story – the corruption went right to the top – as usual. Why is our society in general so corrupt and corruptible? Simply look at the Head, in this instance, the Crown, for whosoever controls the Crown, controls the World.

    The Crown, for you unlearned ones, is in essence Rome, The City, and Washington DC – Religion (Leviathan), Commerce (Behemoth) and Government (Ziz). The Whore of Babylon, aka Circe, rides the back of the Serpent.

    The UN has divided the world into 10 administrative regions. My expectation is that when the whole house of cards of Fiat Debt implodes and the economy is in the toilet and NZ and diverse places are wracked by “natural” disasters, that the UN will appoint “kings” or administrators of the fledgling World Govt. In time there will be a double cross, and three kings and kingdoms will be obliterated – I believe that this will include China and Japan, and also Philippines and Indonesia. There huge populations are to be culled dramatically.

    When America implodes it is going to get very messy – as too Britain. There are in excess of 7 Billion souls in the world, the Elites want to whittle this down to 500,000,000 – about 7%. This is what Codex Alimentarius and the hidden agenda of Agenda 21 is all about – radical Global population reduction and re-wilding of large parts of the Earth. And behind it all is the most unlikely candidate for Prince of the World, Charles Windsor (Guelf – Welf – Wolf).

    Our local school is leading children in a cant of “Yes we can” – so I am going to get T-Shirts with “NO WE WON’T” on them. American’s blind allegiance to their blind leaders is based upon the misapprehension of Romans 13, Goebbels’ favorite scripture.

    The joke being of course that Goebbels was an Atheist.

    Meanwhile, Werner von Braun and 2000 top German Siontists, 600 of them “experts” in “Social Sciences” aka SS, were spirited away to Amerika (88 were conceded in Operation Paperclip, but that 88 is a code message to other Nazis).

    HQ has moved from Berlin to Washington. The Communist vanguard from Berlin had already “fled” Germany to the West, now the Nazi infiltration was in full swing. The two heads of the German Eagle, and of course the US military had an abundance of Hessian and Anglo-Saxon seeded psycho’s with itchy trigger fingers.

    Werner von Braun teamed up with self avowed Satanist Jumping Jack Flash Parsons to form NASA, who along with the USAF, Raytheon and the whole Military Industrial Mercantilist Complex, then headed by Truman’s Science Tsar Vannevar Bush (father of the Internet and the Bomb, and who dreamed of Total Global System Management through computers and a World Wide Web) now has hegemony over the heavens and the Power of the Air. Their stated aim, full spectrum dominance – a Global Empire – and the best way to seal the deal is the promise of peace, prosperity and democracy – with the added promise of Safety and Security (SS?).

    Now do you see why God told me, “Do not join in the pick circus on Israel, nor ever forget the Germans.” Israel (Jacob) is as a stalled calf, she is as a tethered goat in the wilderness – when she is “outed” as being behind all the BAD stuff that happens (blame the Jews!) they will be turned upon and despised by virtually everyone – especially the Catholics, including protesting and pentecostal Catholics (aka Esau).

    The Church will split right down the middle into those who support Israel and those who hate her, and many shall hate her as she is offered up to the world as a sacrifice – Israel is a SET UP – it was all done with Rothschild, Lord Milner, Cecil Rhodes and company, and their agents like Churchill.

    The prophets say that fully two thirds of Israel shall be destroyed and just imagine what red necks with assault rifles will do to Jews when they “find out” en mass that it was the Israelis that done it? Even the Rabbis say that this is what will happen, but they accept that it is so Messiah (Mariah) might come to His people.

    The Ecumenical Movement I expect will become submitted to the Leviathan spirit, which along with Behemoth and Ziz will attack Israel and which God will destroy such that Israel shall eat of the flesh of its enemies.

    For those for whom this sounds like crazy man talk, Leviathan (Levi – to join, to twist, to lend – and athan – salvation – so the religious serpent spirit), Behemoth (the world financial system) and Ziz (Secular Government) are the three elemental spirits of the world the Rabbis recognize – the unholy Trinity. They also call Amerika “Gog” and Russia “Magog”, and the President of the USA the Prince of Gog, Meshech and Tubal.

    As in Tubal Cain – as in it is always the stone cutters (Steenkamp in German – go figure) versus the Carpenter’s Kids – it is the Cross of Christ vs the hammer and sickle.

    It is the end of the line folks – I feel sorry for those who think that they will be zapped out of here before it all ends up in the crapper, but if they are such escapists, then who is going to tell them otherwise? Besides, martyrdom is not that bad…you get a snazzy Crown – a REAL ONE! Then you get to cast it at the feet of HIM, because you see as never before, that there is only One King and One God and One Faith whereby we must be saved.

  106. Whereby ALL MEN MUST BE SAVED.

    The flesh of the enemies of Israel is the substance or wealth of the world – and the birds of the air shall feast on the flesh of men…kind of a delicious irony…

  107. The fact that the Pope has had to stand down is a victory for those who want to see transparency and the end of corruption. Also spells the end of the veil of secrecy that churches hide behind thinking they have the God given right to do what they want. It’s actually a victory for secularism saying we’re not taking your shit anymore and we’ll make you bloody well accountable to us.

    If the Catholic Church had any brains they would come clean, cut off the dead wood and ask for forgiveness. Which of course is the right thing to do.

    That would get rid of a lot innuendo.

    It’s not just a Catholic problem though. Pentecostal pastors and evangelists have their snouts so deep in the prosperity trough, no amount of criticism will pull them out.

  108. { Actually more correctly, it is the Cross of Christ vs the Square and Compass. }

    No Ian, Christ has defeated all of our foes, and it is finished.

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