Sodomy and Understanding Genesis 19…

I recently was given a link to an article that claims to have the “truth” about the Bible and Homosexuality.  The article is found in PDF here.  I haven’t worked through pro-homosexual arguments made from the bible for quite some time, but I thought I would give the whole article a read.  I’m not sure if I’ve gotten better at exegesis or if the article was just horrible, but I was impressed with the sheer level of exegetical desperation the author took with just 2 passages; Genesis 19:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

It’s interesting how a person can address a passage of scripture, giving it’s “true” meaning, without actually interacting exegetically with a single verse of the passage.

Just for interest sake, here’s the thrust of the Genesis 19 defense:

a. This story is not primarily about sex. (page 11)

b. All other mentions of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible don’t mention homosexuality (Ezekiel 16:48–49 apparently says that the sin of Sodom was pride, excess of food, prosperous ease,  not help in or encouraging the poor and needy, and arrogance.)  On page 12, White says “Sodom was destroyed because its people didn’t take God seriously about caring for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, or the outcast.”  (I am growing fond of the “If the Bible doesn’t explicitly teach it in other verses, it’s not taught in this verse” fallacy.  Fools and Liberals get a ton of mileage out of that one!)

c.  Genesis 19 talks about rape, and rape is about power and revenge, not homosexuality. (page 12)

The only scripture even mentioned is Ezekiel16:48–49.

So let’s look at Genesis 19:1-11 in the NIV:

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”  “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”  But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. (19:1-3)

– So we have 2 angels arriving in Sodom and wanting to spend the night in the square.

– Lot insisted that they come to his home (for whatever reason).

– Lot prepares a meal for the 2 angels and they ate with him.

“Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.” (19:4-7)

– Who was in the mob?  All the men from every part of the city; both the young and the old.

-Who did the mob want?  The “men who came to you tonight”.  (Hebrew –enowsh- common term for man)

– What did the men say? “Bring out the two men that we can have sex with them.” (Hebrew –ya’da– common term for sex.  Literally means “to know”, as in “to know sexually”.  If there is any question about the intention of ידע one only need read on.)

– What was the “this wicked thing” Lot was referring to? The only thing the mob said (
“Bring out the two men that we can have sex with them.”).  That was the “wicked thing”.

“Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” (19:8)

– Who did Lot offer to the mob? His daughters.

-Why?  They had never slept with a man. (Hebrew ya’da- common term for sex. Same term as the mob used for their intended action for the men.)

– If the mob wanted someone to chat with,the daughters would have sufficed.

– If the mob wanted “regular sex”, also the daughters would have sufficed.

– If the sin of the mob was generic rape, the mob could have raped the daughters.  The sin was attempted sex with the men at Lot’s house; homosexuality.

(I am not, nor would not, suggest that the daughter-offering of Lot was a good thing.  Lot’s actions are not prescriptive actions that should be applauded, but the passage is simply describing what happened.  Biblical narrative is rarely prescriptive, but often recounts wicked people doing wicked things.   Either way, the following verse clarifies what exactly the mob was after.)

“‘Get out of our way,’ they replied. And they said, ‘This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.’ They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.” (19:9)

– The mob wanted nothing to do with the women. They wanted sex and they only wanted it with men, and they threatened Lot with the same thing.

– They tried to break down the door to get to the 2 angels (who they thought were men). When offered sex with women they simply ignored the offer because they weren’t interested in sex with women.

– Ironically, the mob was angry and the only thing that came out of their mouth was “how dare you judge us!  We’ll get you for casting moral judgment on us!”  Contemporary homosexuals are like a 4,000 year old broken record.  They hate the idea of being judged and respond to accusations of immorality with immoral (and raging) defense of their immorality, only justifying the judgment against them.

“But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.” (19:10-11)

– Ironically, the NIV gives a really weak translation here. The Hebrew literally reads “they made themselves weary to (find) the door”. The Hebrew verb is “la’ah“, which means “weary, make weary, exhaust”.  The mob wanted sex with men so badly that even after they were blind, the grew tired in searching for the door to Lot’s house. They stumbled around in desperation for sex with men, unwilling to give up…so much so that they tired themselves in their searching for the door. They would not take “no” for an answer, even in the face of the miraculous powers of the two strangers. It’s worth noting that the men didn’t even recognize the miraculous nature of their blindness; what strange and coincidental timing it had.  They didn’t stop to reflect on what was going on or wonder why they were suddenly blind; they only tried harder to commit the sin they desired with no thought to what was going on.

Genesis 19 says nothing at all about how “Sodom was destroyed because its people didn’t take God seriously about caring for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, or the outcast.”

– If there’s confusion with Genesis 19, it is NOT because of Genesis 19.

– Sodom was destroyed because it’s people didn’t take God seriously about natural sexual relations between men and women, and Lot and the crowd both knew that the sexual relation they sought with the 2 angels was a “wicked thing”. Long before Moses gave the law, people knew that sex between men was wicked.

As for the mention of Sodom in Ezekiel 16:48-50, one only needs to looks at the whole passage of Ezekiel 16 to see what God’s condemning Israel for; spiritual adultery.  Israel is likened to a temple prostitute.  One only need read Ezekiel 16:15-47 and see how many times Israel is condemned for her wanton lusts that she lavished upon every nation.  Ezekiel comments on Israel’s prostitution 13 times in that passage, going into detail at Israel’s sexual deviancy.  In that context is the metaphor continued, with the proverb “like mother like daughter” mentioned and applied in16:44.  Israel is the daughter of “the unfaithful” (Hittites and Amorites) and is the sister of Samaria, whose daughter was Sodom (16:46).  Israel walked in the ways of Sodom and became more depraved (16:47).

Now what was Sodom’s sin?  It was pride, self indulgence and a lack of concern for the poor and the needy…kinda.  In Sodom, where the town square was a place for the poor to rest when nobody would offer them their homes, Lot pleaded with 2 visitors to not stay in the town square.  When they came to his house, a homosexual lynch mob came Ezekiel 16:50 suggests what happened.

Ezekiel 16:50 refers to how Sodom “did an abomination” before the Lord.  The Hebrew word for “abomination” there is “tow ‘ebah” and is found in Leviticus 18:22, where homosexual sex is called an “abomination” among a who list of other sexual sins (18:1-25) that are all called abominations (18:26, 30).  These abominations are all the sexual practices of the nations that Israel drove out of Canaan, and in Leviticus 20:13 is singled out from a list of sexual sins (that are capital crimes) as an abomination.  The Bible lists other things as abominations, like idolatry (Deut. 7:25-26) or child sacrifice (Deut. 12:31) or unclean animals (Deut. 14:3-8), but none of these are really options for figuring out what the “abomination” of Sodom was.

 The abomination of Sodom was homosexual sex; sex that they attempted to take from the 2 visitors.  I think raping the poor and needy would fall under the category umbrella of  showing a lack of concern for the poor and needy, sure, but the specific manifestation of that lack of care (homosexual rape) was what was so detestable.  Regarding Ezekiel 16, the immediate context of Ezekiel 16 is definitely one of sexual immorality, and Israel is paralleled with Sodom in that regard.  They did detestable things and were destroyed for it; how can Israel think that they will escape if they’re worse?

Genesis 19 is very, very clear.  The homosexuals suppress the truth in unrighteousness, but that’s no shocker.  The only way they can comment on the text is by covering their eyes to the actual words of the text and talking about it in vague moral or philosophical categories.
Until Next Time,

Lyndon “The Armchair Theologian” Unger.

2 thoughts on “Sodomy and Understanding Genesis 19…

  1. Great article Lyndon! Very clear display of the shaky interpretive methods of those with an agenda.

    I think it is also noteworthy that when the desire for food is satisfied, the desires for sex become more rampant. A culture that is saturated with arrogance, food, and leisure will seek perverse ways to gratify themselves. I definitely see a connection the Bible is making with sexual perversion, full stomachs, and excessive idleness.

  2. Pingback: The Sin of Sodom — The Christian Podcast Community

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