Was the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah Merely Unhospitality?

William Arnold III


Do you have anything on homosexuality? I was E-mailed a question concerning the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah being "UN-hospitality" in defense of Homosexuality.


Thank you for your feedback. We do have an article on homosexuality in our Q & A section. It can be found at http://www.apostolic.net/biblicalstudies/homosexual.htm. However, it does not discuss the issue with Sodom and Gomorrah. I have heard of the argument of which you speak. The basis for this argument is that the men of the city asked "to know" (KJV) the angels in the sense of "to get aquainted" with them. The Hebrew word word translated "to know" is yada and is the common word for "to know." In the average context, it does have this basic meaning. However, the Bible often used the term "to know" as a euphemism for carnal knowledge, or sexual relations. It is used this way first when Adam "knew" his wife Eve and she conceived and bare him a son (Gen. 4:1). It is also used this way in the following passages: Gen. 4:17, 25; 38:26; Judg. 19:25; 1 Sam 1:19; 1 Kings 1:4 and even in the New Testament in Matt. 1:25 and Luke 1:34. Most translations favor this meaning for Genesis 19:5 as well. Notice how this is brought out in the following translations:

"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" (NIV), "that we may have relations with them" (NASB), "that we may know them carnally" (NKJV), "that we may have intimacies with them" (NAB), "so we can have sex with them" (NLT), "so that we can have intercourse with them" (NJB).

The point is that this is the preferred meaning of scholars and translators. The only way you would arrive at the meaning of "get aquainted with" in Genesis 19:5 is to approach it with a bias in favor of homosexuality. The idea that God would destroy a city merely because of a lack of hospitality is unthinkable. And all the men of the city would not surround Lot's house and beat down his door merely to "get aquanited" with these men. Lot would not have begged them "Please, my brothers . . . don't do such a wicked thing" (verse 7, NLT) if that was all that they wanted. When he offered his two daughters to them instead and said that they "have not known a man" (verse 8), it is obvious that he did not mean that they had never been aquanited with anybody so you guys can go ahead and get aquanited with them. This is further emphasized when he says "do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men" (verse 8). This indicates that the men of the city wanted to do something more than merely meet these men. It can also be seen in their response, since they told Lot "now we will treat you worse than them" (verse 9). Finally, Jude 7 specifically states that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was sexual immorality (see also 2 Peter 2:6-10).

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