Let’s Look At The Term "Sodomite”
By: Rev. Charles Burnett-Morrow
The word Sodomite might never have existed were it not for the King James translators. Unfortunately, this particular translation of the Bible has had more affect on the developing English speaking nations of the world than would all the other English translations combined. For one thing, it is one of the earliest. The word in the Hebrew that is translated “Sodomite” by the King James translators in 1611 AD is “Qadesh.”
Let us first look at the various passages where the term “Sodomite”/”Qadesh” is employed.
Deuteronomy 23:17 (KJV)
“There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel."
Deuteronomy 23:17 (NIV)
"No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute."
I Kings 14:24 (KJV)
“And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.”
I Kings 14:24 (NIV)
“There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.”
I Kings 15:12 (KJV)
“And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his father had made.”
I Kings 15:12 (NIV)
“He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his fathers had made.”
I Kings 22:46 (KJV)
“And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.”
I Kings 22:46 (NIV)
“He rid the land of the rest of the male shrine prostitutes who remained there even after the reign of his father Asa.”
II Kings 23:7 (KJV)
“And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove.”
II Kings 23:7 (NIV)
“He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the Lord and where women did weaving for Asherah."
Now notice how that in Job 36:14, the identical Hebrew word is used, but the KJV translates it entirely differently.
Job 36:14 (KJV)
“They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.”
Job 36:14 (NIV)
“They die in their youth, among the male prostitutes of the shrines.”
The term “Qadesh” is clearly interpreted as a prostitute employed by the temple for religious purposes. These prostitutes were part of the fertility rituals of the many false gods who occupied Canaan before God’s people conquered the land and declared it their home. God’s prohibition was on the practice of prostitution, particularly as it related to the temple and service of Israel’s God. The King James translators created a term that implied a certain sexual orientation or behavior, when in fact a homosexual orientation had absolutely nothing to do with the people in question, or the “qadesh.”
Children, we can allow the language of men who lived five hundred years ago to condemn us falsely simply for being who we are, or we can be liberated by the truth! If God had wanted the sins of Sodom to be remembered and spoken of by reason of such a term as “Sodomite,” He could easily have seen to it that such a term was commonly embraced and used by our Jewish predecessors. Knowing the truth about Sodom, as we who have looked carefully at the matter do, we would recognize that EVEN IF these passages were speaking of the sins and behavior of Sodom, the only clear Biblical record of her sins points us in the direction of inhospitality, pride, arrogance, carefree living with abundance, and not making provision for the poor and destitute. Again, in the final analysis, the sins of Sodom all had their roots in their idolatrous practices and beliefs.
The term “Sodomite” has been attached to laws and applied to people, yet the true meaning of the Biblical word has been ignored for the preferred implications of individuals of a GLBT sexual orientation. In truth, “Qadesh” has nothing in the world to do with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered people.