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Pastor Charles Curtiss
NOTE:  Some words within Scripture passages below are linked to a website which offers the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance definitions for the words linked.  Simply click on the underlined/linked word and that concordance page will open in a new window for your review.

In my walk back into the murky waters of this infamous city, I would like to begin by asking you, online readers, to take a careful look once again at the story of Sodom and her sister cities as recorded in Genesis chapter 19.  Bear in mind the important fact that the story of the destruction of these cities did not begin in chapter nineteen, but rather in the preceding chapter when Abraham is met by three men, one  is believed to be the very Lord of Glory Himself, and the others His two angelic assistants. This fact alone is very important to this story as so many Biblically illiterate people exclaim erroneously that the city was destroyed (and  sister cities) because of the homosexual activities related to the visiting men/angels. This is entirely wrong right from the start.

Genesis 18:20-21
20 Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21  that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."

Sodom and her sister cities were already slated for destruction.  Their reputations had reached heaven and the Lord Himself was on a mission to confirm whether that reputation was factual or overblown.  

Genesis 19
1   And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2   And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
3   And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

Vs. 1-3   As the story begins in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis, the two angels have made there way from Abraham’s dwelling in Mambre to the gates of Sodom as this great evil city is about to be shut up  for the night as was the custom of that era.  It was common practice in Biblical times for the gates of every great city to be lowered at night so as to prevent an attack during the hours of darkness.  But it was also the practice of the people of Sodom (male and female) to engage in some very rough and perverse play once their city was shut up securely.  Unfortunately, it was not at all wise for travelers to abide in the streets over night as this city had a reputation of violence and greed, amongst other things.  Lot met these strangers at the gate as they entered the city which implies that he was far more than just a casual observer in the daily affairs of Sodom.  Those who would spend their days sitting by the gates, or entrance, of a city were generally those who were involved in the commerce and government of that community. Wanting very much to be the first to catch any new goods that might pass through the gates on any business day, these men would sit in wait for merchants and vendors passing through who might have some special, desirable goods for which they could later demand a good price. The "gates" of a city were, during the day, the wholesale center.  Those merchants who would wait there would often debate and engage in the politics of the day.  It was near the gates that men would find support as they sought to climb the social and political ladders associated with the government and commerce of their city.

Lot must have enjoyed living in Sodom.  He was very much a part of all that went on there.  The one thing that set Lot apart from all the others among whom he lived was his deep concern for the welfare of these two wayfaring strangers.  Lot virtually begged these men to come into his home and stay with he and his family, as the streets of Sodom are not a safe place for strangers to have to make their beds.  Most travelers were accustomed to traveling a number of miles in any given day to peddle their wares, and it was not uncommon for many travelers to find rest and security just inside the city gates along side their camel or other beast of burden until the morning when the gates would again be opened and they could resume their journey.

4   But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
5And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

Vs 4 When these two beautiful, angelic men finally agree to reside with Lot for the evening, many of the people from the city gather at Lot’s door to inquire about these newcomers.  Verse four (4) holds great truths for us if only we will ignore so much of the prejudicial predispositions we have been indoctrinated with since childhood.  Notice how that in this verse we twice see the word “men” used in reference to those who had come to Lot’s door to inquire after the angels.  Notice how at the end of this very same verse it clearly states “all the people from every quarter.”

It is of extreme importance that the reader have a clear understanding of the truth that the PEOPLE of Sodom encompassed Lot's house.  This was not gender specific!  It was NOT a crowd of homosexual men but a mass of perverse and idolatrous PEOPLE (male and female) who surrounded lots house and demanded the angels be sent out to them.  

We know this because the term TWICE TRANSLATED from the original Hebrew as "men" in verse 4 is literally translated:

Original Word Word Origin:     "Xwna"
Transliterated Word  -  'enowsh
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech 
en-oshe'    Noun Masculine  
 
Definition: 
man, mortal man, person, mankind, of an individual, men (collective), man, mankind  

This term is used to speak of mankind or people in general.  Male and female.  We know this was the specific meaning of the writer (Moses) as the author clarifies this point at the end of the same sentence by using the word, " 'am " which is translated from Hebrew to the more general English word "people."    VERSE 4 CLEARLY STATES  "all the PEOPLE from every quarter."  As with many languages, much of Hebrew is best clearly understood by carefully examining CONTEXT.  Some words in the English can only be clearly understood when read carefully and examined within the context of the sentence in which they are written.

The word translated "people" in verse 4 is defined as follows:

Original Word Word Origin    ~[     `am 
 
Definition: 
nation, people, persons, members of one's people, compatriots, country-men, kinsman, kindred 

King James Word Usage - Total: 1862 
people 1836, nation 17, people + (01121) 4, folk 2, Ammi 1, men 1, each 1

The conduct of the PEOPLE of Sodom had nothing to do with homosexuality!  And to suggest that Gay men are so sexually out of control as to insist that they would go haywire and attempt to rape a stranger just because he is attractive is absolutely contrary to history, fact, and human experience! Curriculum used by law enforcement agencies (even here in our "conservative" state of Texas) CLEARLY states that the MAJORITY of sexual crimes (including rape, incest, and child molestation) are committed by HETEROSEXUALS.  The actual percentage of homosexuals committing such crimes falls far below the relative percentages of homosexuals as compared to heterosexuals.  This is a well established fact!  Only people who purposely wish to misrepresent reality and who wish to embrace a lie to feed their own hatred and evil minds will purposely choose to believe otherwise.  Why are Gay men not constantly being arrested for raping non-Gay men?  After all, according to many of the preachers and so-called "Christians" who are prone to hyperbole and exaggerative lies relative to Gay-Lesbian life, homosexuals are incapable of curbing or controlling their sexual appetites. Garbage, plain and simple! 

The destruction of Sodom and her sister cities had mainly to do with their rampant idolatry and it's association with IDOLATROUS sexual orgies!  This type of religious sexual conduct was rampant in the ancient world! It is THIS kind of conduct that passages used to condemn Gay-Lesbian people in wholesale fashion are generally referring to!  Because this type of religious activity is nearly unheard of in the modern world, translators habitually tried to marry behavior with which they were familiar to terms which represented behaviors with which they were not familiar.  To ignore the context of the writing of any passage is a sin by reason of omission!  To clearly understand the historical writings, particularly those which address a time period during which the author did not actually personally live and witness first hand (Moses wrote Genesis by REVELATION, as a prophet, as he was not personally physically present at creation or at any point in the entire history covered within the book of Genesis);  It is IMPERATIVE that Biblical history be read with an understanding of the behavioral and historical context of the era being written about.

The truth is, those who sought to engage the angels in their ritualistic orgy were both men and women.  The truth is, the Bible was written by and frequently translated by patriarchal men. It was common for stories to be told emphasizing the men, or number of men, involved in that particular story.  Women and children were not counted, as they were greatly devalued within the context of many ancient societies, including those of Hebrew biblical writers.  Remember the story of the children of Israel being led out of Egypt?  How many people left Egypt behind Moses?  We really do not know for sure as all we were given was the number of men.  (Exodus 12:37)  How many people did Jesus feed with five loaves and two fishes?  We are told only that there were five thousand men, and the phrase “plus women and children” is thrown in as an afterthought.  (Luke 9:14)  But we know the Lord did not have an enormous men’s meeting during which he fed the multitudes.  One must understand the culture and manners of the times.

So it was with the story of Sodom.  It is clear from verse four that ALL THE PEOPLE of Sodom were knocking at Lot’s door to learn of these visitors who had snuck into the city just as the gates were about to be sealed closed for the night.

The language of Scripture is VERY clear and specific!  When this language is translated into a tongue that is not nearly as expansive or explicit (particularly as it relates to old English of centuries past), it has often been generalized and translated in far broader terms (painted with a wider brush, so to speak).  Any modern Rabbi will even tell you that ANY translation of Scripture does not necessarily do it the greatest justice, particularly in areas where the English language did not have an immediate and clear word with which to translate the original.

See what some great minds of the past have said on this subject (both Jew and Gentile);

"Our sacred literature does not use obscure language, but describes most things in words clearly indicating their meaning. Therefore it is necessary at all times to delve into the literal meaning of words to achieve complete understanding of what is actually meant."
--Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888)  

 "Reading the Bible in translation is like kissing your new bride through a veil."
--Haim Nachman Bialik (Jewish Poet, 1873-1934)  

 "Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about."
--Benjamin Lee Whorf (Hebrew Linguist, 1897-1941)  

 "The Bible is a book that has been read more and examined less than any book that ever existed."
--Thomas Paine (Author, 1737-1809)  

Continuing now with our exegis...

6   And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
7   And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
8   Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
9   And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
10   But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
11   And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

Had the people (men) of Sodom been homosexual, as is so commonly purported, based on the erroneous translation of the term “know” in verse five, it would have seemed terribly foolish for Lot to offer them his daughters.  The reality is, Lot was fully aware of the appetites of his wicked and idolatrous neighbors.  Remember, Lot was a man very involved in the commercial and political life of his city.  He knew what these folks would engage in the moment the city was shut up for the night, and that is why he invited, indeed begged, these strangers to come into the safety and comfort of his home for the night.  Normally, two young girls might have appeased this perverse crowd, but on this night they had their appetites set to enjoy some fresh meat, new blood, virgin territory.

I believe it is very important to point out here that the type of sexual orgy the people of Sodom were engaged in was not at all new or unheard of.  Many false religions and idolatrous peoples had for centuries engaged in such lewd conduct, all in the name of their deity or graven image.  Even the children of Israel slid into such ungodly conduct after Moses had been gone for a month.  (Exodus 32:1-14)  In his absence they created a golden calf, as they had seen worshipped in Egypt during their enslavement.  Then, in true form to the manner in which they had seen the Egyptians behave, the children of Israel began to conduct a massive orgy, everyone chasing after one another without concern for marital vows, age, race, or gender.  When the Lord saw all this from the mountain where He was discussing the law with Moses, He threatened to wipe out the Hebrew nation and start all over again with Moses and his family.  But Moses interceded until the Lord had a change of heart.  The point is this…  The religious orgy that the people of God were engaged in before the image of the golden calf, was no more, nor any less, the same type of idolatrous orgy engaged in within the city of Sodom.  Had Sodom and her sister cities had an intercessor like Moses; perhaps they too would have been spared.  Sadly, sodom and her sister cities were not populated by Hebrew peoples, but rather by idolatrous pagan Gentiles.

After having pulled Lot in from the unruly crowd, now struck blind, the angels decide to inform Lot of the impending doom of this great city.  Lot had already shown himself different from the others in this evil city, and his valiant efforts at defending these angelic guests deserved his being warned of and spared the fiery destruction that was to come.  That had not been their intention upon entering Sodom, but Lot had earned his right to be warned by reason of his hospitality, concern for their well-being, and willingness to put himself in harms way to protect his guests.

Lot had lived in this city long enough to have two daughters marry into it’s citizenry.  The two sons in law did not want to hear Lot’s message of impending doom, so he took his daughters and his wife and started his fearful and hasty escape.  I believe the most important aspects of this story have already been covered, so I shall not bother to continue with the rest of this tale, as it really bears no significance to our current study topic.

CONCLUSION: The most common LIE (and it is a lie) set forth by preachers and so-called "Christians" alike is that Sodom and her sister cities were destroyed for the sin of homosexuality. It is further falsely asserted that homosexuality is therefore "clearly" identified as the greatest possible sin that a human being can commit.  After all, "God destroyed entire civilizations because of this ghastly behavior!"  Both  of these notions are FALSE and entirely inconsistant with the teaching of Scripture.  According to the Word of God NO ONE SIN is greater than another as the failure to fulfill one single point of the law makes one guilty of having broken ALL of the law.  The Jewish people were nearly destroyed in the wilderness in the same exact way that Sodom was destroyed.  Had Moses not interceded as he did until the Lord repented (turned about), the entire NATION of Israel would have been reduced to only Moses and his family.  There is NO MENTION OF HOMOSEXUALITY whatsoever in the account of Israel's abomination (idolatrous sexual worship/orgy).  Can it then be equally asserted that heterosexuals who engage in orgies are equally as detestable and an abomination before the Lord?  Or can we be faithful to the Word of God and assert in truth that it is blatant idolatry and the sexual perversions associated with ancient idolatrous phallic and pagan religions which in fact and truth inspired the Lord (TWICE - once with Sodom and her sister cities, and secondly with Israel in the wilderness) to view complete and utter destruction as a viable and reasonable response?  Any intillectually and spiritually honest person will clearly see the latter as the correct response.

GO TO THE NEXT ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES
"Defining The Sins Of Sodom"
Let’s Visit Sodom
Pt. 1
By: Rev. Charles Burnett-Morrow
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