Most Common Same-sex Confusion in the Bible

Sodom & Gomorrah – When is rape okay?

Here’s a summary of the story:

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah have the reputation of being immoral places, so God sends two angels to check it out.  If the situation is really that bad, then God will destroy the cities.  So two angels disguised as mortal visitors go to the house of Lot, an upstanding citizen of Sodom.  While having dinner with Lot and his family, a crowd gathers ouside and demands to get to know the guests.  Lot refuses.  The crowd gets worse, and Lot offers his daughters instead.  This does nothing for the crowd that still demands the guests.  At that point the angels blind the crowd and help Lot and his family escape.  God then destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Know that to know probably has nothing to do with sex.

  • When the crowd demands to know the guests, it’s easy to think to know “in the Biblical sense”.
  • The actual word in the Bible is the Hebrew word yadha, which usually gets translated as “to know.”  It is not a word that usually refers to sex.  Of the 943 times that yadha appears in the Bible, only 10 are definite references to sex.  In other words, there is a less than 1% chance that yadha in Sodom and Gomorrah is it about sex.
  • If sex were the intent, why wasn’t the word shakhabh used, the word for sexual intercourse, homosexual, heterosexual and bestial?
  • The case that the crowd wanted to have sex with the visitors is even less likely because Lot offers his daughters instead of his guests.  What good Christian father offers his daughters to be gang-raped?
  • Lot himself was an outsider in Sodom, officially a resident alien.  Because he and his family were strangers in the town, it makes sense that Lot would ask the crowd if they wanted to get to know his daughters, as in get acquainted with.  Lot could have thought it was more polite to offer his daughters for conversation than to put his guests outisde with an unfriendly crowd.

If it’s sex, it’s rape:

  • Even if one chooses to think that Sodom and Gomorrah is about gay sex, it is not about consensual or loving gay sex.  It’s rape.

If it’s sex, it’s also heterosexual sex:

  • Many English translations say that men surrounded the house, but the Hebrew word was enoshe, which means people, both men and women.  If the passage were meant to say only men, then they it’s likely would have used the term esh, man.
  • Women would have been raping the male visitors as well, further evidence that this is not a gay story.

What about the Jude 7 reference to strange sex or unnatural lust?

“Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” Jude 1:7

  • Sodom and Gomorrah were immoral places, but unnatural lust or strange sex does not refer to gay sex.
  • In this New Testament passage, the original term is hetera sarx, which means supernatural.  This is accurate because Lot’s guests were angels.  Strange or unnatural, here, does not mean gay.
  • If gay were intended, the term that could have been used is homos sarx, which means same flesh.

The Bible never says that gay sex was the problem with Sodom and Gomorrah.

“And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pride of the Caldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.” Isaiah 13:19

“But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a more shocking thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoeers, so that no one turns from wickedness; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.” Jeremiah 23:14

“This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.  They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.” Ezekiel 16:48-49.

  • Splendor, pride, adultery, lies and general wickedness were the sins of Sodom, not gay sex
  • Some Bibles say abomination, which reminds one of Leviticus.  Others say detestable things.  Either way, it doesn’t refer directly to gay sex.

What does Jesus say about Sodom and Gomorrah?

  • When describing the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jesus talks about a lack of hospitality.

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.  Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment for that town. Matthew, 10:14-15

  • In fact, Jesus never says anything, anywhere about homosexuality.

Misuses of the word sodomy:

  • The word sodomy is not in the Bible.
  • Sodomites in the Bible simply are people who lived in Sodom, not people who practice anal sex.
  • If you do see sodomy in the Bible, it is inaccurate translation reflecting the bias of the translators.
  • The word sədōm, which is in the Bible, is an old Hebrew word meaning fire.  Much later it became a Latin term referring, in general, to the sins of Sodom.
  • Sodomy meaning anal sex first appeared in 1297AD.
  • Sometimes the English word sodomite in the Old Testament is an inaccurate translation of the word kadah, which means temple prostitute.
  • In 1 Timothy 1:10, some translations say that sodomites are on the list of people who will not make it to heaven.  But the original word is arsenokoitai, also meaning prostitute.
  • In 1 Corinthians, sodomite is sometimes a translation of the Greek malokos often meaning effeminate or of the Greek general practice of older men having sex with boys, not consensual gay sex between peers.

The lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah is not about gay sex.  It’s about being kind to guests and strangers.  If it’s about sex, it’s about rape, gay and straight rape, both which are violently unloving acts.

God wants us to love, and Jesus urges everyone to love – guests, strangers, neighbors.  The problem with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is that they were not loving places.