At the recent conference on the "War on Christians " Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition urged the participants to stop using the terms "homosexual " and "gay. " Sheldon recommended such as "sodomites " and "the perverted ones. " Actually, Sheldon would be far off-based to use Sodomites to describe homosexuals.
Let 's look at what the Bible says. God is angry with four Canaanite cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim. He decides to destroy them because of how much the inhabitants were indulging their own selfish interests while ignoring the suffering of the poor and sick . But first, along with two angels, God meets with Abraham and his wife, Sarah. When Abraham learns God 's plans, he pleads with God and strikes a deal to save the death and destruction. God will spare the cities and inhabitants if but ten good men could be found in Sodom.
Then God sends the two angels to Sodom, just getting over war. Once there, Lot greeted the angels and welcomed them into his house. The angels warned Lot of what was to happen. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Sod had assembled outside and demanded the strangers come out so that the people might "know" the two. Lot refused as he felt the crowd was more a mob. Lot instead offered his two, early teenage, virgin daughters as replacements to be raped. The crowd refused and the angels blinded some of them. The angels told Lot to his family and flee and not look back. Of course, Lot 's wife disobeyed, looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
The way many conservative Christians interpret this is that God destroyed Sodom because the residents wanted to rape two foreign men. Amazing, that all the residents of the town, the Bible says, showed up to rape the two angels. That means the women and children had to be there.
But what if homosexuality was not the reason for the destruction? After all, as God and Abraham had bartered beforehand that means God had decided to destroy the city before the incident with the angels ever happened.
We need to start with the Bible itself to explain what the Bible means. The Bible says the Sodomites wanted to know the angels. The Hebrew word used was "ya,da." This verb means "know" with an ambiguous meaning. The verb ya 'da appears over 900 times elsewhere in the Old Testament, normally used in the sense of knowing a fact. There are a dozen or so uses when it means sex and then it is always obvious such as a man knowing a woman and her getting pregnant. The sexual references are always heterosexual.
Thus, when ya 'da was used, it is possible that the crowd wanted to have sex with the two male angels, either by force or consent. It is also possible that since the Sodomites had not long been over war that they might have wanted to know if the two were spies sent with some type of secret plans for their destruction. As to the crowd being a bunch of randy gays wanting to rape two male angels, certainly Lot, as a citizen of Sodom, would have known his neighbors sexual preferences. If they were wanting male booty he wouldn 't have added insult to injury by offering the rioting gays a couple of girl virgins.
Whatever the reason the crowd wanted to know the two angels, in the Middle East, once you have accepted somebody as your guest, you are supposed to shelter them no matter what. Lot knew that. So did the crowd. The issue of Celestial contention might be one of forced relationship.
As to what other passages in the Bible have to say about the destruction of Sodom, let 's see what Jesus had to say. After all, Jesus is the number one messenger of the Bible, according to Christians. Reading from Matthew 10:9-15
"Don 't take any money with you; don 't even carry a duffle bag with extra clothes and shoes, or even a walking stick; for those you help should feed and care for you. Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a godly man and stay in his home until you leave for the next town. When you ask permission to stay, be friendly, and if turns out to be a godly home, give it your blessing; if not, keep the blessing. Any city or home that doesn 't welcome you-shake off the dust of that place from your feet as you leave. Truly, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off at Judgment Day than they. "
His reference to Sodom is that it was a city that was inhospitable to strangers and the poor. In the Jewish tradition - and I do believe the rabbis know more than a thing or two about Hebrew scriptures - the phrase "middat Sdom" has been long used. It translates as acting or thinking like the Sodomites and means lacking charity and hospitality. It means ignoring the needs of the poor, sick, and the widows and orphans. Throughout the Bible, it always has been a moral obligation and duty to help those in need. Indeed, every prophet warned of the indulgences of the leaders and/or people while they ignored the real needs of the poor and downtrodden. Why would the case of Sodom be any different?
The great prophet Isaiah condemned Judah and repeatedly compared it to Sodom and Gomorrah. Isaiah listed many shortcomings and sins the Judeans and Sodomites shared: refusing to listen to and do the will of God; oppression and injustice; and ignoring the poor while putting on pious performances and religious extravagances. But Isaiah never mentions homosexuality as one of the sins that peeved God.
The prophet Jeremiah said the Jews of Jerusalem were like the Sodomites because they committed adultery, evil and lying. Jeremiah didn 't mention homosexuality as a sin of the Sodomites.
Ezekeiel said the sins of the Sodomites were that they were " arrogant, overfed and unconcerned. " Ezekeiel might as well been talking about a lot of Americans. What else did he say? "They did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things... " So according to Ezekeiel, God did in the Sodomites because they were a bunch of fat blowhards who didn 't do enough to help the poor but instead acted all sanctimonious and self-righteous. So instead of calling gays Sodomites, there might be some holier-than-thou religious hypocrites deserving the term.