Setting Straight Sodom

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One of the most unsettling aspects of the Torah is its condemnation of homosexuality. Radio talker Dennis Prager who writes a lot about religion, obsesses about this problem and it has caused a lot of pain throughout history.  The story of Sodom is often quoted to emphasize that the Lord hates homosexuality. Gay activists and like-minded fellows argue against it. They say the story was about guest rights. Both sides are wrong. 


When Abram’s (later called Abraham) brother Lot moves to Sodom, the city was at war with the cities of Shinar, Ellasar, and Elam as well as with King Tidal who ruled over multiple peoples. On the side of Sodom fought Gomorra, Adma, Zebojim and Bela. In this war voices reached the Lord that complained, Sodom and Gomorra committed grave sins. He already decided to eradicate the cities on the basis of these claims – which most certainly had nothing to do with “guest rights.”


The Lord sent two angels to the city to check out how bad the situation was (I might add a general truism – almighty or all-seeing in the biblical context just means more than everybody else and not all all). Abram knew that his brother had moved there, assumed that he had made friends and asked the Lord to spare the city if he found only ten or more righteous people. The Lord agreed.  The men who knocked on Lot’s door demanded to “see” the two angels (angels look like men throughout the Torah). They must have assumed that the strangers were spies. So “see” could very much mean “see” and not “bang.”


The Hebrew original (וְנֵדְעָ֖ה = see/know/have sex with) makes it hard to tell the difference, but the situation is obvious. Lot even offered to bribe the crowd with his two virgin daughters. The men were NOT interested in sex. They wanted to “see” the strangers. 


The Bible knows another version of the story (Judges 19), which I believe is older. This time Lot is an elderly man who works in the field when an unknown man approaches him with his second wife and a donkey. The old man invites the group to stay with him over night. The men of the city Gibea ask to “see” the strangers. The old man offers his young daughter plus the second wife of his guest if they just left the stranger alone. Again, this is most likely to spare a visitor from interrogation and a potentially false conviction for spying activity.


This time, however, the guest grabs his second wife and throws her to the crowd. They immediately rape her to death. In the morning the stranger finds his wife dead, brings her corpse home, cuts her into twelve pieces and sends them to all corners of Israel. Then the Jews unite to burn Gibea to the ground. I believe this less mythical version is the original because the Lord usually punishes with military losses throughout the Bible. The Sodom story with angels and firestorm looks embellished and probably became the more popular version because of its mysterious, magical nature and the connection to more widely known characters.


First published:


Ryan Messano Added Nov 23, 2018 - 2:10pm
I am convinced, for what it’s worth, that the crime was homosexuality.  Americas
 Founders understood history far better than we do, as they didn’t waste anytime with hellivision, drugs, or porn.  They criminalized sodomy in all
 13 original colonies.
Further, the four worst emperors in Rome’s centuries of rule, were all homosexual.  Nero, Elagabalus, Commodus, And Caligula.
Homosexuality is a crime against nature, and should still be banned, as SCOTUS had no Constitutional right to legalize it in the 2003, ‘Lawrence vs. Texas’ ruling.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 23, 2018 - 2:20pm
Where does that leave you with Vinny, Ryan?  Please tell us how Vinny satisfies his "urges" with you.  Wen are those new turds being delivered, Ryan?  before Xmas turds must be gawd's blessing, right?
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 23, 2018 - 2:22pm
Ryan, homosexuality is seen as a crime in the Torah. I make the argument that it is unlikely to be the issue of the Sodom story.
Dino Manalis Added Nov 23, 2018 - 2:27pm
 Heterosexuality is natural, just look at male and female sex organs.
Marty Koval Added Nov 23, 2018 - 2:28pm
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of greatest mass destructions caused by God. The question remains, is it a true story or not? Biblical Archaeologists believe that it is a true story, but either internal earth gasses or the impact of an asteroid has always substantiated their reasoning.
Some archaeologist believe that the cities of Bad dh-Dhra and Numeira, which are the only known inhabited towns in the region of the Dead Sea for the period of time between 3000 BCE and 1000 BCE, could be the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah respectively. Both of these towns were simultaneously destroyed at the end of the Early Bronze III period by an enormous fire so big as to create debris three feet thick. The question here is what could have caused such destruction? The excavations in the area point to falling burning debris. This is where geologist Frederick Clapp suggests that a release of the subterranean substance called bitumen (a derivative of petroleum) during an earthquake may account for the debris. According to his theory, it ignited in the air and led to a shower of flaming debris that destroyed both of the cities.
Another theory that has created debate between archaeologists is based on an Assyrian clay tablet showing that an asteroid may have destroyed the two cities. A Sumerian astronomer inscribed this Cuneiform clay tablet around 700 BCE. It shows the trail of an asteroid hitting Kofels in Austria around 3000 BCE, which also may account for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In both suggestions, the descriptions of such events by ancient people could very well identify with the description in Genesis 19:24 - 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens.
When analyzing the Sodom and Gomorrah story from a human perspective, it is important to understand what a theory is? A theory is a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena. It does not mean it is actually true or false.
Until definite proof is presented by mankind, we must ask ourselves if the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was the result of ‘God’s’ actions and not some natural occurance?
Ryan Messano Added Nov 23, 2018 - 2:36pm
Agree with Marty,
I believe it was divine intervention and it was due to homosexuality. Further, to add to your excellent archaeological breakdown, which I learned a lot from, there are salt pillars surrounding the Dead Sea, coinciding with Lots wife being turned into a pillar of salt.
Marty Koval Added Nov 23, 2018 - 3:13pm
Homosexuality is an abomination. This is made very clear in the Bible Scripture Leviticus 18:22 -Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
If a male having sex with another male or a female having sex with another female is natural, they would be able to procreate naturally. But this is impossible. If ever human on earth decided today to live as an absolute homosexual, mankind will become extinct in one generation.
Koshersalaami Added Nov 23, 2018 - 4:02pm
Wearing fabric blends is also an abomination, same word. And somehow I don’t see anyone on soapboxes talking about how viyella is a crime against nature and God. 
Is it because sexuality rates more? Well, we know homosexuality doesn’t make the Ten Commandments. Adultery does, though, which makes sense given that, unlike consensual homosexual relations, adultery always leaves victims. I’d imagine I could go through the entire history of WriterBeat and not find one post vilifying adultery, unless maybe it’s about Bill Clinton. Why would homosexuality rate so much more ink? 
Quite simply, the gross out factor. Many people find it personally repugnant and so try to make Torah conform with their feelings. 
By the way, Torah doesn’t mention lesbianism at all. 
I’ve heard rabbis talk on Sodom and Gomorrah and I’ve never heard them conclude that the guys knocking on the door weren’t interested in rape. In terms of whether it is about treatment of the stranger, that is the one subject mentioned in the Torah more times than any other. It is of critical importance. (Remember that next time you look at caravans.) Lest there be any doubt, it is mentioned 36 times, double chai. 
Ryan Messano Added Nov 23, 2018 - 4:20pm
No, RottenSalami,
Homosexuality, masturbation, and pedophilia didn’t make the Ten Commandments because they were so horrible, that it wasn’t thought necessary to speak of them.
Ryan Messano Added Nov 23, 2018 - 4:23pm
There are so many of you sexually confused libertines running around, and you are major parts of the Democrat Party.  Best way to pervert reason is promiscuity, including all sex outside heterosexual marriage, or psychotropic drugs.  No coincidence that Democrats are full of this behavior.  Republicans aren’t perfect but they have stigmas against both.
TreeParty Added Nov 23, 2018 - 5:26pm
Promiscuity, psychotropic drugs, homosexuality - all of these things predate the United States of America, predate the monotheistic religions, and predate the Democratic party. And it goes without saying that they are not exclusive to the Democratic party, stigmas or not stigmas!
Ryan Messano Added Nov 23, 2018 - 6:00pm
WeedParty, please don’t talk about American history until you can list five biographies of the Founders you’ve read.
And please don’t spew the propaganda you’ve been fed by Google, the media, and schools about the Founders either.
Freedom and liberty are impossible without virtue.
Marty Koval Added Nov 23, 2018 - 6:13pm
The Bible does talk about perversion. Perversion is a type of human behavior that deviates from that which is understood to be orthodox or normal. Although the term perversion can refer to a variety of forms of deviation, it is most often used to describe sexual behaviors that are considered particularly abnormal, repulsive or obsessive. Under this category we find masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, sex with animals, same sex partner sex, and sex with yourself.
The Bible does talk about shameful lusts, which is seen in Romans 1:26-27 - 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
This scripture does not mention masturbation directly, but having sex with yourself is unnatural. This is considered a shameful lust for yourself, which is a perversion. A prostitute is a person who can have sex with any person (man and women), any animal, and themselves.
The Bible states in Deuteronomy 23:17 - 17 No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute.
Being a prostitute is having sex, in any form, with any partner (Human or non human), including yourself.
All of these are sinful behaviors.
TreeParty Added Nov 23, 2018 - 7:34pm
Ryan Messano,
   What is the fount of hate that impels you to address me as WeedParty? What is the fount of hate that impels you to insist that people "don't talk about" this or that topic unless they toe your demented line? What is the fount of hate that impels you to demonize people on the basis of their gender or their sexual proclivities? Man, you are carrying around a lot of hate. Wow..
"Freedom and liberty" are over-rated. Of course liberty is important and desirable, but it is not more sacred than other human values like love, truth, beauty, peace, clean air and water, "domestic Tranquility", "the general Welfare", stuff like that.. 
And while on the topic of "freedom and liberty", let's consider the "Founding Fathers" in whom you invest so much reverence. They were a bunch of privileged males of European extraction living 250 years ago. Most of them were slave-owners. Now, maybe you can explain why it is not highly hypocritical for a bunch of slave owners to prattle on about "liberty for all"? And maybe you can comment on the moral rectitude of the ownership of black African human beings as slaves. And please don't spew that propaganda you've been fed by whatever demented cult you belong to....
Ryan Messano Added Nov 23, 2018 - 9:37pm
The man who reports me to the FBI for his paranoid suspicions wants to know about my hate.
Truth sounds like hate to those who hate truth.
To have your views, someone has to be high as a kite, to sustain the delusion.
Stawp!! Oh, my!! Its a ‘demented line’ to insist you be familiar with American history before voting. You have a future in comedy, my f(r)iend. 
Oh no, the leftist identity politics toolbox.  You must be under 30, and freshly brainwashed by the schools.  All sex outside of marriage is bad, hombre.
Capisce?  Remind me where our rights come from in the Declaration of Independence.
There is no love on the left.  Your Democrat party has the same platform as the communist party, that just murdered 100 million, so save it, and go take your happy backside to the library and learn history.
Please don’t talk about the Founders when you haven’t read five of their biographies.  You’ll just make a dunce of yourself.  Your first sentence out is nonsense.  Most of the Founders opposed slavery.
How about you shut that big mouth of yours and start learning?
TreeParty Added Nov 23, 2018 - 10:00pm
Cryin' Lyin' Ryan:
Citation required for "most of the Founders opposed slavery." Probably simply a lie. If it can be reasonably presumed that actual slave-owners DID NOT OPPOSE SLAVERY, here is proof of my assertion. Where is proof of your assertion?! Bring it, or slink off as the discredited cretin that you are. Bring it, or "please don't comment on slavery without reading The Peculiar Institution." Bring it, or you will be revealed as a blatant liar. Just bring your evidence..
Oh, and where is YOUR love?! I will tell you who I love: I love my wife and I love my family. Can you tell us anybody you love? 
This is your homework: provide evidence for your claim that "most of the Founders opposed slavery" (even though they themselves owned slaves,) and provide a list, however short, of who you love. The left is built on love, you lying sack of spit. The right is built on avoidance of love, for which hate (which you personify) serves as a satisfactory substitute. 
Homework is due Monday...
(And you may want to consider how many of the Founding Fathers were homosexual, or tolerant of homosexuality as they should be....)
Ryan Messano Added Nov 23, 2018 - 10:13pm
Stay off Google, WeedParty. That’s how you got indoctrinated.  You don’t realize the Google algorithms are designed to keep you clueless and banish conservative ideas and the historical truth to Google Siberia, 100 search results deep.  Haha, they sure suckered you.  Your generations problem is you barely read, and so you have no filter for media, tech, and academic disinformation.  You are kind of like slaves couldn’t read, your generation voluntarily doesn’t read information that you aren’t fed.   The end result is the same, you are both slaves.   Don’t go to Google for their brainwashing on Wallbuilders.  It’s time for you to buy the first ten history books of your life.  Get off the internet.
Most of the Founders opposed slavery.  
Hosexuality was criminalized in all 13 original colonies, so stop getting hoodwinked with revisionist history.
TreeParty Added Nov 24, 2018 - 12:34am
Asked for evidence that "most of the Founders opposed slavery", even while they owned slaves, you posted an article from "Wallbuilders", containing various written statements which do not amount to any persuasive evidence that most of the founders opposed slavery. Certainly some of them had to feel very sheepish about reconciling their intellectual discomfort with the fact of their slave-ownership. But if most of the founders opposed slavery, it's hard to imagine how defacto toleration of slavery was enshrined in the Constitution. 
You should know that "Wallbuilders" is NOT a factually reliable source of information. Moreover, you have not unequivocally renounced slavery yourself, Ryan. What's the hesitation?!
Have you read The Peculiar Institution? Why not?
Ryan Messano Added Nov 24, 2018 - 12:57am
Ugh!!  Didn’t I tell you to stay off Google, you get suckered by their disinformation badly.
 Stop reading internet websites and go read actual biographies written from primary sources.  You are such a lazy thinker.
Ryan Messano Added Nov 24, 2018 - 1:00am
You got banned from my post because you kept talking when you clearly have no deep insight into the Founders and haven’t troubled yourself to read just five of the 204 Founders biographies, and instead of resolving to educate yourself, you pop back up, convinced that Google is all the knowledge you need.   It’s not!
Ryan Messano Added Nov 24, 2018 - 1:01am
Of the 204 Founders, the majority opposed slavery.  Go research that. Google will feed you fairytales to keep you in ideological slavery.
TreeParty Added Nov 28, 2018 - 12:50am
Google is not "knowledge". Google is a search engine, you imbecile. You make a category error in claiming that "Google is ...knowledge..."
And that is the least of your intellectual shortcomings. A slavish (pun intended) fealty to the wisdom of a bunch of privileged white slave owners who lived before evolution was elucidated is just completely insensible. You might as well worship the Greek or Roman gods! I keep getting the impression that the god you do worship is the god of the bible. So your "scriptural authority" relates stories of a guy who was eaten by a fish and lived for three days, only to get vomited up by the fish?! And Noah's Ark?!!? HaHaHaHaHa!
Ignorance on stilts... 
Marty Koval Added Dec 2, 2018 - 9:42pm
Mogg Tsur:
Homosexuality is clearly condemned in the Bible.  It undermines God's created order where He made Adam and Eve, a man and a woman, to carry out his command to fill and subdue the earth , which comes from Genesis 1:28.
There are over 100 scripture in the Bible about Homosexual sin. Here are just a few of them:
Leviticus 18:22: " Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus 20:13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
Deuteronomy 23:17: " There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel."
1 Kings 14:24: "And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel."
Romans 1:26-27: "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."
1 Corinthian 6:9: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind."
Just because someone is a homosexual, does not mean that we persecute them, call them names, sue them for not agreeing with us, or get laws passed to silence them.  We are to love him (or her) or pray for him (or her).  Homosexuality is a sin, and like any other sin, it needs to be laid at the foot of the cross and forsaken. Yes, I know, easier said than done.  But that is the same with all sins.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 4, 2018 - 2:24am
Marty, thx for that archeological bit. It is really interesting. Of course, I cannot check up on this. The most likely cause for villages going up in fire is simply an accident in the bakery. Fires were very usual until fairly recently and the building material decides how hot it gets in what areas. Sometimes even stones melted because of ordinary fire catastrophies. So Sodom and Gomorrha could have been any cities and I think that the scribes who wrote the Torah did not even care back then what it could map.
Ryan, good point about the salt wife being a legend based on the Dead Sea environment.
TreeParty: Quite a few founding fathers had debts and those who were able to pay off their debts came into the position to free their slaves. What exactly are you doing to free other people from something?
Mogg: I think we get revulsed about the destruction of gender roles. It does often coincide with homosexuality, but I think the main issue is really that we see very important functions in society no longer being fulfilled. Motherhood is forgone and corrupted is the protection of the community by men, dissolving even the nation's borders.
Marty: Thx for the quotes. Yes, there are quite a few lines that object to homosexuality. Your Deuteronomy and Kings quotes, however, do refer to the Kadeshs. That is something specific and not just ordinary homosexuality. They were special pagan cult prostitutes. The word literally means "the holy".
Marty Koval Added Dec 4, 2018 - 8:13am
The people who want to ignore the Bible or say that the Bible is not the "Truth" from God are being deceived by Satan the Great Deceiver. There have been many atheists who's mission in life was to prove to themselves and the world that the Bible was just another book, made up of false stories. After in-depth study, they came to the conclusion that the Bible was the Truth of God and accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts as Lord and Savior.
It takes a lot more faith to be an agnostic or atheists, then it is to be a Christian.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 4, 2018 - 3:48pm
What biblical literalists? I mean, do we really care about all seven people who think that Bethel was given the name twice by Jacob and that Moses begged G-d to have mercy with the worshippers of the golden calf only to smash the slates in rage and call for the death of the responsible ones a few lines later?
Marty Koval Added Dec 4, 2018 - 3:50pm
Mogg Tsur:

Homosexuality is indeed sin. It is not okay. It is not moral. It, along with all other sins (which are too numerous to mention), reaps the judgment of God. These Scriptures confirm that. Yet that is not where it stops. Nor should we as we discuss the Biblical view of homosexuality. The Biblical and Christian view of homosexuality is that it is wrong, but God’s grace—just like it did for us—offers freedom from sin to all people. God’s grace can bring new life and help every step of the way. As Jesus said in His first coming:
John 3:16-21 - 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Since I have seen the power of sin in my life, when I see Scripture call something sin, or an abomination, or that people committing certain actions will not inherit the kingdom of God I can instantly relate to that. My sin too is an abomination to God, which is seen in Proverbs 6:16-19.
Proverbs 6:16-19 - 16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
I remember the pain, anguish, emptiness, and despair that I experienced because of my sinful nature. I cannot help but want everyone else in these circumstances to know the grace and love of God that so changed my life. I want that freedom for you.
Jesus experienced the struggles of this life. He can truly sympathize with our weakness—He was tempted in every way just as we are, "yet without sin", which comes from Hebrews 4:15. Jesus alone has the power to overcome all sin and walk with us through this life. While I have of course not experienced every situation, I have seen enough of sin in my own life to want these things for you:

I want no one else to experience the pain and results of sin.
Have you repented? Has your mind changed? Has your life changed? The sin you once love do you now hate? The Christ that you once hated do you now long for?
I want everyone to experience the grace, love, and forgiveness of Jesus that gives new, eternal life.
I want you to continue to grow in similarities to Jesus through His enablement. This alone will enable you to better express His truth in love—in both your words and actions.
TreeParty Added Dec 8, 2018 - 2:31am
Benjamin wrote:
"TreeParty: Quite a few founding fathers had debts and those who were able to pay off their debts came into the position to free their slaves. What exactly are you doing to free other people from something?"
What does any of that even mean?!?!
Citation needed for baseless claim!!!
Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of "Independence", 40 were slaveowners. Now, our mess firmly believes that "most of the founders opposed slavery." (Which should give you some sense of how ridiculous that claim is, based on the claimer...)
What sense does it make that "most of the founders" that opposed slavery, ACTUALLY OWNED SLAVES?!?!
Right, makes no sense at all. 
Twelve U.S. presidents owned slaves. As far as I know, the only one who "freed his slaves" was G. Washington.
(Just the facts, Sunshine Kid.)
So; do you have any actual evidence for your claim, or are you just throwing mud against the wall?!
What I am doing to "free other people from something" is a whole separate discussion having to do with previous support for eliminating apartheid in South Africa; and opposing Republican efforts at voter suppression among low income people in this country; and supporting the rights of people from Central America to seek refuge in our country from unspeakable violence in their home countries; and much more. 
What are YOU doing to "free other people from something?!?!
Marty Koval Added Dec 8, 2018 - 7:58am
Every human being that ever existing has been a slave. We are either slaves to sin, which is our natural state, or we are slaves to Christ. The writers of the New Testament willingly declared their status as slaves of Christ. Paul opens his letter to the Romans by referring to himself as a “slave of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1) and his letter to Titus by calling himself a “slave of God” (Titus 1:1). James opens his epistle the same way, “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). Most translations say “servant” or “bond-servant” in these passages, but the Greek word doulas means, literally, “slave.”
In John 8:34 Jesus tells the unbelieving Pharisees, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” He uses the analogy of a slave and his master to make the point that a slave obeys his master because he belongs to him. Slaves have no will of their own. They are literally in bondage to their masters. When sin is our master, we are unable to resist it. But, by the power of Christ to overcome the power of sin, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness”
(Romans 6:18). Once we come to Christ in repentance and receive forgiveness for sin, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit who comes to live within us. It is by His power that we are able to resist sinning and become slaves of righteousness.
TreeParty Added Dec 8, 2018 - 9:49pm
   Check the Thirteenth Amendment, will ya? 
Marty Koval Added Dec 8, 2018 - 10:07pm
The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery of mankind to mankind in the United States. It has nothing to do with how mankind is still slaves to sin.

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