How can you say that the Sodom story in Genesis 19 is about lack of hospitality?

The men of Sodom attempted to rape angels

The men of Sodom attempted to rape angels

Rick Brentlinger Answers -

Many Christians think of inhospitality as a minor breach of social etiquette, similar to not having clean towels in the guest bathroom or not using the best china at supper.

In the ancient near east during Bible times, lack of hospitality was often a life and death issue. People depended on the kindness of strangers for safety as they traveled and sought lodging at night.

There is lots of information on my website about the interesting question of hospitality so I'll give a brief answer here and provide links to additional information.

There are many reasons why I believe that the Sodom story in Genesis 19 is about lack of hospitality or inhospitality instead of being about homosexuality.
  1. Scholarly heterosexual Christians admit that the Sodom story in Genesis 19 is not a good foundation for anti-gay teaching.

  2. Although the Bible mentions Sodom 48 times, it never refers to the inhabitants of Sodom as sodomites. Further, the Bible links Sodom to lack of hospitality but never to homosexuality.

  3. Ancient Jews viewed the Sodom story as a warning against lack of hospitality. This view is found in the Babylonian Talmud on Sodom almost two thousand years ago so viewing inhospitality as the sin of Sodom is thousands of years old.

  4. Jesus was not shy about publicly pointing out inhospitality as a huge sin. Hospitality is defined in the New Testament as loving strangers.

  5. From beginning to end, whenever the Bible mentions Sodom, lack of hospitality or inhospitality is the issue, not homosexuality.

Those are some of the reasons why I believe that the Sodom story is about lack of hospitality or inhospitality, not about homosexuality.

The vast weight of the evidence in the Bible and outside the Bible, supports this belief. There are two ways someone can read Genesis 19 and conclude that homosexuality is the issue.

1. Ignore what the Bible says or read into the text what scripture does not say.

2. Approach Genesis 19 with the pre-conceived idea that its about homosexuality and then attempt to force scripture to fit your pre-conceived idea.

Original question:

How can you say that the Genesis 19 is not about homosexuality?

Gen 19:4 "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:
5 And 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.""

Every man, young and old of the city of Sodom wanted Lot to send out the two men (angels) that they may "know" them.

Do you really believe the quotes of those listed on your website that they're talking about hospitality?

Comments for How can you say that the Sodom story in Genesis 19 is about lack of hospitality?

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Oct 30, 2010
Exposition is essential
by: Anonymous

I have to agree with the original question. While I don't believe that the passage of Genesis 19 is about homosexuality individually, it's clearly not about inhospitality. Ezekiel 16:48-50 will say that homosexuality is part of the issue, and a self-centeredness is an element, but it's unwise to extrapolate erroneously on this matter. The issue of Sodom was unholiness on a much broader sense than any individual sin. The argument you're making is simply not supported by the text, nor supported by the wider context of Scripture. We must always be willing to take Scripture for what it says, and not for what we want it to say.

Oct 30, 2010
Say what?
by: RIck Brentlinger

You said of the Sodom story in Genesis 19, "it's clearly not about inhospitality."

Did you read Genesis 19?

Did you read the four pages I linked to in my answer?

Did you read the verses I cited about hospitality in the New Testament?

In my opinion your viewpoint is at odds with the Biblical facts and the historical facts.

May 24, 2011
What about Jude 7
by: The Apologetics Blogger

The Bible actually explicitly says that the sin of Sodom was sexual immorality. I guess you just missed that verse:

Jude 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

May 24, 2011
To Apologetics Blogger
by: Rick Brentlinger

Hey kiddo, did you bother to read the information I linked to in the above post? Are you interested in what the Bible says or are you just chasing an agenda?

Here is something you missed in your Bible study. Jude never talks about homosexuals. Instead, he talks about heterosexuals lusting after angels, who have a different (heteras) kind of flesh.

Even virulently anti-gay Christians like John MacArthur and Robert Gagnon, admit that Jude is about sex with angels, not homosexuality.

Check out the facts and please let us know what you think. Many thanks.

May 25, 2011
I'll attempt to disagree
by: The Apologetics Blogger

Well, they may be describing the attempted sexual assault on the visiting angels, though it is recorded in Gen 19:5 that the "crowd of men" was asking for the "men" in order that they might "have sex with them". It seems clear that they were not aware of their celestial nature.

But let's take for granted that perhaps that's irrelevant and Jude 7 is in-fact about sex with angels. This is still in disagreement with your claim that that the sin of Sodom was in-hospitality. Jude makes it clear that sexual immorality was their sin. You stated that no verse in the bible claimed that.

Note from Rick: Actually I did NOT make that claim. See my response in the next comment.

However, if we consider other Biblical accounts, it's fair to say that an attack, especially an attempted attack on an angel, doesn't seem to be cause for God to destroy someone, let alone an entire city.

Take for example Jacob, who attacked "the angel of the Lord". This is likely a pre-incarnation of Jesus though we cannot know for sure. He was not annihilated along with his family for an assault on a heavenly being, rather he was given a relatively minor injury, and a blessing. A far cry from what Sodom received for their only attempted assault.

So the question becomes did God really destroy the city because of one single offense? The truth is God was planning to destroy the city before the angels ever entered the city as recorded in Gen 18:20 and it seems that Gen 19 offers us an example of what some of that sin was.

It seems also that Lot was also very aware of the propensity for the Sodomites to perform such actions hence his insistence to protect the angels, Gen 19:3.

Jeremiah 23:14 confirms sexual immorality as their sin when we are told that adultery was a part of their regular practice that God found detestable:

And among the prophets of Jerusalem
I have seen something horrible:
They commit ADULTERY and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that no one turns from his wickedness.
They are all like Sodom to me;
the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.?

Sexual immorality is certainly not the only sin that Sodom committed and I believe anyone who attempted to build a case on this simple story would be standing on rather weak footing.

I also think you are a far cry from being able to make the claim that the Bible make no claim to Sodom?s sin being sexual immorality Note from Rick: I never make that claim - you're employing a straw man argument - see my response in the next comment. and when reading the text of Genesis, it?s clear to see what that sexual immorality is.

May 25, 2011
Real apologetics bloggers don't lie
by: Rick Brentlinger

Hey kiddo - it helps to read the relevant information before commenting. When you skim a few pages without bothering to read and digest the information, then rush to refute an argument I never made, you look less than serious and less than honest.

For the record, I never make the argument that you twice accused me of making. Apologetics Blogger made this false accusation:

"Jude makes it clear that sexual immorality was their sin. You stated that no verse in the bible claimed that."

The fact is, on my Jude page, it is pointed out many times by the people I quote, that sexual immorality WAS one of the sins of Sodom. I agree with them on that as is clear to any impartial reader.

I also state that heterosexual immorality was one of the sins of Sodom when discussing the Bablyonian Talmud on Sodom.

Always remember Kiddo, God only blesses apologetics when we are truthful. When you make up lies as part of your apologetics ministry, God will not bless that.

May 25, 2011
Why the Attitude?
by: The Apologetics Blogger

It seems to me that I have in no way been disrespectful to you, yet in an attempt to pursue conversation you have addressed me in a demeaning manner, altered the text of my comments, and accused me of being dishonest. I'm curious as to what I have done to make you so angry? If you don't want people to post comments or engage in conversation, then why allow for comments?

I apologize if you feel I have misrepresented what you have shared on your website. It was certainly not my intention. If you are simply annoyed with me because you believe I haven't adequately read your website, I can assure you that is not the case either, I simply disagree with the conclusions you have drawn and, often, the methodology by which you have attempted to draw them.

It seems that rather than performing an exegesis of the scripture you are pursuing an eisegesis which will always lead you to find the conclusion you have predetermined to discover.

As we have already established sexual immorality as one of the sins of Sodom, the only question is was homosexuality one of those sins? Gen 19 clearly describes men seeking men (or so they believed) for a sexual encounter. That is homosexual behavior. And the nature of the text seems to indicate that this wasn't the crowd's first time doing such a thing.

Now, I understand it is your position (because I've read through your website) that there is a difference between a consensual, committed homosexual relationship, and what is described in Gen 19, and that's a fair position to hold. However, without purposefully ignoring the obvious nature of the text, Gen 19 clearly indicates homosexual behavior as one of the sins of Sodom.

May 25, 2011
Obtuse or disingenuous?
by: Rick Brentlinger

I'm not sure if you are being obtuse with your comment, "It seems to me that I have in no way been disrespectful to you..." or if you are being disingenuous. I tend to think it's a bit of both.

Your closing remark, "Gen 19 clearly indicates homosexual behavior as one of the sins of Sodom" demonstrates extreme ignorance.

The men of Sodom stated their intention to gang rape Lot's visitors, Genesis 19:5. Because you view gang rape as a clear indication of homosexual behavior, I can only pray that God lightens your darkness and opens your eyes to His truth. Shame on you for being so lazy in your Bible study.

I have a pretty high tolerance level for ignorance since I encounter so much of it in emails from professing Christians. On the other hand, I do not suffer fools gladly.

If your comments in this thread are representative of your apologetics acumen, you will face, I fear, a gigantic bonfire at the judgment seat of Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:13-15.

Jul 06, 2013
Sexual Immorality - Misnomer
by: Jeff G

What everyone seems to be missing is that the Koinean Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew that the Bible was written all have a words for homosexuality. Yet these words were never used. Most Theologians and anyone that has done their exegesis concludes that the "Sexual Immorality " referred to in stories like this and in Judges 19 actually relate to the militaristic inhospitality of raping foreigners entering a city to prove dominance against enemies.

It was common practice to dominate "Spies" entering the city so they would report back to their leaders that there was no sense in attacking because the men were too strong and they would lose the battle for the territory. (i.e.: Numbers 13).

Apr 30, 2014
Get Real All of you
by: OoTheTruthoO

you KNOW what the men of sodom meant when they said they wanted to "know" the Men (Angels) inside Lot's house. The word "know" used in that context in the King James version means "to have sex with", JUST LIKE IN GENESIS 4:1. STOP living and telling lies, ALL OF YOU. JUST. STOP.


Rick's comment: So honest and so serious about your views that you use CAPS yet you lack the courage to put your real name with your silly blather. LOL

Oct 19, 2014
Sodom's sin & restoration
by: Jewel

Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed because they were homosexuals. In Genesis, we learn that their sins were grievous and the cry great.

"And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know." - Genesis 18:20ff.

In Ezekiel, we learn more about what these sins were that were so grievous.

"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good." - Ezekiel 16:49ff.

Yes, the men of the city wanted to rape the angels. Sad how many people miss the fact that Lot himself offered his two virgin daughters to be gang raped in their place. Using this passage, one might infer that sex between a man and a female virgin would be sinful & the cause of their destruction but we know this is not true. Definitely sexual sin going on here along with religious rituals & beliefs that included sexual abuse and degradation.

I'd like to add that even Sodom will be restored as will Israel.

Ezekiel, "Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters. When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them: That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them. When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate." - Ezekiel 16:52ff.

Romans chapters 9-11 is really cool, but this part especially:

Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.

29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Oct 21, 2014
Biblical Languages
by: Jewel

A commenter posted: "What everyone seems to be missing is that the Koinean Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew that the Bible was written all have words for homosexuality."

I am studying the Biblical languages, mostly focusing on the Greek right now. I've been at this for 20 years but still have so much to learn (no teacher other than one semester in 1991). Do you know what these specific words are or can you recommend a link? This topic is very close to my heart & I appreciate the work you put in. Thank You :)

Rick's comment: Hi Jewel - the only word I am aware of in ancient Hebrew which signifies homosexuals is saris or eunuch. I don't know for sure about the Aramaic language but I believe the Aramaic word for eunuch carries the same meaning as the Hebrew word for eunuch.

Besides eunuchos or eunuch, the Greek language had a number of words which convey some of the meaning of our modern word homosexual.

Oct 28, 2014
God's use of abomination in Exodus
by: Aaron Saltzer

What do you believe God meant when he said that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah committed an abomination before him?

Rick's comment: Hi Aaron - I believe the abomination of Sodom in Genesis 19 was the attempted gang rape of angels by all the men of Sodom.

There are also other possible answers for your good question. What was the sin of Sodom?

Remember that sodomites in the Bible are NEVER said to be gay or lesbian.

Apr 13, 2017
The people who are wrong about Sodom and Gommorah
by: Apostolic truth

Sodom and Gommorah is most definitely about homosexuality, u read the verse over and over, the men wanted to have sex with the angels, they didn't not know they were angels, they thought they were men and wanted to sleep with them. Sodom was for sodomite, sodomite is to have sex in someone's buttocks, Do some more research.
Thank you.

Rick's comment: This page will help you understand what really happened in ancient Sodom.

Sodom 101 Study Questions

Aug 01, 2018
Genesis 19 does not actually mention sex.
by: Alicia Simpson

Alicia Simpson - A correct translation of Genesis 19:1-11 makes its own argument for inhospitality:

Rick's comment: Hi Alicia - this appears to be from the NRSV - the New Revised Standard Version.

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. He said, "Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way."

They said, "No; we will spend the night in the square." But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may make their acquaintance."

Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Look, I have two daughters who are quite valuable (the bolded words are not in my copy of the NRSV) because they have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do with them what seems right to you; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof." But they replied, "Stand back!" And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them."

Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down. But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door. —Genesis 19:1-11

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