Was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah inhospitality?


by Shawn Brasseaux

In an attempt to get around the Bible’s anti-homosexual stance, some suggest (yea, in great desperation) that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was actually inhospitality. The men of Sodom and Gomorrah were supposedly wicked in that they mistreated Lot’s guests. Is this a fair evaluation of the moral conditions of Sodom and Gomorrah? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Firstly, it is clear from the Bible that God’s problem with Sodom and Gomorrah existed long before Lot’s guests showed up at his home. Genesis 13:13, for example: “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” Also, Genesis chapter 18: “[20] And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; [21] 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.” Lot’s guests did not arrive in Sodom until chapter 19.

Again, the LORD God had a controversy with Sodom and Gomorrah before Lot’s visitors even showed up. “Inhospitality” certainly had nothing—absolutely nothing—to do with it. In fact, the very reason those angelic visitors came to Lot’s residence was that God had sent them to destroy the region. Read the words of God as found in Genesis chapter 19: “[12] And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: [13] For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.”

So, what was it then? What made Sodom and Gomorrah so offensive to God? Let us now go to the passage of Scripture that deals with Lot’s angelic guests. We start at the beginning of Genesis chapter 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.”

Lot was already aware of his neighbors’ lifestyles and intentions, for he urged those two men to come into his house for the night. It simply was not in their best interest to live in the streets of Sodom! The next two verses explain: “[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.”

What does it mean that the men of Sodom wanted to “know” Lot’s guests? Keep reading: “[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.” Verse 8 is indisputable: “Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, 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.” Lot gives the men of Sodom permission to “know” his daughters who had not “known” man, hoping those men will be satisfied and leave his guests alone. Obviously, a sexual connection is implied. When the King James Bible speaks of sexual intercourse, the euphemistic term is “know”—Adam “knew” Eve (Genesis 4:1,25), Cain “knew” his wife (Genesis 4:17), Judah “knew not” Tamar (Genesis 38:26), Joseph “knew… not” Mary (Matthew 1:25), and so on.

Reading again from Genesis chapter 19: “[8] Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, 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.” See, the men of Sodom were not interested in taking Lot’s daughters in an intimate union. They wanted to gang rape his male visitors! Without doubt, homosexual behavior is the “wickedness” of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot called it as such and so did the Bible.

Just so you are not left to wonder what happened, we continue in Genesis chapter 19: “[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.”

You keep reading that chapter, friend, and you learn God gives Lot and his family a chance to escape Sodom unharmed. Ultimately, “[24] Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; [25] And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” Again, it would seem strange that God would consume these cities with such devastation simply because of inhospitality. No, there was sexual perversion here. Homosexual behavior is not God’s intention for mankind: it is contrary to nature. It makes a mockery of His design in human reproduction. Unless there is a heterosexual union, human procreation is impossible, and fulfilling God’s command of man to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:26-28) is unattainable.

Second Peter 2:6-10 is more of the Holy Spirit’s commentary on the subject: “[6] And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; [7] And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: [8] (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds; ) [9] The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: [10] But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.”

This author does not want to get too graphic, but the following information is pertinent to our discussion and extremely enlightening. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “sodomy” as “anal intercourse.” Notice the etymology of the word: “Middle English: from medieval Latin sodomia, from late Latin peccatum Sodomiticum ‘sin of Sodom’ (after Gen. 19:5, which implies that the men of Sodom practised homosexual rape) (see Sodom).” Even these lexicographers—who may or may not be Bible believers—understand the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was homosexualism; it had nothing to do with “inhospitality.”

In closing, it is very important to know that, while homosexualism is indeed a sin (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-11), it is forgivable! The Lord Jesus Christ died and shed His blood to deliver us from all our sins. My dear friend, there is more forgiveness than you can imagine in Christ. It does not matter what we have done, what we are doing, or what we will do; there is acceptance and forgiveness in Christ. In His great (!) love and care for us and His great (!) kindness and mercy toward us, Almighty God made provisions to take care of that eternal penalty of our sin (Hell and, ultimately, the Lake of Fire). We do not have to go to Hell… unless we choose to die without Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. There is absolutely nothing that God cannot forgive, absolutely nothing that His grace cannot overcome, and absolutely nothing that His blood cannot cover. Come to Calvary quickly, dear friend, come quickly! Come to God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31)!

Also see:
» How many daughters did Lot have?
» What advice can be given to homosexual Christians?
» How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?