Why Did God Really Destroy Sodom and Gomorrah?

I respect everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Gay, Straight, male, female or other. I keep saying that the world is a collection of diversities and once we learn to respect these diversities, the world will be a much better place. That said, The Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah has been used time and time again to justify violence towards gay and lesbian people. I read comments on stories about sexual orientation and inevitably, someone will quote Sodom and Gomorrah. Here are two of the comments from various sources;

“In whose eye???my understanding.bible or GOD cursed gay when they wanted to rape tha angels in sodom and gomora and they were made blind so i dont think we r equal at all”

“that is a self answered question i will never support gayism my reason is simple GOD MADE THAT ABSULITELY CLEAR WHEN HE DESTROYED SODOM AND GOMORA”

I hate copying and pasting from Wikipedia but here are some excerpts from the article on Sodom and Gomorrah that I think people should know;

Rictor Norton views classical Jewish texts as stressing the cruelty and lack of hospitality of the inhabitants of Sodom to the “stranger”. The people of Sodom were seen as guilty of many other significant sins. Rabbinic writings affirm that the Sodomites also committed economic crimes, blasphemy and bloodshed. One of the worst was to give money or even gold ingots to beggars, after inscribing their names on them, and then subsequently refusing to sell them food. The unfortunate stranger would end up starving and after his death, the people who gave him the money would reclaim it.

A rabbinic tradition, described in the Mishnah, postulates that the sin of Sodom was related to property: Sodomites believed that “what is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine” (Abot), which is interpreted as a lack of compassion. Another rabbinic tradition is that these two wealthy cities treated visitors in a sadistic fashion. One major crime done to strangers was almost identical to that of Procrustes in Greek mythology. This would be the story of the “bed” that guests to Sodom were forced to sleep in: if they were too short they were stretched to fit it, and if they were too tall, they were cut up (indeed, in Hebrew and Yiddish, the corresponding term for a Procrustean bed is a “Sodom bed”).

In another incident, Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, went to visit Lot in Sodom and got in a dispute with a Sodomite over a beggar, and was hit in the forehead with a stone, making him bleed. The Sodomite demanded Eliezer pay him for the service of bloodletting, and a Sodomite judge sided with the Sodomite. Eliezer then struck the judge in the forehead with a stone and asked the judge to pay the Sodomite.

The Talmud and the Sefer haYashar (midrash) also recount two incidents of a young girl (one involved Lot’s daughter Paltith) who gave some bread to a poor man who had entered the city. When the townspeople discovered their acts of kindness, they burned Paltith and smeared the other girl’s body with honey and hung her from the city wall until she was eaten by bees.  It is this gruesome event, and her scream in particular, the Talmud concludes, that are alluded to in the verse that heralds the city’s destruction: “So said, ‘Because the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and because their sin has been very grave, I will descend and see…'” (Genesis 18:20-21)

A modern orthodox position is one that holds, “The paradigmatic instance of such aberrant behavior is found in the demand of the men of Sodom to ‘know’ the men visiting Lot, the nephew of Abraham, thus lending their name to the practice of ‘sodomy’.”

The scholar and activist Jay Michaelson proposes a reading of the story of Sodom that emphasizes the violation of hospitality as well as the violence of the Sodomites. “Homosexual rape is the way in which they violate hospitality—not the essence of their transgression. Reading the story of Sodom as being about homosexuality is like reading the story of an ax murderer as being about an ax.” Michaelson places the story of Sodom in context with other Genesis stories regarding Abraham’s hospitality to strangers, and argues that when other texts in the Hebrew Bible mention Sodom, they do so without commentary on homosexuality. The verses cited by Michaelson include Jeremiah 23:14, where the sins of Jerusalem are compared to Sodom and are listed as adultery, lying, and strengthening the hands of evildoers; Amos 4:1-11 (oppressing the poor and crushing the needy); and Ezekiel 16:49-50, which defines the sins of Sodom as “pride, fullness 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 did toevah before me, and I took them away as I saw fit.” Michaelson uses toevah in place of abomination to emphasize the original Hebrew, which he explains as being more correctly translated as “taboo”.

Now this was the sin of Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. —Ezekiel 16:49-50

In the Gospel of Matthew (and corresponding verse) when Jesus warns of a worse judgment for some cities than Sodom, inhospitality is perceived by some as the sin, while others see it fundamentally being impenitence:

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. —Matthew 10:14-15

Within the Christian Churches that agree on the possible sexual interpretation of know (yada) in this context, there is still a difference of opinion on whether homosexuality is important. The Anglican Communion, on its website, presents the argument that the story is “not even vaguely about homosexual love or relationships”, but instead “about dominance and rape, by definition an act of violence, not of sex or love.” This argument that the violence and threat of violence to foreign visitors it the true ethical downfall of Sodom (and not homosexuality) observers the similarity between the Sodom and Gomorrah and the Battle of Gibeah Bible stories. In both stories, an inhospitable mob demands the homosexual rape of a foreigner or foreigners. As the mob instead settles for the rape and murder of the foreigner’s female concubine in the Battle of Gibeah story, the homosexual aspect is generally seen as inconsequential, and the ethical downfall is understood to be the violence and threat of violence to foreigners by the mob. This Exodus 22:21-24 lesson is viewed as a more historically accurate way to interpret the Sodom and Gomorrah story.

Now, as my friend and colleague Eric Gitari said in a TV interview, never have you seen a group of gay men both young and old gather outside your house wanting to forcefully know someone. As far as I’m concerned, the LGBT movement in Kenya is against all forms of rape. Let us not pick and choose parts of the Bible that we want to and leave out others. The Bible is against fornication, it is against adultery, divorce and many other things that we are all guilty of. Advocating for stoning of gay people just because you don’t like what they are is hardly Christian.


Anthony Oluoch

I am a lawyer, a brother, a son, a friend, a neighbor, a confidant, a student of life and I am Kenyan. Became a human rights activist so suddenly sometimes I ask myself if this really is something I wanted. But I have come to embrace it. I have come to realize that I like what I do. That on some level, what I do makes life easier for someone and hopefully, eventually, for myself…Probably the best way to describe me is in the words of Winston Churchill, I am a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

One thought on “Why Did God Really Destroy Sodom and Gomorrah?

  • January 26, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I am not one to pontificate about my Christian beliefs vs homosexuality. To follow your argument, I would venture to say that there has to be a reason why homosexuality was mentioned IN PARTICULAR. The simple explanation would be that God views the practice with particular revulsion.

    Having said that though, I would be a massive bigot if I do not acknowledge that Christianity points to many sins : corruption, murder, extortion, fornication, adultery and such -all committed by heterosexual humans! The punishment for all these sins is eternal damnation; if the are not confessed. Unfortunately, homosexuality is a sin too, and the eternal punishment is the same! As such, you cannot justify the practice in light of the Christian faith.

    I also posit that there is no empirical scientific evidence to suggest a genetic disposition to a homosexual existence. It all seems to be a matter of socialization and libertine thought. Think about the rock n' roll stars of the 1960s for example. The Mick Jaggers, Freddy Mercuries could easily wade between bisexuality and heterosexuality; even homosexuality at times.

    Homosexuality voids the male human of the biological responsibility of reproduction, hence denying the human race a wide gene pool.

    I am an open minded person though. I hold the scientific method in the highest regard. If sufficient evidence proves me wrong, then I can consider “evolving” my position.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: