Sodom and Gomorrah

For years the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has been twisted and manipulated by religious leaders in order to condemn others and thereby make themselves appear more righteous. The real sins of Sodom were greed and pride, and these are sins that many religious leaders are often guilty of.

Ezekiel 16:49-50 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fulness of bread, and careless ease 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 removed them when I saw it.

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah’s demise begins in the 18th chapter of Genesis when God told Abraham that he would destroy Sodom, but the destruction of the city takes place in the 19th chapter. Lot was the nephew of Abraham, and he lived in Sodom. Lot was a righteous man, but he remained in Sodom until the very end, and many of his actions indicate that he was trying to save Sodom from destruction. Apparently, Lot did not think that Sodom was all that bad.

When God told Abraham that Sodom would be destroyed, Abraham tried to bargain with God to spare the city, which means Abraham did not want to see Sodom destroyed. God agreed not to destroy Sodom if ten righteous men were found in the city. This suggests that sometime between the warning and the destruction, Abraham and/or Lot would have searched the city for ten righteous men since that was the deal. In searching for righteous men, they would certainly try to persuade some not-so-righteous men to be more righteous. In conducting this search Abraham and/or Lot would have warned the people of the coming destruction since this was their best argument; but the real sins of Sodom were greed and arrogance; and being greedy, it would be difficult to convince these people to sacrifice some of their wealth to help the poor. Being arrogant, the people of Sodom would tend to reject any suggestion that their great city was displeasing to God.

Genesis 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;

When the angels came to destroy the city, Lot was expecting them. Lot even sat at the gates of the city waiting for these angels to arrive. This confirms that Abraham visited and warned Lot which would have led to the search for righteous men in the city. Lot was able to recognize that they were angels, which means that these strangers must have stood out in some way. Other people of Sodom must have also seen the angels, and the arrival of these unusual strangers would have triggered conversations across the city. As word spread, and the people of Sodom talked about the strangers, some of the people of Sodom would start to become concerned about Lot’s warning. A crowd gathered at Lot’s house to find out who these strangers were. These concerned citizens couldn’t ask the question, “are these angels of God, sent to destroy us?” They were too proud to acknowledge their subordinate position by asking such a question, so they asked a different question. In a typical arrogant fashion, they asked the question in a very cleaver way.

Genesis 19:4-5 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: 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.

The crowd was trying to determine if these strangers were human. They were waiting to see the reaction of Lot and the reaction of the strangers. How did Lot react?

Genesis 19:6-8 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 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 was a righteous man...meaning he was a good man, and he must have loved his daughters greatly. Lot wasn’t actually going to send his daughters out to the mob. This mob was not interested in sex, and Lot knew this. What Lot basically said was, “You can rape and kill my own daughters, but what ever you do…what ever you do…don’t mess with these strangers!” Lot was trying to get the mob to back off, but his words confirmed to the crowd that these were angels of God who were sent to destroy them, and the people of Sodom became more hostile.

Notice that Lot went outside to speak to the mob. He even shut the door as if he was going to speak with them privately…away from the angels. Clearly, Lot wasn’t afraid of these people, in fact, he was trying to help them. Lot was trying to get his friends and neighbors to back off, and he wanted to do so without the angels hearing what he said to the crowd...and what the crowd said to him.

This is why Lot had waited at the gate for the angels to arrive so that he would be the one to greet them. Lot wanted to save Sodom otherwise he would have simply fled the city when Abraham warned him. Notice that when the angels first arrived in the city, Lot had to convince them to stay at his house.

Genesis 19:2-3 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. 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 wanted to plead for the city of Sodom, but first he had to get the angels to his house, and he also had to keep them away from the people of Sodom. Lot knew the people of Sodom; they had rejected his pleading, and he knew they would react just as they did. Lot knew these people were too proud to humbly ask for forgiveness; he knew they would be confrontational which would only make matters worse.

Lot’s warning for the mob to back off only confirmed that these strangers were indeed angels who were sent to destroy the city. This caused the mob to become more hostile. Notice that when the mob threatened Lot, it had nothing to do with sex.

Genesis 19:9 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.

This mob wasn’t after sex. They intended to do harm to both Lot and his guests because they were starting to realize the threat to their lives. They might have tried to escape the city once the reality sunk in that their confrontation was futile. Unfortunately for the people who were gathered at Lot’s house, the angels blinded them so that they had a difficult time even finding the door to Lot’s house.

Genesis 19:10-11 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 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.

Religious leaders have portrayed Sodom as a city of brutal homosexuals who went around in mobs raping whomever they would. But if Sodom was as barbaric as it has been portrayed it wouldn’t be necessary for God to destroy the city as it would have destroyed itself. Besides, if Sodom was a city of such violent promiscuity, why didn't Lot just leave, and how did Lot’s daughters manage to remain virgins?

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