Begins the story of Sodom and Gomorrah when Abraham receives the Lord and two angelic visitors and pleads for the Lord to spare Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction (his nephew Lot lives in the city and he is obviously concerned for him). Abraham talks the Lord into sparing the city for the sake of just 10 righteous people (down from 50). The Lord agrees – likely because he already knows that there are far less than 10 righteous people in the city – but Abraham leaves it at that, and lets the matter rest – depending on the just judgment of the Lord after his own prayers for mercy.
One lesson we can learn from this story is that we can – and should – pray for our neighbors, and intercede for our neighbors on their behalf, to seek God’s mercy for them, to give them a second chance to repent and know God. I wrote more extensively on this topic – particularly with regards to Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami – at this post earlier.
Genesis 19: Bad Sex
A lot of people think that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a story of God raining down fire and brimstone onto homosexuals – but the story is far more than that. The towns may be filled with homosexuals, but that isn’t the full extent of their sins. Verses 4-5 read:
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom – both young and old – surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
A few things to note about these verses:
- ALL the men
- From EVERY part of the city
- Both young (the word in Hebrew is used for elementary, middle school, high school, etc-aged boys) and old
- Demanded a gang rape orgy
- Of two visitors (angels)
- The city is full of sexual deviants – homosexuality being only part of the problem. If you have young boys rushing over to the house after dinner, demanding to join in a gang rape orgy with their brothers, fathers, cousins, uncles, and grandfathers, then you’ve got a pretty big problem. Where did these boys learn such despicable behavior? From their own brothers, fathers, cousins, uncles, and grandfathers. It is logical to assume that the behavior these boys hope to join into has already been performed on them. From a very young age, the boys in the town are raped, and gang raped by their own fathers, brothers, uncles, and grandfathers – so that as they grow up, they know of nothing better than to join the rape orgy with their abusers. So, the town is filled with pedophiles, incest, rape – even between children, and homosexuality. The sin is massive. And not a single man stays home that night. Not one is righteous. (And it makes you wonder on which side of the door Lot would have been had the angels agreed to stay at someone else’s house).
- The men surrounded the house and demanded a gang rape orgy. Obviously, this is not an uncommon occurrence. The men of the town have probably gotten used to surrounding a house, demanding a rape orgy, and getting what they wanted. (In fact, in order to quench the thirst of the crowd – Lot offers up his own virgin daughters – what a nice Daddy!). So, if town gang rape is a common occurrence, it ups the sinfulness of the town as a whole. We’re not just talking about a small, or occasional, gang rape orgy. This is a large, common, event.
- They demanded the visitors be brought out to be raped. Visitors to this town are not even safe – and not even for one, single night. It’s no wonder in Genesis 18:20-21 God says, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” The outcry must have been great, for the sin was grievous.
- The city’s name is Sodom. Ever since then, “sodomy” has meant homosexual male sex.
- Genesis 13:13: “The men of Sodom were wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord.”
- Genesis 18:20-21: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
- Genesis 19:7: Lot, a member of the town (and the Daddy who says – “Here, rape my daughters instead”), says to the men, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.”
- In Genesis 19:5, the word for “sex” is the same word that is used in Genesis 4:1, 4:17, 4:25, 19:8, 24:16 that means “sex.”
- Judges 19 and Genesis 19 are very parallel stories – nearly the same situation occurs in each.
- Jude 1:7 says, “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.”
But, Genesis 19 is far from finished with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. After Lot and his daughters reach safety (God has obviously spared them only on account of Abraham – Genesis 19:29: “So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remember Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived”), his daughters get him drunk so that they can do to him what had already been so prevalent in the towns they left (Is it any wonder then, that Lot’s wife looked back? Lot himself resisted fleeing – verse 15, 16, 18).
And before anyone goes and thinks that what they’ve done is righteous or justified in order to “preserve our family line through our father” (verse 32) – that is just an excuse, and a bad one at that. Remember that they had fled to a small town near Sodom called Zoar before moving to the mountains. If they needed a man to preserve their family line, Zoar was within a reasonable distance. No, rather, they were already so sexually calloused and perverted in their thinking from residing in the perverse city of Sodom for so long, that they did not think it immoral or despicable to lie with their own father to make babies. Sodom was still in them regardless of the fact that they were out of Sodom.
The oldest daughter gave birth to Moab – and the Moabites will later become one of Israel’s greatest enemies.
The younger daughter gave birth to Ben-Ammi – and the Ammonites later become one of Israel’s greatest enemies as well.
However, even out of this great sin, God has redemptive purposes. Ruth, who is in the ancestry of Jesus, was a Moabite. So, even through evil, God can work out good, for his own purposes.
In this chapter, we almost have another instance of “bad sex” when Abraham again lies about his relationship with his wife and the king of Gerar takes Sarah into his household. The Lord came to the king in a dream to have him give back Abraham’s wife – and this is also probably God’s way of fulfilling his promise to Sarah to give birth to Isaac by Abraham – as well as keeping his chosen people sexually pure at least during this time.
In Genesis 21, Isaac is born, circumcised, and weaned – but Ishmael is mocking his younger brother at the weaning, so Sarah tells Abraham to get rid of him and his mother. Abraham is worried about them, because that is his first-born (though not promised) son – yet God tells him not to worry, that he will provide for them. So, Abraham lovingly took some food and water and gave them to the boy’s mother, and sent them away – and it probably pained him to do so. At this point, the boy is probably about 15 years old, and the only son that Abraham has really gotten to know for the last decade.
But, God was faithful to his promise to Hagar, and his promise to Abraham concerning Hagar. He provided for them even after their food and water ran out, and the boy grew into a great nation, and moved to Egypt.