The text doesn't say that the men of Sodom wanted to force sex on the strangers

Question:

Hello,

I have a query about your website pertaining to what would be considered a misinterpreted passage of the Bible. Please explain why your interpretation of Genesis 19 implies they were intent on forcing a homosexual act on these two visitors, when no Bible version actually says that? What it clearly says is that their intent was clear on their faces, not what the intent actually was.

Look forward to your reply.


Answer:

This is an example of reading without understanding (logic or reasoning). If the passage does not say explicitly what you disagree about, then you assume that it cannot be concluded from the evidence presented.

"Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them." But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, "Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof." But they said, "Stand aside." Furthermore, they said, "This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them." So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway" (Genesis 19:4-11).

  • After a large mob surrounded Lot's house, the demand is made to send out the strangers for the purpose of having sex with them. (Genesis 19:5). Notice that this is not a request of Lot, but a command. Also notice there is no asking if the men want to come out. Lot is told to send them out.
  • Lot tells them not to act wickedly (Genesis 19:7). What they are demanding, Lot understands to be a sin more repulsive than the raping of his own daughters, which he offers as an alternative (Genesis 19:8). Lot is acknowledging that they all want to have sex, but he pleads that they do nothing of that sort to his guests who are under the protection of his home.
  • The men accuse Lot of acting as a judge over them (Genesis 19:9). They did not want their plans to be called wicked. Notice that the offer of two virgins is ignored. They are only interested in homosexual sex. Still nothing is asked of the two men. The men of the city speak as if it is their right to demand sex with the strangers.
  • The men tell Lot that they would do worse to him than they planned to do to the men (Genesis 19:9). They then began pressing against Lot so hard that the door behind Lot almost broke. Once again, there is no asking of permission or if Lot was interested in sex with other men. The fact that they were using force on Lot and willing to break down the door shows that this crowd was not looking for voluntary sexual relations.
  • When the angels rescued Lot and struck the men blind, they continued to search for the doorway (Genesis 19:11). They had become unreasoning animals, intent on their purpose. They continued to search for the door until they wore themselves out trying to find it.

There is nothing in the story hinting at a desire for consensual sex. The Living Bible, while not a good translation, still renders Genesis 19:5 as, "and shouted to Lot, "Bring out those men to us so we can rape them."" Thus, you contention that no translation says that the men were intent on forced sex is wrong.

Oh, and by the way, I was unable to find a translation or paraphrase that says anything about their intent being clear on their face. I must conclude that this was just something you made up. If you want to debate what the text actually states, then you need to read the text and limit your points to what the text actually states.

Jeffrey,

Your site, as in the screen shot I provided, clearly states Isaiah 3:9 as the source, "They are boldly proclaiming their intentions (Isaiah 3:9)" This was my initial issue, the source made no reference to what Genesis claims; therefore, it is incorrect.

I may also add that copying and pasting large amounts of text into my email is quite frankly a lazy answer and your overall tone astonishingly rude for someone in your position. I came to you with a legitimate query about the text, I assume, you live your life by. Your reply was nothing short of patronising. You claim not to have found the text; therefore, concluded I made it up? Did I once during my correspondence ever elude to the fact that the entire Bible is an unbelievable collection of made up, downright absurd, fantasy stories that never took place? I don't believe I did. Maybe it is you, the teacher, who should become more familiar with his own text before replying with such a frank and poor attitude.

Please do not reply as your first was enough to show you the dismissive attitude you hold. I sincerely hope your congregation is not subjected to it.

I'm accused of being lazy because I copied the text under discussion into my response, but what I truly suspect is that the questioner did not like to see the documentation. None of the remaining answer was copied. I actually spent about an hour writing the response. What is ironic is that the question sent a screen shot of my page, without reference to where it came from. I was able to locate it and I had assumed his issue was with the text in Genesis and not with what Isaiah said.

What is now under consideration is what I had earlier wrote: "Notice that the men are not ashamed of their sinfulness. They are boldly proclaiming their intentions (Isaiah 3:9)."

"For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their actions are against the LORD, to rebel against His glorious presence. The expression of their faces bears witness against them, and they display their sin like Sodom; they do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves" (Isaiah 3:8-9).

"The expression of their faces" is referring to the Israelites. Isaiah said it was just like the people of Sodom who did not even bother to hide their intentions to sin. The text in Genesis bears this fact out. They boldly stated that they wanted to have sex with other men. They told Lot that they were going to do worse to him. Even when they were strucked blind, they continued to try to have their way. Isaiah is correct: they didn't conceal their sin, they put it on display for everyone to see.

I'm sorry that you don't like being proven wrong, but that is the hazard people face when they try to poke holes in God's word.