Genesis 19:1-13

Genesis 19:1-13 – The Story of Sodom and Gomorrah

In order to gain a true picture of this story, we must first understand the culture and the context in which this account took place.  This is the story of a city that was known for its grave inhospitality, arrogance, and wickedness. In fact, these cities were already doomed to destruction because of their wickedness even before this account in Genesis 19 happened. The wickedness of the people of Sodom begins back in Genesis 13:13. Their doom was sealed in Genesis 18:23-33.

The account of Genesis 19:1-13 is a story about grave inhospitality which includes the intention of gang rape as a means of humiliation.

In the Hebrew culture, hospitality was a central part of life.  It was customary to extend aid to travelers, and strangers were to be treated properly by providing food, shelter, and protection for them.  In this account, three angels arrive in Sodom. Lot greets them, invites them into his home, provides for them and becomes their protector.

Soon, all the men of Sodom surround Lot’s house and demand to see the visitors, “so that we can have sex with them.” (vs7). The intention was rape.  In this culture, it was common practice to humiliate the enemy by subjecting them to anal intercourse. The people of Sodom were inhospitable people who viewed visitors as the enemy. In order to protect the visitors, Lot offers his daughters to the men instead.

There are three things to be considered in this story.  First, we must understand the law of hospitality.  As I stated before, hospitality was a huge part of Hebrew life. Remember, there were no hotel/motel accommodations and travelers depended on the kindness and generosity of the people to provide for them.

Secondly, we must ask the question, if Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality, does that mean that all the men in Sodom was homosexual?  Genesis 19:4 reads “…all the men from every part of the city of Sodom – both young and old – surrounded the house” (emphasis mine).

Thirdly, Lot offered his daughters.  Because he offered is daughters in place of the angels, it is valid to assume that the men of the city were heterosexual and their complete intention was violence in the way of homosexual rape against the visitors.

This was just one aspect of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were many.  They are spoken of throughout Scripture.  Exodus 16:49-50 speaks of their lack of care for the poor. Isaiah 3:9 addresses their issue of pride, Jeremiah 23:14 talks of their adultery and lying, and even Jesus speaks of their sin of inhospitality in Luke 10:10.

Their doom was sealed long before this account in Genesis 19.  This is not a story about sexual orientation or same-sex romantic attraction, or same-sex love.  In fact, this account is a story about grave inhospitality and humiliation of an enemy.  The impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was imminent long before.

Next – Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13