The Concubine Was Abused to Death

Concubine on the doorstep

The Sodom Series, #11

A Levite, his concubine, and servant spend the night at Gibeah in the home of a hospitable old man. But wicked citizens surround the house and demand he send out the Levite. The old man refuses, instead offering his virgin daughter and the concubine.

The Levite hands over his wife

But the men [of Gibeah] would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go.
–Judges 19:25 NIV

Men here again is enôsh, “a mortal, people in general” (Strong’s, H582), the same word used in the Sodom account to refer to all the citizens, both men and women.

To save his own skin, the Levite throws the concubine out to them.

The word took is the Hebrew word hazaq, meaning, “to fasten upon, hence to seize; to bind, restrain, conquer” (Strong’s, H2388). The Levite forces his wife outside to appease these people. Because the concubine has to be forced outside, she must not have wanted to go.

This Levite, a man from the priestly tribe of Israel, had traveled to Bethlehem determined to reclaim his slave wife. He convinced her to reconcile with him, and she left her father’s household. Yet here in Gibeah the Levite throws her to the wolves to be abused.

The word abused is alal:

[To] deal with severely, abuse, make a fool of someone, mock. It is used to indicate the exercise of power over another person, generally in a bad sense, hence meaning ‘to maltreat.’ It signifies some great achievement, generally malevolent. This word is used to depict the exploitation of one person by another (TWOT, 1627, emphasis mine).

The woman was a slave, the man’s property. Her husband forces her out, and the people of Gibeah mistreat and abuse her all through the night.

The concubine meets her fate

As morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, until it was light.
–Judges 19:26 NRSV

Who knows where the people of Gibeah had taken her, how many of them had been with her, and what shocking crimes they had perpetrated upon her. But she made it back alive.

Perhaps she pounded on the door just as the people who had abused her had pounded on it the evening before. If she did, no one answered.

27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold.
28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
–Judges 19:27–28 NIV

After a good’s night rest, the Levite steps out of the old man’s house to continue on his way to Ephraim. But there lies his wife on the stoop with her hands on the threshold!

As if nothing has happened, he says to her, “Get up! Let’s get moving!”

She doesn’t answer. He rolls her over and discovers she is dead. He throws her over his donkey and heads for home.

What is the result of this misogynistic crime and travesty of hospitality? Civil war that results in the death of tens of thousands of Israelites.

The moral of the story? We’ll find out next time.

More information:

To read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.
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Gibeah’s Violence Toward Strangers

Gibeah's Violence

The Sodom Series, #10

A righteous old man, an outsider living in Gibeah, invites the sojourning Levite, his concubine, and servant to stay the night in his home (Jdg. 19:20-21). Yet this good deed meets with violence from the townspeople.

The Levite accepts hospitality

It seems the old man is warning the Levite and his party not to spend the night in the square. Don’t you wonder why?

After exchanging social pleasantries, the Levite accepts the hospitality of the old man and goes home with him. There, the host tends to all the needs of his visitors, even though they already have all they require (19:19).

As mentioned in a previous post, it was the custom of Eastern peoples to provide for their guests as if they were members of their own family or honored dignitaries. If you were an ancient Easterner, whoever came under your roof as a guest could expect your provision and protection, even unto death.

This custom would soon be tried.

The children of Belial arrive

22 As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, surrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.”
23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing.”
–Judges 19:22–23 ESV

The word men here is enôsh, meaning “a mortal, people in general” (Strong’s, H582), the same word used for the citizens of Sodom who showed up at Lot’s door. It includes both men and women.

The King James Version says that “certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about” (Jdg. 19:22). This phrase “sons of Belial” means “worthless fellows, scoundrels, sons of the devil, children of evil” (Miller and Lane, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, 303).

(See also Deuteronomy 13:13; 1 Samuel 1:16; 2:12; 10:27; 25:17,25; 30:22; 2 Samuel 16:7; 20:1; 22:5; 23:6; 1 Kings 21:10–13; 2 Chronicles 13:17; Psalm 18:4; 101:3; Proverbs 6:12; 16:27; 19:28; Nahum 1:11,15.)

Sons is ben, “not exclusively a reference to the male offspring of human parents,” but an idiom “for children generally, for descendants” (TWOT, 254).

These wicked people, both men and women, are depraved. They discovered someone new in town and determine to dominate and debase him.

This sounds much like the Genesis 19 account of the people of Sodom who demand audience with the angels who visited Lot. We’ll see just how similar the stories are.

The old man negotiates

Bound by the duty of hospitality, the old man slips outside and begs them not to abuse the Levite. He says, “No, my brothers….”

Maybe he is simply trying to be persuasive. Perhaps he has dealt with this group before. In any event, he caters to their unholy spirit and compromises with them in order to protect his guest.

“Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”
–Judges 19:24 NIV

The old man offers them his own virgin daughter, probably yet a teenager, and the Levite’s concubine. Note that he does not offer the young male servant.

Lot did the same thing the night the citizens of Sodom want to debase the angels. It may be that, because of previous dealings with these Benjamites, the old man knows if he doesn’t appease them, he and his guest will be harmed.

The Gibeahites become violent

Verse 22 says the people surround the house and pound on the door. They mean business.

In the same situation in Genesis 19, the angels with Lot at Sodom rescued him and struck the wicked men with blindness (Gen. 19:11), but there are no angels on the scene at the home of the old man in Gibeah.

For “use them” (v. 24), the KJV says, “humble them.” The word anâ contains the meaning “the idea of looking down or browbeating, to debase, deal hardly with” (Strong’s, H6031).

As in Sodom and with the U.S. military at Abu Ghraib prison, the custom of Gibeah is to interrogate and humiliate foreigners and strangers in their midst as a show of superiority and domination.

But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them….
–Judges 19:25 NRSV

What happens to this unfortunate woman who has reluctantly reunited with her husband? We’ll find out next time.

More information:

To read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.
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A Stranger Comes to Gibeah

Stranger comes to Gibeah

The Sodom Series, #9

Chapters 19–21 of Judges recount one of the most heinous crimes recorded in all of Scripture. Its account of brutal abuse is strangely like that of Sodom, although the only person who ends up being harmed is a woman.

We’ll examine portions of this passage to see how it relates to and sheds light on the Sodom account.

A man wants his wife back

A Levite from the tribal territory of Ephraim had taken a concubine—a second wife. (Concubines were like first wives, only their offspring received no inheritance from the father.)

In those days, having concubines was customary. Both wives and concubines were considered property of the man. The Expanded Bible calls the concubine “a slave woman.”

This Levite’s concubine left him to return to her father’s house in Bethlehem. Why, we don’t know. After four months of separation, the Levite travels to Bethlehem to persuade her to reconcile with him, determined to bring her back.

Father delays their departure

The concubine’s father welcomes the Levite and, showing generous hospitality, convinces him to stay in their home for three days. The Levite wanted to return to Ephraim, but his father-in-law persuades him to stay two extra days.

He would have them remain a sixth day, but on the evening of the fifth, the Levite refuses to stay the night. He takes his concubine and travels to Jebus (later known as Jerusalem).

The Levite refuses Jebus

Jebus was a place where desert sojourners could lodge overnight. But the Levite refuses to stay there.

11 When they were near Jebus, the day was far spent, and the servant said to his master, “Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites, and spend the night in it.”
12 But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into a city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel; but we will continue on to Gibeah.”
13 Then he said to his servant, “Come, let us try to reach one of these places, and spend the night at Gibeah or at Ramah.”
14 So they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin.
15 They turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. He went in and sat down in the open square of the city, but no one took them in to spend the night.
–Judges 19:11–15 NIV

The Levite doesn’t want to stay in Jebus because it is controlled by foreigners. Instead, he desires to sojourn in a city belonging to his countrymen.

Little does he know what lies in store for him from a tribe of his own people.

They arrive at Gibeah

They finally enter Gibeah, a city inhabited by Benjamites (another Israelite tribe).

Gibeah may have had no public inn, for they camp out in the town square.

Like the angels in Sodom’s square waiting for Lot, no one provides them hospitality until an old man comes along.

An old man offers hospitality

16 Then at evening there was an old man coming from his work in the field. The man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was residing in Gibeah. (The people of the place were Benjaminites.)
17 When the old man looked up and saw the wayfarer in the open square of the city, he said, “Where are you going and where do you come from?”
18 [The Levite] answered him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, from which I come. I went to Bethlehem in Judah; and I am going to my home. Nobody has offered to take me in.
19 We your servants have straw and fodder for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me and the woman and the young man along with us. We need nothing more.”
20The old man said, “Peace be to you. I will care for all your wants; only do not spend the night in the square.”
21 So he brought him into his house, and fed the donkeys; they washed their feet, and ate and drank.
–Judges 19:16–21

It’s odd that the Levite chooses to stay in a town of his own people instead of in a city of strangers yet finds no hospitality in that town except from a man (another outsider) from Ephraim who happens to be living there temporarily. The word residing in verse 16 is the Hebrew gûr, meaning “sojourner,” as discussed previously.

Is this simply a nice man? No, he’s more: Showing hospitality is an act of righteousness.

But being a sojourner himself, this fellow may have been subject to prejudice and oppression by the native inhabitants of Gibeah and wanted to spare his visitors mistreatment or violence, as Lot did for the angels.

We’ll find out for certain next time.

More information:

To read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.
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Torture and Abuse at Abu Ghraib Prison

abu-ghraib-leash

The Sodom Series, #8

Why did American soldiers—both men and women—abuse, torture, molest, and rape Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad in 2003?

As you ponder this question, follow these links with discretion:

Perhaps the people of Sodom had the same attitude and objectives as the U.S. soldiers at Baghdad Central Prison:

  • Primary: Interrogation—knowledge
  • Secondary: Sexual abuse—degradation

The kind of sex the inhabitants of Sodom wanted was not for sensual pleasure, but for domination, control, cruelty, humiliation, debasement, and abuse.

This kind of treatment isn’t about sex; it’s about racial and imperialistic arrogance that revels in the degradation of foreigners, outsiders, and strangers. It’s xenophobia. It’s the attitude fueling Trump’s Mexico border wall.

Sex as a weapon

In ancient cultures, forcing sex on other men was a way of besting them, of humiliating them and showing them who’s boss.

For instance, during war, besides raping the women and sometimes slaughtering children, victors cut off the garments of the defeated men, exposing their buttocks, and then chained them and paraded them through the streets to debase and humiliate them.

See:

In Ancient Athens, “male rape was employed to signify the victory over foreign enemies in war” (Michael Carden, Sodomy, 35).

Rather than representing sexual desire and erotic expression, rape is best understood as sexual violence intended to assert power or express anger…. [M]ale rapists are primarily heterosexual men…. … In Western society, then, male rape reinforces the heterosexuality of the rapist while casting that of the victim in doubt (Carden 33, emphasis mine).

Sometimes conquerors would rape the men—not because the perpetrators were gay or took passionate pleasure in homosexual acts—but because it was the ultimate humiliation to treat the enemy as women, who in that day were considered little more than property. In essence, it was a way of treating the abused men like slaves.

Among some macho heterosexual men today (as well as school children), the ultimate putdown is to call another guy a “fag.” In ancient times, it was to call a man a “woman” and to treat him like one sexually.

Rape, a tactic of degradation

Did the abusive soldiers at Abu Ghraib do what they did because they all had a homosexual orientation?

Did they strip and molest prisoners of both sexes because they were otherwise incapable of healthy sexual relations with a person they cared about?

abu_ghraib_thumbs_up
Lynndie England and fiance Charles Graner posing behind a pyramid of naked Iraqi prisoners, giving the “thumbs up” sign.

In both Sodom and Baghdad, the horrible acts that took place were not expressions of a gay orientation.

In ancient Babylonian sex-divination texts, anal sex is regarded as a power relationship by which the penetrator is either advanced or diminished according to the status of the men he penetrates. … [I]n the ancient Mediterranean world, the act of penetrating other males did not stigmatize the penetrator and that male-male anal sex was considered an act of aggression by which the penetrated male is feminized by the penetrator. … [H]e also notes that male rape was employed as a form of punishment (Carden 31, emphasis mine).

The people of Sodom weren’t looking for recreational sex with the angels. They wanted to perpetrate a violent act of humiliation and abuse visiting strangers who, as a class, they had no respect for. Rape was only the means to degradation.

Ostensibly, this was Sodom’s common practice, and the cities of the Plain had structured their entire society around it. Their degrading behavior was the opposite of the righteous hospitality that Abraham and Lot showed these outsiders.

[T]he incident clearly indicates that strangers may not be welcome, or have no rights, in Sodom. Attempted rape here is illustrative of the evils of inhospitality and abuse of outsiders that are typical of Sodom (Carden 21).

Like the misguided soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison, the crime of the people of Sodom wasn’t their sexual orientation, but their xenophobic prejudice and shameless contempt for human rights and debasement of outsiders—individuals unlike themselves. (See Sodom’s Hatred of Strangers.)

When children are taken from their parents simply because they’ve crossed our national border, is the U.S. in danger of committing the sins of Sodom?

God commanded Israel, “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt” (Ex. 22:21 NIV). The people of Sodom flagrantly violated a value dear to the heart of God.

The Sodom and Gomorrah account is not the only one that deals with such ungodly mistreatment. To get to the ultimate meaning of the Genesis 19 account, we must study a similar passage in Judges 19. Next time.

More information:

To read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.
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Sodom’s Hatred of Strangers

Sodom

The Sodom Series, #7

Even if the citizens of Sodom did want to have sex with Lot’s mysterious visitors, what kind of sex is in question? The attitude of the mob gives us a clue.

But they replied [to Lot], “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow [Lot] came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down.
–GENESIS 19:9 NRSV

They cry, “Get out of our way!” These people are pushy, demanding. They accuse Lot of being an outsider, an alien, a foreigner.

Lot was an alien, an outsider

Alien is the Hebrew gûr, meaning “to turn aside from the road (for a lodging or for any other purpose), i.e., sojourn (as a guest); also to shrink, fear (as in a strange place); also to gather for hostility (as afraid)” (Strong’s, H1481).

The root word means to live among people who are not blood relatives; thus, rather than enjoying native civil rights, the ger was dependent on the hospitality that played an important role in the ancient near east; someone who did not enjoy the rights usually possessed by the resident(TWOT, 330, emphasis mine).

Remember what we originally learned from Abraham in episode 1?

  • Being hospitable to strangers is one way to demonstrate righteousness.
  • If you want to be righteous, make it your duty to establish rights for those who don’t have them.

Lot played the judge

The people of Sodom criticized Lot for “playing the judge.” Judge is shapat, meaning, “to pronounce sentence; by extension to govern” (Strong’s, H8199), and “to exercise the processes of government; to act as ruler; to decide cases of controversy as judge” (TWOT, 2443).

It seems the citizens of Sodom resent Lot because he is making decisions, taking authority where he has none. He is showing hospitality to and protecting sojourning strangers—AGAINST THE CUSTOMS OF THE CITY. The people of Sodom don’t like this.

Lot’s insistence on protecting his visitors according to the divine code of hospitality angers the residents of Sodom. Their values are obviously at odds.

They point out that he came to their city as a sojourner—someone who has no rights in their estimation—but who is now putting on airs to act as a judge and ruler by setting policy concerning how visitors are treated (by preventing them from being mistreated).

Note well their mistrust, hostility, and disrespect of foreigners and their prejudice against outsiders—the antithesis of Abraham’s and Lot’s behavior toward strangers. It seems the people plan to treat these visitors as violently as they have treated all other visitors, perhaps those whose anguished outcry God had heard.

A possible scenario

Lot whisked two visiting strangers from the city gate to his home. He refuses to turn them over to the mob.

The people of Sodom perhaps perceive the visitors as hostile, consider them to be spies. Maybe they think Lot is trying to subvert their city. (They appear to have been at odds with Lot about the subject before this.) They want to learn who the visitors are and examine their credentials.

They are highly disturbed upon hearing the rumors that apparently spread like wildfire through the city. Because of this, they become violent and threaten to “deal worse” (ra‘a, evil) with Lot than with his visitors.

What do the people do?

The mob “pressed hard”—with exceeding vehemence—against Lot, attacking him to break down the door.

What do the citizens want? If they are simply lusting for recreational sex, why are they so menacing?

Why do they threaten to harm Lot? If he has lived there for some time, why haven’t they harmed him before this? (Or have they?)

These people are angry, abusive, and violent. But for what reason?

The crucial questions to ask about this passage are:

  • Why do the inhabitants of Sodom threaten to harm Lot and abuse his guests?
  • What is their motivation?

We can discover answers by looking closer to home, at least in time.

If only we could say the answer to Sodom’s behavior is a thing of the ancient past. Unfortunately, it is still happening today. We’ll learn more next episode.

More information:

To read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.
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The Value of Lot’s Daughters

Lot's Daughters

The Sodom Series, #6

People demanding to see the two visitors pound at Lot’s door in Sodom. Lot confronts them and offers something else of value to them.

“Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
–GENESIS 19:8 NRSV

Present-day followers of Jesus may wonder about the propriety of Lot exposing his virgin daughters to potential violence and abuse. This is obviously another area where the values of ancient cultures differ drastically from ours today.

Near Eastern societies of 4000 years ago valued men and their honor much more highly than that of women. Even St. Augustine, born in the fourth century A.D., wrote, “The body of a man is as superior to that of a woman as the soul is to the body” (De Mend. 7.10).

As shocking as this sounds, we must realize that the equality of females is only a recent development in the history of humankind. Thank God. See Gal. 3:28.

During ancient times, women were considered to be property—see Exodus 22:16–17; Deuteronomy 22:28–29. Daniel Helminiak points out:

In the mind of the Hebrew Testament, adultery is not an offense against a woman nor against the intimacy of marriage nor against the inherent requirements of sex. Adultery is an offense against justice. Adultery offends the man to whom the woman belongs. Adultery is the misuse of another man’s property (What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, 49, emphasis mine).

The perceived worth and honor of men trumped that of women in the ancient world, but the honor of guests trumped both.

The laws of hospitality demanded that Lot protect the male honor of his guests; in that age it was better that women be raped than men. Lot protected his visitors, offering his own daughters to appease the mob.

Yet, are the citizens of Sodom simply demanding some new flesh for their sexual pleasure?

The only consideration that points to any sexual desire on the part of Sodom’s citizens is Lot’s offering them his daughters, which they refuse. But it is the most valuable bribe he could make to appease the hostile crowd.

Such an action is unthinkable in modern Western society, but females, and especially female children, held low status in the ancient world. “[E]ven in the more ‘civilized’ Roman world: Ammianus Marcellinus recounts… where the Roman consul Tertullus offers his children to an angry crowd to save himself. There is no sexual interest of any sort in the incident” (Boswell, 95).

Why did the people of Sodom hate strangers so much that they wanted to abuse them? We’ll learn why next time.

More information:

To read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.
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Lot Answers the Door

Lot Answers the Door

The Sodom Series, #5

The inhabitants of Sodom are banging on Lot’s door, demanding that he bring out the mysterious visitors he is hosting.

6 Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him,
7 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.”
–GENESIS 19:6–7 NRSV

Lot goes out to them, shutting the door behind himself, thus denying the citizens access to his visitors.

Because of the Eastern code of hospitality, Lot is duty-bound to protect his guests. This code of hospitality among ancient Arab and Semitic peoples was so strict—considered sacred—that no one was permitted to harm even an enemy who had been offered shelter for the night (NIV Study Bible).

(See Deuteronomy 23:3-4 for an indication of how God feels about those who refuse to offer hospitality.)

Lot appeals to them as brothers, in Hebrew, ah, meaning “brother, relative, fellow countrymen, friend, neighbor” (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 62a).

He begs them not to “act so wickedly.” The Hebrew ra‘a means “to spoil; to be good for nothing; to be bad physically, socially, or morally; to afflict; to do harm” (Strong’s, H7489).

We can understand the essential meaning of ra‘a by its frequent juxtaposition with the word tob, meaning “good.” Moses said, “‘See, I have set before you today life and good [tob], death and evil [ra‘a]’” (Deut. 30:15 NKJV).

Lot apparently recognizes what the people are really there for. How would he know this, if not by previous experience?

What do the citizens really want?

Apparently, word has spread that two foreign visitors—strangers—have come to their city.

We can’t be sure whether the people of Sodom merely want to know more about the guests, but we learn they are unhappy about the visit and about Lot’s behavior toward the sojourners.

From previous experience, Lot seems to know what the citizens of Sodom want with the strangers in their midst, and he realizes he must appease the people. He says,

“Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
–GENESIS 19:8 NRSV

Instead of his visitors, Lot offers to send out his two daughters “who have not known [yada] a man [îsh].” In this context the meaning of yada indicates the knowledge of intimacy that leads to sexual relations; Lot’s daughters were unmarried virgins, although they were betrothed (Gen. 19:14).

The word for man here is îsh, meaning “a man as an individual or a male” (Strong’s, H376). (Note that this word îsh was not used previously to describe the “men” of Sodom, because the writer was referring to people in general, enôsh.)

Lot says the people of Sodom could do with his daughters what “is good [tob] in your eyes.” Of these people it could be said, “Woe to those who call evil [ra‘a] good [tob] and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness…” (Isa. 5:20 HCSB).

Lot begs, “Only do nothing to these men,” enôsh (people), referring to the angelic visitors, “for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” For means because. It is translated in the REB as “on this account.”

Because these visitors have taken shelter under his roof, they are protected by the divine code of hospitality by which Lot and Abraham lived.

The Lord was already inclined to punish Sodom before the angels arrived (see Gen. 13:13; 18:20–23). He considered inhospitality toward strangers a serious sin. (See Deut. 23:3–4; Job 29:16; 31:32; Matt. 25:35; Heb. 13:2). Boswell states,

It should be remembered, moreover, that in the ancient world inns were rare outside of urban centers, and travelers were dependent on the hospitality and goodwill of strangers not just for comfort but for physical survival. Ethical codes almost invariably enjoined hospitality on their adherents as a sacred obligation (96).

Church father Origen points out Lot’s only righteous act:

Hear this, you who close your homes to guests! Hear this, you who shun the traveler as an enemy! Lot lived among the Sodomites. We do not read of any other good deeds of his: …he escaped the flames, escaped the fire, on account of one thing only. He opened his home to guests. The angels entered the hospitable household; the flames entered those homes closed to guests. (Homilia V in Genesim [PG, 12:188–189]).

Lot offers hospitality and protection for his guests but offers the brutish Sodomites his daughters. We’ll discover why next time.

More information:

To read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.
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