What was the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah
In the biblical book of Genesis, Sodom and Gomorrah, infamously wicked cities, were destroyed by “sulfur and fire” because of their wickedness (Genesis 19:24). The five “cities of the plain” were Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar (Bela), and they are mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, and the Quran.
The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah:
Sodom and Gomorrah, or the “plain cities,” have been used historically and in modern discourse as metaphors for homosexuality and are the source of the English words sodomite, a derogatory term for male homosexuals, and sodomy, which is used in a legal context under the label “crimes against nature” to describe anal or oral sex (especially hom*sexual) and bestiality.
This is based on an interpretation of the biblical text, which interprets God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah as a penalty for gay sex transgression. In light of Ezekiel 16:49–50 (“This was the crime of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters possessed pride, excess of food, and great ease, but did not help the poor and destitute”), several current academics question this view, defining the sin as hubris and a lack of hospitality.
Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned numerous times in the Hebrew Bible. The destruction and related events of these cities and the engaged people are also paralleled in the New Testament. Later deuterocanonical writings seek to extract further information about these Jordan Plain settlements and their inhabitants. Furthermore, the crimes that led to the destruction are similar to the story of the Levite’s concubine in the Book of Judges.
God tells Abraham in Genesis that Sodom and Gomorrah would be destroyed because of their terrible transgressions (18:20). Abraham begs for the lives of any virtuous individuals who may be there, particularly his nephew Lot and his family. Abraham appears to be negotiating with God on behalf of the two towns’ virtues.
God offers to spare the towns if 50 virtuous people can be found and ten righteous people can be discovered (18:23–32). Two angels dressed as men are brought to Lot in Sodom, but they are confronted by a wicked mob who demands that the newcomers be killed.
Lot offers the crowd his daughters, but this enrages them even more, and they are blinded by the angelic visitors (19:1–11). The angels advise Lot to swiftly depart the city and not look back, citing only Lot and his family as being righteous among the residents.
Lot’s wife looks back on the city as they flee the devastation and is transformed into a pillar of salt (19:12–29). The story is identical in the Quran (11:74–83 and 29:28–35), except the cities are not named.
Abraham cries out for “Lot’s people” but is assured that the punishment is unavoidable. When the messengers inform Lot of his people’s destiny, he is distressed and, like in the biblical story, gives his daughters in vain to the crowd.
Righteous Lot is urged to flee in the night with his people, and his wife is informed that she will die in the same way as the others. The cities are destroyed by stones raining down.
Sodom and Gomorrah may be under or near the shallow waters south of Al-Lisan, an ancient peninsula in the Dead Sea’s middle section in Israel that now completely divides the sea’s northern and southern basins. An earthquake in the Dead Sea area of the East African Rift System, which stretches southward from the Jordan River basin in Israel to the Zambezi River system in eastern Africa, is thought to have wiped them off around 1900 BCE.
In the Middle Bronze Age (c. 2000–c. 1550 BCE), archaeological evidence suggests that the area was once productive, with freshwater flowing into the Dead Sea sufficient to support cultivation. Lot chose the area of the towns in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea, or the Dead Sea) to graze his herds because of the lush ground.
The presence of petroleum and gasses in the region at the time of the destruction likely contributed to the vision of “brimstone and fire” that accompanied the geological upheaval that destroyed the towns. Mount Sodom, or Har Sedom (Arabic: Jabal Usdum), is located at the southwestern extremity of the Mediterranean and bears the name of Sodom. Near the alleged sites of Sodom and Gomorrah lies the modern industrial settlement of Sedom, Israel, on the Dead Sea beach.
Sodom and Gomorrah, with their legendary wickedness, have been the subject of countless plays, including the History of Lot and Abraham, a medieval mystery play; Sodome et Gomorrhe, by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux, in 1943; and Sodhome kye Ghomorra, by Greek writer Nikos Kazantzákis, in the 1950s.
The biblical characters of Sodom and Gomorrah have been presented in several medieval psalters, Renaissance frescoes, and paintings that have survived to the current day. The modern term “sodomy” is derived from sexual activities attributed to the Sodomites. The word is used in the famed and sexually graphic book 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade (1785).
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