IS THE BIBLE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY?
A scholarly response on what the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible says concerning LGBTI people.
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Bring them out to us that we may know them [carnally].” So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow (protection) of my roof.” And they said, “Stand back! (Come near here!)” The men of Sodom wanted to know (ya-da) who the men were that Lot accepted into his home. Lot responded: "do not do evil" or "do not harm (hurt, mistreat)." Some of the meaning of these Hebrew words are lost in the English translation (see Deut. 26:6; 2 Sam. 20:6; etc.). They wanted to take his guests hostage and punish Lot for accepting foreign guests into his home. They likely planned on killing all the males and raping the women. Lot, fearing for the life of himself and the other men, offers his daughters to be raped. He was hoping that the Sodomites would be satisfied with only part of their intent. The guests, once the host has accepted them, are sacred, and must be protected from any danger; even at the cost of the life of members of the family. The guests in return have to not cause any trouble in the city that would shame the hospitable person. In a similar account, the men of Gibeah wanted to know who the foreigner was that the resident there accepted into his home. The resident's virgin daughter and the Levite foreigner's concubine were given to the mob to be raped (Judg. 19:22, 24). Later, at (Judges 20:4-5), the Levite interpreted that the men of Gibeah wanted to kill him and NOT have sex with him. He also said that they raped his concubine. That is why I believe "know" is likely the meaning meant and NOT "have sex with" (NIV). The Book of Great Wisdom also suggests that "know" is the correct interpretation of ya-da. Aramaic has that same Semitic word, but pronounces it i-ḏa. Wisdom 19:13-14 says: "...and those who they didn't know, they didn't receive them while they were there ... because they weren't willing to allow (or forgive) strangers." (Peshitta). Lot had said that his daughters had not known [a] man; which means they were virgins. He said that because the citizens back then were sleeping with virgins and other men's wives to disgrace foreigners and their host (similar Lam. 5:11 bethuloth "virgins" is wrongly translated as "maidens"). Lot's daughters were also married to the sons-n-law of Lot (Gen. 19:14). So the humiliation would have been doubly bad had the Sodomites agreed to Lot's proposal.
Then they [the men of Sodom] said, "This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door.” (Genesis 19:1-9 NKJV). The men of Sodom planned on committing violence. In the place of "deal worse" and "than," the Hebrew text literally says "we will do more evil to you than with them" or "we will harm (injure) you more than them." The same Hebrew word ra-a, in the imperfect form: "to do evil; to harm, injure, mistreat, treat bad, etc." appears again from (Gen. 19:7) along with the intensive word min "more than" here. According to The Upright (Correct) Record, which was read in the Temple and quoted (Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18; 2 Tim. 3:8*) as a reliable source, Sedom (Sodom) had unrighteous customs, laws & judges (Yasher 19:17, 40-41, etc.). Some of these unrighteous decrees (compare Isa. 10:1) directly targeted strangers. This could explain the motivation and consent of all the people of Sedom to harm or defraud the strangers. Sedom is also narrated to represent not only the city of Sedom, but also "the nation (kingdom) of Sedom," which included the cities of Sedom, Gamorah (Gomorrah) Ẓevoyim (Zeḅoyim) and Admah (Yasher 16:3-5; 19:1, 23). There are also other kingdoms where the kingdom's name was named after a notable city in the kingdom. Babylon (Baḅel), Elam and Urhay are a few other examples. * Note: Paulus could have also known about the Jewish tradition of Yanes and Yambres, the sons of Bilam (Balaam); who were the magicians that challenged Mosheh, from the Targums of (Ex. 1:15; 7:10-12). The Aramaic Targums translate a Biblical verse and often have additional words and commentary.
And the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, ... And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? (Gen. 18:20, 23 NKJV). The account that played out later in chapter nineteen is just what happened there. Sodom had other sins that the Bible mentions; such as adultery, inhospitality, arrogance, committing abomination, fornication, et cetera. The reference of them committing abomination could refer to them committing murder, rape and / or idolatry. These are the reference verses: Jubilees 16:9; 36:10-11; Deut. 29:23, 32:32; Yasher 18:16-17; Wis. 19:14-17; Sira 16:8 ; Isa. 3:9, 13:19; Jer. 23:14, 49:18, 50:40; Lam. 4:6; Ezek. 16:46-48; Amos 4:11; Zeph. 2:9; 3 Macc. 2:5; Matt. 10:15; Luke 17:29; Rom. 9:29; 2 Pet. 2:6; Jude 7. The Talmud gives their additional sins.
Jesus specifically mentions that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their inhospitality to strangers. When Jesus sent His disciples preaching the gospel house to house and into different cities, of which they received the hospitality of lodging, food, and drink; Jesus said this: “Whatever city or town you enter, ask who is trustworthy in it, and remain there until you leave. And when you enter into the house, salute the family. And if the family is trustworthy, your salutation of peace shall come upon it; but if it is not trustworthy, your salutation shall return to you. Whoever will not welcome you and will not listen to your words, when you leave the house or the village, shake off the sand from your feet. Truly I say to you that it will be easier for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that city.” (Matthew 10:11-15 Lamsa). Jesus is saying that the citizens that don't show hospitality and receive his disciples message will have a harsher judgment than the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah on Judgment Day.
It's possible that there is no implication of homosexual rape in the Sedom story. The following would be how that interpretation plays out. When the men of Sedom said: "Bring them out to us that we may know them.” They may just have wanted to get visual proof that Lot invited foreigners into his home (i.e. know who they were). Lot, knowing that he was caught, and that he, along with the other men, faced death while the women faced being raped; just offers his virgin daughters to the mob in hopes to save himself and the other men. He lets the Sedomites know that his daughters were virgins because the cities back then were raping virgins and other men's wives. He said this by stating that his daughters "haven't known a man." That's how one would say that a woman is a virgin because the other word bethulah doesn't always refer to a virgin. It can also refer to a chaste woman, trans-woman and a lesbian. Thus it was just a coincidence that he used the same word "know(-n)." His statement was tactful because the men of Sedom were out to harm and shame others. Hence the meaning could be: 'Bring them out to us that we may know them.” So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not harm (do evil)! See now, I have two daughters who haven't slept with a man; ...'
If the alternate sexual interpretation has any merit, the following is what others believe. Some scholars interpret Lot's gesture of offering his daughters to the mob as implying that the Sodomites wanted to humiliate the foreigners by raping them. Maybe they [ the foreigners] would be killed afterwards. Perhaps this is what 1 Corinthians 6:9 is talking about when it says that men raping other men will not inherit the kingdom of God. If Lot was trying to offer his daughters to be raped by the mob as a substitute for the men, then he knew the Sodomites had heterosexual desire and were hence either heterosexual or bisexual; not homosexual. I could also accept that the rape of both men and women, murder and / or other cruelties were all going on. However, the Bible doesn't specifically say that the Sodomites wanted to sleep with the men. The Bible has shown that in this context, and by a verse reference, that ya-da should be interpreted as "know" and not "have sex with." So even if the sexual sense is meant, the story of Sodom isn't a good example that the Bible condemns homosexuals; meaning people that are born gay. That's because the men didn’t want to have sex with the men out of lust, but wanted to rape them. Nothing was consensual. However, many scholars believe the "homosexual interpretation" is a reinterpretation of the Sodom story. This conclusion is due in part because the incident at Gibeah is very similar to the Sodom incident. If we transfer those details to the Sodom story then we see a picture of Lot opening the door and seeing a mob of men with torches ready to burn down the house to kill all inside. In fear of his life and everyone else inside, Lot offers his married virgin daughters to the men of Sodom because he knew they were like the surrounding cities that raped virgins and other men's wives. So we know why Lot would offer his daughters to the mob; and it wasn't because they were homosexuals or wanted to sleep with the men. Separately, the 1 Corinthians 6:9 reference of men raping men could refer to incidents with slaves, captives, during war time, prison or by normal citizens in the respective country.
Homosexuals and heterosexuals generally have issues with the interpretations ignorant and / or bias people give about the Sodom story. A lot of passive gay men like manly men and wouldn't have any desire penetrating or raping heterosexual men. They would see penetrating a man as taking away his manliness, which they wouldn't want to do. Consider when you heterosexuals penetrate your wives or girlfriends. Generally your woman companion doesn't have the desire or want to penetrate you. Passive gay men think like women. The role of penetrator isn't necessarily what they want to be unless their partner wants it. Concerning heterosexuals, they generally don't accept that they would be raping other men if they aren't attracted to them. So a cultural or influencing force is going on here. Decent people, regardless of their sexual orientation, don't act like this.
1st Note: The words al-sefer ha-yashar literally mean: "on the upright book" or "in the correct record." When a Hebrew noun is definite and has an adjective, Hebrew puts the definite article on both words (example: "the book - the upright" = "the upright book." However, when you have the word "on" or "in" in the statement, the word "the" is replaced with the preposition be "in" or the word al "on" before that noun; but the statement still says: "in the correct record." If the statement hypothetically said: "in the book of the upright one," the word al "in" would have been left out and the first noun also wouldn't have the definite article attached to it. Or for the other way, the letter be "in" would have been used and the definite article for the second word would have been left out (Compare Lam. 2:22). It would have been deliberately said differently to distinguish what is meant. Not saying "in" or "on" in Hebrew statements is also fairly common [examples: "in the morning," "in the night," "in peace," "in the way" (Ps. 2:12), etc. can be said with or without the preposition be "in"]. The early translation witnesses (Aramaic Targum, Peshitta, Greek & Latin) contradict each other on this statement and translate this statement three different ways. This tells me that the translators were ignorant of the correct meaning of these words. So I reject their translations and I go by the obvious meaning of the Hebrew words. This obvious meaning also fits the so-called "Book of Jasher's" content better. DONT BE SWAYED BY FALSE RELIGION: 2nd Note: The Quran addresses the men of Sedom and says: "you approach men with lust instead of women" (i.e. they went after the foreigners to sleep with them). However, the Quran clearly contains Biblical heresies and falsely reinterprets the Bible. The Quran teaches that God doesn't have a Son, and hence Yeshua wasn't the Son of God. It also states that he wasn't crucified, killed or our atonement (i.e. died in our place), that Noaḥ had an additional son (or grandson) and that the Satan tempted both Adam and Eve versus the Biblical account of the Serpent tempting Eve and then Eve giving the fruit to her husband Adam. The Quran also contains hateful, wrong, abusive, oppressive and murderous content about women and LGBTI people. It's safe to say that the Quran corrupts the meaning of the Bible. So we can't use a clearly false book to reinterpret the Bible. Thus the homosexual interpretation of the Sedom story in the Quran could be just another false claim.
15. "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbouring cities which in like manner gave themselves over to fornication (za-ni or prostitution), and followed after other carnal lusts (bis-ra flesh, people)..." (Jude 1:7 Lamsa). This verse is talking about how the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbouring cities committed fornication (pre-marital sex), which included incest and prostitution. Additionally, these people followed after "other flesh (people)," which is referring to the foreigners/strangers. The Aramaic word bis-ra, translated as carnal lusts here, really means flesh or people. We see this here: "It shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour My spirit upon all flesh (people); and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams;" (Acts 2: 17 Lamsa). Another example is when Paul said that Israel was the “sons of my flesh (or people)” (Rom. 11:14). Dr. Lamsa, however, translated the words “sons of” as “those who are” in this verse. (See also Gen. 37:27). A translation of this verse would then be: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring cities which in like manner gave themselves over to fornication, and went after (or followed) other people." The statement “went after other people” is referring to how the citizens were going after and treating foreigners and foreign couples. Those words could imply that it was done to harm or do violence (compare: Jer. 48:2). The Bible gives examples which specifically infer that the men could be killed or were beaten (Acts 17:5-9). Perhaps they were also humiliated by being raped. Sometimes a husband was spared if he offered up his wife or concubine to be raped. Sometimes he was killed and his wife was given to another. So the words written by Yehudah (Jude) don't explicitly say the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were raping men or committing homosexuality. Those last words could be referring to other things.
Is the Bible Against Homosexuality? by Preacher Mattai © 2016. All rights reserved.