Sodom and Gomorrah (meaning and History in the Bible)

Sodom and Gomorrah is the name of two neighboring cities from the time of the patriarch Abraham, whose history is told in the book of Genesis. According to the biblical account, these cities were burned as divine punishment for the seriousness of their sins.

Today this is one of the most controversial passages in the Bible. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is often used to warn about the punishments that sin and disobedience to God’s law brings. The Genesis passage shows God as an implacable judge. But other meanings have also been attributed to it.

From the story of Sodom and Gomorrah comes the expression Sodomite, which originally refers to the gentile of the inhabitants of Sodom. However, the term “sodomite” has been popularly used to refer to male homosexuals.

The term has also been used to refer to people who practice acts of “perversion”. Usage depends on ideological context and interpretation. But in either case, it is based on the passage, whose history we summarize below.

History of Sodom and Gomorrah

The story tells that Lot and his family lived at the gates of the city of Sodom, ever since his uncle Abraham rescued him from the city of Dan.

Initially, Lot’s mission was to promote the conversion of the city, since both Sodom and Gomorrah had a reputation for being cities dominated by sin. According to Genesis, the cries reached the ears of God, who decides to destroy these cities.

Abraham receives an unexpected visit from three men, whom he attends with absolute reverence. These express God’s decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham intercedes for the righteous of the city and asks for mercy in his name, since Lot and his family are there. One of them promises to be pious, as long as he finds at least ten righteous men.

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Two of the three visitors leave for Sodom and appear as heavenly beings to Lot, who hosts them. As soon as the Sodomites find out, they flock to the door of the house demanding that Lot hand them over for sexual abuse. In order to dissuade them, Lot offers them his daughters instead of the men, but they do not agree.

The two angels understand that there is no righteous man between them and decide to carry out the planned plan, but not before allowing Lot and his family to flee to a nearby town. Finally, a rain of brimstone falls on Sodom and Gomorrah, burning both cities to the ground. On the way, Lot’s wife turns back and is transformed into a pillar of salt.

See also Old Testament.

Controversy around Sodom and Gomorrah

Interpretations of this passage are often quite contentious. Tradition has imposed that this passage condemns male homosexuality by denouncing it as a sin.

For other exegetes, the sin of the Sodomites is not homosexuality but violence, lack of empathy, disobedience and pride. To support this interpretation, they rely on other allusions to the Sodomites included in other books of the Bible.

For its part, a feminist reading would be scandalized by any of the previous interpretations, since both leave out the naturalization of the rape of women expressed in Lot’s negotiation with the sodomites, by offering his virgin daughters as an exchange to avoid death. rape of men.

Sodom and Gomorrah in the Koran

In the Muslim holy book, the Koran, there are several references to the history of Sodom and Gomorrah, even though these cities are not identified by those names. However, Lot’s name is used and the story is told.

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In the Qur’anic version, Lot is sent as a prophet to bear witness to Allah in Sodom and warn them that their behavior may arouse God’s wrath. For Lot, the Sodomites have not only sinned through homosexuality and other actions, but especially because they feel no shame and commit their sins both in private and in public.

Unlike the Judeo-Christian version of Genesis, in Islam it is believed that when Lot offers his daughters, he does not literally refer to his descendants, but uses this phrase symbolically to refer to the women of Sodom and to formal marriage.

When the mob of Sodomites breaks down the gate and surrounds the angels, they openly claim that they are messengers of Allah, at which they are frightened and retreat, but at dawn, Allah sends the punishment that destroys the city.

See also: Bible.