Sodom and the K-Word
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. He said, “Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the square.” But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them.” Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 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.” But they replied, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow 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. But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door.
Genesis 19: 1-11
As gay Christians, we have all read the story of Sodom and seen how many in the church use these passages to judge and persecute us, presenting the Sodom story as the example of how God hates gay people so much that He destroyed the entire city because of it. They conclude that the men were homosexual because the men called out to Lot, “Bring them out to us, so that we may know them”, as the word KNOW has another meaning: to HAVE SEX.
So let us consider the use of the word “KNOW”
In Genesis, we are first introduced to the word KNOW.
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.”
In Hebrew the word for KNOW is yada, which means exactly how we understand the English word KNOW to mean: to perceive, be acquainted with, experience and understand.
But in this Bible passage, a EUPHEMISM is being used.
A mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing, sometimes to make it seem more acceptable than it really is. -Oxford Reference
When it says, “Adam knew Eve” it really means they had sexual intercourse.
Euphemisms are used in place of words that are deemed unpleasant, offensive or taboo. This is prevalent in all societal cultures. In the Philippines, there are substitute words for genitalia. For example, Filipinos may refer to a man’s genitals as “his possessions” and in America we have numerous words to refer to a man’s "junk”. There are countless slang terms people use when referring to male and female private body parts, bodily functions and sexual acts.
Hebrew has other words that are substituted by euphemisms: https://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5906-euphemism
So here we have 2 interpretations for the word KNOW used in this statement.
1. “Bring them out to us, so we may get acquainted with them,"
2."Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them."
And because Lot implores them, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly," it is assumed that they spoke the latter and were making a demand to Lot.
Bible scholars have translated the word KNOW, yada, to mean SEX in this particular situation. They understand that a euphemism is being used and many Bible producers have updated their current translations to use the word SEX instead of KNOW so as not to confuse their readers.
So now all Bible readers assume that the men of Sodom are telling Lot outright what their intentions are. Or are they?
After all, it is right there in their own words.
Because of their statement that the men of Sodom wanted to get to know and have sex with them, it is assumed that they were ALL gay and wanted to gang rape the 2 angels.
However, there is one thing that Bible translators do not consider: SARCASM.
a way of using words that are the opposite of what you mean in order to be unpleasant to somebody or to make fun of them. -Oxford
A keen, reproachful expression; a satirical remark uttered with some degree of scorn or contempt; a taunt; a gibe: a cutting jest. -Webster's
Through media, literature and daily life, we all have heard and understand sarcasm, double entendres and innuendo.
People who study the Bible seek to precisely interpret the meanings of words so we can best understand the Word of God. Yet scholars and interpreters are limited as they can only translate the words, but cannot truly understand the intentions of the speaker of the words and whether they are spoken, shouted, whispered, sincere, disingenuous or sarcastic.
Any phrase spoken can have a different meaning depending on the situation, the individual speaking, the person hearing the phrase and how the phrase is expressed. The intent of the words can sometimes mean the opposite of the words themselves.
Consider this situation: A wife tells her husband, "My mother is coming to visit for a month," of which the husband replies, "Oh yay, I can't wait!" We are not there in the situation. We cannot hear the tone or emphasis of his voice. We don't know the relationship between the man, the wife and his mother-in-law. If he loves his mother-in-law then indeed he is happy and excited to see her. But if the relationship is not good, he is exclaiming his feelings in a sarcastic tone that tells his wife that he is not thrilled.
Some people reading the story of Sodom may not see the sarcasm. Many Christians are taught not to use sarcasm. We are taught to be loving and kind with our words. Sarcasm can be mean-spirited, unkind and nasty, and something that we Christians should NOT engage in. For some Christians, it is not their way of thinking. They are positive, look on the bright side and do not entertain negative thoughts. So when some Christians hear sarcasm, it may be foreign to them. They may not get it. "What did he mean by that?" They don't understand.
Another thing also to consider is the TONE of which the words are said.
One of the issues that scholars are not privy to are the TONES of which the statements are made. Are they yelling in rage demanding and ordering Lot to hand over the men or are they speaking the words calmly in a sarcastic manner to make a jest to themselves before they assault the angels?
Bible scholars can only translate words recorded in the scripture, but the meanings can change depending on the interpreter and the tone of the words said can change the meaning of the words dramatically.
When most of us read that the men of Sodom are saying, “Bring them out to us, so that we may know them," we don't believe that the men of Sodom were speaking with a pleasant tone to request Lot to present his guests in a hospitable manner. It is an ORDER and COMMAND to Lot, and we understand that they are being aggressive and forthright with their intentions to force SEX.
But could it be that their words are a sarcastic jab to Lot, making light of the word KNOW in an attempt to sound sincere while snickering to themselves, "Oh Lot, bring out these fine gentlemen so we can meet and welcome them." WINK WINK. "We want to get acquainted and show them love." All a prelude before their attacks.
Scholars have interpreted their words to be a spoken commandment to Lot which includes their unambiguous plan to abuse them. And Lot presenting his daughters and stating that they are virgins appears to confirm that the men's intentions were sexual.
However could it be that Lot offers his virgin daughters as a way to divert their sexual impulses? To change the mood as it were. If they were really gay men, wouldn't Lot understand that this would NOT make any difference? Genesis says all the men, young and old came out, but how could the city have been populated if they were all gay? If anything then, they would've been bisexual.
Lot said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly." But what kind of wickedness is he thinking they will do? Lot must have heard or witnessed the past evils and crimes that these men committed.
Men raping other men sexually has been something armies in ancient times have done to their enemies to humiliate and subjugate them. So it was a thing. But in this case, they were not at war, but obviously wanted NEW persons to physically assault.
But no matter what or how it was said, whether directly or sarcastically, their real intention was to harass, assault, rob, intimidate and abuse the newcomers, which could include sexual rape.
Though many Bible readers are aghast about the barbaric events of Sodom, it is interesting that they don't realize that we are living in the same times today.
Which brings us to the next thing to consider: taunting accusations of homosexuality with the intention to emasculate.
In literature, movies, news, sports events, video games, in the office or in our daily lives aggressive men spew out euphemisms, threats and sex references to taunt each other, questioning their victims masculinity and sexuality.
EVERY DAY we hear of people cursing each other with aggressive profanity.
If a Bible translator/interpreter centuries from now were to translate some of today's words by straight men, he/she might deduce that these words came from a homosexual man because they are all about performing gay sex acts.
Note: Please excuse the following profanity. It is necessary to understand how men use words to intimidate and emasculate each other.
“Suck my dick.” “Fuck you.” “Let's fuck them up.” I’m going to fuck your ass."
Men spout these curse words in discussions, fights, arguments, crimes, gangs, and wars to each other, even in daily talk. But we understand that these men are seeking to degrade, insult, intimidate, get revenge, dominate and emasculate a perceived opponent to make him appear weak by insinuating that they are like women or gay who they will rape.
The goal is to place themselves ABOVE their targets through humiliation.
We hear these words from men all the time, but we never think they are GAY or that they will actually attempt to have sex or rape the person they are cursing, because we understand them only as threats. They may seek revenge by other means, but not in the sexual ways as the threats imply.
And if anyone knows gay men at all, collectively, we seek connection and relationships. Gay men desire consensual love and consensual sex. Though there are exceptions, gay men in general have no desire to force or rape anyone.
Ezekial tells us the REAL REASON Sodom fell:
Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.
So homosexuality was not the main reason Sodom was destroyed. The goal of the men of Sodom was to assault and abuse the angels. Was homosexual gang rape one of their goals? Possibly. Just like beating up, robbing, kicking, spitting and any violent behavior would be. The men of Sodom were bullies, domineering monsters who wanted to abduct, humiliate and attack the two angels.
Because the word KNOW can mean having SEX, it is assumed that homosexuality was the ONLY reason that Sodom was destroyed. But in reality, Sodom had a long history of many grave and violent sins committed against their own people, outsiders and others.
The intention of their hearts against the angels was the straw that broke the camel's back. Even if the men of Sodom did NOT commit rape as they were threatening to do, their ongoing shameless crimes were not stopping and God had no choice but to destroy them because of their continuous destructive and unrepentant sins.
So many Christians assume this story gives them permission to judge all gay people the same as the men of Sodom. And though their intentions seem obvious, it may have been a sarcastic homophobic statement to provoke fear to Lot and signal the surrounding men to "Get ready boys. We're going to have fun."
Looking at the behavior of the majority of gay men around the world today, gay men are generally not aggressive, do not seek violence and do not seek to rape other men. Rarely do we even hear of a bunch of gay men in a bar brawl breaking out into drunken fistfights.
Which is one of the reasons gay men are picked on. Gay men are perceived as weak, non-aggressive, non-confrontational and non-violent which makes them easy targets for straight men who need to prove their dominance over others.
Gay men desire to meet other gay men for mutual loving relationships. Yet, they are accused and slapped with the reputation of the violent, evil men of city of Sodom that existed thousands of years ago.
Around the world, we do not see any gangs of violent gay men grouping together to attack and rape innocent people. It does not happen. Gay men are not even remotely similar to the violent mob of Sodom.
But this territory belongs to men who are do not know God, are angry, frustrated, destructive, violent and seek to start fights, intimidate, provoke others and bring destruction. Unfortunately, as our news shows, they are all around us today and don’t seem to be going away any time soon.
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