ESV - 7 Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
As noted by the references in the passage from Jude cited in the question to "sexual immorality" and "unnatural desire", the particular sin identified in the Bible with respect to Sodom was the practice of homosexual sex between males, as indicated in Genesis 19:5. Although the Hebrew word denoting this in Genesis (commonly rendered in English as "know") can be used to apply to ordinary familiarity with another person, it is also employed in many passages (as it is here) in the sense of carnal knowledge (as it first was in Genesis 4:1, where the act of "knowing" in that verse denoted sexual relations resulting in pregnancy and birth). That the word has a sexual connotation in the case of the men of Sodom -- rather than being related (for example) to mere inhospitality or non-sexual actions -- is further demonstrated by Lot's offer of his two daughters (in place of his visitors) to the crowd to be used for their sexual pleasure.
The crucial context of this verse, Genesis 19:8, involves the Hebrew word to know -- " אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־ יָדְעוּ֙ אִ֔ישׁ" ("which HAVE NOT KNOWN a man"), i.e. sexually. Read Hebrew from right to left. 10 of the 12 times this word, "know," is used in Genesis it refers to sexual intercourse (cf. Gen. 4:1, 25). Tim Maas wrote something to this effect, too. And next, it means to know sexually in this very chapter. For Lot refers to his two virgin daughters as not having “known” a man (Genesis 19:8), which is an obvious sexual use of the word. Finally, “know” cannot mean simply “get acquainted with,” because it is equated with a “wicked thing” (Genesis 19:7).
In my view, the great sin of Sodom was their rejection of the Love and Mercy of God. You see God loved the people of Sodom just as much as he loved every other human being and he gave them many opportunities to repent. God sent one of his prophets, Lot, the nephew of Abraham, to live in Sodom for over 20 years, witnessing the knowledge of God. Lot told the Sodomites the Genesis story from chapter 1:1 to chapter 17:27. Lot explained to the people how to live a God-pleasing life. Lot called the people to repentance and faith in God. Abraham knew how difficult Lot's mission was when he pleaded with the Lord [pre-incarnate Jesus] to spare the city from destruction if a few [50 down to 10] righteous people could be found there. But the great tragedy is that after all that love and mercy, only Lot and his family would be saved. The Sodomites were guilty of many sins because they were completely captivated by the power of sin to entice and enslave them. As with any sin, we are attracted by the pleasure [desire of the flesh] but it quickly loses its appeal and we hunger for more exotic things to gratify our desires. They were consumed with the addiction to the pleasures of sex. But they had tired of sex between men and women, even homosexual sex with people they knew [friends and neighbours], they hungered for the exotic pleasure of sex with strangers as gang rape. When we do a word search on "Sodom" we come up with many references. In Ezekiel chapter 16:44-51a the sins of Judah are compared with the sins of Sodom. "Everyone who quotes proverbs will quote this proverb about you: “Like mother, like daughter.” You are a true daughter of your mother, who despised her husband and her children; and you are a true sister of your sisters, who despised their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done. Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did." God describes in Ezekiel 14:12-23 what happens when a country [or city] becomes so wicked [depraved] that God decides to execute his judgement against it. In verse 14 God says "even if these three men - Noah, Daniel and Job - were in it [this country/city] they could only save themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord". The Sodomites were arrogant, overfed & unconerned; they didn't care about the poor and needy. They were haughty [proud] and did detestable things. The sins of Judah and Samaria [all Israel] were so bad that God would have destroyed them too, if it were not for his covenant promises to Abraham, Moses and David. Our modern cities are quite similar to Sodom. People are so captivated by sin, they crave more and more exotic pleasures [LGBTQ+non-binary]. We are consumed with the pursuit of wealth, power and fame to gratify our sinful desires. We could care less about people who are struggling in life, we are selfish and proud; we only want what will satisfy our desires. God placed his church and us Christians in each city as his witnesses, just like Lot. Will we declare the knowledge of God from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21? Will we show people how to live a God-pleasing life? Will we call people to repentance and faith in God? Will Jesus find some righteous people in our cities when he returns?
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.