Homosexuality in the Old Testament: Part 1

Homosexuality, the Bible, and the


Preston M. Sprinkle, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

Eternity Bible College

Session 2: Homosexuality in the Old Testament:

Part 1—Sodom & Gomorrah and David &



Gen 19:1-11 (ESV)

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When

Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2 and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant's house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” 3 But he pressed 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.

4 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. 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” 6 Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.

8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any 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.” 9 But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.



“Anti-Gay” interpretation

Gen 18:20-21: “Then the L


said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave , I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

 R.C. Sproul: “

In their total lack of shame they have embraced homosexuality and sexual violence…Many scholars friendly to the liberalization of sexual morality will say the central sin of Sodom was inhospitality and not homosexuality. We answer them in two ways. First, the Sodomites did sin in being inhospitable, but rape is nothing if not inhospitable. Second, even if this text serves to emphasize the inhospitality of the

Sodomites, it does not make homosexual acts any less condemnable.”

 The term “ sodomy


Questions about the “anti-gay” interpretation





Sodom and Gomorrah


Two different interpretations


Non sexual i.

“sitting in the gate” (vs. 1). ii.

“men of the city” iii.

“to know…” iv.

Daughters in exchange v.

“Do whatever you want” (19:8) (lit.

“whatever is good in your eyes”).


“Official questioning of individuals in the ancient

Near East could often be brutal—accompanied by beatings, near-drowning, and physical mutilation”

(Morschauser, 473).

To demand the remittance of the guests goes to the heart of

Lot’s standing as a responsible dignitary on behalf of Sodom. The act amounts to the revocation of, and insult to, his own authority: it is a denial and rejection of his standing within the society”

(Morschauser, 473).

“The temporary exchange of his unmarried offspring…emphasizes how seriously Lot regards his duty as ‘gate-keeper’”

(Morschauser, 478).


Summary: b.

Sexual i.

“to know them” = sex. ii.

“to know” often means “have sex with” in Genesis. iii.

Reference to Lot’s daughter’s as “having never known a man” iv.

Parallel story in Judges 19. v.

However: even if homosexual gang rape was one of the “sins of Sodom,” this does NOT directly apply to the question at hand: whether consensual, loving, monogamous gay sex is okay.





Sodom elsewhere in the Bible


Isa 1:10-17 b.

Isa. 3:9 c.

Jer 23:14 d.

Matt 10:5-10. e.

Ezek 16:49-50.

Who is the Sodomite? f.

Evidence of “homosexual interpretation?” i.

Philo ( Abr.

133-41; QG 4.37) and Josephus ( Ant . 1.194-95, 200-201). ii.

Jude 7: “strange flesh” ( sarkos heteras )





David and Jonathan


Are they gay?


Intimate language a.

“The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Sam 18:1; cf. 20:17). b.

Strip tease? (1 Sam 18:4). c.

Jonathan also “delighted very much” in David and “took great pleasure” in him (1

Sam 19:1). d.

On another occasion, David and Jonathan “kissed one another and wept with one another,” since they would not see each other again (1 Sam 20:41). e.

Finally, when David gets news about Jonathan’s death, he cries out: “very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women” (2 Sam 1:26).


Reasons why they aren’t not gay


“to kiss” does not have sexual overtones. b.

Biblical view of love.


Even if David was gay… d.




We need to make sure our biblical “view” is biblical. b.

Both sides of the debate are prone to read into the text what they want the text to say. c.

Definitions! Cf. R.C. Sproul. i.

“In their total lack of shame they have embraced homosexuality and sexual violence…Many scholars friendly to the liberalization of sexual morality will say the central sin of Sodom was inhospitality and not homosexuality”