Previously, I noted how the Bible rushes past some topics, whereas it draws others out to ridiculous lengths. Entire chapters are devoted to peripheral subjects, while important sequences of events are compressed into a verse or two. Fortunately, the next two chapters are an exception. Chapters 18 and 19 do a fairly good job of setting up the story and bringing it to a conclusion. A few details are lost, but, for the most part, this section moves along fairly well.
Too bad its contents are reprehensible.
There are many Christians who attempt to argue that the Bible does not in fact condemn homosexuality. As much as I respect the motivations of these Christians, I must disagree with them: the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality.
However, the story of
The story begins in Chapter 18. God appears to Abraham in the form of three avatars. Abraham invites the three men into his tent to rest, and a great deal of detail is wasted on the preparations for their meal. The men repeat that Sarah will bear a child, which amuses her greatly due to her age. They then prepare to continue on their way.
The three avatars have come to judge
Abraham continues to argue, and convinces God not to destroy the city if forty righteous people can be found there.
Abraham continues to argue, and convinces God not to destroy the city if thirty righteous people can be found there.
Abraham continues to argue, and convinces God not to destroy the city if twenty righteous people can be found there.
Abraham continues to argue, and convinces God not to destroy the city if ten righteous people can be found there.
God, who must be getting as tired of this as I am, hurries on his way, having agreed to the ten-righteous-people promise. None of this matters anyway, though, because God doesn’t even bother to look for ten righteous people once his representatives have arrived in the city.
As Chapter 19 opens, two angels enter
This is a troublesome passage. First of all, there is the use of the term “know”. As Religious Tolerance explains, the term is used (in its original Hebrew) 943 times in the Tanakh/Old Testament, mostly in the sense of “to know a fact”. Only on about a dozen occasions is it used as a euphemism for sexual intercourse.
As mentioned in Chapter 14,
Further complicating the conventional reading, the KJV refers to “the men of the city, even the men of
This is not a very good passage on which to base moral lessons, however, given
The angels ward off the mob, and reveal to
The oddly inappropriate moral lessons are not yet over, however.
So one of our “righteous moral exemplars” offers his two virgin daughters for a mob to gang rape. Later, those two righteous daughters incestuously rape their own father.
But it is homosexuality that is wrong. Go figure.