HOMOSEXUALITY is a ‘GROSS' SIN in the SIGHT of GOD: As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, "Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!" But the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, "No, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly! Seeing this man has come into my house, do not commit this outrage." (Judges 19:22-23)
As we come to the closing chapters of the book of Judges, we are confronted with unimaginable depravity in the land of Israel where “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (21:25). This book had started on a high note with the tribe of Judah taking on the lead to continue the legacy of Joshua, and taking possession of more land territory in Canaan according to the stipulations of their inheritance (1:1-2). However, this book ends with the entire nation of Israel sinking in a moral cesspool of lust, anarchy, and a civil war that almost wipes out one tribe – Benjamin - from the face of earth!
How did this spiritual down slide happen in Israel? The answers are many, but broadly may account to the disappearance of moral values and the lofty standards of God’s laws that were envisioned in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. Further, there was no spiritual leader in the likes of Moses and Joshua, who could lead by example and set godly standards for the people. Due to these and other related reasons, the Israelites chose to turn away from God, and in doing so sank to the very bottom of the moral sink hole….even closely enacting the depravity of the people of Sodom during the time of Abraham!
The men of Gibeah had committed such highly immoral acts as had not occurred since the days of Sodom (v. 30; Hosea 9:9; 10:9). It appears that the writer of Judges was trying to make a connection between the two incidents with all of the terrible implications for Israel’s true condition. In fact, a close reading of the two episodes in Sodom (Gen. 19:1-8) and Gibeah (Judges 19:12-25) reveal the similarities between the two incidents:
- In Sodom, two angels (in the form of men) came as visitors and wanted to spend the night in the open square, but Lot persuaded them to take rest in his home (Gen. 19:1-3a). In Gibeah, the Levite and his concubine planned to rest in the open square, but an unnamed old man persuaded them to take rest in his home (Judg. 19:12-21a).
- In Sodom, the men surrounded Lot’s home while they were having a feast (Gen. 19:3b-4). In Gibeah, the men surrounded the old man’s home while they were having food (Judg. 19:21b).
- In Sodom, this is what the men told Lot: "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally." (Gen. 19:5) In Gibeah, this is what the perverted men told the old man: "Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!" (Judg. 19:22) The sadistic intentions of these wicked men who sought to satisfy their homosexual desires reveal the decadence of both these periods.
- In Sodom, Lot offered his two daughters to be molested instead of the angels (Gen. 19:8), while in Gibeah, the old man offered his virgin daughter and the Levite’s concubine instead (Judg. 19:24).
- The utter depravity and lasciviousness of the men of Sodom and Gibeah were described in almost similar words by Lot and the old man: "please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!" (Gen. 19:7); and "no, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly!" (Judg. 19:23)
- Finally, there were immediate repercussions for this gross sinful act: the men of Sodom died when God rained fire and brimstone upon them (Gen. 19:24-25); and the men of Gibeon and most of the tribe of Benjamin were killed in a civil war that erupted shortly after (Judg. 20:29-46).