There were actually more cities destroyed than just Sodom and Gomorrah. Admah and Zeboim were included but Zoar was spared. But, in general, most people just think of Sodom and Gomorrah and they often think that it was destroyed because of homosexuality, which is also not biblical.
The reason it was destroyed, according to the prophet Ezekiel, was because they would not help others who were strangers. The book of Jasher goes into way more detail and adds that they weren’t just “not helpful to strangers” but actively mocked, hurt, and killed strangers. But as to the reason why the towns were destroyed the Jasher account does agree completely with Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 16:49 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.
Jasher 19:44 And the LORD was provoked at this and at all the works of the cities of Sodom, for they had abundance of food, and had tranquility amongst them, and still would not sustain the poor and the needy, and in those days their evil doings and sins became great before the LORD.
Also note that when everyone into separated into groups of sheep or goats at judgement day, the sheep are those who take care of the poor and needy, and the goats are those who don’t care for strangers.
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me food: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into agelong fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no food: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
The works that Jesus (Yehoshua) is separating them by could be seen as an allusion to the sin of of these cities.
In the following video I read some of Jasher concerning what the people of these towns were doing. As I stated above they were not just not caring for the needy, they actively went about to mock the needy, doing things such as making laws that no one could feed the poor strangers. If someone was seen sneaking food to the strangers they were dealt with harshly also. A woman snuck a homeless man some food, and they found out (because he hadn’t died of starvation yet) so they covered her in honey and let the bees sting her to death.
It kind of makes you wonder why the US has so many laws against feeding the homeless when that was actually one of the “sins of Sodom.”
But what is not the sin of Sodom was homosexuality. Though the men did want to have sex with the male strangers in Lot’s house, it’s likely they just wanted to humiliate them just as they humiliated the homeless strangers by giving them money and not letting them buy food with it.
From Richard Gist “You Don’t Understand the Bible Because You Are Christian“:
Still many people are eager to declare that all the townsmen of these cities were homosexual. Does that make sense to you? Really, to anyone? About how many men are we talking? Dozens? Hundreds? Were they going to line up and each sexually attack the visitors? The five cities were exclusive communities, not welcoming to outsiders. They had established a good life for themselves and did not want others taking advantage of it. Walter Wink, formerly Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary, wrote that the men were apparently heterosexuals who came to Lot’s home with the intention of humiliating these outsiders by “treating them like women, thus demasculinizing them.” We are familiar with similar practices taking place in prison life. It is all about control, and the Sodomites wanted the strangers to experience it, and to leave.
Tikva Frymer-Kensky, writing about the twin version of the story that takes place in Gibeah (Judges 19), concludes the same thing about the men there. They were not homosexuals on the make, but ordinary townsmen who were determined to emasculate the stranger in town by raping him. As she says, rape is not a sexual act, but one of violence and dominance, the dishonoring and shaming of the man forced to submit. At Gibeah, when they could not get to the man, they gang-raped his concubine who had been forced from the house. They abused her all night, and she died. This, of course, also demeaned the man. He could not protect his woman. Victorious soldiers down through history have raped the women of those defeated in battle. Sometimes it is difficult to be proud of my gender.
Additionally, some scholars feel the story is about the violation of the demands of hospitality that rested upon many ancient Near Eastern cultures. Dishonoring the guest was dishonoring God. In neither story could the host allow anyone to violate his male guest, but women, having no protection, could be “shoved out the door.” The point is, the stories are not about a community of homosexuals who incur the wrath of God for being so. Notice, in the Gibeah story, more horrific than the Sodom account, God does not step in to punish anyone.”
YHWH is far more interested in us taking care of strangers than pointing out perceived faults in others.
Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those in prison as if you were bound with them, and those who are mistreated as if you were suffering with themFollow or Contact Links