Ezekiel 16:49—Was the sin of Sodom selfishness rather than homosexuality?

Problem: Ezekiel described the sin of Sodom as selfishness: “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” (niv). No mention is made of homosexuality or related sexual sins. Contrary to the traditional view, they were apparently condemned simply because they were selfish, not because they were homosexuals.

Solution: Sodom’s sin was not only selfishness, but also homosexuality. This is evident from several facts. First of all, the context of Genesis 19 reveals that their perversion was sexual (see comments on Gen. 19:8).

Second, the sin of selfishness related by Ezekiel (16:49) does not exclude the sin of homosexuality. As a matter of fact, sexual sins are a form of selfishness, since they are the satisfaction of fleshly passions.

Third, by calling their sin an “abomination,” the very next verse (v. 50, nkjv) indicates that it was sexual. This is the same word used to describe homosexual sins in Leviticus 18:22.

Fourth, the notorious nature of Sodom’s sexual perversity is revealed in the very word “sodomy” which has come to mean homosexual activity.

Fifth, the sin of Sodom is referred to elsewhere in Scripture as a sexual perversion. Jude even calls their sin “sexual immorality” (v. 7).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.