16 ¶ And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
23 ¶ And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. 30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. 33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
First, God acknowledges that Abraham will become a mighty nation, a people, he will command his family to faithfulness to the Lord, and he and his family will be faithful to God. Through the people that come from Abraham the entire world will be blessed. As we know, through Abraham the entire world was given the opportunity to know the God who created them even most chose instead a mythical god or gods to worship who reflected their own morality, their own political views, their own culture, fear, paranoia, and bigotry. Many who worship in churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues today are simply worshipping a reflection of themselves rather than the God who actually created them and all things.
God here gives Abraham an opportunity to plead for mercy for the small number of people who may not deserve the judgment Abraham knows Sodom so richly has earned.
Sodom is guilty of great wickedness.
Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
We will be shocked at the homosexual gang rape threatened by the men of Sodom coming soon but the Bible shows this wickedness was not unique to Sodom. The men of Gibeah, Israelites of the tribe of Benjamin, will threaten the same and then commit heterosexual rape and murder on a Levite’s concubine in Judges 19. We must understand that this world’s religious and social system was fraught with sexuality and power/domination rituals such as gang rape to enforce the power of a group of people over even a stranger passing through.
From Sodom we get the word sodomite for a male temple prostitute in contrast to a whore which denotes a female temple prostitute.
Deuteronomy 23:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Even today, in some quarters, a male prostitute is called a dog in slang.
Men would enter a pagan temple in the Ancient Near East and toss a coin into a temple prostitute’s lap to have sex with them as part of their worship of Baal and Ishtar. Greek writers, Herodotus and Lucian, tell us of this practice as a symbol of Ishtar’s union with Tammuz. It is evident from the Bible that this was the form of worship that God abhorred and wanted erased.
So, Sodom was proud, rich, lazy, and without compassion for the poor, passing on the perverted religious practices of the age that probably started at Babel or even more likely from the fallen sons of God in the Pre-Flood world who found the daughters of men desirable. It is even noted in some sources that every woman who came of age was expected to visit a temple to act as a religious prostitute at least once.
Temple prostitution even plays a part in the Greco-Roman world of Paul and the early Christians. Certainly the thousand short-haired temple prostitutes at the Temple of Aphrodite in nearby Acro-Corinth had an impact on the Corinthians church’s requirement that their women have long-hair so as not to be confused with a temple prostitute. Read 1Corinthians 11:1-16 but pay attention to verse 16 that shows this was not necessarily an issue with other Christian churches.
Abraham pleads with God most likely for the sake of his nephew, Lot, and God promises that if there are just ten righteous men in this city he will spare it. Apparently, even that is too much to ask of Sodom. Lot, who it is later revealed is disgusted by the behavior of the people of the city he has chosen to abide in, will be saved from its judgment.
2Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 ¶ And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: