From: Bob Vincent (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Mar 28 2001 - 10:46:17 EST
Jim West <firstname.lastname@example.org> asked:
> Is there any document which uses this word in the sense of "inhospitible"
> (or is it inhospitable)? The reason i ask is because the dreadful sin of
> sodom and gomorrah was inhospitality and hence, wonder if Jude
> the sin or used the word ekporneuw in a proper sense now now longer
> generally apprehended.
I am sure that your statement was not made ipse dixit, but that you were
basing your assertion on Ezekiel 16:49, 50, where one might sum up part of
their sin as failure to show hospitality. That is true, but the passage is
broader than that:
"This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride,
excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed
them when I saw it."
The word translated "guilt" by the NRSV in verse 49 is often translated
iniquity in other versions. In Hebrew it is Ayin Waw Nun, which is
translated as ANOMHNA in the LXX. It seems most natural to take it as
describing all of their acts listed in verses 49 and 50. Included in this
list of things that led to Sodom's guilt, or were part of her iniquity, are
not only violations of Ancient Near Eastern hospitality, but "abominable
things" (Taw Waw Ayin Beth He), which is rendered by the LXX, once again, as
(Taw Waw Ayin Beth He) is found in a number of passages in the Hebrew Bible,
particularly in the Holiness Code of Leviticus 17-26, for example, where the
NRSV translates it as "abomination:"
Leviticus 18:22: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an
Leviticus 18:26-30 "But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and
commit none of these abominations, either the citizen or the alien who
resides among you (for the inhabitants of the land, who were before you,
committed all of these abominations, and the land became defiled); otherwise
the land will vomit you out for defiling it, as it vomited out the nation
that was before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations shall be
cut off from their people. So keep my charge not to commit any of these
abominations that were done before you, and not to defile yourselves by
them: I am the Lord your God."
Leviticus 20:13 "If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has
sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them have committed an
abomination. They must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves."
(Taw Waw Ayin Beth He) is also used of other violations of the Standards
that set Israel off in distinction to her neighbors, for example, idolatry
and eating forbidden food.
The allegories of Ezekiel 16 and 23 (which I was shown by a camp counselor
when I was twelve and got me actually to read the Bible with an inquisitive
mind for the first time), like Hosea, are all about failure to carry out
loyalty to Yahweh under the imagery of failure to maintain loyalty in terms
of sexuality in marriage. Ezekiel is filled with sexual images to depict
Israel's turning away from Yahweh:
"You played the whore with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors,
multiplying your whoring, to provoke me to anger. Therefore I stretched out
my hand against you, reduced your rations, and gave you up to the will of
your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your
lewd behavior. You played the whore with the Assyrians, because you were
insatiable; you played the whore with them, and still you were not
satisfied. You multiplied your whoring with Chaldea, the land of merchants;
and even with this you were not satisfied." (Ezekiel 16:26-29)
"When she carried on her whorings so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I
turned in disgust from her, as I had turned from her sister. Yet she
increased her whorings, remembering the days of her youth, when she played
the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her paramours there, whose
members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of
stallions. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the
Egyptians fondled your bosom and caressed your young breasts." (Ezekiel
Taking the information recorded in Genesis with that of Ezekiel, I think
that we can surmise that the Cities of the Plain were very prosperous
(Genesis 13:10, 11), and instead of using that prosperity to help those who
were poor, as community loyalty demands, they squandered it on self
indulgence and idleness and became unbridled in sensuality. Unbridled
sensuality led them to violate the sanctuary given to strangers by their
throwing off the restraints of sexual taboos. All of this was accompanied
by arrogance: "She and her daughters had pride . . . they were haughty."
(Ezekiel 16:49, 50) Instead of repentance over their squandering divine
gifts in self indulgent sensuality, they respond to Lot's entreaty by
saying, "This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge!"
This unbridled sensuality, ASELGEIA (2 Peter 2:7), expresses itself in a
variety of things, not only in terms of trans-species sex, but also in
homosexual acts and incest. An allusion to the later is perhaps found in
the story of Lot with his two daughters, whose children shamelessly are
named From Father (Moab) and Son of my People (Ben-ammi).
We can describe Sodom as an arrogant, self indulgent people who violated the
norms of community loyalty (usually described in the Hebrew Bible as Heth
Samekh Daleth), which included sharing material goods and shelter with
others, honoring the sanctuary given to strangers sheltered in person's
home, and honoring sexual taboos. All of that is in view in Ezekiel 16:48,
As such then, one should not look for an unusual usage of the word
EKPORNEUW, especially since it is used nine times in Ezekiel 16 and four
times in Ezekiel 23, in each case describing violations of loyalty in terms
of acts of unbridled, sexual indulgence.
Yours in Christ,
Robert Benn Vincent, Sr.
Tutissimum Refugium Sanguinis Christi
80 Hickory Hill Drive
Boyce, LA 71409-8784
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