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I’ve always liked this verse since I first read it a few years ago. Today for the first time I looked at the rest of the chapter. Oh dear.
Would it matter if this verse said the sin of sodom was male homosexuality? I don’t think Ezekiel is great moral lesson, especialy in detail. I like the emotion expressed on this prophesy. Especially in the culture he preached in, were sexual mores seem not to different from today’s arab/muslim world, the portrayal of israel as a weird groomed orphan child bride that cheats in her husband would have been horrifing. In pakistan women are disfigured and gang raped for offences like those commited by allegorical Israel. Indeed the prophesy suggest this is proper treatment for whores.
Further, some of Ezekiel’s charges seem to show racisim of a type still exibited now; the focus on black mens supposedly extraordinary endowment. Israel is described as craving the larger dicks of the Egyptians. At the time, if im not mistaken, Egypt was ruled by cushite dynasty of generally “black” appearence. Hence the refrence may reflect an early belief in this racist stereotype.
So the question is, if Ezekiel is exclusivist, sexist and racist, what is the deep value of his message. Is it a step to a better way of thinking or is it in its self an authoritative text?is it simply an example of the wickedness of old thinking?
Academically, it is interesting in the study of homosexual history in ancient Palestinian. While I dont doubt Ezekiel was a homophobe, as suggested by the old testment commands against man on man sex, Asa’s persecution of male temple prostitutes, and the association of homosexual sex to the Sodom story. However Ezekiel’s big take away is not god destroys cities because their are fags there but that god destroys cities were people don’t perform common courtesy, like sheltering travlers and feed the starving. I doubt Ezekiel or his colleagues worried much about guys screwing guys behind barns or in alleys. My impression is the homosexuality is practiced broadly on semetic culture but not a accepted. It is in the closet. Their was probably no gay scene in Jerusalem after the temple prostitutes were pitched the curb, forced to practice in secret. “What are we going to do about all the gays” probably didnt come up until the conqeust by the greeks. But had their been, one suspects Ezekiel would have been against it. Nevertheless, Ezekiel is right. The Sobomites were condemed for not being generous, that they threatened to sodomise the angels is not central to the crime, but only used to demonstrate the depths of their selfishness. The act was taboo to yahwhist, and likeky to most men in Judah. I’ve read ancient accounts of individuals thrown to house slaves to be gang raped as punisment. We shouldn’t see their homosexuality as last straw. They may otherwise have been imagined a straight society. This is like prison rape, a show of power, humiliation and subjugation. My army friends tell me that this happen even now in muslim nations in negotiations between individuals, where a sexual assault or favor performed on another man is done not out of real lust but a expression of dominance.
We put a bunch of these memes together here: http://redefinesodomy.com/