“But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭19:4‬ ‭

What can be deduced and is therefore significant or important to emphasize that it was all the men from all the quarters of the city?

3 Answers 3


The statement of about "all the people" cannot be literally true for several reasons:

  • It did not include Lot and his family
  • the entire city population would not fit outside Lot's house
  • "the men of Sodom" does not equal "all the people"
  • the old and infirm could not have also been present and could not commit the vile acts which they demanded of Lot's guests

Thus, it is apparently some Hebrew idiom equivalent to the English expression, "every man and his dog", or similar. The hyperbolic expression simply implies a large crowd.

  • To be fair, they only surrounded the house, they didn't all go inside.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 4, 2021 at 12:00
  • @curiousdannii - agreed - I did not suggest that - they would have had to fit in the street outside the house
    – Dottard
    Jul 4, 2021 at 12:07
  • Oh, I misread what you wrote, thought you said they couldn't fit inside. I guess I just don't see why they couldn't all fit outside surrounding it. I always pictured them crowding around for some distance, many blocks back.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 4, 2021 at 12:35
  • Thank you for your response. You have taken the negative position and not mentioned the positive significances, which is still a partial answer. Thank you. Four counterpoints, • it’s a given Lot’s family would be excluded • the text says around the house but not how far out from the house • it depends how infirm because even when struck with blindness they still kept trying to find the house (I’d say again ASSUMING there were infirm people, the obvious paralyzed were excluded) and the text makes the point that there were old people. These men were determined age, blindness wasn’t stopping them Jul 4, 2021 at 12:47
  • 1
    ...the entire city population would not fit outside Lot's house. The entire city of was already outside Lots house. This is a false point.
    – Austin
    Jul 4, 2021 at 15:37

The word all is sometimes used in hyperboles. E.g., Psalm 103:3 New International Version

who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

But Paul advised his protege in 1 Timothy 5:23

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

God had forgiven literally all of Timothy's sins but did not literally heal all his diseases.

As suggested by Dottard, the all in Genesis 19:4 is not to be taken literally.

  • I wish you’d have made the same point without mixing covenants. The verse in psalm is under a different covenant. Jul 4, 2021 at 19:21

John 1:1 the word was God.

Titus 1:2 God can not lie

Which means the Word can not lie.

So when it says specifically ALL the men, it must mean all the men.

Which means you'd have to redefine what is meant by 'the city'. I would say the city is speaking of a select group of people, not a city on earth named Sodom.

A group of people such as : The sexually cruel Those sinning through sexuality somehow

I should add, I believe this is all symbolic not taking place physically.

  • I would say the city is speaking of a select group of people, not a city on earth named Sodom. Do you mind clarifying your rather obscure statement? Thank you Jul 5, 2021 at 9:27

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