Initial the Lord had told Abraham that they had come to see if the cry that came out of Sodom and Gomorrah if it was true

Genesis 18:20-21 ESV

So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”

But later the angels told Lot that they had come to destroy those cities

Genesis 19:12-13 NLT

12 Meanwhile, the angels questioned Lot. “Do you have any other relatives here in the city?” they asked. “Get them out of this place—your sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. 13 For we are about to destroy this city completely. The outcry against this place is so great it has reached the Lord, and he has sent us to destroy it.”

But this was not before the men of Sodom had tried to be intimate with the angels

Genesis 19:5 ESV

5 They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!

Was it the actions of these men that precipitated this action?

4 Answers 4


Here is a biblical profile of Sodom that explains precisely why they were destroyed.

  1. Isaiah 3:8-9 says of Judah and Jerusalem, “They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not.” They had become so devoid of behavioral restraints that they did not even attempt to conceal their sins.

a. No more fear of God.

b. No more fear of accountability.

c. No more shame for their corrupted behavior.

  1. Ezekiel 16: 48-50 says that they were

a. Arrogant

b. Abundant in food – This fosters an attitude of self-sufficiency and self-reliance. No sense of a need for God.

c. Unconcerned – no fear of consequences

d. Haughty – proud. This is one attitude God says he definitively hates.

e. They behaved abominably or detestably.

f. They did not help the poor and needy. No social conscience left.

  1. Jude 7

a. They indulged in gross immorality.

b. The went after strange flesh. What defines “strange”? “Strange” is that which God has not approved for the purpose. See the example of the “strange fire” offered by Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1-3. Like those of Sodom and the other cities of the plains, their substitution of things that were strange cost them their lives.

  1. In Romans 1, the apostle Paul outlines the four stages of social deterioration.

a. It begins with the suppression of truth. This is described as the rejection of the Word of God. This distills into idolatry. Consequently, God gave them over to it,18-23.

b. This then, deteriorated into moral depravity which he defines as a dishonoring of their bodies. So, God gave them over again, 24-25.

c. This in turn produced the embrace of homosexuality. God gave them over yet again, 26-28.

d. Society then bottomed out submitting themselves to absolute depravity of both mind and body. Notice that here God does not give the over to further decline because there is no further level of decline to be had. No behavior was restrained. Of these God says,

“They who commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”


Genesis 19:

5 They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!”

Was it the actions of these men that precipitated this action?


cause to happen suddenly, unexpectedly, or prematurely.

Was it the actions of these men in Genesis 19:5 that precipitated the destruction of Sodom?

No, it did not cause the destruction prematurely. On the contrary, their actions only confirmed God's decision to destroy Sodom at that exact time. The decision wasn't unexpected. It was anticipated in Genesis 18:

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?

The destruction was expected.

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

The report of the outcry will be confirmed in Genesis 19:5. The decision will be carried out as planned.

Was it the action of the men of Sodom that precipitated its destruction in Genesis 19?

No, not particularly.


God saw the sin of Sodom. These sins may have been of many different kinds since sin breeds sin, however the act of these men of Sodom toward the angels of God is very telling. There is no doubt that these men were lusting after the angels who had been sent in a homosexual way. Regardless of the other sins they were guilty of this sin stands out and is specifically mentioned in the story. God was going to destroy the city for it's wickedness and that is why the angels were there to start with. But the blatant sin of wanting to sexually rape the angels significantly shows the degraded lifestyles of the men of Sodom.


The text implies a cause-and-effect relation between the actions of the men of Sodom in Gen. 19 and the city's destruction. However if we back up to Gen. 13:13 we find that "Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord," years prior to these events. So we should probably see the episode with Lot as a confirmation of the Lord's suspicions as expressed in Gen. 18:21 - "I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard."

Complicating the matter is the fact that in. Gen 14, the narrator, even after calling the men of Sodom "great sinners against the Lord," says that Abraham made an alliance with Sodom to rescue Lot:

As the kings of Sodom and Gomor′rah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the mountain. So the enemy took all the goods of Sodom and Gomor′rah, and all their provisions, and went their way; they also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed... When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan... Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his goods, and the women and the people. After his return... the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh.

Abraham then accepted bread and wine from Melchizedek but declined the king of Sodom's offer to share in the war booty, saying: "“I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich." So we can deduce that Abraham's alliance wit this king was one of necessity rather than friendship.

Conclusion: the text states that the men of Sodom were already "great sinners" against God, long before the city's destruction. However, this sin was not great enough to prevent Abraham from allying with the city to save Lot. Apparently, the evil of the city had continued unabated since that time, and probably had gotten worse. The incident in Gen. 19 was the final straw.

Note: I consider this events legendary rather than historical. My answer expresses my understanding of the text, not of historical facts.

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