Although I’ve read different interpretations of what was the actual sin of Sodom in Genesis 19 (homosexuality vs. various from inhospitality to rape), Jude provides a shockingly direct answer-“sexual immorality”(NIV). Or so I thought until reading Stong’s. It appears neither tack is right; fornication doesn’t readily fit with the intentions of the Sodomites outside of Lot’s door. Could the dissonance found with “fornication” be the reason that the translation favored the less-common meaning, “utterly unchaste”?

Jude 7 - just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, having indulged in sexual immorality and having gone after strange flesh, in like manner with them are set forth as an example, undergoing the penalty of eternal fire.

  • use stepbible.org with ESV and Greek to compare the word meanings. It doesn't just mention sexual immorality, the ek prefix with pornea shows a complete indulgence of it, giving oneself to fornication. It adds another description pursued unnatural desire
    – Michael16
    Jul 12, 2022 at 18:02
  • Strongs is a concordance, not a dictionary. It doesn't tell you what a word means, only how some translators chose to translate it.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 4, 2023 at 3:50

1 Answer 1


Allow me to quote the meanings from BDAG for two words:

ἐκπορνεύω (ekporneuó)

This verb only occurs in Jude 7 and its meaning is (BDAG):

indulge in illicit sexual relations/debauchery

πορνεύω (porneuó)

This verb is the cognate/lexical root of that above verb and occurs in the NT 8 times: 1 Cor 6:18, 10:8(x2), Rev 2:14, 20, 17:2, 18:3, 9. (the cognate noun, πορνεία occurs 25 times in the NT.] The meaning of this verb is (BDAG):

  1. to engage in sexual immorality, egage in illicit sex, to fornicate, to whore, eg, 1 Cor 10:8ab, [distinguished from "adultery" which uses μοιχεύω, Mark 10:19], 1 Cor 6:18, Rev 2:14, 20
  2. engagement in polytheistic cult, fornicate, eg, Rev 17:2, 18:3, 9.

[Note that πορνεύω (porneuó) is the linguistic origin of several English words such as "pornography" and, via Grimm' Law, "fornicate" and thus has closely related meanings as shown above.]

That is, the Modern English verb "fornicate" is narrower that perneuo - perneuo means any illicit sex of any kind, whether heterosexual or otherwise, between adults or otherwise, consensual or otherwise. However, in the Elizabethan English of the KJV, "fornicate" was almost identical to πορνεύω (porneuó).

In the case of Jude 7, ἐκπορνεύω (ekporneuó) describes a strengthened form of πορνεύω (porneuó) and of a more extreme kind; the final result of which was the desired and attempted pack rape of the men of Sodom on the two visitors in Gen 19.

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