With all due respect to Rev Ivan Foster (retired), he states in his letter that I informed readers I lived in Israel and had a knowledge of Hebrew; actually it was the editor who added that information at the end of my letter. And he states that “a knowledge of the Bible is the first essential in these matters”.
To be able to read the Bible in its original tongue, Hebrew, does not preclude that one doing the same has no knowledge of the Bible. In fact I personally find that a knowledge of Hebrew helps one to see the words the translators had to interpret and to appreciate the nuances oblivious in English.
As a result Rev Foster completely ignores the fact that the word rendered by most English translations of Genesis 19:4 as “men” is actually “people” which changes the whole complexion of the passage.
The Hebrew word “anashim” (people) or “anashei ha-ir” (people of the city) and “anashei s’dom” (people of Sodom) comes from the root word “anush” meaning human.
All Hebrew plurals involving both sexes, except when it is only women, always have a male ending, such as with “sons of God” which includes females too, and with “brethren (or brothers) dwelling together in unity,” which also includes women. Anashim is the same.
Men of Sodom is both male and female due to the chauvinistic nature of Hebrew grammar and so could be taken literally as only males by translators. When anashim is used elsewhere and translated also as “men,” such as in “men of Jerusalem” or “men of Galilee” it is addressing gatherings of both men and women.
Lot offers his two daughters to the crowd which would not be logical if the crowd was made up of only exclusively male homosexuals.
The other references to Sodom and Gomorrah that Rev Foster quotes point out the grievousness of the sin collectively of the city, as the LORD had already predetermined to destroy the city we learn in the previous chapter, which reveals that there was not even 10 righteous within its gates.
But there is no specific reference to male homosexuality exclusively, but rather as an example to those who live ungodly, which would’ve included both sexes of the entire city, unless it was made up solely of gay men and no women.
Yeshua’s denunciation of Capernaum in relation to Sodom makes no reference to male homosexuality being a problem in the Galilee, but rather for their rejection of Him after doing great works in their midst.
The quotations from Romans 1 which rightly condemn male and female homosexuality is nowhere linking it to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Other references to the cities in the Old Testament refer to sin but never to homosexuality explicitly, so we must let the Bible speak for itself and not add to or take away from it (Revelation 22:18-19) and that includes private and collective, possibly biased, interpretation.
Rev Foster is silent on heterosexual sodomy.
Colin Nevin, Bangor