The Lack of Charity
“Have you not committed lewdness in addition to all your abominations? 44 Behold, every one who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you, ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 And your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. 47 Yet you were not content to walk in their ways, or do according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. 48 As I live, says the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them, when I saw it. 51 Samaria has not committed half your sins; you have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations which you have committed. 52 Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have made judgment favorable to your sisters; because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous. Ezek. 16:43b-52
God starts out with the insult of insults, instead of being His beloved, pure and clean, she is rather the daughter of a Hittite and Amorite and a sister to Samaria. But to top it off, He compares them to Sodom, nothing in the Bible is a greater insult than being compared to Sodom. Even in our culture Sodom is a byword for all that is evil and destined to be destroyed. A city so wicked that God erased them from the face of the earth. Archeologist are still not definitive as to where it was. One of the mistaken interpretations of Gen 19, that the great sin of the city was homosexuality. We see here that the greater sin was being uncharitable to the poor and needy.
A careful reading of Gen 19 reveals that it is not their homosexuality that was condemned, but the fact that their homosexuality caused them to behave in an inhospitable manner. Throughout the ancient world hospitality was a cardinal responsibility of everyone. There were no inns or hostile for travelers to stay in. So it was a universal rule that travelers be taken in and cared for and protected. Most pagan culture have a similar story where the god or king goes traveling to see if his people are kind and charitable or not. If they treat him well they are rewarded, if not they are punished or cursed. In Gen 19, where the three visitors come to Sodom, only Lot offers them hospitality. Because of the wholesale homosexuality the citizens of the city, they only want to prey on the visitor rather than protect them, and this is why they were cursed. This is not the instructions of God. The law states that the traveler is to be shown hospitality.
Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. Deut. 10:19
Because Judah had the temple, she is more guilty than the Northern tribes. After Solomon’s reign the Northern ten tribes had split politically with Judah. This left Samaria or the northern tribes with no access to the temple, and it’s distribution system. The reason that this is important is that God’s welfare system was to be run by the priests and Levites through the temple. See Also: Tithing.
Where Samaria’s inhospitality was there because they had lost the distribution network. Judah was without excuse as they had the temple and the Priests and Levites to instruct them. Clearly from this text we see that they had not kept these laws of charity and hospitality. They now stand condemned by God for not caring for the poor and needy, their neighbor or the traveler.
God clearly intended for his spiritual leaders to care for the poor and needy, not the government. It was to the temple and Levites that the widow and orphans were to turn, not the king. When the early church was uninvited to the temple they picked deacons to fulfill this need. [Acts 6] They did not complain to the temple authorities. They did not turn to the Roman government.