WFT- carrefour

24 May 2009

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Friday May 22nd was carrefour.  They provided this definition:

1 : crossroads 2 : square, plaza

The following etymological information was also provided:

An interesting thing about "carrefour" is that even though the second half of  the word contains the number "four," it is actually the first half of the word  that derives from the Latin word for "four." "Carrefour" derives via Middle  French from Late Latin "quadrifurcus," an adjective meaning "having four forks,"  formed by combining Latin "quadri-" ("four") and "furca" ("fork"). "Carrefour"  has been a part of the English language since the 15th century. It once referred  to an intersection of four roads at a single point, but later came to refer to  any public square or plaza. "Carfax," a similar word that also derives from  "quadrifurcus," can be found in some British place names, such as the primary  intersection in the city of Oxford, England.

This brings to mind the stories in Scripture about men being left in the square without a place to stay.

The first such story is found in Genesis 19:1-13 with the story of the angels that entered into Sodom and met Lot.  The angels indicated they would stay in the square but Lot begged them to come and stay with him.  Later that evening the men of the city surrounded Lot's house and called for Lot to send out the men so they could have "relations with them" as the NASB phrases it.  Lot stood firm and called for the men of Sodom not to act wickedly.

We find an eerily similar story in the book of Judges 19 where a man of the tribe of Levi stopped and stayed in the town of Gibeah.  In verse 22 and later another group of men from the city came and asked for the man to be given to them so they could "have relations" with him.

Although the sin involved in both situations was one of homosexuality and sodomy it was not for this specific sin that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.  Ezekiel 16:49-50 tells us

"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.

The specific sin mentioned here is the sin of failing to help the poor and needy.  It is a reflection of the hearts of the men of those cities that they did not fear G-d and take care of the poor and needy (including the angels of Lot's day) among them.  This heart attitude led them into additional sins that included the abomination (Lev 18:22) of homosexuality.  As verse 50 notes "Thus [as a result/consequence] they were haughty and committed abominations before Me."

To G-d be the glory and power and honor forever.  Amen.

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