I heard two different persons in two different occasions (few weeks ago, respectively 10 years ago) during the church programs affirming that people in Sodom had a bed for guests.

If the person visiting them was too short, they would stretch them to be as long as the bed. If they were too tall, they would cut their legs to make them shorter and fit the bed.

Neither of these persons mentioned the source.

I quickly searched on the internet about this idea and found that in the Greek mythology there is a story about Procrustes who had such a bed:

There he had a bed, in which he invited every passer-by to spend the night, and where he set to work on them with his smith's hammer, to stretch them to fit. In later tellings, if the guest proved too tall, Procrustes would amputate the excess length; nobody ever fitted the bed exactly.


Then I found same idea linked to people in Sodom, but couldn’t find a specific source either.

The abstract of A funny thing happened in my way to Sodom mentions:

Special attention is paid to the Talmud’s incorporation of the well-known motif of the “Procrustean bed”; noting the methodological and textual obstacles that plague our attempts to identify exactly which versions of that legend were being used by the Talmudic authors.

I’m not familiar with the Talmud. What is the context where it incorporates this story of Procrustean bed?

Is there any other significant link of Procrustean bed and people in Sodom?

  • Welcome to MiYodeya Ioanica. Hope to see you around!
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    Jan 20, 2018 at 19:00
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1 Answer 1


The story you saw referenced is in Sanhedrin 109b. You can read an English translation here or an expanded translation here.

This is the part regarding the bed of Procrustes (quoting from the first translation):

Now, they had beds upon which travellers slept. If he [the guest] was too long, they shortened him [by lopping off his feet]; if too short, they stretched him out. Eliezer, Abraham's servant, happened to go there. Said they to him, 'Arise and sleep on this bed!' He replied, 'I have vowed since the day of my mother's death not to sleep in a bed.'

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