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The Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of greatest mass destructions caused by God. The question remains, is it a true story or not? Biblical Archaeologists believe that it is a true story, but either internal earth gasses or the impact of an asteroid has always substantiated their reasoning. We have already analysed the story from Bible’s perspective. Now we will investigate the story from science’s perspective to see where the truth may lay.
To recap, the men of Sodom were wicked and disobedient to God, defying his power and his authority. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was thus the result of this behaviour. According to Biblical archaeologists, the story must have happened near the Dead Sea or the ‘cities of the plain’ as mentioned in Genesis (13:12), as Abraham could look upon the two prehistoric cities in ancient Israel from the area of Hebron.
Archaeologist Steven Collins , using information from the Bible and archaeological evidence from the site of Tall el-Hammam in Jordan, suggested that he located Sodom to the northeast of the Dead Sea. However, his suggestion has not been accepted by other biblical archaeologists for two reasons: a) geographical misplacement and b) chronological misplacement. Therefore, if Tall el-Hammam is indeed Sodom then the Bible cannot be used as a rule for accurate dates and locations.
Another, more popular, opinion is that the cities of Bad dh-Dhra and Numeira, which are the only known inhabited towns in the region of the Dead Sea for the period of time between 3000 BCE and 1000 BCE, could be the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah respectively. Both of these towns were simultaneously destroyed at the end of the Early Bronze III period by an enormous fire so big as to create debris three feet thick. The question here is what could have caused such destruction? The excavations in the area point to falling burning debris. This is where geologist Frederick Clapp suggests that a release of the subterranean substance called bitumen (a derivative of petroleum) during an earthquake may account for the debris. According to his theory, it ignited in the air and led to a shower of flaming debris that destroyed both of the cities.
Another theory that has created debate between archaeologists is based on an Assyrian clay tablet showing that an asteroid may have destroyed the two cities. A Sumerian astronomer inscribed this Cuneiform clay tablet around 700 BCE. It shows the trail of an asteroid hitting Kofels in Austria around 3000 BCE, which also may account for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In both suggestions, the descriptions of such events by ancient people could very well identify with the description in Genesis:
Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. Genesis 19:24
Yet until definite proof is presented, we must ask ourselves if the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah could have been the result of ‘God’s’ actions?
City of Sodom Discovered: Archeological find gives insight into story of destruction
It seems that Sodom and Gomorrah were not as “destroyed” as previously thought.
The ruins of the biblical city of Sodom reportedly have been discovered by U.S. archeologists in southern Jordan.
God punished the wickedness of the citizens by destroying the city with brimstone and fire, the biblical story explains. Only the righteous inhabitants were allowed to escape the destruction and were spared by God.
The archeological team, directed by Steve Collins of New Mexico’s Trinity Southwest University, has been working for 10 years in the Jordan Valley. It now believes it has uncovered this magnificent historical site.
If confirmed, the discovery could give the archeological community an invaluable understanding of how people lived during between 3500 BC and 1540 BC.
And perhaps most interestingly, the excavations are revealing that life in the city came to an abrupt end during the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1540 BC), seemingly consistent with the biblical story. Preliminary tests reveal there was a stark end of life that lasted for about 700 years.
Collins addressed the significance of this discovery: ”The archaeological team unearthed a gold mine of ancient monumental structures and artifacts that are revealing a massive Bronze Age city-state that dominated the region of Jordan’s southern Jordan Valley, even during a time when many other great cities of the ‘Holy Land’ region were either abandoned or in serious decline,” he told Popular Archeology, which first reported the findings.
“Very, very little was known about the Bronze Age in the Middle Ghor (southern Jordan Valley) before we began our excavations in 2005,” he added. “Even most of the archaeological maps of the area were blank, or mostly so. What we’ve got on our hands is a major city-state that was, for all practical purposes, unknown to scholars before we started our project.”
Because Collins is so familiar with the excavated area and surrounding historical sites, he is fairly sure this is Sodom, he said.
He also has studied the descriptions of Sodom extensively. “Tall el-Hammam seemed to match every Sodom criterion demanded by the text,” he said.
The uncovered site contains both a lower and upper city, complete with a high city wall surrounding it, gates, and a town plaza. The city wall was constructed with mud bricks. The upper city was built to replace the lower city during the Middle Bronze Age.
Collins speculated that the upper part of the city was built for elites to escape threats from invaders. He also said the fortifications are much more extensive than previously imagined for communities during this age.
Archaeological evidence confirms that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by intense fireThe destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by Jacobz de Wet/Wikipedia/Public Domain
According to archaeologists working on the site believed to include the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, they found evidence confirming the Biblical record that the two cities were destroyed by sulphur and fire:
23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.Genesis 19: 23-25 NASV
The archaeologists, who have been working on the site for 13 years, reported discovering evidence of intense heat. This included clay and rock that had been turned into glass. This would require a brief burst of heat of between 8,000 to 12,000 degree Celsius.
The archaeologists also noted that the destruction took place “in an instant,” and resulted in the stripping of the topsoil. The archaeologists added that “a super-heated brine of Dead Sea anhydride salts pushed over the landscaped by the Event’s frontal shock wave.”
It is interesting that even the Biblical account noted the appearance of salt as it described Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26), and as well, noted the destruction of vegetation (v 25). The archaeologist estimated it would have taken nearly 600 years for the soil to recover.
They wrote, “the physical evidence from Tall el-Hamman and neighboring sites exhibit signs of a highly destructive concussive and thermal event that one might expect from what is described in Genesis 19.”
The research group believes a cosmic event contributed to the destruction of these cities, more specifically, the explosion of an asteroid over the area. They estimated the blast killed between 40,000 to 65,000 people. Carbon dating indicates the explosion took place about 3,700 years ago.
Though, they suggested a natural event was responsible for the destruction, would this eliminate God’s involvement?
No, because God used natural events when He judged the earth with a flood. This included 40 days and nights of rain and releasing the fountains of the deep (Genesis 7:11-12).
And it is important to note, this won’t be the only time that God will use a cosmic event to judge the world. In the Book of Revelation, we read that God will judge the world with a massive mountain-sized asteroid that will cause massive destruction (Revelation 8:8-9).
So why did God judge Sodom and Gomorrah?
When we read the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, a strange thing happened. After God told Abraham about the judgment of the two cities, Abraham negotiated with God asking if the cities would be judged if there were 50 righteous in the city. When God agreed not to judge them if there were 50, Abraham then negotiated the number down 10. If there were 10 righteous, the cities would be spared.
Why did Abraham stop at 10? I believe he stopped because the patriarch felt he had that number covered by Lot and his family who were living in the city.
But when we read a passage in Ezekiel that describes why God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, the prophet said an abomination (singular), one event, changed everything.
49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.Ezekiel 16: 49-50 ESV
When Abraham and the two angels entered the city, some men of Sodom desired to have sex with the two angels (Genesis 19:4-5).
I believe it was this one event that sparked the judgment. If this had not happened, I believe the cities would have avoided judgment.
It is very similar to what happened during the flood, when God judged the world after the sons of God married the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1-2). Most believe the sons of God were angels, and this meant, similar to Sodom, the world was judged because of sexual relations between humans and angels, or in Sodom’s case the desire for it.
And Jude alludes to this in verses 6-7, when he speaks of two incidents that resulted in judgment because of a desire for strange flesh. In the Genesis account, it was the angels that desired strange flesh (human women) and in Sodom’s case, it was men who desired strange flesh (angels).
In other words, the Sodom and Gomorrah were not judged because of homosexuality.
Sodom and Gomorrah
Throughout the 90's Jonathan Gray took several trips to the Middle East in search of the lost cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. There were a number of different places they could have checked out. Most of the previous claims were all around the Dead Sea. Some people thought the lost cities might be under the sea and others felt as though the cities could not be under the sea as the bible said that they had to come out of the cities and go into the lower plains in order to fight their battles, so the cities had to be on higher ground.
Jon found four different cities that were all burned to ash. It wasn't just Sodom and Gomorrah that were burned with sulfur, the cities of Zoboiim and Admah also fell under God's judgment as well. Sodom and Gomorrah were the biggest cities out of the four with Sodom being bigger than Gomorrah.
Sodom is on the west shore of the Dead sea toward the south end of the sea. Gomorrah is just to the North of Sodom and Zoboiim and Admah are north and a little west of the Dead sea.
Take note that the Dead Sea was not always dead. At one time it was known as the beautiful land with great forests and trees. When Abraham and Lot first separated Abraham gave Lot the first choice of where he wanted to go. Lot said that that the land was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, Gen 13:10.
The first thing we notice here in these photos are the white ash figures as they compare to brown earth of the land. The rectangular white shapes are not made up of rock or dirt. It's white ash, made from materials completely burned through.
This was definitely a city as the buildings are lined up with one another and open streets and corners between the buildings.
The city was laid out in a square with walls all around the city. There were 4 gates, one on each side of the city.
Each of the four gates had a very large sphinx outside the opening. This was very common thing to do back in the days when Abraham and Lot were living. You might recall the large sphinx outside of Egypt when they were a world power.
The City of Ash
Some of the houses were built as high as a 5 story building. Upon further investigation he found human remains, pots, and gold salt tablets (Coins). Strange thing though, everything was turned to ash even the human remains and the gold coins were vaporized. Only an intense heat could have burned all this 100% through.
Jon could not investigate inside the buildings a lot because there isn't anything structurally holding them up anymore. One false move could bring down a heap of ash and he could be buried alive.
Jon found the area filled with millions of sulfur balls, small balls pressed with powder. They were all over the place. The sulfur balls had a brown burn ring surrounding them. It was like the sulfur ball was in an egg shell. After further scientific investigation. he figured out that these sulfur balls were burning between 4-5,000 degrees. It was so hot that they literally burned through everything. As the material they burned through turned into ash the ash smothered the sulfur balls taking all the oxegen away and leaving a smaller ball. The ash around the balls became so hot that it became liquefied ash turning it into an egg shell surrounding the sulfur ball.
This is the only place on planet Earth where sulfur balls have been found in Egg shell type coverings, which means that it does not follow the normal pattern for volcanic sulfur. As Jon was seeking the Lord in all this trying to understand it. He awoke in the morning after a rare desert rain. The rain was just enough to uncover millions of sulfur balls all through the city. They were shinning in the sun as the rain was just enough to wash off the ash. Gen 19:24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jon had his proof. These sulfur balls rained down out of heaven in four very particular spots the four cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Zoboiim, and Admah. They still stand here today as a living testimony to God's righteousness.
In Romans 1:24-32 we understand God stand on Homosexuality. Back in the days of Abraham God stopped it in its tracks, it was not allowed to effect society. It should also be known that God still loves us and has provided a way out. In this day and hour God is reaching into the homosexual world asking, "Who wants me?". God is still able to deliver us from ourselves and is asking us to come out from a sinful lifestyle. This means everyone, as the sins of fornication, adultery, lying, stealing, idolatry are just as bad as homosexuality. God is offering us encounters with a holy god. His Love is better than the wine (sin) of this world.
The Institute for Creation Research
Scripture contains several &ldquostories&rdquo that have been ridiculed more than others. Of these, the six-day creation, the global Flood, the parting of the Red Sea, the virgin birth, the resurrection of Christ, and other spectacular works of God receive special criticism. Another mighty act of God that tends to be disbelieved is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Scoffers, both Christian and secular, have a field day with this biblical event because it not only involves God&rsquos supernatural workings and cataclysmic acts of nature, it also represents God&rsquos righteous judgment of sin. This is hard for people to think about, especially today when the specific sin being judged is homosexual behavior. Did the destruction of these cities really happen? Is there archaeological and geological evidence to support it? Do other ancient writings mention it? Yes, to all.
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a certain fact of history. The Genesis account is written in narrative form and alluded to by several other Old Testament writers. Jesus Himself obviously believed it 1 and in fact was an eyewitness as the pre-incarnate Lord. Extra-biblical writings (including tablets unearthed at Ebla) mention Sodom and even give specific references to its location along the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea.
Genesis uses Hebrew action verbs such as &ldquodestroy&rdquo and &ldquooverthrow&rdquo to describe the destruction. This does not necessarily infer total annihilation, and thus some remains might have survived. In the early 1970s, Jordanian authorities noticed well-preserved artifacts from ancient times flooding the black market. An investigation led them to an Early Bronze Age graveyard on the southeastern side of the Dead Sea that was in the midst of being plundered. Along five &ldquowadis&rdquo (dry riverbeds) flowing westward into the southern Dead Sea, an archaeological survey identified five ruined cities that appear to be the cities of the plain mentioned in Genesis 14:8. The most prominent and northerly one was in ancient times called Bab edh-Dhra, which seems to be the Arabic rendering of Sodom. Next in line was Numeira (Gomorrah), then the modern city of Safi (Zoar or Bela, to which Lot fled and which was not destroyed), then Admah and Zeboiim. The key was finding Zoar. Mentioned in other Scriptures and ancient maps, it led to the discovery of the other nearby ruins. 2, 3
These five cities had all been situated along the Dead Sea Rift, a major plate boundary. At God&rsquos command the rift ruptured, spewing great quantities of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons high into the atmosphere. These ignited, setting the whole region ablaze and covering it with &ldquofire and brimstone.&rdquo Abraham saw the conflagration from Mamre, about 20 miles away. The fiery mixture almost certainly didn&rsquot come from a point source, such as a volcano, but destroyed the whole area along the linear fault. The cities were crushed and burned, just as the Bible describes. The city of Sodom actually straddled a fault, causing half of it to fall about 100 meters. No one survived. Today, numerous bodies remain trapped in the rubble.
Biblical archaeologist Dr. Bryant Wood of Associates for Biblical Research located city gates, crushed graves, towers, a temple, the water supply, and thick city walls. Uninhabitable since the destruction, the remains were identified by Dr. Wood as Sodom and Gomorrah. Creation geologist Dr. Steve Austin studied the geological evidence, including the fault zone, the burn layer, the bitumen that erupted, and the city&rsquos calamitous fall to its ruin. Together, they have confirmed the truthfulness of the Genesis account.
- See Matthew 11:23-34 Mark 6:11 Luke 10:12 and 17:28-32.
- Wood, B. 1999. The Discovery of the sin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Bible and Spade. 12 (3): 67-80.
- Austin, S. A. Sodom & Gomorrah Parts 1 & 2. Origins, produced by Cornerstone TeleVision Network.
* Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris, J. 2013. Have Sodom and Gomorrah Been Discovered? Acts & Facts. 42 (4): 15.
SODOM and GOMORRAH CONTENTS
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One tower was excavated at the west of town, the other at the northeast. The Northeastern gate was the primary of the two. It consisted of two flanking towers, and massive stone and timber foundations. Many claim this is Lot's gate found in Genesis 19:1. Lot knew the degeneracy and wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah, and when he saw the two strangers approach the city gates, he feared for their lives if left up to their own devices. Lot, thus, urged them to spend the night with him.
At first, the two men refused his offer, however, Scripture relates that Lot "pressed upon them greatly and they turned in unto him".
Lot took the two men home and prepared a meal for them. This is the first mention of "unleavened bread", which is the meal Lot prepared for his guests.
Unleavened bread was very significant in later Scripture. In Exodus, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is God's reminder to the people of His deliverance of them from Egypt. This meal would remind Lot of his deliverance from Sodom.
The Sin of Sodom & Gomorrah
The following scene depicts the depth of wickedness found in Sodom and Gomorrah.
"But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not act so wickedly. Behold, now, I have two daughters which have not known man let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing for therefore came they unto the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door down."
God hints to Abraham as to the extent of Sodom and Gomorrah's sinfulness in Gen. 18:20.
"Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous."
Yet, Scripture is silent as to the exact nature of the sin committed in Sodom and Gomorrah.
This is the only example in Scripture of a firsthand account which details specific sin in Sodom. Consequently, the nature and degree of the sinfulness in Sodom and Gomorrah has been a much debated topic.
Charles Pellegrino has written a book that is a one of a kind, and a must for fans of Bible mysteries and mysteries of the ancient world. Return to Sodom and Gomorrah brings archeologists, scientists and theologians together to examine the mysteries of the Old Testament. Believers and non-believers alike have raved about the light Pellegrino sheds on the Bible. Click on the link below to re-direct to barnesandnoble.com and Return to Sodom and Gomorrah!
The Mishnah explains Sodom and Gomorrah's sin was related to property. According to rabbinic tradition, the Sodomites perceived what was theirs as theirs, and what was yours, is yours.
A life led by this principal tends to care less and less about his neighbor. This attitude leads one towards a lack of compassion, and an extreme sense of selfishness.
Visitors to Sodom and Gomorrah were indeed treated with a lack of compassion, and oftentimes, treated outright sadistically.
One tradition speaks of a bed which visitors to Sodom and Gomorrah were forced to sleep in. If the occupant of the bed was too short, the individual was stretched to fit it. If they were too tall, then the individual was cut up in order to fit.
Rabbinic tradition tells of an incident in which the sadistic nature of Sodom and Gomorrah manifests itself in the way the townspeople treat two young girls.
According to this tradition, the story involved Lot's daughter, a young girl by the name of Paltith, and another young girl.
A poor man was said to have entered the city, at which point he was given bread to eat by the two girls.
Upon hearing of their kindness towards the old man, the townspeople burned Paltith alive. They smeared the other girl's body with honey, hung her from the city wall, and left her hanging there until bees had eaten her to death.
Some traditions hold that it was the "cry" of the young girl hung from the walls which reached God.
This was the "cry" He spoke to Abraham of, and ultimately led to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities. Behavior like this would most certainly qualify as grievous.
Another incident involves Eliezar, Abraham's servant, and depicts the pervasive corruption found within the cities of the plain.
Eliezar is said to have gone to visit Lot in Sodom. Upon entering the city, Eliezar got into a dispute with a Sodomite over a beggar.
The Sodomite hit Eliezar in the head with a stone, which caused Eliezar to bleed. The Sodomite then charged Eliezar for the service of bloodletting.
The judge sided with the Sodomite, forcing Eliezar to pay. Eliezar is said to have then picked up a stone, struck the judge on the forehead, and asked the judge to pay the Sodomite.
Do you have insight into Sodom & Gomorrah? Where do you think Sodom & Gomorrah may be located? Or, do you believe the story of these cities is myth? Click on the link above to share your insight, thoughts, questions, and comments!
SODOM and GOMORRAH The Sexual Nature of the Sodomite Sin
Throughout history, Sodom and Gomorrah have been used as metaphors for rape, homosexuality, sexual immorality, and sexual deviance.
The English word, "Sodomy", is derived from "Sodom", and means non-vaginal intercourse, as well as bestiality.
The Catholic Church pounced on this passage, as well as other New Testament passages, to support the Church's claim that acts of homosexuality are to be considered "acts of grave depravity".
Proponents of this theory point to the apparent demand by the men of Sodom for Lot's strangers to come out of the house, so they can forcibly have homosexual intercourse with them.
In other words, the men of Sodom want to rape the men in Lot's house.
However, there are scholars who claim that this passage is not referring to rape, or any acts of sexual immorality at all.
The sin of Sodom, according to these people, is their inhospitable attitude towards strangers.
The crux of this division rests in the interpretation of the word, "Know".
"Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. -- Genesis 19:5
The Hebrew word for "Know" appears over 900 times in the Bible.
Proponents of a non-sexual view hold that, of the 900 appearances, only 1 percent of the time is it used with sexual connotations. They argue that in this passage, the men of Sodom wanted to interrogate the men in Lot's house, not rape them.
However, one of those few sexual connotations occurs three verses later, when Lot offers up his two daughters in exchange for the two men.
"Behold now, I have two daughters who have not known man. "
Proponents of a sexual-nature of sin, point to the context which "Know" is used within the passage as evidence of sexual immorality.
If this passage remains vague still, there is a passage in the book of Jude which specifically names the sins of the Sodomites.
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example. "
This would seem to fit the nature of the passage in Genesis. The men sought after "strange flesh", as the visitors in Lot's house were indeed strangers.
The context of the passage would also seem to suggest that the Sodomites sought to fornicate with Lot's guests. Though this passage does not outright state Sodom's damning sin, it would seem to suggest, according to many scholars, homosexual rape.
The book of Enoch condemns "sodomitic sex". Scholars argue this passage in Enoch is another example of a specific sexual condemnation.
These passages taken together appear to suggest Sodom and Gomorrah's damning sin was primarily that of a sexual nature.
However, sexual immorality was only one of many vices which gripped Sodomite society.
There are close to twenty references throughout Scripture, outside of Genesis, to Sodom and Gomorrah. God used the fate of these cities to demonstrate the consequences of wickedness.
These references shed some light on the nature of Sodom and Gomorrah's sin.
Isaiah had this to say about the sins of Sodom.
"..they parade their sin like Sodom. " (Is. 3:9)
Apparently, the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah had no fear of God. They did not revere His commands, nor walk in His statutes.
They were caught up in their own riches and wealth, and became proud and arrogant. They sinned openly, flaunting their sin before God and man. They had lost all sense of accountability.
Jeremiah compared the sins of Jerusalem in his day to those of Sodom and Gomorrah in Jeremiah 23:14.
"And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah."
Jeremiah accused Jerusalem of adultery, lying, continual and willful sin, and ultimately, pride before God. All of these he likens to the sin of the Sodomites.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus Christ condemns specific towns which reject His disciples to the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Matthew 10:14 "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town."
Matthew 11:23 "And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."
These passages from Jesus would seem to indicate that hospitality was seen as a quality of righteousness in the ancient world.
Any city that proved inhospitable, was condemned to the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities of the plain indeed treated visitors with cruelty, brutality, and viciousness.
Ezekiel 16:49-50 is a unique passage in that God Himself talks of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.
"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.
This passage confirms the above allegations concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities of the plain were "overfed", indicating a wealth and abundance of food and resources.
They were "unconcerned", as Isaiah and Jeremiah both pointed to their arrogance, and "haughty and did detestable things", demonstrated in their treatment of the young girls and their treatment of God's angels.
They also refused to help the needy and the poor, an indication of the selfishness of the people.
If it would not have been for the intercession of the angels, Lot would have been counted amongst the Sodomites victims.
"But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut the door."
By this time, it is still unclear if Lot knew his visitors were not normal visitors. He makes no indication in Scripture. However, their identity quickly becomes crystal clear.
As he was arguing with the unruly mob gathered at his front door, the angels were standing nearby, undoubtedly focused and ready.
The mob pressed upon Lot, apparently at the point of breaking into his house forcibly, and taking the men by any means necessary. Not only were the Sodomites lustful, but bloodthirsty as well.
At the last minute, however, the two angels pull Lot to safety, shutting the door behind him.
Scripture then indicates the angels struck the Sodomites with blindness, as the bloodthirsty mob "wearied themselves to find the door".
There is one other instance, in II Kings, where a mob is divinely struck with blindness.
In this passage, the King of Aram sends men to find and capture the prophet Elisha. As the "horses, and chariots, and a strong force", close in on Elisha, he prays that God may "Strike these people with blindness".
In the next verse, however, he is seen talking to the mob, and even leads them down the wrong road, as they are unaware Elisha is the one leading them.
Apparently this blindness more closely resembled a type of confusion. In both instances, the same word translated as "blindness" is used.
Just as the Arameans could not detect Elisha standing right in front of them, so the men of Sodom were unable to locate the door to Lot's house, which one moment before they had been beating upon.
Once safely inside, the angles ask Lot if he has anymore family nearby. If so, he best go get them immediately, as morning would bring swift destruction upon the region, and certain death for the inhabitants.
If Lot was still uncertain as to the identity of his two visitors, verse 13 erased all doubt. The angels pronounced God's judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah.
They tell Lot that God has sent them to destroy it, and they will do so tomorrow morning. Lot and his family are to be spared, but must be prepared to leave quickly and immediately.
It is interesting to note that Abraham had bargained God down to 10 righteous souls. In verse 14, Lot goes and speaks with his daughters and their husbands, his sons-in-law.
". Up, get you out of this place: For the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one who mocked unto his sons-in-law."
Lot's family simply laughed at him. He had lost all credibility with them, perhaps indicative of a compromised lifestyle. Lot's sons are noticeably absent from Scripture.
One can only assume as to the reasons, yet, this is important because perhaps Abraham was counting them in with the ten righteous souls he had bargained with God.
Only four righteous souls were found in Sodom. Those souls were Lot, his wife, and his two daughters. Consequently, the following morning Sodom was to be destroyed.
Scripture says when the sun arose, the angels "hastened Lot". A sense of urgency is implied, as destruction is imminent, and Lot must get his family out of town without delay.
Lot, however, is said to have "lingered", and Scripture indicates the angels literally "laid hold upon his hand".
Not only did the angels take Lot by the hand, but also the hands of his wife and daughters as well. Evidently, Lot and his family were not moving fast enough for the angels liking.
Lot had chosen this land himself. He had made this his home, and found it hard to break from the past. Lot attempted to lingered behind, perhaps for last minute recollections.
As God's messengers escort Lot and his family out of town, they leave last minute instructions to not look back, nor dwell anywhere in the nearby plain, but to flee at once to the mountains.
Lot, in an audacious move, urges the angels to let him and his family flee to Zoar, a little town of no significance nearby.
They submit to his request, and Scripture makes note in verse 23 "The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar."
"Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."
Thus, Lot and his family take flight with the angles. Unfortunately, Lot's wife turned to look back, against the explicit instructions of the angels.
As a result of her disobedience, she is turned into a pillar of salt.
Throughout the ages, people have searched for Lot's wife. The Dead Sea area is littered with salt formations, as the Dead Sea itself possesses a very high salt content.
Today, guides will point to this or that salt formation, and claim it is the wife of Lot. In reality, however, these sites are unreliable, and in all probability, simply one of the many other salt formations in the area.
Scripture details the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all the cities of the plain, as being total and permanent destruction.
The scale of the devastation was such that Abraham is said to have arose the next morning in Mamre, perhaps up to 50 miles to the northwest from the general area Sodom is thought to have existed, and saw the plumes of smoke rising up from the plain.
"(Abraham) . beheld, and lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace."
People from miles around must have been in shock and awe, and surely in fear, as they witnessed the descent of fire and brimstone from the heavens.
If Scripture records Abraham witnessed the smoke, then surely people living in Beer-sheba, a similar distance to the west, and other nearby and surrounding villages must have witnessed the destruction as well.
THE WEALTH OF SODOM and GOMORRAH
The first mention of Sodom and Gomorrah takes place in Genesis 13. In this passage, Abraham and Lot are trying to decide how best to divide their flocks.
Abraham, as mentioned earlier, allows Lot to take first pick. At the time, Abraham and Lot were dwelling "between Bethel and Ai, where he (Abraham) had first built an altar" (Gen. 13:3-4).
Lot takes advantage of first pick, and chooses the best looking land available.
"Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east.
Scripture indicates the region was very prosperous. It is compared to the "garden of the Lord", and the "land of Egypt".
Flavius Josephus , a first century Jewish historian, wrote concerning the economic status of Sodom and Gomorrah in his book, Jewish Antiquities. He described the Sodomites as being "proud, on account of their riches and great wealth".
The plain was very well watered, consequently, the region was plush, with plenty of pastureland and very rich soil for growing crops.
The area was so prosperous, it attracted the attention of the "Northeastern Kings", who invaded the area, forcing the local Kings to pay tribute, and carrying off a number of captives, Lot included.
This is at odds with the current state of the Dead Sea region. The region as it is today, is barren.
The Dead Sea rests over 1,300 feet below Sea level, as it is the lowest point on land in the planet. The Dead Sea has no outlet for water to flow.
As a result, it is over 8 times saltier than the ocean, having a 33.7% salinity reading. It is over 1,200 feet deep, and supports no aquatic life, hence its name.
Rainfall in the region is less than 4 inches per year, with the northern half receiving an inch or so more than the southern half.
The average temperature in the summer is between 90 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit, with temperatures soaring over 105 consistently.
The area is a barren wilderness, consisting of very little rain, and very high temperatures.
However, paleobotany investigations revealed evidence that the region once supported a wide variety of crops.
Barley, wheat, grapes, figs, lintels, flax, chickpeas, peas, broad beans, dates, and olives were all grown extensively throughout the region.
Indeed, these people were "overfed" on the abundance of crops produced by the fertile soil.
Another clue is given to the region's wealth in Genesis 14:10.
"And the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits. "
The "vale of Siddim" refers to the valley of broad plains, or, the plains of the Dead Sea. The "slime pits" mentioned are deposits of bitumen, which existed naturally in the region.
Bitumen was a resource used extensively in the ancient world. Bitumen deposits would have added a tremendous amount of wealth to the region.
It would be comparable to the oil deposits found throughout the modern day Middle East, and the wealth these deposits bring to those countries.
Bitumen is a black, oily, gelatinous, and highly flammable material. It is also known as tar, or asphalt, and had many uses in the ancient world.
It has been shown to have been in use by Neanderthals as an adhesive to fix handles onto their tools. Some scholars claim bitumen has been in use for some 40,000 years. It is closely related to petroleum, oil, and sulfur.
In Mesopotamia , and throughout the ancient Near East, bitumen was used extensively as mortar in the construction of palaces, temples, ziggurats, and houses.
The mortar was made by mixing bitumen with chopped straw, sand, and clay. It has been associated with the construction of the Tower of Babel.
Ziggurats in Ur also have shown bitumen used in their construction. The Darius Palace in Susa was constructed using bitumen.
Bitumen was also used as a waterproofing agent, and is still used today to waterproof terraces and roofs.
It was used in the construction of the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon as a waterproofing agent.
Legends surrounding Sargon the Great attest to his floating down the Euphrates as an infant in a bitumen coated reed basket.
This brings to mind an infant Moses, floating down the Nile River in a reed basket.
In fact, ancient Egyptians used the substance in the mummification process, and also as a medicinal remedy, particularly as a disinfectant.
They also used it as an insecticide of sorts.
Bitumen was also used to waterproof containers, wooden posts, palace grounds, bathrooms, etc. Large lumps of bitumen have been discovered in Oman, used to caulk reed and wooden boats.
Bitumen was also used in the making of jewelry, domestic items such as dice and balls, sculptures, and as a coating for roads.
In addition, bitumen was an adhesive, used to repair tool handles, sickles, jars, and as an aesthetic decoration on walls in palaces, houses, temples, and in courtyards.
The versatility of bitumen made it a highly sought after resource, and any region where it was found naturally, would logically profit from its presence.
It is quite logical to assume that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah possessed beautiful artistic buildings and temples, built in part using the abundant supply of bitumen found nearby.
The excess of this prized resource certainly provided a strategic reason for Chederlaomer's conquest of the area.
By conquering Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain, Chederlaomer had a rich supply of bitumen, free of charge, to tap into and use for his own purposes.
LOCATIONS of SODOM and GOMORRAH
Scripture indicates that Sodom, and the cities of the plain, were located near the Dead Sea.
Archaeologists have combed the area, and a few sites have been proposed as the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Each site produced credible evidence which points to the existence of Sodom and Gomorrah, yet, none have been agreed upon unanimously.
When searching for Sodom and Gomorrah, one must start with the text which provides the most details concerning the geography of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain.
The Bible provides us with the most clues as to their location. The following verses are the ones in the Bible dealing with the geography of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Genesis 10:19 "and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha."
Genesis 13:11 "So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of Jordan and set out toward the east."
Genesis 14:2-3 "That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shem-eber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea."
Genesis 19:28 "He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from all the land, like smoke from a furnace."
Genesis 19:20, 24 "Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it - it is very small isn't it? Then my life will be spared. By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land."
Deuteronomy 19:23 "The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur - nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim. "
Deuteronomy 34:3 "the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar."
Therefore, based on Scripture, one can draw the following conclusions as to the location of the cities of the plain.
The most obvious geographical landmark mentioned is in Genesis 14. The "vale of Siddim", as stated above, refers to the broad plains of the Dead Sea.
The term "salt sea" was a common name given to the Dead Sea for its high salt content. Thus, the cities are definitely located somewhere within close proximity to the Dead Sea.
In Gen. 10:19 the cities are said to form the easternmost border of Canaan, and stretch as far as Lasha.
The phrasing of this passage may indicate that the cities of the plain lined the western shores of the Dead Sea from north to south, thus forming a distinct border.
Lasha has been identified with Zareth-shahar. Zareth-shahar has been identified with the ruins of Zara. Zara was excavated about three miles south of Callirhoe.
This city was known in antiquity for its therapeutic waters and natural springs. Josephus makes mention of Herod bathing there.
If this is the location of ancient Lasha, then it is located on the eastern banks of the Dead Sea, near the mouth of the Wadi Zerka.
With this in mind, the phrase, "as far as Lasha", would seem to imply that Sodom and Gomorrah were located on the western side of the Dead Sea, and the border of Canaan stretched across the Dead Sea, "as far as Lasha".
This area also fits the description of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities, being located in the plain of Jordan.
Another guide marker, according to Genesis 13:11, is that the cities of the plain were located east of where Lot and Abraham were residing.
At the time the two parted company, they were residing between Bethel and Ai. East of this location would place Sodom and Gomorrah, or at least some cities of the plain, near the northern end of the Dead Sea.
Abraham eventually moved to Hebron. Hebron is less than 20 miles west of the Dead Sea.
It is interesting to note that Hebron is located almost exactly in the middle of Jericho and Zoar, in the central part of the Dead Sea.
Hebron's location may inadvertently help in identifying the most likely site for the city of Sodom.
Genesis 14 describes the war waged on Sodom and Gomorrah by the Northeastern Kings.
The Northeastern Kings annihilate the Sodomite alliance, and Lot is swept up with the rest of the inhabitants.
Abraham was told by "one who had escaped" that Lot had been taken captive. Scripture relates Abraham was in Mamre at the time.
Mamre is centrally located in reference to the Dead Sea. If the battle had taken place north of the southern region, the flight of local inhabitants would have naturally carried them west, and into Mamre.
However, if the battle took place in the southern region, the most logical escape would appear to be westward into the Negev.
After its destruction, the Northeastern army moved northward, up the western side of the Dead Sea. For an individual to flee to Mamre would have been to flee in front of the rapidly advancing army.
It would seem that if one is fleeing from an advancing army, one would flee away from the advance, not in front of the advance. Thus, the battle may have taken place southwest of the Dead Sea.
Deuteronomy, written much later than the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, placed the cities amidst salt and sulfur deposits.
Excavated ruins throughout the Dead Sea region have produced balls of brimstone. Salt incrustations dot the landscape of the southern Dead Sea region.
Deuteronomy also gives the location of Zoar. In the passage from chapter 34, God is showing Abraham the land He has promised him.
The Negev is the southernmost limits of the land of Canaan. The previous verses touched on all the land North, East, and West which was promised to Abraham.
Verse 3 is dealing with the southern limits, thus Jericho is the northernmost point given concerning the southern region of the Negev.
Jericho is just north of the Dead Sea. An assumption can be made based on the geography of the Negev.
The passage "the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar", suggests that Zoar was located on the southern end of the Dead Sea.
Thus the land of the Negev which was promised to Abraham, stretched from Jericho, north of the Dead Sea, to Zoar, located south of the Dead Sea.
Zoar is the town Lot asked to flee to instead of the mountains. It was, according to Lot, located nearby.
The chronology of Lot's escape placed him leaving Sodom early in the morning. Scripture then indicates that the "sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar".
The time line of Lot's journey is not given, and cannot be substantiated with concrete evidence.
Scripture does indicate Sodom was less than a days journey from Zoar, probably no more than half a days journey.
God destroyed Sodom as soon as Lot entered Zoar. Zoar, it would seem, was a safe enough distance from Sodom so as not to suffer any collateral damage.
However, it seems quite probable that Lot was able to witness the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah from Zoar.
Archaeology has positively identified Zoar south of the Dead Sea. However, this does not confirm that Sodom was also located south of the Dead Sea.
Archaeology has also produced sites from all sides of the Dead Sea which have been proposed as the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Old Testament.
These locations are less than a days journey from Zoar as well, and possess unique and fascinating evidence which may support its claim.
For a long time many scholars proposed the location for Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain, as being located in the plain directly south of the Dead Sea.
Over time, these cities were covered by water as the water level rose. In modern times, the waters have retreated, allowing archaeologists to excavate the area.
No ruins have been found in this area to support this theory. On the other hand, in 1973, evidence of occupied cities on the southeast side of the Dead Sea began to appear.
Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira ( Numeria )
Southeast of the Dead Sea, near the Wadi Kerak, some scholars and archaeologists have identified two cities as the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Both sites seem to have been destroyed by a colossal catastrophe, leaving behind evidence of fire debris three feet thick.
The principal of the two sites, identified as Sodom, is Bab edh-Dhra. The site identified as Gomorrah is called Numeira, or in some texts, Numeria.
Bab edh-Dhra is the largest of the two sites. The city wall was twenty-three feet thick, and enclosed between nine and ten acres.
Two gates have been unearthed in Bab edh-Dhra. One is located on the western side of the city. The other gate was located in the northeast part of the city.
This gate consisted of two flanking towers. These towers had enormous stone and timber foundations, and some have identified this as Lot's gate.
One proponent of Bab edh-Dhra is the website, www.accuracyingenesis.com They claim the estimated population of Sodom at the time of destruction was between 600-1200 people.
A large cemetery has been excavated at Bab edh-Dhra. Pottery was found in the cemetery which suggested that residents of Numeira also buried their dead here.
Evidence indicates Numeira was in existence for a short period of time, perhaps only 100 years.
As to the economy of the region, tests have shown the area produced a wide variety of crops.
The area was extremely fertile producing barley, wheat, grapes, dates, olives, and other such crops.
Rich bitumen deposits have been found throughout the entire region south of the Dead Sea. Bitumen, as discussed earlier, was an extremely versatile and profitable resource.
The most telling evidence of Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira as Sodom and Gomorrah relate to the methods these cities were destroyed.
Bryant Wood wrote an article which appeared on www.christiananswers.net, which told of geologist Frederick Clapp's theory concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
It is interesting to note Clapp formed his theory before sites were found claiming to be Sodom and Gomorrah.
Clapp hypothesized Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed as a result of an earthquake. The pressure an earthquake generates, according to Clapp, could have forced the deposits of bitumen to the earth's surface.
Bitumen contains a high percentage of sulfur. As these deposits spurted upwards into the atmosphere, a spark created by a surface fire would have ignited the bitumen.
This would have created a blistering rain of brimstone and fire falling from above.
Though the passage in Genesis does not indicate an earthquake, a passage from Deuteronomy may suggest such an event.
In Deuteronomy 29:23, Moses is addressing the Israelite people on the dangers of serving other Gods. He uses Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of the consequences of such a life.
If they pursue other Gods, their land will become like Sodom and Gomorrah, "which the Lord Overthrew in fierce anger".
This term, "overthrew", has caught the eye of proponents of the earthquake theory. They suggest the Hebrew term for this word may imply an earthquake. Whether or not this is true, other evidence has been produced to support this theory as well.
Indeed, after Clapp published his theory, it was found that a major fault line runs east of the Dead Sea, through the Jordan Rift valley.
Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira are located precisely on this fault line.
In Bab edh-Dhra Geologists discovered changes of elevation along this fault line, some up to 164 feet.
These changes in elevation would have caused the Wadi Numeira to change its direction of flow. This is believed to be the root cause of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Remarkable discoveries were made in the cemetery as well regarding the destruction of the two sites. Structures were found in the cemetery which contained remains of the dead.
Residents of Bab edh-Dhra buried their dead in mud brick houses called Charnel Houses. Five of these houses were excavated, and shown to have burnt down at the same time the city was destroyed.
That in itself raises no eyebrows. However, upon careful excavation of the largest of these Charnel Houses, evidence was found that the fire started on the roof of the structure.
Once the roof ignited, the fire spread to the interior when the roof caved in. This did raise some eyebrows, as it mirrors the passage found in Genesis 19:24.
In this passage, God is said to have "rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah - from the Lord out of the heavens".
Sulfur, as has been stated, is found within bitumen. This fiery mass from above would have undoubtedly started the fires associated with the Charnel Houses.
This fire, as it came from above, would have obviously ignited the roof first, which would have quickly spread to the interior.
All across the site of Bab edh-Dhra archaeologists found layers of ash. The city walls tumbled down in a manner that has been suggested was caused by an earthquake.
Other evidence of this type of destruction can be found in Scripture itself.
In Genesis 19:28, Abraham watches the aftermath of the destruction. The description of what he sees is remarkably characteristic of a petroleum based fire.
"He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace."
Petroleum-based fires produce incredibly dense smoke. This conjures up images of Kuwaiti oil fields on fire during the Gulf War.
Those fires produced dense smoke indeed, as pictures confirm, which could be seen from miles around.
Bryant Wood made an interesting observation concerning the description of the smoke rising. He stated smoke rising as if from a furnace would seem to suggest a "forced draft".
A forced draft would be a natural consequence of a fire produced from subterranean deposits being forced upwards, rapidly and with intense pressure, into the earth's atmosphere.
The Biblical writer of this passage described a petroleum fire with amazing accuracy, and indeed, archaeological evidence from this site supports just such a fire.
Jonathan Gray has located another interesting site south of the Dead Sea as a possible candidate for Sodom and Gomorrah.
His theory places the Biblical Sodom adjacent to Mt. Sodom, located at the south end of the Dead Sea.
It is interesting that nearby is an ongoing enterprise to extract minerals from the Dead Sea. This operation is run by the Dead Sea Works, and they have termed their site "Sdom".
Gray points to geographical formations in this area which resemble man made formations, indicating cities once existed in this region.
His team analyzed satellite images of the area, and searched for geometrical shapes such as squares or rectangles which may suggest the site of cities.
They located five such areas, and visited each location.
Within the rocks and hills of the region, city walls were clearly identifiable. The buildings and houses appear to have been very large structures.
They also found mounds which looked as if at one point had been ziggurats, or ancient temples.
Large shapes were found outside of the cities which were identical to each other in shape and appearance. These shapes are too coincidental to be geographical formations, and closely resemble the shape of the Great Sphinx in Egypt.
Upon examination of one of the cities, they found the city was completely turned to ash, and the area was littered with sulfur balls, or, as the King James translates, brimstone.
On two separate occasions, members of the team entered the city ruins after a rainfall.
The ground was littered with what appeared to be glass balls glistening in the light. Tests revealed these balls were composed of 95-98% pressed powdered sulfur.
Magnesium was also discovered in the balls, in trace amounts. These two elements combine to burn at extremely high temperatures.
It has been estimated the sulfur balls temperature was around 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat would have accumulated as it rained down from "the Lord out of heaven".
The glassy appearance was formed by tiny crystals. These crystals were formed when the sulfur was burning, and was in a liquid state.
Eventually, it burned out, and left behind a hardened shell. Some of these shells produced unburned sulfur balls inside of them. This is the only place on earth which has produced balls composed of 95-98% sulfur.
The effect of these golf ball sized balls of brimstone, reaching temperatures of 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit, raining down from above in sheets of fire, would have been cataclysmic in nature.
Everything would have been completely destroyed. No shelter was safe, as evidenced by burning roofs. This explains the buildings of ash found on the site.
Very few could have escaped the destruction. This would explain the angels sense of urgency with Lot.
Coins were also found from the area. Tests on these gold coins showed the coins had been turned into gold salts. The heat from the falling brimstone, and resulting fire, burned the gold in the coins turning them into golden ash.
Some critics point out that geo-thermal activity can also produce balls of this effect.
However, no geo-thermal activity has been shown around this area, and brimstone produced from such activity only contains 40% sulfur.
Volcanic experts have stated that this is the only place in the world where deposits such as these have been found, and no other substance exists with such high levels of sulfur.
For decades the common belief was that Sodom and Gomorrah were located in the southern region of the Dead Sea.
However, as excavations continued throughout the region, archaeologists and scholars alike have unearthed problems with the southern location.
As a result, excavations were launched at the northern end of the Dead Sea in search of the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.
Excavations centered in the area known as the Jordan Disc. The Jordan Disc is comprised of a 25 km diameter circle of the Jordan Valley directly north of the Dead Sea.
The eastern side of the disc contains fourteen archaeological sites, some dating from the Middle Bronze Age. Sodom and Gomorrah were said to have existed in the Middle Bronze Age.
Tall el-Hammam is located 14 km northeast of the Dead Sea, in the Jordan River valley.
Because of the political situation in Jordan, excavation in the area north of the Dead Sea, in the Jordan Disc, had been extremely sensitive and difficult to obtain permission.
Just recently has the atmosphere opened up to the possibility of extensive excavation in the region.
Trinity Southwest University, under the leadership of Steve Collins, dean of the school of archaeology and biblical history, began excavation at Tall el-Hammam in 2007.
Their work was done in conjunction with the Department of Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The work from Tall el-Hammam, though far from finished, has produced incredible results.
Collins was skeptical of the locations of Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira. He argued that based on Genesis 13, Scripture makes it clear that Sodom was the largest Bronze Age settlement located north of the Dead Sea, and east of the Jordan River.
Additionally, Collins argued Bab edh-Dhra was dated in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
Archaeological evidence from the sites of Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira shows the sites suffered destruction in 2350 B.C.E.
This is problematic, as the Abraham narrative has traditionally been placed centuries later, anywhere from 2000 - 1800 B.C.E.
The date and location of the two southern sites led Collins to seek Sodom and Gomorrah elsewhere.
Tall el-Hamman has shown an extensive period of occupation. Evidence of civilization dates back to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods.
Occupation has also been proven from the Early Bronze Age (3150-2350), the Intermediate Bronze Age (2350-2000), the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1550), the Iron Age II (1200-1000), and the Iron Age III (1000-323).
Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic influences all contributed to the development of Tall el-Hammam.
The southern Jordan Valley was an extremely profitable area in antiquity.
Many important trade routes and roads traversed the area, intersecting the Jordan Disc in a north to south fashion, as well as an east to west fashion.
The main road connecting the International Coastal Highway on the Mediterannean Coast, to the King's Highway, east of Tall el-Hammam, ran through the southern Jordan Valley.
Arable, fertile, land supported many cities of substantial size. The area possesses an ample water supply from the Jordan River, numerous springs throughout the area, and multiple Wadi's, whose flow varies from season to season.
This water supply has been consistent since antiquity. The area was extremely profitable with its rich agricultural output, coupled with its location along vital trade and transportation links.
Tall el-Hammam was very strategically located, and possessed an expansive view of the Jordan Valley below.
This commanding view more than likely enabled the city to exert a certain amount of influence on cargo traveling east of the Jordan River, along the eastern banks of the Dead Sea, and from Jericho to the Transjordan Highlands.
This amount of power would surely have led to a very rich and profitable city, thus supporting at least one Biblical characteristic of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Excavations produced a 4 meter thick city wall encircling the lower and upper talls. This wall dated back to the Early Bronze Age (3150-2350).
During the Intermediate and Middle Bronze Ages the same wall showed signs of renovation.
The Middle Bronze Age also saw the addition of mud brick and packed earthen ramparts to its fortifications. These structures rose 20-30 meters in height above the surrounding landscape.
Ruins from the Iron I and II Age are also present at the site. These ruins consist of colossal buildings, similar to those found near Mt. Sodom south of the Dead Sea.
These massive structures consisted of walls 1-2 meters thick. A 3 meter thick wall surrounds the city from this age. Tall el-Hammam has been the crown jewel of excavation in the Jordan Disc.
Archaeologists and scholars alike believe this city was once a very influential city in Canaan.
The obvious wealth and importance of the city, evident by its large ruins, coupled with the location of Tall el-Hammam and the time frame of its occupation, has led many to point to this city as the site of the Biblical Sodom.
Concrete evidence has yet to be found to substantiate this theory, however, another fascinating bit of evidence was discovered at the nearby site at Tall Nimrin.
Tall Nimrin is located nearby to Tall el-Hammam. Further excavations need to be carried on at Tall Nimrin, however, archaeologists have uncovered some interesting facts concerning this site.
Tall Nimrin appeared to be a flourishing city in the Middle Bronze Age, much like Tall el-Hammam. However, excavations have produced evidence of a sudden and massive destruction.
This destruction was then followed by a 500 year lull in occupation.
Interestingly enough, Tall el-Hammam also shows a significant period in which it remained unoccupied.
The combination of these facts have led many to term Tall el-Hammam, the largest of the sites, as Sodom. Others have associated Tall Nimrin with Admah.
Neither of these theories posses enough evidence as of yet to validate. Nonetheless, both sites have produced enough evidence to compel archaeologists and Biblical scholars to intensify their search.
An interesting theory places Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the Plain running from North to South, along the western banks of the Dead Sea.
Genesis 10:19 has been used to theorize that the cities formed the eastern border of Canaan.
Based on this interpretation, it is impossible for the cities to be grouped together south of the Dead Sea.
Thus, searches were conducted along the western side of the Dead Sea.
Arkdiscovery.com claims to have located Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain along this north-south axis, west of the Dead Sea.
Ancient buildings and structures were found with round balls embedded in them. Analysis of the balls showed a 95-98% sulfuric content.
These balls are identical to the ones found southeast, southwest, and northeast of the Dead Sea!
Not only were balls of brimstone found, the cities contained buildings and structures that were completely composed of ash. Limestone was used in the construction of these ancient cities.
The ash in these cities is composed of Calcium Sulfate and Calcium Carbonate. These substances are produced when limestone burns with sulfur.
This type of ash has been found at excavated sites throughout the Dead Sea region.
The extreme heat produced incredibly high burning temperatures, which formed a multi-shaded layer of ash. This ash appears white in color.
Using satellite images, the cities of the plain were located by their white appearance. Remarkably, the cities form a north to south border along the western shores of the Dead Sea, and are clearly identifiable by a white color.
Zeboiim has been identified as the northernmost city, with Admah due south of it. Both of these cities are located north of the Dead Sea.
Gomorrah has been identified at the base of Masada. Sodom and Zoar are located on the southwestern side of the Dead Sea, respectively.
Opposite from Gomorrah, across the Dead Sea in Jordan, a large cemetery was discovered. This cemetery contained 1,000,000 graves.
Ash and brimstone were also discovered on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.
Amongst the ruins, formations such as ziggurats, sphinxes, windows, and arched doorways were identified.
The site identified as Sodom corresponds to the site Jonathan Gray identified near Mt. Sodom nearby is the present day Governmental operation run by the Dead Sea Works Corporation.
SODOM and GOMORRAH CONCLUSION
hough the remains of the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain, have not been positively identified with absolute certainty, archaeologists and scholars alike have not given up the search.
Some claim Sodom and Gomorrah have been forever lost. However, based on Scripture and ancient sources, many believe Sodom and Gomorrah may have been found, or, are waiting to be found with further excavations.
Archaeological excavations have certainly unearthed great cities dating from the time of Sodom and Gomorrah.
More than 15 sites have been excavated on all sides of the Dead Sea, and have shown it was once a prosperous and flourishing area, once again fitting in with the Biblical narrative.
Brimstone balls found at multiple sites, north, south, east, and west, of the Dead Sea point to a region wide event. Ashen burned structures and houses have been unearthed as well.
These methods of destruction also correspond to the method of destruction attributed to Sodom and Gomorrah in the Old Testament.
Josephus claimed in the first century that the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah were visible in his day.
The water levels of the Dead Sea have receded in modern times to the level it was during the time Josephus wrote. Many take this as evidence the cities can be seen today.
Genesis 19:24 claims God used the cities of the plain as an "example". The Hebrew word translated as "example", means an exhibit for warning.
Some scholars have used this phrase as evidence Sodom and Gomorrah are still visible today, as a warning to all who pass by.
Though no site can be validated with absolute certainty, the evidence gleamed from all of the sites taken as a whole is tantalizing.
Sodom and Gomorrah, perhaps one of the Bible's greatest mysteries, may no longer be a mystery at all.
Evidence of Sodom? Meteor blast cause of biblical destruction, say scientists
Amanda Borschel-Dan is The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology editor.
A multi-disciplinary team of scientists has a new theory for why all human civilization abruptly ended on the banks of the Dead Sea some 3,700 years ago. According to analyzed archaeological evidence, the disaster of biblical proportions can be explained by a massive explosion, similar to one recorded over 100 years ago in Russia.
In 1908, a massive blast near Siberia’s Stony Tunguska River flattened some 2,000 square kilometers of uninhabited taiga forestry. Curiously, no crater was discovered and scientists explain the strange phenomena through a meteor explosion some 5-10 km above land.
Now an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists and scientists are using the Tunguska explosion as a model to explain the equally curious end to a thriving civilization that lived for thousands of years in a plain near the Dead Sea.
As reported in Science News, at the recently concluded Denver-based ASOR Annual Meeting, director of scientific analysis at Jordan’s Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project Phillip J. Silvia presented a paper, “The 3.7kaBP Middle Ghor Event: Catastrophic Termination of a Bronze Age Civilization” during a session on Environmental Archaeology of the Ancient Near East.
According to the paper’s abstract, the scientists discovered evidence of a “high-heat” explosive event north of the Dead Sea that instantaneously “devastated approximately 500 km2.” The explosion would have wiped out all civilization in the affected area, including Middle Bronze Age cities and towns. Silvia told Science News that the blast would have instantly killed the estimated 40,000 to 65,000 people who inhabited Middle Ghor, a 25-kilometer-wide circular plain in Jordan.
Likewise, the fertile soil would have been stripped of nutrients by the high heat, and waves of the Dead Sea’s briny anhydride salts would have — tsunami-like — washed over the surrounding area. At the same time, the explosion’s fallout caused blisteringly hot, strong winds, which deposited a rain of mineral grains, which have been found on pottery at Tall el-Hammam.
Five large sites in the region which have also been excavated offered additional evidence of an immediate end to settlement at the same time of the proposed Tall el-Hammam disaster. According to Science News, radiocarbon dating of organic archaeological evidence has shown that structures’ mud-brick walls “suddenly disappeared around 3,700 years ago, leaving only stone foundations.”
Contemporary potsherds’s glazes apparently experienced temperatures high enough to transform them to glass, “perhaps as hot as the surface of the sun,” Silvia told the news source.
Unraveling a mystery
The study was born of a historical riddle: “That the most productive agricultural land in the region, which had supported flourishing civilizations continuously for at least 3,000 years, should suddenly relinquish, then resist, human habitation for such a long period of time has begged investigation,” states the excavation’s website.
As listed in the published abstract, Trinity Southwest University’s Silvia was joined by a roster of multi-disciplinary scientists.
The team of scientists from New Mexico Tech, Northern Arizona University, NC State University, Elizabeth City (NC) State University, DePaul University, Trinity Southwest University, the Comet Research Group, and Los Alamos National Laboratories analyzed samples from 12 seasons of Tall el-Hammam excavations to conclude that the most logical explanation for the settlement’s demise was a meteor explosion.
“This paper surveys the multiple lines of evidence that collectively suggest a Tunguskalike, cosmic airburst event that obliterated civilization — including the Middle Bronze Age city-state anchored by Tall el-Hammam — in the Middle Ghor (the 25 km diameter circular plain immediately north of the Dead Sea) ca. 1700 BCE, or 3,700 years before present (3.7kaBP),” write the authors.
“Based upon the archaeological evidence, it took at least 600 years to recover sufficiently from the soil destruction and contamination before civilization could again become established in the eastern Middle Ghor,” they write.
A biblical explanation
Could this massive disaster offer an explanation for the biblical story of Sodom?
According to a 2013 Biblical Archaeology Review article by TeHEP co-director Dr. Steven Collins, the Tall el-Hammam site is a strong candidate for the biblical city of Sodom due to a multitude of factors. The discovered disaster, and its precise location, which he ties to biblical references of “ha-kikkar” (or idiomatically, the plain).
In the article, among other biblical citations, Collins quotes from Genesis 19:24–25: “Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah — from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus He overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities — and also the vegetation in the land.”
On the ground at the site, Collins witnessed such destruction first-hand. In a vivid description he writes, “The violent conflagration that ended occupation at Tall el-Hammam produced melted pottery, scorched foundation stones and several feet of ash and destruction debris churned into a dark gray matrix as if in a Cuisinart.”
Could it really be that this destruction, hypothetically caused by the proposed meteor explosion and its catastrophic fallout, are the natural causes of the divine wholesale razing of the city recorded in the Bible?
In a jointly authored paper between Silvia and Collins, “The Civilization-Ending 3.7KYrBP Event: Archaeological Data, Sample Analyses, and Biblical Implications,” the authors write, “The physical evidence from Tall el-Hammam and neighboring sites exhibit signs of a highly destructive concussive and thermal event that one might expect from what is described in Genesis 19.”
Further based on studies by atomic energy researcher Samuel Gladstone, the authors write that, “an airburst yield of 10 megatons over the northeast corner of the Dead Sea would be sufficient to produce the physical damage observed 10 km away at Tall el-Hammam. Note that this is only one-half the yield of the Tunguska airburst event (in Siberia), well within ‘recent’ human experience for meteoritic airbursts!” they write.
“The destruction not only of Tall el-Hammam (Sodom), but also its neighbors (Gomorrah and the other cities of the plain) was most likely caused by a meteoritic airburst event,” the authors conclude.
In his Biblical Archaeology Review article, Collins writes that the massive disaster was seared into collective cultural memory and preserved in the biblical tradition.
“The memory of the destruction of ha-kikkar, with its large population and extensive agricultural lands, was preserved in the Book of Genesis and ultimately incorporated into a traditional tale that, drawing on the layer of ash that covered the destruction of one of its major cities, remembered a place consumed by a fiery catastrophe from ‘out of the heavens’ (Genesis 19:24),” he writes. “The Bible gives the city’s name: Sodom.”
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Sodom & Gomorrah - Scientific Evidence - History
Sodom & Gomorrah
Example of Judgment to Come
1. Sodom and Gomorrah are located around the eastern side of the Dead Sea.
2. Gomorrah is located at the base of Masada, and Sodom is about 13 miles (20 km.) south of Gomorrah.
3. Though the actual locations of the cities are somewhat disputed, the growing evidence reveals that the locations are quite certain. This evidence is provided in the following section.
1. Josephus, a historian writer during the time of Christ, said the ruins could still be clearly seen in his day.
2. Archeologists have discovered around 1.5 million bodies in graves in these areas around Sodom and Gomorrah.
3. There are a lot of brimstone (old name for sulfur) balls in these cities.
4. This sulfur is unique and different from all other sulfur found in the world.
It is white, unlike any other place in the world.
It is so pure you can light it on fire, and it burns a hot blue flame.
These sulfur balls are not found between the cities.
5. There is a lot of ash in these areas which fits the biblical narrative.
2 Peter 2:6: And if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes , having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter.
6. The material of these city formations is calcium sulfate, which is what limestone and sulfur become when heated.
7. The choice building material in Israel is limestone, so these cities fit the scientific evidence as well.
8. There is a lot of charcoal layers found in the strata of these cities.
9. The amount of ash, charcoal, and calcium sulfate reveal overwhelming evidence of extreme heat in these cities.
10. There is also no geothermal activity in these areas to explain the ash, charcoal, and calcium sulfate.
11. In addition, there are many unexplained shapes in these areas that look like buildings, Sphinxes, pyramids, and palaces.
12. These cities existed around 4,000 years ago, so their remains would be difficult to distinguish. Plus, God destroyed and reduced them to ashes as well.
13. These cities fit the location as described in the Bible.
Genesis 13:10: Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere&mdashthis was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah&mdashlike the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar [Zoar has been identified as being south of Sodom and Gomorrah].
14. Because the Dead Sea basin used to be like the Garden of Eden, it was an extremely desirable climate that was great for agriculture and life in general. It was, therefore, a very populated area.
15. The thought of God raining down fire and brimstone upon the cities and peoples in this area is staggering and gives me chills up and down my spine. This fire and brimstone were so hot and intense it destroyed everything in its wake.
16. God also used Sodom and Gomorrah to refer to all of the cities of the Dead Sea basin.
Places of Interest
Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible
1. God told Abraham through two angels about His plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
Genesis 18:20&ndash21: And the Lord said, &ldquoThe outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. 21 I will go down now and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me and if not, I will know.&rdquo
2. During a dialogue between Abraham and God, Abraham pleaded with God to spare the cities on account of the righteous ones living in them (Gen. 18:22&ndash31).
3. God told Abraham that He would spare the cities if only 10 righteous people could be found in them.
Genesis 18:32-33: And He said, &ldquoI will not destroy it on account of the ten.&rdquo 33 As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his place.
4. In the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah lived hundreds of thousands of people. The fact that there were not even 10 righteous people speaks of the extreme wickedness of these cities.
Genesis 13:13: Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord.
5. The wickedness of Sodom revealed.
Genesis 19:1&ndash11: Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom . When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 And he said, &ldquoNow behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant&rsquos house, and spend the night, and wash your feet then you may rise early and go on your way.&rdquo They said however, &ldquoNo, but we shall spend the night in the square.&rdquo 3 Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4 Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom , surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter 5 and they called to Lot and said to him, &ldquoWhere are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them .&rdquo 6 But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, 7 and said, &ldquoPlease, my brothers, do not act wickedly. 8 Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.&rdquo 9 But they said, &ldquoStand aside.&rdquo Furthermore, they said, &ldquoThis one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge now we will treat you worse than them.&rdquo So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. 10 But the men [two angels] reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.
6. God warns Lot and his family to flee for their lives.
Genesis 19:12&ndash17: Then the two men said to Lot, &ldquoWhom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place 13 for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the Lord that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.&rdquo 14 Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, &ldquoUp, get out of this place, for the Lord will destroy the city.&rdquo But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting. 15 When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, &ldquoUp, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.&rdquo 16 But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the Lord was upon him and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. 17 When they had brought them outside, one [angel] said, &ldquoEscape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.&rdquo
7. God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.
Genesis 19:23&ndash29: The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar [located south of Sodom and Gomorrah]. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, 25 and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 Now Abraham arose early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before the Lord 28 and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley , and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace. 29 Thus, it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley , that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.
God used Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of judgment upon the ungodly throughout the Bible.
1. Moses used Sodom and Gomorrah as warnings for the future generations of the Israelites.
Deuteronomy 29:23: All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim , which the Lord overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.
God specifically states that He destroyed two other cities besides Sodom and Gomorrah (Adman and Zeboiim). However, it appears He also destroyed Zoar because after Lot left Zoar his two daughters said there was no one in the land for them to marry.
2. The prophets continually used Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of God&rsquos wrath on the ungodly.
Jeremiah 49:18: Like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors,&rdquo says the Lord, &ldquono one will live there, nor will a son of man reside in it.&rdquo
Lamentations 4:6: For the iniquity of the daughter of my people Is greater than the sin of Sodom , which was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands were turned toward her.
3. Jesus used Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of God&rsquos judgment on the ungodly.
Luke 17:28&ndash30: It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
4. The Apostles used Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of God&rsquos coming judgment on the ungodly.
2 Peter 2:4&ndash10: For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.
Jude 1:5&ndash7: Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day&mdash 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities , which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Repeatedly, throughout the accounts of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the sin of homosexuality is highlighted as the main wickedness for which God destroyed them.
Some, who defend homosexuality, claim that God destroyed them because of their lack of hospitality.
5. God uses the same imagery of fire and brimstone in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as for what hell will be like.
Revelation 20:10: And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone , where the beast and the false prophet are also and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Faith Lesson from Sodom and Gomorrah
1. The lesson from Sodom and Gomorrah is a serious, sobering message we should allow to sink in deeply.
2. The primary sin for which God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality. However, they sinned in many other ways as well.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah are a foreshadow of what hell will be like.
4. Jesus talked about how His second coming would be like that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus also spoke more about hell than heaven.
5. If God, the prophets, Christ, and the apostles used Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of the eternal judgment in hell that awaits the ungodly, then we should do the same today as well.
6. God is a God of love and has done everything He can to save us, but for those who reject His offer of salvation, eternal suffering in the Lake of Fire awaits them (Rev. 20:10).
Proof of Sodom and Gomorrah Existence
This is a nice blog, but still confused about its reality. So, could you try helping me find out if it is just a myth, or the stories are true?
I'm still doing my my research about
Covenant Marriage, so I hope you could help me with that link.
Comments for Proof of Sodom and Gomorrah Existence
We know Sodom existed. The Egyptian king Pepi II had trade with Sodom, and there is evidence Sodom & Gomorrah ruins are at the bottom of the Dead Sea.
Proof of Sodom and Gomorrah's Existence was deadly wrong, because of "POLYANDRY" there, where the stupid bad practice of having more than one husband at one time there to create all bad terrible diseases.
Abraham's nephew Lot was there at that time, so Lot's 2 daughters were born by himself from another woman that was frozen to death later.
Then Lot was with his each daughter to give her each birth by himself. Abraham had to go there to escape Lot from there, before Lord God destroyed all over there.
Covenant Marriage means both male and female are truly united in their agreement to get married together. If something goes wrong between male and female, they can get divorced for their truly reasons at all.
Sodom and Gomorrah Proved!
S odom and Gomorrah—cities utterly destroyed by fire from heaven. So says your Bible.
And now, so says archaeology.
The biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah’s heavenly destruction is legendary. “Sodom and Gomorrah” is a term universally understood to represent sin, sexual license, immorality—and horror and destruction.
The biblical account is far from being merely a fable, however. Scientists have now found evidence of a catastrophic event unmistakably akin to the one described in the book of Genesis.
From Paradise to Sheol
The Dead Sea zone was once home to a thriving civilization—particularly the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, according to the Bible. Genesis 13:10 describes the location as a veritable “garden of the Lord,” “well watered every where.”
Archaeology has revealed flourishing prosperity in this area—right up until it came to a sudden, jarring end around 3,700 years ago. This is the same period at which the Bible places the “fire and brimstone” destruction. In the centuries following this abrupt end of civilization, the territory has remained lifeless and uncultivatable. To this day it is utterly saline and quite literally dead.
According to the Bible, because of the widespread evil in Sodom, God condemned it to fiery destruction, sparing only Lot and his family. “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground” (Genesis 19:24-25).
God demolished the terrain, and fused Lot’s wife into salt after she looked back longingly at the city. The Bible associates salt with total destruction for example, after Shechem was conquered, salt was scattered throughout the city (Judges 9:45). Appropriately, the area is home to what is known as the Salt Sea (Dead Sea), the world’s deepest hypersaline lake—10 times saltier than the ocean.
Jordan’s Tall el-Hammam is a possible location of biblical Sodom. Excavations there have revealed utter destruction and an instantaneous end of civilization, dating roughly to the 1700s b.c . More destruction was found at five nearby excavated sites, and indicated by ground surveys at 120 other, smaller settlements in the region. Excavation director Prof. Phillip Silvia recorded his team’s discoveries in a detailed analysis: “The 3.7kaBP Middle Ghor Event: Catastrophic Termination of a Bronze Age Civilization.“ The details are almost incredible.
Mud brick structures were found to have suddenly disappeared, leaving only burned stone foundations. Bricks showed signs of incineration. Skeletons lay mangled. Clay pottery fragments were discovered to have melted into glass. Zircon crystals in the pottery, upon analysis, were shown to have formed within one second, the result of superheating to temperatures perhaps as hot as the surface of the sun. A “tidal wave” of boiling hot salt had swept over the land. There was evidence that mineral grains had rained down, carried by scorching, high-force winds. Ash and debris, several feet thick, were left behind within the wider 193-square-mile area of destruction—a scene of utter carnage of biblical proportions. The estimated regional population of 40,000 to 65,000 people would have been killed instantly by the strange event.
What caused such a catastrophe?
An Exploding Meteor?
Silvia’s team of scientists working at Tall el-Hammam has estimated that the scene of devastation was caused by an exploding meteor. They base this hypothesis on a massive airburst that occurred in 1908 in Siberia, leveling 772 square miles of forest yet leaving no crater. Scientists’ best guess at what caused this Russian blast was a meteor breaking apart three to six miles above ground. In 2013, a fiery meteor streaked across Russia, causing explosions and injuring hundreds. The Tall el-Hammam scientists posit that a similar event must have occurred around 3,700 years ago, causing a dramatic fireball, a superheated air blast, and a fallout that wiped out the region below.
Based on research by atomic energy researcher Samuel Gladstone, the Tall el-Hammam scientists have estimated that a 10-megaton airburst yield in the atmosphere would have been sufficient to cause the destruction evidenced on the ground. That is just over 666 times the blast yield of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
While scientists can debate whether or not such extraordinary destruction was caused by a meteor-type event or other heavenly phenomena, what is not debatable is the effect. And that destruction—in location, time and description—directly matches the biblical event.
Fire and Brimstone
To this point, archaeology has confirmed dozens of personalities in the Hebrew Bible (53, according to this count), dozens of places, dozens of wars, etc. Here, at the northern tip of the Dead Sea, we have scientific corroboration for a biblical miracle. The New Living Translation of verses 24-28 read: “Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt. Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace.”
The finds at Tall el-Hammam and the surrounding area have confirmed just such an event. Some kind of heavenly firestorm instantly incinerated not only the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but all the “other cities and villages of the plain,” carbonizing them with temperatures perhaps akin to the surface of the sun. “[E]very bit of vegetation” was wiped out, and evidence shows that the land remained uncultivable and inhospitable for the next 500 years (see also Deuteronomy 29:23). Even today, the region remains synonymous with death.
Given that much of the area was blanketed in boiling salt in the conflagration, it’s not surprising that Lot’s wife would also be cemented into a superheated column of salt for her sin of looking back in longing for the depraved cities. And certainly, the damage would have created billowing clouds of smoke visible for hundreds of miles around—such as what Abraham saw.
Why the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? For thousands of years, it was believed that the cities were destroyed primarily for their sexual sins, especially homosexuality. However, due to the current popularity of homosexuality, some biblical apologists argue otherwise. They posit an alternative interpretation: that the prime sin of Sodom was the lack of hospitality toward foreigners.
Does this explain why Sodom and Gomorrah, above all cities on Earth, were wiped out? What about those like the Assyrians, who lined city walls with the heads and skins of foreigners? Why weren’t they destroyed by a nuclear-like fireball?
Several scriptures make clear Sodom and Gomorrah were glutted with sexual sin—especially homosexual sin—and that this specific sin is directly related to the fiery conflagration. The context of Genesis 19 makes this clear. The men of the city demanded that Lot send his “male” guests out to them, “that we may know them” (verse 5), referring to sexual relations. This wasn’t just one or two men. This was “the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter” (verse 4). Lot refused, and offered instead his virgin daughters to the mob, girls “which have not known man … and do ye to them as is good in your eyes” (verse 8). The context makes clear what the men of the city wanted. The Moffatt translation (among others) renders verse 5: “Where are the men who came to visit you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may rape them.”
As a result of this exchange, the angels who were with Lot blinded the men outside his home—and still the sex-crazed men grappled for the door (verse 11).
The idea that homosexuality isn’t a sin contravenes several other scriptures that condemn the practice (e.g., Leviticus 18:22 20:13). “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7). These are the chief sins identified with Sodom and Gomorrah—sexual sins—going after strange flesh. Of course, this was concurrent with many other sins that contributed to their downfall. The Prophet Ezekiel wrote of Sodom and “her daughters”: “They were haughty and practiced abominable deeds” (Ezekiel 16:49-50 New English Translation).
The mortal danger of such sin is not only to those directly engaged in it, but to those exposed to it. The attitude of “as long as it doesn’t affect me” is dangerous, as Lot found out the hard way. He detested the sins of the city, but the gross sexual immorality had rubbed off on his family—to the point that his betrothed sons-in-law refused to escape, his wife looked back longingly at the city as they fled, and his own two daughters raped him soon afterward in order to conceive children (Genesis 19). Such actions by Lot’s daughters certainly aren’t the result of a mere “lack of hospitality” rubbing off on them. They are the result of growing up in a society saturated in sexual sin.
Today’s world is fast approaching—or has already surpassed, in many cases—the saturation point of sin prevalent in Sodom and Gomorrah, especially in sexual sin. Isaiah 3:8-9, speaking of our time, condemn our people who proudly “declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not.” Never in history has sodomy been so openly celebrated.
Homosexuality does go beyond affecting those who directly engage in it. Your Bible says society’s sins are leading to another “fire and brimstone” event—this time worldwide . This coming calamity is going to be “greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom” (Lamentations 4:6).
Not only does the Bible present a witness of fiery judgment for sin, so too does archaeology. Perhaps these recent discoveries are actually an omen of what is soon to come upon us.
The Mosaic Law has two explicit citations on homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 says, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. 9 It is an abomination [toebah] 10 .” Leviticus 20:13 says, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act [toebah]. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.”
John Boswell offers the standard rebuttal to what appears to be an obvious biblical prohibition of homosexuality:
The Hebrew word “toebah,” here translated “abomination,” does not usually signify something intrinsically evil, like rape or theft. but something which is ritually unclean for Jews, like eating pork or engaging in intercourse during menstruation, both of which are prohibited in these same chapters. 11
Leviticus, the suggestion goes, is not where we generally go for moral instruction. The sections quoted deal with the cult of worship: sacrifice, priesthood, ritual bathing, etc. These directives have to do with ritual purity, not moral purity. An observant Jew could not worship after ritual contamination until he had been ritually cleansed.
Others have added that many details of the Mosaic Law are archaic. Who concerns themselves with mixing wool and linen together (Deuteronomy 22:11)? The death penalty itself doesn’t mark homosexuality as particularly heinous. Disobedience to parents was also a capital crime, as was picking up sticks on the Sabbath, yet no one suggests these should be punishable offenses today. 12
This rejoinder is filled with inconsistencies. First, even if this prohibition was restricted only to ritual purity and the cult of worship, then minimally it applies to Jewish clerics. Yet many who use this approach see no problem with homosexual rabbis and instead champion such “diversity” as a religious virtue. On the other hand, if the Torah’s proscriptions no longer apply at all, then any distinction between the cultic and moral aspects of the Mosaic Law is moot none of it pertains anyway.
Second, it’s a serious error in thinking to conclude that if some of the Torah no longer applies, then none of it applies. Jewish thinker Dennis Prager observed, “It is one thing not to put a Torah punishment into practice and quite another to declare that a Torah sin is no longer a sin” 13 [emphasis in the original].
Third, it’s true that much of the Law seems to deal with religious activity rather than universal morality. That observation in itself, however, is not enough to summarily dismiss the Torah as a source of binding moral instruction. Ritual purity and moral purity are not always distinct.
Context is king here. Note the positioning of the verses. The toebahof homosexuality is sandwiched between adultery (18:20), child sacrifice (18:21) and bestiality (18:23). Was Moses saying merely that if a priest committed adultery, had sex with an animal, or burned his child on Molech’s altar he should be sure to wash up before he came to temple?
More to the point, these sections were not addressed to the priests, but to all the “sons of Israel” (18:2, 20:2). In addition to the prohibitions on adultery, child sacrifice, and bestiality just mentioned, Moses also prohibits spiritism (20:6) and incest (20:12).
The conclusion of Leviticus 18 contains these words:
But as for you [the “sons of Israel” (v. 2)], you are to keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled (18:26–27).
Moses spoke as clearly here as he did in Genesis. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of many things, but foremost among them was the sin of homosexuality. In this section of Leviticus, God gives directives not just for ritual purity, but commands to be observed by every Jew, and even by every visitor.
Homosexuality was wrong for the Jews. It was wrong for gentiles who visited the Jews (“aliens”). It was even an abomination that defiled the land when practiced by pagans who inhabited Canaan long before the Jews came.
Homosexuality is a defiling sin, regardless who practices it. It has no place before God among any people, in any age, then or now.