The Life of Jesus in Harmony
SODOM. A town of the patriarchal age located in the plain or "valley of the Jordan
" Gen 13:11-12), together with its sister cities Gomorrah
, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar.
The city in the Jordan Valley (Gen 10:19; 13:10) that, with Gomorrah, became a
type of intolerable wickedness and was destroyed by fire (19:24-28).
The bible points out that the district of the Jordan where Sodom, Gomorrah,
Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar were located was exceedingly productive and well
populated around 2054 B.C., but that not long afterward it was abandoned. This
circumstance is in full agreement with archaeological findings.
These cities were located in the valley of Siddim (Gen 14:3). Probably this
was the area at the southern end of the Dead Sea, now covered with water.
Somewhere in the vicinity of 2050 B.C. this region was overwhelmed by a great
conflagration. The country was said to have been "full of tar pits" (14:10). Bitumen
deposits are still to be found in that area. Being on the fault-line forming the
Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, and the Arabah, this region has been the scene of
earthquakes throughout history.
The salt and free sulfur of this area, now a burned-out region of oil and
asphalt, were mingled by an earthquake to form a violent explosion. Evidently salt
and sulfur were blasted red-hot into the sky so that literally it rained fire
and brimstone over the whole plain (19:24,28). Lot's wife being turned into a
pillar of salt is reminiscent of "the Mount of Sodom" known to the Arabs as Jebel
Usdum, a five-mile-long salt mass stretching N and S at the southeastern end
of the Dead Sea.
Somewhere under the slowly rising water of the southern part of the lake the
five cities of the plain are to be found. According to Tacitus's History 5.7 and
Josephus's Wars 4.8.4, their ruins were still visible in classical and NT
times, not yet being covered with water.
refers to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah <Matt. 10:15>. Sodom's
wickedness and moral depravity became proverbial <Rom. 9:29; Rev. 11:8>. Fresh water
irrigation at the southern end of the Dead Sea was sufficient to maintain the
five Jordan cities and furnish another evidence of the location of Sodom in this