Gomorrah was a biblical place always associated with Sodom. They are found on the Biblical Timeline between 2000 BC and 1900 BC. The term Gomorrah came from the Greek name for the land that could mean “a heap of manure”. It was a very old city believed by many to be a located on a plain submerged beneath the south portion of the Dead Sea. The term “ugly manure” given to this city was not because of its physical attributes rather because of its inhabitants and how they behaved themselves. Some archaeologists believe Numeira is the location of the biblical Gomorrah. Some house foundations were found in the area along with a winery.
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The exact location of Sodom just like Gomorrah is still debated today. But for sure, it was around the eastern or south-eastern portion of Jerusalem more particularly in the Dead Sea area. Also, one could see it from Mamre, a land close to Hebron. Hebron is situated almost in the middle part of the north and south at the west of the Dead Sea. One of the most popular speculated sites of ancient Sodom is the modern day Bab edh-Dhra. During the 1960s, a huge cemetery with 500,000 bodies, more or less, was excavated.
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gomorrah were politically allied with three other cities, namely; Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela or Zoar. These five cities were known as the “cities of the plain”. They were situated along the coastline of the Jordan River to the south of Canaan. The coastline of the Jordan River is now believed to be the Dead Sea. This place was well-watered and green enough to raise animals. Cities of the plain had their own kings and these kings, namely; King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela worked together to revolt against the Elamite Kingdom who ruled over them for 13 years. The battle was won by the Elamite Kingdom until Abram the uncle of Lot killed the armies of Elam’s king thus freeing the five cities from Elam.
Topping the many speculations, Sodom was believed to be the modern city of Bab edh-Dhra while Numeira could be the ancient location of Gomorrah. Both cities were annihilated at the same time by a great catastrophe. Cemetery found in Bab edh-Dhra suggested that people inside the buildings were burnt by a fire that started from the roof. The area south of the Dead Sea has deposits of the substance bitumen, a substance that has a high sulphur component. A popular theory by Frederick Clapp is the possibility of an earthquake pushing these bitumen deposits out from a fault line. Once out on earth and sparked, these bitumen deposits would create a huge fire thus making the entire land into a giant oven.
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah along with the two other cities of the plain was a picture of God’s rage over sin, particularly vices and indecent sexual behaviors and practices. The cities were inhabited by people so wicked and evil that God could do nothing except to destroy them. The cities were totally destroyed by a rain of fire and brimstones. Only the city of Zoar was spared from God’s wrath that day.
The Good People of Sodom
When Abraham learned about God’s plan of destroying Sodom, Abraham became concerned about the good individuals living inside the city. And so, God sent two angels to Sodom, who met Lot, who gave them food and a place to stay for the night. But moments later, the men of the city demanded that Lot surrender to them the two men he kept inside his house. And when Lot refused, they forcefully barged into his house where they were stopped and blinded by the angels. The angles then told Lot about God’s plan of destroying the city and asked him to leave the city with his family. They left the city the next morning with the caution not to look behind. But Lot’s wife failed and looked back to the city being destroyed and was turned into a pillar of salt. God’s sparing the lives of Lot and his family is an example of how God cares for the righteous people.
Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible
- Genesis 10:19. Sodom and Gomorrah as the borders of Canaan.
- Genesis 13:10. Sodom and Gomorrah were well-watered places before they were destroyed by the Lord.
- Genesis 14:2. The king of Sodom was named Bera while the king of Gomorrah was Birsha.
- Genesis 19:24. Lot met the two angels sent by the Lord at the entrance of the gate and greeted them politely.
- Genesis 19:24. Sodom and Gomorrah were rained upon with fire and brimstones.
- Jeremiah 49:18. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by the Lord along with the two other cities nearby so completely that nobody would live there again.
- 2 Peter 2:6. Razing the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to the ground is God’s example of how he will treat ungodly and immoral behaviors.
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