Archaeology

Archaeology Says "I Found Sodom!"

Did a terrible judgment fall upon Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain that existed off the coast of the present-day Dead Sea? Did their annihilation come as a result of their great wickedness? Is there any extra-Biblical information that certifies this spectacular and deadly destruction?
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Archaeology Says "I Found Sodom!"

Article#: 1396

Ephesians 5:15-16:

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,   

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

To redeem time is to purchase it back.  Jesus Christ is called the Redeemer.  We were sold to sin by our parents, Adam and Eve.  Jesus Christ came to this earth as the Son of Man and the only Begotten Son of God to buy us back, to redeem our souls.  His blood was the currency.  If that seems strange to you, click onto Why the Blood of Jesus?

If you have been born again, then you are about the business of redeeming time.  We take time, time is our life, and we buy it back from carnaldom’s hurtful lusts as we invest ourselves, our time, our lives, into the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When you consider that on this earth, life is time and that we trade our time, our life, for money, by working on the job, then the old axiom holds true: Time is money.  Check out the simple example of redeeming time.  Instead of spending money on a typical party laden with various excesses and alcoholic beverages and possibly other damaging substances, the saints of God take that same money and invest it into the Kingdom of God, possibly feeding the legitimately poor, or other charitable works.  Money is time and time is life.  The born-again redeem time.  They buy it back. 

Are you born again?  Would you like the supernatural ability to convert carnal time into eternal rewards?  John 3:3:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

You can be born again today.  You can find a holy beauty and purpose and a peace that passes understanding.  Let today be your day of salvation.  The Redeemer’s hand is extended.  Click onto “Further With Jesus” for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God.  NOW FOR TODAY'S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Genesis 18:20-21:

20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

GOD SAID, Genesis 19:1-17; 24-29:

1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant''s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

4 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:

5 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.

6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

8 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 under the shadow of my roof.

9 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.

10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.

11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:

13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;

25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:

28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

GOD SAID, Deuteronomy 29:23:

And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:

GOD SAID, II Peter 2:6-8:

6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

GOD SAID, Jude 1:7:

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.

MAN SAID:  Sodom and Gomorrah is just a Biblical fairytale designed to inhibit man’s sexual freedom and, according to U.S. President Barak Obama, it doesn’t matter who you love. 

Now THE RECORD. Did a terrible judgment fall upon Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain that existed off the coast of the present-day Dead Sea?  Did their annihilation come as a result of their great wickedness?  Is there any extra-Biblical information that certifies this spectacular and deadly destruction?

For the record, allow me to enumerate the names of great Biblical people that not only believed God’s record of Sodom and Gomorrah, but also wrote about the matter:  Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Zephaniah, Jude, and the Apostles Peter, John, and Paul-- and the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who also spoke of this matter. 

Were the great prophets and apostles of the Bible duped by faith?  Did Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe, have it wrong?  Of course the answer is NO!  The historians in the time of and preceding Christ, as well as the discoveries of today, concur over and over again with the Genesis record. 

Several paragraphs from the GodSaidManSaid feature Sodom and Gomorrah follow:

You’ve heard of the Dead Sea.  You’ve probably seen promotional photographs of someone sitting in the water of the Dead Sea while reading a newspaper.  The mineral content of the water is so dense that you can’t sink.  The Dead Sea is truly a wonder of the world—the abiding testimony of the judgment of God.  The following excerpt is from The Bible as History:

During the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, it is said that the Roman army commander Titus sentenced certain slaves to death.  He gave them short shrift, had them bound together by chains and thrown into the sea at the foot of the mountains of Moab.  But the condemned men did not drown.  No matter how often they were thrown into the sea, they always drifted back to the shore like corks.  This inexplicable occurrence made such a deep impression upon Titus that he pardoned the unfortunate offenders.  Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian who lived latterly in Rome, repeatedly mentions a “Lake of Asphalt.”  Greeks speak of the presence of poisonous gases, which are reported as rising from all parts of this sea.  The Arabs say that in olden times, no bird was able to reach the opposite side.  The creatures, as they flew across the water, would suddenly drop dead into it.  [End of quote]

In 1848, The United States commissioned an expedition to research the mysteries of the Dead Sea.  It was led by geologist W. F. Lynch.  When the team arrived at the Dead Sea, they decided to take a swim.  Again, from The Bible as History:

The first thing to do was to have a swim.  But when they jumped in, they felt as If they were being thrown out again.  It was like wearing life-jackets.  The old stories were therefore true.  In this sea, it is impossible to drown.  The scorching sun dried the men’s skins almost at once.  The thin crust of salt which the water had deposited on their bodies made them look quite white.  No shellfish, no fish, no seaweed, no coral—no fishing boat had ever rocked this sea.  Here there was neither a harvest from the sea nor from the land.  For the banks were equally bare and desolate.  Huge deposits of coagulated salt made the beach and the rock face above it sparkle in the sun like diamonds.  The air was filled with sharp acrid odours, a mixture of petroleum and sulphur.  Oily patches of asphalt—the Bible calls it “slime” (Genesis 14:10)—float on the waves.  Even the bright blue sky and the all-powerful sun could not breathe any life into this forbidding-looking landscape.

The world learned for the first time from the report of the expedition two astonishing facts.  The Dead Sea is over 1,200 feet in depth.  The bottom of the sea is therefore about 2,500 feet below the level of the Mediterranean.  The water of the Dead Sea contains approximately 30% of solid ingredients, most sodium chloride (i.e. cooking salt).  The normal ocean has only 3.3 to 4% salt.  [End of quote]

Speaking of the judgment that came upon Sodom and Gomorrah, Deuteronomy 29:23 reads:

And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:

Unquestionably, one of the world’s greatest historians and Biblical chronologists was Bishop Ussher, who lived in the 1600s and penned a huge tome titled The Annals of the World.  The following excerpt is from that book, and it contains Sodom and Gomorrah:

Abraham invited angels, who looked like travelling men, into his house, and gave them a feast.  These angels reiterated the promise of the birth of Isaac for Sarah’s sake.  They foretold the judgment of utter destruction which God intended to bring upon the five cities of the plain.  Abraham, fearing what would become of Lot and his family in Sodom, made intercession to God for the sparing of that place.  Sodom, Gomorrah, Adamah and Zeboiim, for their horrible sins, perished by fire and brimstone that rained down upon them from heaven.  These cities were to be an example to all wicked men in times to come of the pains of that everlasting fire to be inflicted on them in the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death.  The monument of this remains to this day, even the Dead Sea.  The valley of Siddim, where these five cities stood in former times, was full of brimstone and salt pits.  This has since grown into a vast lake which, because of the brimstone still floating in it, is called Laces Asphaltitis or Lake of Brimstone and because of the salt, Mare Salsum or the Salt Sea.  [End of quote]

Deuteronomy 29:23 speaks of the wicked cities of the plain that were destroyed by God with fire and brimstone.  Archaeologists have discovered several cities on the coast and just off the coast of the Dead Sea.  The question is which one is Sodom, etc.?

The latest discovery made by archaeologist Steven Collins warranted front-page representation on the March/April 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review and inside, a ten-plus page feature. Collins presents his case for Tall el-Hammam as the actual city of Sodom.  Excerpts from his feature follow:

A number of scholars in the past have placed Sodom at various places at or near the southern end of the Dead Sea.  William F. Albright proposed that Sodom and Gomorrah might be underwater south of the Dead Sea’s Lisan peninsula.  Bryant G. Wood suggests that Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira might be Sodom and Gomorrah, while R. Thomas Schaub and Walter E. Rast, the excavators of those sites, believe that they may be the visible ruins from which the etiological legend arose.  Still others, like Burton MacDonald, suggest that there were two separate etiological traditions—one favoring the north end of the Dead Sea (Admah/Zeboiim) and one favoring the southern location (Sodom/Gomorrah)—that arose in Israel and Judah, respectively.

While the dispute will no doubt continue, I believe that Tall el-Hammam is by far the best candidate for Biblical Sodom.

The main reason for rejecting the southern sites is, of course, the Bible.  Nothing in the Bible leads to these southern sites, and everything leads to the area north of the Dead Sea opposite Bethel and Ai.  There is a remarkable correspondence here between text and ground.

One other Biblical point: Genesis 19:1 says that the angels first came to Lot while he was sitting in the “gate of Sodom.”  We have been excavating the major gate complex that led into the city of Tall el-Hammam.  Nothing remotely similar has been found in the south. 

It is interesting that not a single advocate of the southern sites has ever provided a detailed analysis of Genesis 13:1-12 in support of that position. 

It is true that there is some evidence of a fiery destruction in the southern area, but this is also true of Tall el-Hammam and the area north of the Dead Sea.  Bitumen chucks have been mined all around the Dead Sea, including at Tall el-Hammam. [End of quote]

Under the heading “Wrathful Destruction,” Steven Collins writes:

Across Tall el-Hammam, archaeologists found widespread evidence of an intense, fiery conflagration that left the Middle Bronze Age city in charred ruins.  Well below the later Iron Age levels of this evacuation trench are the scorched walls and floors of a Middle Bronze Age structure that was buried beneath nearly 3 feet of dark grey ash.  Several broken storage jars and a circular clay-lined storage bin were found on the floor of the building. 

Amid the destruction debris was this 4.5-inch-long pottery sherd from a Middle Bronze Age storage jar.  The glassy appearance of the sherd's surface indicates that it was briefly exposed to temperatures well in excess of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the approximate heat of volcanic magma.  Similar “melted” sherds were found across the site, suggesting the city and its environs were catastrophically destroyed in a sudden, extreme conflagration. [End of quote]

Collins continues:

The terminal destruction layer at Tall el-Hammam lies across both the upper and lower tall and consists of a matrix of heavy, dark ash mixed with fragments of pottery, mudbricks, a wide range of object fragments and human bone scatter.  Numerous pottery fragments of this matrix lie across the site and have outside surfaces melted into glass, with some bubbled up like “frothy” magma, indicating they were burned in a flash heat event far exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  The conflagration must have yielded extremely high heat and effected catastrophic damage.

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 (or better said, traditional account) 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).  The Bible gives the city’s name: Sodom. [End of quote]

The city of Sodom, from whence comes the word sodomy, which defines homosexual activity, and all the companion cities of the plain were destroyed by fire and brimstone out of Heaven.  God’s Word is true and righteous altogether, a place to build a life that will last forever.

GOD SAID, Genesis 18:20-21:

20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

GOD SAID, Genesis 19:24-25:

24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;

25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

GOD SAID, Deuteronomy 29:23:

And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:

GOD SAID, II Peter 2:6-8:

6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

GOD SAID, Jude 1:7:

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.

MAN SAID:  Sodom and Gomorrah is just a Biblical fairytale designed to inhibit man’s sexual freedom and, according to U.S. President Barak Obama, it doesn’t matter who you love. 

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

 

References

Authorized King James Version

Collins, S., “North vs. South: Why the Southern Location Doesn’t Work,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2013

GodSaidManSaid, Soddom and Gomorrah

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