Where were Sodom and Gomorrah?


Genesis 18:20

ESV - 20 Then the Lord said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave.

Clarify Share Report Asked September 08 2018 Head shot Tom Lackey

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
My understanding is that the Biblical narrative, in combination with modern-day archaeological evidence, indicate Sodom and Gomorrah as having been located in the modern-day country of Jordan, on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea (which is the body of water into which the Jordan River empties).

September 08 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
Gauged by the desolation of the region, the southeast area of the Dead Sea has been determined by many sources to be where Sodom and Gomorrah were. But there is another area that should be considered. 

In “The Geography of the Cities of the Plain” and other articles, Steven Collins, an archaeologist, proposed another location at the north end of the Dead Sea where the Jordan River enters it. Here about 8 miles northeast of the Dead Sea on the eastern ridge of the valley, are the ruins of Tall el-Hammam. Collins believed this site within the border of Jordan is Sodom saying it must have been the largest and most important city since it is listed first. Discovered so far are foundations of buildings, a large temple, a large palace, and a 2-mile-long wall. It is large enough to be where Lot sat in the gate of the city, Genesis 19:1. 

There is evidence that this place was destroyed by a catastrophe of intense heat with temperatures well over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Nearly three feet of dark gray ash, as well as melted rock, mud bricks, and pottery have been uncovered. Genesis 19:24, 25 relates the awful devastation on that day. 

One of the reasons to consider this area, is in the account of Abraham and Lot mutually separating. Genesis 13:10-12 gives a clue that Lot could see this place from Bethel and Ai, Genesis 13:3. The vantage point would be about 11 miles north of Jerusalem. Lot would not be able to see the south end of the Dead Sea, but he would easily see the north end. It also had to be visible by Abraham from the oak of Mamre, Genesis 18:1, 16. 

The cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela/Zoar had to be in a place the region could support them. This valley was definitely a well-watered and spring-fed area. The destruction desolated the land, but not permanently as some think, but eventually vegetation returned, and the land was resettled after a few hundred years. 

A compelling reason for this region is the term ‘plain of the Jordan,’ literally ‘kikkar of Jordan.’ ‘Kikkar’ is a non-geographical designation meaning a circular, flat disk, as a typical loaf of bread or talents of valuable metal. The use of the term ‘kikkar’ is similar to the use of ‘mesa’ as a tableland. ‘Kikkar’ is used for the 15½ mile diameter circular area north of the Dead Sea. In every use of the word for a location, it refers to the same specific place of the southern Jordan valley. 

The Jordan stops at the Dead Sea, so no area south of it can be considered the plain of Jordan. In Genesis 13:11, it relates that Lot then went east which would take him to this place. He would cross the Jordan to settle near the cities, whereas Abraham stayed in Canaan.

Only the area northeast of the Dead Sea can be where Sodom and Gomorrah were.

January 15 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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