|sod'-um (their secret; their cement, burning, the walled)
RELATED: Abraham, Ben-Ammi, Gomorrah, Lot, Zoar
Easton's Bible Dictionary
burning; the walled, A city in the vale of Siddim ( Genesis
13:10 ; 14:1-16 ). The wickedness of its inhabitants brought down upon it fire
from heaven, by which it was destroyed ( Genesis 18:16 - 33 ; 19:1 - 29 ; Deuteronomy
23:17 ). This city and its awful destruction are frequently alluded to in Scripture
( Deuteronomy 29:23 ; 32:32 ; Isaiah 1:9 , 1:10 ; 3:9 ; 13:19 ; Jeremiah 23:14
; Ezekiel 16:46 - 56 ; Zephaniah 2:9 ; Matthew 10:15 ; Romans 9:29 ; 2 Peter 2:6
, etc.). No trace of it or of the other cities of the plain has been discovered,
so complete was their destruction. Just opposite the site of Zoar, on the south-west
coast of the Dead Sea, is a range of low hills, forming a mass of mineral salt
called Jebel Usdum, "the hill of Sodom." It has been concluded, from this and
from other considerations, that the cities of the plain stood at the southern
end of the Dead Sea. Others, however, with much greater probability, contend that
they stood at the northern end of the sea. [in 1897].
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
their secret; their cement
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(burning) One of the most ancient cities of Syria. It
is commonly mentioned in connection with Gomorrah, but also with Admah and Zeboim,
and on one occasion -- ( Genesis 14:1 ) ... --with Bela or Zoar. Sodom was evidently
the chief town in the settlement. The four are first named in the ethnological
records of ( Genesis 10:19 ) as belonging to the Canaanites. The next mention
of the name of Sodom, ( Genesis 13:10 - 13 ) gives more certain indication of
the position of the city. Abram and Lot are standing together between Bethel and
Ai, ver. 3, taking a survey of the land around and below them. Eastward of them,
and absolutely at their feet, lay the "circle of Jordan." The whole circle was
one great oasis --"a garden of Jehovah." ver. 10. In the midst of the garden the
four cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim appear to have been situated.
It is necessary to notice how absolutely the cities are identified with the district.
In the subsequent account of their destruction, ( Genesis 19:1 ) ... the topographical
terms are employed with all the precision which is characteristic of such early
times. The mention of the Jordan is conclusive as to the situation of the district,
for the Jordan ceases where it enters the Dead Sea, and can have no existence
south of that point. The catastrophe by which they were destroyed is described
in ( Genesis 19:1 ) ... as a shower of brimstone and fire from Jehovah. However
we may interpret the words of the earliest narrative, one thing is certain --that
the lake was not one of the agents in the catastrophe. From all these passages,
though much is obscure, two things seem clear:
|(1) That Sodom and the rest of the
cities of the plain of Jordan stood on the north of the Dead Sea;
(2) That neither the cities nor the district were submerged by the lake, but that
the cities were overthrown and the land spoiled, and that it may still be seen
in its desolate condition. When, however, we turn to more modern views, we discover
a remarkable variance from these conclusions.
The opinion long current that the five cities were submerged in the lake, and
that their remains--walls, columns and capitals--might he still discerned below
the water, hardly needs refutation after the distinct statement and the constant
implication of Scripture. But, a more serious departure from the terms of the
ancient history is exhibited in the prevalent opinion that the cities stood at
the south end of the lake. This appears to, have been the belief of Josephus and
Jerome. It seems to have been universally held by the medieval historians and
pilgrims, and it is adopted by modern topographers probably without exception.
There are several grounds for this belief; but the main point on which Dr. Robinson
rests his argument is the situation of Zoar.
|(a) "Lot," says he, "fled to Zoar, which was near to Sodom;
and Zoar lay almost at the southern end of the present sea, probably in the month
of Wady Kerak ."
(b) Another consideration in favor of placing the cities at the southern end of
the lake is the existence of similar names in that direction.
(c) A third argument, and perhaps the weightiest of the three, is the existence
of the salt mountain at the south of the lake, and its tendency to split off in
columnar masses presenting a rude resemblance to the human form. But it is by
no means certain that salt does not exist at other spots round the lake.
(d) (A fourth and yet stronger argument is drawn from the fact that Abraham saw
the smoke of the burning cities from Hebron.
(e) A fifth argument is found in the numerous lime-pits found at that southern
end of the Dead Sea. Robinson, Schaff, Baedeker, Lieutenant Lynch and others favor
this view. --ED.)
It thus appears that on the situation of Sodom no satisfactory conclusion can
at present be readied: On the one hand, the narrative of Genesis seems to state
positively that it lay at the northern end of the Dead Sea. On the other hand,
long-continued tradition and the names of the existing spots seem to pronounce
with almost equal positiveness that it was at its southern end. Of the catastrophe
which destroyed the city and the district of Sodom we can hardly hope ever to
form a satisfactory conception. Some catastrophe there undoubtedly was but what
secondary agencies, besides fire, were employed in the accomplishment of the punishment
cannot be safely determined in the almost total absence of exact scientific description
of the natural features of the ground round the lake. We may suppose, however,
that the actual agent in the ignition and destruction of the cities had been of
the nature of a tremendous thunder-storm accompanied by a discharge of meteoric
stones, (and that these set on fire the bitumen with which the soil was saturated,
and which was used in building the city. And it may be that this burning out of
the soil caused the plain to sink below the level of the Dead Sea, and the waters
to flow over it--if indeed Sodom and its sister cities are really under the water.--ED.)
The miserable fate of Sodom and Gomorrah is held up as a warning in numerous passages
of the Old and New Testaments. ( Mark 8:11 ; 2 Peter 2:6 ; Jude 1:4 - 7 )
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
sod'-um (cedhom; Sodoma)
One of the 5 CITIES OF THE PLAIN (which see), destroyed by fire from heaven in
the time of Abraham and Lot (Genesis 19:24). The wickedness of the city became
proverbial. The sin of sodomy was an offense against nature frequently connected
with idolatrous practices (see Rawlinson, History of Phoenicia). See SODOMITE.
The fate of Sodom and Gomorrah is used as a warning to those who reject the gospel
(Matthew 10:15 ; 11:24 ; 2 Peter 2:6 ; Jude 1:7). The word is used in a typical
sense in Revelation 11:8. Sodom was probably located in plain South of the Dead
Sea, now covered with water. The name is still preserved in Jebel Usdum (Mt. Sodom).
See ARABAH; CITIES OF THE PLAIN; DEAD SEA.
Dillmann. Genesis, 111; Robinson, BR, II, 187; G. A. Smith, HGHL, 505; Blanckenhorn,
ZDPV, XIX, 1896, 53; Baedeker-Socin, Palestine, 143; Buhl, GAP, 117, 271, 274.
George Frederick Wright
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, brimstone and fire, cities of the plain, destruction, gomorrah, sin, sodom, wicked