Sodom and Gomorrah

Chapter 4. Locating the Cities - Part 3

*All 5 Cities of the Plain (standing above the Valley that later became the Dead Sea) are mentioned together in Genesis 14:2,8. 4 of them formed the boundary of Genesis 10:19, from Zeboim in the north to Sodom in the South. It was unnecessary to mention Zoar in this list, since it was the smallest and was close to Sodom. 

*1. Zoar was the smallest and southernmost City, close to Sodom. 
Genesis 13:10: “Lot lifted his eyes (from the hills near Bethel) and saw all the Plain of Jordan (at the northern end of the Dead Sea), that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the Garden of the Lord, like the Land of Egypt, as you go toward ZOAR (in the far south).” 

This is confirmed by Lot’s travels, first from the Bethel hills down to the Jordan Plain (north of the Dead Sea), then along the Plain going steadily southwards, living in each City in turn until he reached Sodom. “Lot chose for himself all the Plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east (going down to the part of the Jordan Valley that was visible, just north of where the Dead Sea is now). And they separated from each other. Lot dwelt in the Cities of the Plain, and pitched his Tent even as far as Sodom” (Genesis 13:11,12). “He overthrew the Cities in which Lot had dwelt” (Genesis 19:29). As he went south, Lot dwelt in all the 4 Cities, and these were the 4 Cities initially destroyed by God. The only City not included in this was Zoar, for he had not yet reached Zoar. 

This means that Zoar must have been the southernmost City, with Sodom just a bit to the north of it, and the other Cities further north.

This is also confirmed by Lot’s escape from Sodom to Zoar:

Genesis 19:20-23: “See now, this City is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” And he said to him, “See, I have favoured you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this City for which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the City was called Zoar.
The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar.”

This establishes Zoar as the smallest of the Cities, and that it was close to Sodom. Moreover, as Sodom was the southernmost of the 4 Cities in which Lot had dwelt, Zoar had to be further south, for Lot had to flee the destruction-zone. (Zoar was destroyed later).
Therefore, Zoar must have been the southernmost and smallest City.

The ashen regions confirm that the southernmost City is also the smallest one, and it is outside the salt-zone. Moreover, it is close to the largest of the ashen regions, which we can identify as Sodom. 

*2. Sodom, as we have established, was the southernmost of the Cities (except for Zoar). It must be at the southern end of the Dead-Sea, just north of Zoar. This is clearly confirmed by Genesis 10:19. 

It was the largest of the 5 Cities, being given the prominance and first place in any list of the Cities. It was also the centre of the salt-zone, as seen by what happened to lot’s wife who was near Sodom.

There is an ashen region at the southern end of the Dead Sea which perfectly fits these requirements. It is just north of the small southernmost one. It is the largest, and it is right next to what is called Mt.Sodom today, the largest salt mountain in the world! 

*3. Gomorrah (see page 62) is often mentioned together with Sodom. The phrase: “Sodom and Gomorrah” is famous. Although there were 5 Cities, often they are just mentioned as: ‘Sodom and Gomorrah.’ By virtue of its common association with Sodom in the Bible, it had to be the 2nd in importance to Sodom, and therefore the 2nd largest City. Genesis 10:19 tells us that Gomorrah is the next City, which must be a reasonable distance north of Sodom.

The ashen regions confirm the location of Gomorrah. 
The next ashen area north of Sodom is right next to Masada. 
It is also the next largest confirming that it must be Gomorrah.

*4. Admah was the next City north of Gomorrah (Genesis 10:19), again at a reasonable distance for it it be used as part of a boundary.
The next ashen region just north of the Dead Sea fits this description.

*5. Zeboiim was the furthest north of the Cities (Genesis 10:19).
We have already seen that its location is fixed by 1Samuel 13:16-

18, as being well north of the Dead Sea. 

There is an ashen area well north of Admah and the Dead Sea, the furthermost north of the ashen regions, in agreement with Genesis 10:19, in exactly the location required by 1Samuel 13:16-18.

Moreover when the 5 Cities are listed together in Genesis 14:2, it seems logical to assume they are listed in order of importance: (1) Sodom, (2) Gomorrah, (3) Admah, (4) Zeboiim, (5) Zoar:

Genesis 14:2: “They made war with: 
(1) Bera king of 
Birsha king of Gomorrah, 
(3) Shinab king of 
Shemeber king of Zeboiim, 
 and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).”

Using the scriptural clues, we have identified each of the 5 ashen areas with the 5 Cities (as shown in the map on page 61). Now when we look at the size of these 5 ashen areas, we find that they are exactly in the same order of size as given by this list of the 5 Cities in Genesis 14, Sodom being the largest and Zoar the smallest. This confirms that our identification is correct.

In summary, the location of the 5 ashen regions by the Dead Sea agrees perfectly with the various scriptural requirements, providing an independant confirmation they are the true remains of the Cities.



About Us



Bible Commentary





OBC Office

363 Banbury Road
Oxford - England - UK
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 515086
Fax: +44 (0) 8721 107068
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday Services

Sundays at 11am and 6pm
Cheney School Hall
Cheney Lane - Headington
Oxford - England - UK