3

The Book of Genesis uses the term "cities of the plain" on two occasions: one when it describes Lot's journey after he parted from Abraham, and again in describing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Genesis 13:11-12

Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Plain and set out eastward (from Bethel/Ai). Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain, pitching his tents near Sodom.

Genesis 19:28-29

28 As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region of the Plain, he saw smoke over the land rising like the smoke from a kiln. When God destroyed the cities of the Plain, he remembered Abraham and sent Lot away from the upheaval that occurred when God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.

enter image description here

Above are two maps, each describing the plain [kikkar] of the Jordan Valley and one assuming a northern location for Sodom. Other maps place Sodom at the southern edge of the Dead Sea. This site states:

The kikkar ends where the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea. The Cities of the Kikkar - Sodom, Gomorrha, Admah and Zeboim - were located in the eastern part of the Kikkar, as that is the area that can be seen from Bethel/Ai.

The territory seems to also include Jericho and Abel-shittim. Lot is described as separating from Abraham near Bethel and moving his flocks eastward and south toward Sodom.

The question is: does the fact that the biblical text mentions Sodom and Gomorrah when it describes the "cities of the plain" in Gen. 19 mean that only these two should are properly called by that name? Or is the phrase inclusive of other cities/towns when it is used in Gen. 13?


Note: the left-hand map shows Sodom as located north of the Dead Sea. I am also interested in answers that presume the location to be at its southern end. In that case please state if this location is part of the Plain of the Jordan or a different plain, and why. Also please note that translations differ regarding whether Lot pitched his tent "near" Sodom, "toward" Sodom or "in" Sodom.

3
  • I wonder — it says that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and it also says that God destroyed the cities of the plain. Is there mention in the OT that God destroyed any other city besides Sodom and Gomorrah (and I'm referring to the event in Gen. 19)? Jan 6 at 4:00
  • 1
    @DerÜbermensch.. researching this further, I found this in Dt. 29 :22 'all its soil burned out by sulphur and salt, unsown and unfruitful, without a blade of grass, like the catastrophe of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in his furious wrath.' Jan 6 at 16:41
  • Both Abraham and Lot pitched their tents after separation. Lot moved to Sodom and Abraham moved to Hebron. If 'northern end' is the assumption based on it near Bethel and Ai, this could be wrong. Jan 7 at 3:47

2 Answers 2

1

In Gen 13, "the plain" is clearly, "the plain of Jordan" as per V10 & 11. we know at least two cities on that plain were:

  • Zoar as per V10, and
  • Sodom as per 12

Elsewhere the plain of Jordan includes:

  • Moab as per Josh 13:32, Num 22;1, 26:3, 33:49, 50, 35:1, 1 Kings 7:46, etc.
  • Jericho, Num 33:50,
  • Succoth, 1 Kings 7:46, 2 Chron 4:17
  • Zarethan, 1 Kings 7:46, 2 Chron 4:17
  • Beth-jeshimoth, Num 33:49
  • Zaphon, Josh 13:27 (see also Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah)

There are presumably many more smaller villages. How many of these existed in the time of Lot is now difficult to know.

1
  • + 1... also I found references to Admah and Zeboiim it Dt. 29 :22. These are specifically mentioned as having been destroyed by God with Sodom and Gomorrah. Jan 7 at 2:37
0

Earlier, archaeologists were looking for the location of Sodom and Gomorrah in the south east side of the Dead Sea.

But one Dr. Steven Collins, taking cue from Genesis chapter 13 where it says Lot looked towards the “Kikkar (literally a Disc) of Jordan” (Gen 13:10) from “between Bethel and Ai” (Gen 13:3) started searching for Sodom and Gomorrah on the north east side of the Dead Sea.

In 2001, he came to Tell-el-Hammam and discovered several small cities and a large metropolitan city that were destroyed in some cataclysmic event. Most importantly he discovered several pottery pieces that have turned into glass, which can happen only in highest temperature, something that happens usually in nuclear blasts!

Here are some links:

https://allisrael.com/did-sodom-and-gomorrah-really-exist-biblical-archaeologist-reveals-new-evidence-on-the-rosenberg-report

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fliRwnQiql4

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.