|SODOM AND GOMORRAH |
(ssah' dahm, gah mohr' rah) Place names of uncertain meaning. Two cities in Palestine at the time of Abraham. Sodom and Gomorrah were among the five “cities of the valley” (Genesis 13:12;
Genesis 19:29; KJV, “plain”) of Abraham's time. Exact locations are unknown, but they were probably situated in the Valley of Siddim (Genesis 14:3,Genesis 14:8,Genesis 14:10-11) near the Dead Sea, perhaps the area now covered by the Sea's shallow southern end. Lot moved to this area, eventually settling in Sodom (Genesis 13:10-12;
Sodom and Gomorrah were renowned for their wickedness (Genesis 18:20). Despite Abraham's successful plea (Genesis 18:22-32) not even ten righteous men could be found in Sodom, and the cities were judged by the Lord, then destroyed by “brimstone and fire” (Genesis 19:24; NIV, “burning sulfur”).
The unnatural lusts of the men of Sodom (Genesis 19:4-8;
Jude 1:7) have given us the modern term sodomy, but the city was guilty of a full spectrum of sins including pride, oppression of the poor, haughtiness, and “abominable things” (Ezekiel 16:49-50). Together, Sodom and Gomorrah provided a point of comparison for the sinfulness of Israel and other nations (Deuteronomy 32:32;
Jeremiah 23:14). The memory of their destruction provided a picture of God's judgment (Isaiah 13:19;
Matthew 11:23-24) and made them an example to be avoided (Deuteronomy 29:23-25;
2 Peter 2:6).
Daniel C. Browning, Jr.