Sodom and Gomorrah, which have long become an allegorical designation of sin, and a very specific one, are still covered with a secret of darkness. There are a lot of versions about what happened in these settlements, that even after centuries, nothing was found that outweighed what was happening in these settlements. What led the inhabitants of these cities to such a way of life and how close it all is to the truth, given that no scientific archaeological evidence has yet been found.
History of the sin that glorified Sodom and Gomorrah
You don’t have to be Orthodox or read the Bible to know about Sodom and Gomorrah. These topographic names are used in ordinary speech and have become common nouns, and are used as a basis for defining something out of the ordinary. Sodom became the basis for the concept of “sodomy” to refer to deviant sexual behavior. From Gomorrah came the prefix “amora”, which also denotes behavior that does not fit into the established framework.
The history of Abraham and Lot, who is his nephew, is not as widely known as the names of the lands in which these events took place. The lands of Sodom were considered very rich, and it was prestigious to live there. Lot settled there, but apparently, wealth contributed to the moral decay of the people of this region.
Because they became not just evil and sinful but crossed all the boundaries of what was permitted, the Lord punished them, destroying all their cities and destroying the inhabitants. The last straw that overflowed the cup of patience was the story of Lot, which happened on the eve of the Lord’s punishment.
Abraham, knowing about the Lord’s intentions to punish these two cities, knowing that his relative lives there, tried to save him from inevitable death, begging him to avert the punishment. God heard his requests and agreed that he would preserve these cities if there were at least a dozen preachers in them. On this, they agreed, two angels appeared in Sodom under the guise of pilgrims, whom Lot immediately met, he bowed to them and called them to his place so that they could rest, have a snack, and spend the night. Angels initially did not agree to such a generous offer, but Lot was persistent.
Lot baked cakes for the pilgrims and fed them, when they began to get ready for bed, the inhabitants of the city surrounded the dwelling of the hospitable host. They raged and demanded that two travelers, Lot’s guests, be handed over to them to be torn apart. The house owner tried to reason with the audience, even in return, he agreed to give up his daughters, “who have never been with a man.” But the crowd insisted on those who arrived in the city and stayed with him.
Angels, disguised as travelers, revealed their true essence and goals to Lot, and the townspeople, who did not calm down, were struck with blindness, this allowed them to escape from home forever, taking Lot and members of his loved ones.
However, not all members of the preacher’s family took his warnings, the sons-in-law refused to leave the city. Lot’s wife, running away, turned around; she was sorry to leave the house and was immediately turned into a pillar of salt.
The family, those who decided to flee, stopped in the city of Sigor, and it was this settlement that remained unharmed, although all other settlements were engulfed in fire and destruction. The rest of the towns in the area were covered with fire and brimstone that fell from the sky.
Lot, with his saved daughters, left the temporary shelter and began to live in a cave, their children (born from a relationship with their daughters, by the way), inhabited the Sodom lands in the future.
Sodom and Gomorrah map
In the biblical version, the history of the disappeared cities sounds exactly like this, historians have been struggling with this riddle for many years. Having studied the Bible itself, ancient literature, they are trying to find out at least the approximate location of Sodom and Gomorrah. Archaeological expeditions were outfitted even to the bottom of the Dead Sea. But research has not yet yielded any results.
Moreover, at the bottom of the Dead Sea, the search was conducted by the British, who took as basic data from a photograph of a spacecraft, according to which some objects were underwater. This, incidentally, contradicts biblical facts. If sulfur and ash fell on the cities, then it is likely that other British scientists have suggested that it was an asteroid. In addition, a similar celestial phenomenon just belongs to this period.
All searches are in vain, and many teachings are inclined to believe that the legend is pure fiction and did not happen in reality. There is another version of “Kara of the Lord” that was so strong that it left no trace of the settlements. This is actually possible if the natural cataclysm was of enormous destructive power.
The history of these settlements is included in the Book of Genesis, which is part of the Old Testament. It also indicates that there were five cities located nearby, which, in addition to Sodom and Gomorrah, also included the cities of Adma, Sevoim, and Sigor. These cities were located on the southern coast of the Dead Sea. Of course, this is where the search began in the first place, back in the 19th century. However, the American scientist, who optimistically believed that the coast of the Dead Sea was actively used for development, could not find any confirmation of this.
In the early 20th century, American William Albright found a sanctuary at Bab Ed Bra, which dates back to this historical period. He put forward the theory that this particular sanctuary was a ritual place in the city that is so sought after.
Also nearby were the remains of brick walls, a cemetery, and other signs that there was a civilization here. In addition, many buildings were charred, which indicates that the city was destroyed by fire or fire elements. However, there is no exact information about what caused the fire and whether this settlement is Sodom.
Perhaps the main problem with the fact that scientists fail to attack the trail of Sodom and even come to some kind of common denominator is that scientific, political, and religious ambitions are too closely intertwined on this issue. The Jews are convinced that evidence of the location of the biblical city must be found exclusively in Israel. Ambitious scientists from America and Britain just want to find artifacts, no matter where or how. Neither one nor the other give up after another failure, they want to prove that everything described in the Bible is true.
The Great Rift or African Rift runs from Syria to Africa, and its length is more than five thousand kilometers. Now it is a favorite place for tourists, but scientists are sure that a simple earthquake and even a series of them could not provoke the appearance of such vertical rocks, probably this is the place where a meteorite fell. It is believed that it was the fall of a meteorite that caused the death of cities, and too strong a cataclysm erased all the artifacts that could be useful to modern scientists from the face of the earth.
No less popular is the theory that this legend is nothing more than a work of fiction, written with an instructive appeal, and it does not describe real historical facts.
How did God’s punishment manifest itself?
Legend has it that fire and brimstone “came from above” on the city of sin. Judging by the description, what happened most of all resembles a volcanic eruption, but geologists are sure that there were no active volcanoes near the Jordan Valley during the period when Lot and Abraham were supposed to live there. Moreover, all activities of this kind have ceased for tens of thousands of years.
Now one of the popular versions is an earthquake, as a result of which bitumen came to the surface of the earth and killed all living things. Other experts do not exclude the version of a strong thunderstorm and ball lightning.
According to most British scientists, a meteorite that exploded in the air and fell to the ground in a rain of fire is the most appropriate version. So, the ancient astronomer, who lived 3 thousand years BC, drew the trajectory of the fall of a celestial body.
True, there is a small nuance. The events described in the Bible take place a thousand years earlier. Archaeologists who studied the minerals also say that there was a meteorite fall in this area. They melted in such a way that they indicate the effect of high temperature. It is likely that the explosion could lead to the release of salts from the Dead Sea, which made the area around lifeless.
What did the Sodomites want from the angels?
Contemporaries are sure that the Sodomites were punished for sodomy, and sodomy has long become the designation for just such sexual relations. But if you go through the text specifically, it becomes clear that everything is not so simple.
So Lot fed the guests, and everyone began to gather for sleep, as a crowd of people surrounded the house, demanding to give them the guests. The question is – what for? Those who personify Sodom and Gomorrah with sin are sure that many men came with certain sexual interests, and it was for these purposes, they required pilgrims. Meanwhile, in the Bible itself, it says: “… as city dwellers, Sodomites, from young to old, all the people from all over the city, surrounded the house.” That is, the men who came to Lot’s house with a very ambiguous intention took their wives and children with them?
The entire city’s inhabitants could all come together for only one reason – it was about something extremely important that affects them personally and all together. They came to Lot’s house to defend their civic position. By the way, Lot himself recently just moved to the city, he is a stranger for most, he invited two strangers to the house. This could not but strain the residents because the war with other cities had just ended. The inhabitants of the city were likely worried that an enemy had sneaked into their city.
“Where are the people who came to you for the night? Bring them out to us, we will get to know them,” – asks the people. “Let us learn” in this case can be interpreted in two ways, it can be done in the same way as the majority has already done, or it can be interpreted as “get to know”. The Hebrew verb used in this context, “Yadah” occurs in the Old Testament more than 900 times, and only in 10 of them imply sexual relations. And then, it becomes clear from the context since Adam got to know Eve and she became pregnant. But the same verb is used to indicate that God knew David and David knew God. Therefore, with a greater degree of probability, when the crowd asked the travelers to take them out, they just wanted to get to know them.
Lot, trying to distract the crowd, comes out to them and offers them his daughters. It is unlikely that a person who knows about the inclinations of the crowd (after all, they voiced the request) would suggest daughters because they are women, and the crowd came for men. But we are talking about girls, not about an employee or someone else who could interest the homosexual crowd. This only refutes the main version. Moreover, the crowd tries to enter the house and does not encroach on the honor and dignity of Lot himself.
The idea of sodomy was also prompted by the phrase about “who walked after another flesh,” allegedly the Sodomites preferred male flesh. But it is possible that we are talking about extramarital affairs, idol worship, and even cannibalism. So how much is homosexuality at once?
A lot of factors are listed in the enumeration of the sins of the Sodomites, but sodomy is not among them. For example, the townspeople became too proud, ate too much, and were tasty: either pork, or shrimp, or crabs and lobsters, they wore clothes made of two types of matter. And many other “sins” that modern people, to put it mildly, do not understand at all.
So why, if not for sodomy, and as it is now customary to say, “sodomy” was the Sodomites destroyed? Worship of idols, obsession with devils (hence the love of excesses and delicious food), and violations of the laws of hospitality.
Lot and his children, and grandchildren from daughters
It would seem that one could stop at this because the guilty are punished, but the righteous are saved. But wait a minute, what about the fact that Lot then populates the Sodom lands with children whom his daughters gave birth to from him? Is it not a sin? That is, for shrimp and attempts to meet travelers, the city turned out to be burnt, but what about abuse?
Lot’s wife remains in the city in the form of a pillar of salt. The sons-in-law do not go with them at all and remain in the city. Lot and his daughters live in a cave. The eldest daughter invites the youngest to give her father some wine and to have a relationship with him. Yes, judging by the text, there is no condemnation or resentment, but this is how the two nations of the Moabites and the Ammonites were founded. Representatives of both nationalities are in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, that is, Lot’s daughters took a very important step for the whole history.
The scripture says that the elder explains to the younger that the father is old and no other person would come to us according to earthly custom. That is, girls have no lust, there is an earthly law about the necessity of procreation, the father is old, and time is passing. It is this global issue that the sisters face, and their duty is something extremely important, and the Fall and its results took place before their eyes.
Lot’s eldest daughter took upon herself this decision, as befits the eldest. Lot himself did not know what he was doing because he was drunk. The actions of Lot’s daughters cannot be judged from the point of view of ordinary morality because their situation was extraordinary, out of the ordinary. Their act predetermined the history of Christianity and therefore deserved a different understanding.
However, this is far from the only biblical legend on which controversy continues to this day. The more opinions, the clearer it becomes that there is no unambiguous answer, and everyone interprets it according to their perception and purpose.