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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Sodom and Gomorrah

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(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 14:3,14:8 ,Genesis 14:8,14:10-11 ) 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; Genesis 14:12; Genesis 19:1 ).

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; Isaiah 1:10; Jeremiah 23:14 ). The memory of their destruction provided a picture of God's judgment (Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 49:18; Matthew 10:14-15; Matthew 11:23-24 ) and made them an example to be avoided (Deuteronomy 29:23-25; 2 Peter 2:6 ).

Daniel C. Browning, Jr.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Sodom and Gomorrah'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/s/sodom-and-gomorrah.html. 1991.

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