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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

Sodom

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Sodom, a city in the vale of Siddim, where Lot settled after his separation from Abraham (;; ). It had its own chief or 'king,' as had the other four cities of the plain (;; ), and was along with them, Zoar only excepted, destroyed by fire from heaven, on account of the gross wickedness of the inhabitants; the memory of which event has been perpetuated in a name of infamy to all generations (Genesis 19). The destruction of Sodom claims attention from the solemnity with which it is introduced (); from the circumstances which preceded and followed—the intercession of Abraham, the preservation of Lot, and the judgment which overtook his lingering wife (; Genesis 19); and from the nature of the physical agencies through which the overthrow was effected. It has usually been assumed that the vale of Siddim occupied the basin of what is now the Dead Sea, which did not previously exist, but was one of the results of this catastrophe. It has now, however, been established by Dr. Robinson, that a lake to receive the Jordan and other waters must have occupied this basin long before the catastrophe of Sodom, but of much less extent than the present Dead Sea. It is extremely probable that its southern extremity covers the once fertile vale of Siddim, and the site of Sodom and the other cities which the Lord destroyed; and that, in the words of Dr. Robinson—'by some convulsion or catastrophe of nature, connected with the miraculous destruction of the cities, either the surface of this plain was scooped out, or the bottom of the sea was heaved up, so as to cause the waters to overflow, and cover permanently a larger tract than formerly. The country is, as we know, subject to earthquakes, and exhibits also frequent traces of volcanic action. It would have been no uncommon effect of either of these causes to heave up the bottom of the ancient lake, and thus produce the phenomenon in question. But the historical account of the destruction of the cities implies also the agency of fire. Perhaps both causes were therefore at work; for volcanic action and earthquakes go hand in hand; and the accompanying electric discharges usually cause lightnings to play and thunders to roll. In this way we have all the phenomena which the most literal interpretation of the sacred records can demand.'

 

 

 

 

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Sodom'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/s/sodom.html.

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