Where were Sodom and Gomorrah located? North or South of the Dead Sea?
Where were Sodom and Gomorrah located? Was it located north or south of the Dead Sea? There are three important Bible passages about the location and destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 10:19; 13:10-13; 14:2, 8). It has been believed the two cities were located at the southern end of the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley (Genesis 13:10). But Genesis 10:19 and Genesis 13:10-13 reveal that Sodom and Gomorrah were located in the valley of the Jordan and in a “well watered” place. That immediately suggests that Sodom and Gomorrah were located north of the Dead Sea.
Genesis 14:2-3, 8 give us additional information about the location of Sodom and Gomorrah. The three verses say that five kings, who lived in the Valley of Siddim (the valley of the Dead Sea), had made an alliance.
They made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these kings came as allies to the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea).
Then we are told the Valley of Siddim is the Salt Sea. This seems to be a clear reference to the Dead Sea. That is Sodom and Gomorrah were in the valley of the Salt Sea. Josephus adds some interesting information when he calls the Dead Sea the Lake Asphaltites. Then he adds the Lake Asphaltites was formed as a result of the devastation that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.. Consequently, some claim the Dead Sea is the valley of Siddim, and others disagree. The answer actually depends upon the extent of the valley. Did it run from the north to the south or was it located only at one end?
As of 2023, there are two working theories. One places Sodom and Gomorrah at the southern end of the Dead Sea, and the other theory places Sodom and Gomorrah at the north end. David E. Graves, author of Biblical Archaeolog provides an extensive discussion of the two theories. The most promising location for Sodom and Gomorrah is is the northern location known as Tall el-Hammân. Archaeologists found that in the northern location that saline levels are abnormally high in salt and sulphates. We should note that Deuteronomy 29:23 states that when God destroyed Sodom, He rained down brimstone and salt.
All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and in His wrath. . . . Deuteronomy 29:23 (NASB)
This agrees with the findings at Tall el-Hammân.
In addition, David E. Graves states,
Thus far, the TeH excavation has uncovered a total of five pieces of super-heated vitrified pottery from the MB destruction layer (ca. 1750 BC) and desert glass at Tall Mwais, within five miles of TeH. Collins stated in BAR that: “It marks one of the most violent, enormous destruction events imaginable. We have pieces of pottery melted into glass, some bubbled like lava, found across the site. . . . We have even documented pieces of desert glass (impact glass) strewn across the eastern Kikkar, created at temperatures exceeding 6,000 degrees Celsius.”
Something turned the pieces of pottery into glass, but only on one side. . . The extreme heat required to melt pottery and produce trinitite indicates that there was an unusual phenomena that took place at and around TeH.
The summary is that Tall el-Hammân has amazing pieces of pottery on which one side has been turned into glass as the result of temperatures in excess of 6,000 degrees Celsius. This also agrees with Deuteronomy 29:23. This suggests that Tall el-Hammân is a most promising location for Sodom and Gomorrah.
For the reader who desires more information please see the recommended book below.
God destroyed these two cities and their inhabitants because they were committing the sin of homosexuality, sexual activity between men and between women (also called lesbianism). God judged these cities in part because the homosexuals did not hide their sin.
. . . And they display their sin like Sodom; they do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. Isaiah 3:9 (NASB)
. . . and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter . . . 2 Peter 2:6 (NASB)
1. Flavius Josephus. The Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, chapter 9.
2. David E. Graves. Biblical Archaeolog. Electronic Christian Media. 2018. pp. 136-145.
3. Ibid., p. 143-143.
4. Ibid. p. 140.
5. Ibid. pp. 141-142.
Suggested Links:When were Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed? — Date Destroyed
What cities were destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah?
The Bible on Same Sex Relations