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Sodom & Gomorrah Research


Sodom & Gomorrah Research 


The location of these cities, along with the other cities of the plain, has long been the subject of speculation and search. As most people who keep up with this type of thing know, there are several prevalent theories.


One is that the cities are today under the waters of the southern tip of the Dead Sea. Another is that they are located on the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea on a plateau where five archaeological sites have been located.


However, these five sites are five hundred feet above the plain on a plateau, not the plain as is so specifically stated in the Bible. Also, they are far too small to have been cities -- the largest was ten acres and the next was two acres.


Searching for the locations of these cities was never Ron's intention. But from 1978 on, Ron made many, many trips along the Israeli coast of the Dead Sea as he traveled to the various sites he worked on, and in the early 1980's he was suddenly struck by the strange appearance of some "formations" he passed. They looked to him like city walls and buildings, only whitish in color.






For many years, he did nothing about his suspicions but in 1989, I received a call from him while he was in Israel in which he told me he thought he had located the five sites. He described their locations and asked me to do some research into what the Bible said regarding their locations.


He told me the sites were not concentrated at the southern end of the Dead Sea but instead were spread out over many, many miles, from just below the southern tip of the Dead Sea to about ten or so miles above the northern tip. In the past, he had just driven past and noticed four areas, but this trip he had driven further north, seeing if there was a fifth. There was.


Also, he and his crew had driven into one of the whitish areas and discovered something that convinced Ron that these whitish colored formations weren't just geological. He found a spot where a road had been cut through some of the whitish material and where the fresh cut was, the freshly exposed interior of the material displayed a layering effect which swirled in such a manner as to make it obvious that these weren't geological layers.


Where Were the Sites Located?


In searching the Bible for clues to their locations, I found the verse where four of the cities were mentioned as forming part of the boundaries of the Canaanites:


GEN 10:19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.


In viewing a map, it seemed strange that Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim would each be listed if they were all in the same general location, at the south end of the Dead Sea. It seemed logical that the cities were to be located along at least "some" distance to all be included in this Biblical description of the borders of Canaan.


Not Located according to Traditional Thought


Ron's description of the location of the sites he had found were, indeed, scattered over a distance of over fifty or more miles, a concept that seemed pretty fantastic at first. Of course, I was familiar with all the accepted theories that the cities were all grouped together and had never considered that this was incorrect. So I noted each location on the map, as he had described them. But it was the location of the last site, which would have been Zeboim, that I found the most incredible. He had said it was several miles above the northern end of the Dead Sea, past Jericho. I searched the Bible for any clues and found a most exciting one in First Samuel:


1SA 13:16-18 And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but THE PHILISTINES ENCAMPED IN MICHMASH. And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual: And another company turned the way to Bethhoron: and ANOTHER COMPANY TURNED TO THE WAY OF THE BORDER THAT LOOKETH TO THE VALLEY OF ZEBOIM TOWARD THE WILDERNESS.


Examining a map, I saw that this description of the Philistines coming out of Michmash had one company going north, one going west, and the last one heading directly east- and the one heading east to the Valley called "Zeboim" was heading to the same place that Ron found the last site! It made perfect sense that the name of the city was preserved throughout the years even though the city was long ago destroyed, just as Mt. Sodom even today still bears the name "Sodom". Israel had displaced the Canaanites- Zeboim was a border city of Canaan, and now its ashen remains were a border of Israel.


Later in 1989, we visited the site just below Masada and took samples of the whitish material which we all discovered broke right off in our hands and disintegrated into particles the consistency of talcum powder. It certainly LOOKED like ash! But what to do about this information was a puzzle. After all, these sites have been right out in plain sight since their destruction in about 1897 BC. What did people think they were?


I asked some people who were filming a TV commercial for a blue jeans company at one site what the strange formations were. Their reply was that they were formed when the Dead Sea had once covered the entire area. Interesting. When we had the whitish material tested at several labs, we were told it was ash.


Not only that, but we were told by several geologists that any area that has ever been underwater will contain CLAY. The whitish material contained no clay. It had never been underwater.


But even more importantly, if the whole plain area between the Dead Sea and the mountains had once been underwater, then these formations would have been evenly distributed over the entire area that had been covered. Yet, they weren't. They were isolated. What to do next was a puzzle. Everyone agreed that it would be quite difficult to convince anyone that these were the sites without some conclusive evidence.


Lot Saw the "Plain of Jordan" from near Bethel


We spent some time studying the Scriptures to learn all we could. Ron's theory was certainly "bucking" the establishment's theories. He was placing these cities from one end of the Dead Sea to the other, and beyond. We found some clues we hadn't thought of before. We have shortened some of these verse to make the reading apply to the point we want to demonstrate. Please read the entire verses in your own Bibles:


GEN 13:2-4 And Abram...went...to Bethel,... between Bethel and Hai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD....


This is to show where Abraham went when he returned from Egypt. He went to the region of Bethel. And with him was Lot, his nephew. At this time, the decision is made that they should split up because the land simply wouldn't accommodate all of their herds, along with the herds of the native inhabitants of the region. So, Abraham asks Lot what land he wants, giving him first choice. While standing there:


GEN 13:10-12 "Lot LIFTED UP HIS EYES, AND BEHELD ALL THE PLAIN OF JORDAN, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then LOT CHOSE him all THE PLAIN OF JORDAN; and Lot JOURNEYED EAST: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and LOT DWELLED IN THE CITIES OF THE PLAIN, and PITCHED HIS TENT TOWARD SODOM."


While standing in the region of Bethel, obviously high on a hilltop, Lot looked and saw the Jordan Valley. Now this is quite a distance away, and because of the mountains, only the northern end of this valley could be seen- certainly not as far south as Sodom or Gomorrah. One author in the late 1800s checked this out for himself, and this is what he wrote:


"...what can there be seen is the northern end of the Dead Sea, the Jordan Valley, and the river running like a blue thread through the green plain. The hills of Engedi shut out completely all view of the southern end of the sea; but as I before said, the northern end, where the Jordan runs in, and about two or three miles of the sea, can be seen. I have wandered all over the Bethel hills and tested this question." ("The Bible and Modern Discoveries" by Henry A. Harper, a Member of the Palestine Exploration Fund Society, 1891.)


What this means is that the area Lot saw WAS the northern end of the area now occupied by the Dead Sea. When he traveled EAST, this is where he journeyed to. And then, it said he "dwelled in the cities of the plain", which is not a specific designation, and then that he "pitched his tent toward Sodom", or went in that direction. We later learn that he took up residence in that city.


So, the Biblical account shows that the "Plain of Jordan" did indeed cover a large area since the northern region is what caught Lot's eye. Then, it describes Lot "dwelling" in the "cities of the plain" and then pitching his tent "toward Sodom". Perhaps this is describing Lot's travels, with him first staying in other cites and finally continuing on in the direction of Sodom, where we know he finally settled.


We must remember that Lot had a tremendous amount of animals because the whole reason he separated from Abraham was because their combined flocks were too much for the land around Bethel. So, as Lot journeyed through the plain, he had to travel slowly, taking his flocks with him. Wherever he stopped along the way, he had to have enough pasture land for the animals. And when he finally settled in Sodom, he still had to have pasture land for his flocks. This indicates that there was pasture land near the city. The sites Ron located are all several miles apart, with plenty of land between them.

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