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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Was the Sodom of the Bible found north of the Dead Sea? The answer is definitively NO.

A while back, this question was posed to me:
Was the Sodom of the Bible found north of the Dead Sea?

Firstly, by referring to a Sodom "North of the Dead Sea", the debate usually immediately shifts to Tall el-Hammam, in the nation of Jordan, some 8 miles NORTH of the Dead Sea, and and some 8 miles EAST  of the Jordan River.



Is that location Sodom, or ANY location north of the Dead Sea Sodom?

The answer is No to both of these. Tall el-Hammam is just a ruse for its excavators to gain notoriety and funding, and further, the Sodom that exists in the Biblical historical accounts has not yet been found, nor is it likely to ever be.

The location of Tall el-Hammam is the only sight to which I am aware where serious lazy scholarship has by scholarly consensus in failure to reasearch the topic, leaned to accepting as Sodom by a successful con in the last few years.  The contention focused upon is that it rests on a peculiar 13 by 13 mile kikar or disc of land, but unfortunately for the theorists, that kikar is of the same valley basin that Joshua led the Children of Israel westward through into the Promised Land in 1511 B.C., and the same lands which Israelites of 2 1/2 tribes amounting to no less than 300,000 souls settled.  That is, an average of at least 1775 Israelis per square mile of the Kikar settled there...in a place that was allegedly cursed as uninhabitable forever.  Wherein, comes the con...for suckers and those wishing to be part of a cult mentality to believe in the personality excavating and theorizing wrongly, and not the Bible.   I say this from the experience of having debated with these at length...the leader of the excavation, his immediate assistant, and other excavators of Tall el-Hammam (TEH).   I explored from both pro and con possibilities, and offered various Northern Sodom Theory (NST) allowances to varying extremes, in order to sort out all the possibilities from the possible probabilities, and the possible probabilities from the likelihoods and facts...so that the end result was the best answer, ruling out as much error as possible, given what can be known.

However, I have concluded in the years since the debates, that it is most likely that Sodom will never be found, although one of the borders its country and the general vicinity of its town can be ascertained, prophecy declares it will never be lived in ever again...and therefore, this must also include archaeologists excavating and camping overnight there as well.

Ruling out the NST
 From about the times of Solomn to the Assyrian conquest, much of the valley basin on the north of the disc around the Jordan River was forested, a vastly wooded area.  During those same times Tall el-Hammam was a land full of life, habitations; Tall el-Hammam being a major influence east of the Jordan. 

Prior to its Iron Age settlement, the disc, and most particularly the plain on which Tall el-Hammam is settled is, is 9 times referred to as  "the plains of Moab":  Numbers 22:1, 26:3, 26:63, 31:12, 33:48, 33:49, 33:50, 35:1, 36:13.  There is NO MENTION OF SODOM, even though later in Deuteronomy we read that the land and country of Sodom is uninhabitable...

Deuteronomy 29:23 - The whole land shall be burned with brimstone and salt; it shall not be sown, nor shall it sprout; nor shall there be any herb in it. It shall be like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, which Jehovah overthrew in His anger and in His fury.

Deuteronomy 32:32 - For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and their grapes of the fields of Gomorrah, grapes of gall; they have bitter clusters.

...that was not the case with the plains of Moab through which the children of Israel crossed in the Exodus, which was in the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1550-1200 B.C., as stated by Tall el-Hammam excavators).  In fact, the plains of Moab east of the Jordan, where Tall el-Hammam was, was so fruitful, that the lands of the disc east of the Jordan were able to sustain "a great multitude of cattle"  and 2 1/2 tribes...the number of them as listed in Numbers chapter 1 and chapter 32.

The excavators of the Tall el-Hammam mound further state that the site, once reinhabited after an absence from extinction in the Middle Bronze Age (they cite as 2000-1550 B.C.), lasted from the Iron Age 1 (1200-1000 B.C.) or most certainly by the beginning of Iron Age 2 (ca. 1000 B.C.)  until after the Muslim conquest in the 700s A.D.  That is, starting generally around 1100 B.C. and then for 1800 more years, under one name or other, Tall el-Hammam flourished at a time when the Bible again called the lands of Sodom as a current barren and salted wasteland, where even nomads refused to stop and rest if they found themselves in it. 

The Bible says that in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses every word shall be established.  So we have Moses and Deuteronomy, but the Tall el-Hammam excavators won't believe Moses in Deuteronomy 32. 

I therefore will call forth twice the necessary witnesses needed to slam the door shut on the Northern Sodom Theory hoax in which Tall el-Hammam, a flourishing fruitful and well populated land with fresh waters, is put forth as Sodom by modern excavators using it as a con for fundraising a different civilization altogether.

Witness #1 -

In circa 760 B.C., Sodom is a destroyed place:

Amos 4:7 – it a place of no rain

In verse 9 – it a place of blasting and mildew [hence, moisture of some sort] and the creeping locust

In verse 10 - it is a place forsaken like the plague

In verse 11 – Sodom is an overturned [the use of the word “Hapak” or turned upside down, a plain now a valley in its use] place, a place of burning.

------Hence, Tall el-Hammam -- being inhabited -- is disqualified.

Witness #2 - In circa 735 B.C., Sodom was a place ruined since its overthrow over 1200 years earlier, and set forth as an example.

Isaiah  1:7 speaks of how the land of Israel, ravaged by war,  is a desolation; and its cities burned with fire.

Isaiah 1:9 Except Jehovah of Hosts had left a remnant for us, a few, we would be as Sodom; we would be as Gomorrah

Isaiah 13:19 uses mahpekah to describe Babylon’s overthrow, to describe a destruction as complete as Sodom and Gomorrah…the word picture being to the effect of:  'it shall be taken down with great violence and poured out as liquid from a flask' as the emphasis of the violence of its overthrow.  The word picture in reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, suggest volcanic lava or like activity as being the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The overthrow of Babylon will be as complete as if Creation and a volcanic disaster had wiped that city out. 

Isaiah 13:20 tells us that as of Isaiah’s day, Sodom and Gomorrah were UNINHABITED, and in a place where the Arabian was UNABLE to pitch his tent, and flocks (though they might perhaps step upon), were unable to lie down there. In other words, Sodom and Gomorrah, even under a receding sea due to drought, could well have been known to be under even amounts as little as about a foot or less of water of the Dead Sea consistently in Isaiah’s day.

This points us by markers to the southern regions of the Dead Sea, in a valley that was depressed to be even lower than the Jordan Valley proper, ceasing the river’s former run to the Gulf of Aqaba.

-----Hence, Tall el-Hammam -- being inhabited -- is disqualified.

Witness # 3 - In circa 620 B.C., Sodom is desolation and uninhabited:

Zephaniah 2:9 …surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the sons of Ammon like Gomorrah, a possession of nettles, and a pit of salt, and a ruin forever

-----Hence, Tall el-Hammam -- being inhabited -- is disqualified.

Witness # 4 -
In circa 590 B.C., Sodom is still a destroyed place, having only bitter and poisonous waters, and visibly ruined: Jeremiah 23:14 “They are all of them like Sodom to Me, and those living in her like Gomorrah.

Jeremiah 23:15 So Jehovah of Hosts says this concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them wormwood, and make them drink poisonous water…”

Jeremiah 49:17 And Edom shall be a ruin, everyone who goes by it shall be amazed and shall hiss at all its plagues.

Jeremiah 49:18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, and its neighbor, declares Jehovah, no man shall remain there, a son of man shall not live in it."

-----Hence, Tall el-Hammam -- being inhabited -- is disqualified.

Witnesses #5 and #6 -
In circa 47 and 57 A.D., at the very time period of when the Tall el-Hammam excavators claims that their city thrived under the name of “Livias”, and was greatly inhabited, Jude and the Apostle Peter both testify that Sodom is a current example (current in the 1st Century A.D.) of everlasting destruction upon a location, suggesting its ruins were both still visible and uninhabited, and example of what everlasting fire will do:

Jude 1:7 “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, in like manner to these, committing fornication, and going away after other flesh, laid down an example before-times, undergoing vengeance of everlasting fire.”

2 Peter 2:6  "and covering the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with ashes, He condemned them with an overthrow, setting an example to men intending to live ungodly.”

According to the historical testimony of 2 Peter 2:6, all the cities of the Sodomic Pentapolis are designated as being covered and/or reduced to ashes in the use of  tephrosas.  The cities were covered with ashes and condemed. In order to FIND Sodom, it must be located from under a great coat of "ashes".

 -----Hence, Tall el-Hammam -- being inhabited -- is disqualified.

The Southern Sodom Theory alone fulfills this covered with great ash heaps requirement, because ashes are 20-30 feet deep at the southern bed of the Dead Sea, and 2-3 feet deep at Bab edh-dhra at the Lisan Peninsula of the Dead Sea further north, and of an irrelevant amount north of the Dead Sea here Tall el-Hammam is found.  Therefore, the place with the greatest ash depths, is SOUTH of the Dead Sea in the droughted lake beds and amongst the SALTIEST section of any body of water on Earth, is geologic evidence (according to the Bible and its historic witnesses) of where we should look for Sodom. 

It seems to me, that any who wish to propose the Northern Sodom Theory with Tall el-Hammam as Sodom, fall in one of 3 categories:
1) They have not properly researched the subject in any depth, whatsoever.
2) They wish to be deceived
3) They know it to be a lie and wish to deceive others.

[This ends what I intend to be part 1 of a multi-part answer regarding Sodom]

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