The Cities of the Plain
What were the names of 'The Cities of the Plain'? They are recorded in Genesis 14:2: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar.
The complete story can be read at Genesis, chapters 38 & 39.
Is it possible the Biblical story of the destruction of the Cities of the Plain can be corroborated historically? It must have been a terrifying event for this eye witness.
The Overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah
1 An overthrow (literally, "sinking down" or "darkness") from the midst of the deep (not the sea, but "the from the waters which were above the firmament") there came.
2 The fated punishment (Assyrian, "the oath") from the midst of heaven descended.
3 A storm like a plummet the earth (overwhelmed).
4 To the four winds the destroying flood like fire did burn.
5 The inhabitants of the citie(s) it had caused to be tormented; their bodies it consumed.
6 In city and country it spread death, and the flames as they rose (literally, the goings forth of the flames").
7 Freeman and slave were equal, and the high places it filled.
8 In heaven and earth like a thunder-storm it had rained; a prey it made.
9 A place of refuge the gods (Assyrian, "their god") hastened to, and in a throng collected.
10 Its mighty (onset) they fled from, and like a garment it concealed (mankind).
11 They (feared), and death (overtook them).
12 (Their) feet and hands (it embraced).
14 Their body it consumed.
15 ...' the city, its foundations it denied.
16 ...' in breath, his mouth he filled.
17 As for this man, a loud voice (that is, "the thunder") was raised; the mighty lightning flash descended.
18 During the day it flashed; grievously (it fell).
( ' = Lacunae)
(Rev. A. H. Sayce, Records of the Past, Vol. XI (London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, London) p. 115)
(An Akkadian Text from an eye witness account, approximately 2,500 B.C.)
The Plain of Jordan ר הירדן
"The Arabs call the plain extending from Chinnerith (The Sea of Galilee) to the Dead Sea, through which the Joran takes its course, Al Gor, which signifies a plain enclosed between mountains. This plain, termed in the Hebrew Scriptures the Circle of Jordan (Genesis 13:10), constitutes the lowest portion of the whole land, and the heat of the sun is very great here, because it is enclosed between two ranges of mountains. Near Bath Shean the plain is 5, and near Jericho 8 miles in breadth. Through the whole plain there runs a depression about 1000 paces broad, which is the bed of the Jordan. Properly speaking, this Al Gor extends to the Red Sea, at Akaba, the ancient Ezion-Gaber (Numbers 33:35); since, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, through which means the Dead Sea was formed, the Jordan flowed into the Red Sea; and to this day are the old bed and former course of the river visible, and can be easily traced. The Arabs also call the southern portion of this Al Gor, below the Dead to the Red Sea, "Al Arabah"."
The picture below shows the former course of the Jordan River all the way south to the Red Sea before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the creation of the Dead Sea.
Did you know "The Cities of the Plain" have been hiding in plain sight all these years since the cataclysm that caused their destruction?
If you use Google Earth, copy/paste these coordinates: 31.192876 N 35.222148E. This will land you near the ancient city as shown below. (The city rests between ancient Mesada and the Dead Sea.) You can see what appears to be a road leading into the city with ancient Canaanite city walls on both sides. (This is a small section of what was once a very large city.)
Canaanite City Walls
Google Earth view
A few of the Structures
The structures have an appearance which resembles powder. In fact, the structures are ash with a crusted outer shell that was caused by intense heat. The intense heat also caused the swirling effect seen in the image below.
The outer crust has protected these structures through the millennia, though it is possible to 'punch through' the outer crust. The inner ash has the consistency of talcum powder. This includes the city walls and all the structures inside the city.
Impregnated into the ashen structures are millions of tiny sulfur balls that had been on fire at one time (as can be seen by the discoloration around the inner ball of sulfur).
If you are a Google Earth user, look for the other cities by using the coloration of the city of Gomorrah as your guide. Maybe you can identify the other four cities. They're all there.
Many have wondered if the entire area had been affected by the same cataclysm that destroyed the cities of the plain. In fact, only the ancient cities as outlined in Genesis 14:2 were destroyed. If you move just a few miles north about half-way to the northern boundary of the Dead Sea [on Google Earth], you can view Ein Gedi. Though close to Gomorrah, Ein Gedi is a beautiful oasis with no record or evidence of ever having been destroyed.
You will recall it was in the caves of Ein Gedi that David hid from King Saul. "Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, 'Take Note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.'" (I Samuel 24:1) On Google Earth, if you search the hills to the west of En Gedi, you may see the opening to the very cave where David was hiding from King Saul in this text. Of course, there is no way to know the specific cave but it is thrilling to be able to see the area where this Scripture was being played out.
Many people have wondered if the story of "The Cities of the Plain" can be verified in the historic record. Yes, the cities once existed and can be visited today in the region of the Dead Sea. Once again, the Biblical record is corroborated by the historic record.
© 2012 Gregory Drake