The biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities destroyed by “fire and brimstone” for the sinful behavior of their inhabitants, seems fantastic to us. However, archaeological findings confirm the existence of these cities and their terrible destruction. Let’s take a closer look at this story and try to understand how much it corresponds to reality.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah takes us to the early period of Jewish history. At that time the ancestors of the Jews led a semi-nomadic life, and their leader was the patriarch Abraham. Abraham plays an important role in both the Old Testament and the Quran. According to the biblical chronology, the events described took place around 2200 BC.
Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees (now Iraq) and later moved to Harran. It was there that God revealed his destiny to him: he was to move to Canaan (now Palestine). At God’s command, Abraham, taking his wife and his relative Lot and his family, traveled to Canaan. There they began herding cattle, but Abraham and Lot’s shepherds clashed over pasture. As a result, Abraham suggested they split up, and Lot and his family traveled to the city of Sodom.
At that time Sodom and Gomorrah were prosperous cities, and together with them there were three other cities in the area – Seboim, Admah, and Sihor. However, according to the Bible, all this was to change in one day.
The sinfulness of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah is mentioned many times in the Bible. However, the nature of this depravity is not completely clear. The texts mention the inhospitality of the inhabitants, especially when Lot invited the two angels into his home. The inhabitants of Sodom demanded that Lot take them outside and began to break down the door, but were blinded by the angels, who announced to Lot that God had sent them to punish the city.
Lot took his wife and daughters and left the city, which soon became a ruin. His wife broke the prohibition, turned to look and was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot’s daughters and their father took refuge in a mountain cave. Their fear of being the only living people left in the world led them to get their father drunk and take turns sleeping with him. As a result, they both conceived sons who became the ancestors of the Moabites and Ammonites, tribes that were at enmity with the Israelites.
However we feel about this story, it is full of colorful details. The episode of Lot’s daughters, though somewhat puzzling, is part of a Hebrew “moral history” designed to explain how “wicked” the enemies of the Israelites were.
Archaeological findings confirm the existence of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. At the Dead Sea, near where these cities were located, columns of salt have been found in a wide variety of shapes. This may be evidence that some catastrophe occurred in the area that led to their destruction.
However, despite all the archaeological findings, we still cannot say for sure what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. It may have been a natural cataclysm, such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption, that led to their destruction.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah remains a mystery, but it continues to stir the minds of researchers and believers. Perhaps in time we will learn more about the reasons for their destruction and the true nature of the sins that led to this catastrophe.