Tag Archives: Genesis 19

Sunday Devotional: The annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah

Genesis 18:20-32

In those days, the LORD said:
“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out.”

While Abraham’s visitors walked on farther toward Sodom,
the LORD remained standing before Abraham.
Then Abraham drew nearer and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
The LORD replied,
“If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Abraham spoke up again:
“See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord,
though I am but dust and ashes!
What if there are five less than fifty innocent people?
Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?”
He answered, “I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there.”
But Abraham persisted, saying “What if only forty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it for the sake of the forty.”
Then Abraham said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on.
What if only thirty are found there?”
He replied, “I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there.”
Still Abraham went on,
“Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord,
what if there are no more than twenty?”
The LORD answered, “I will not destroy it, for the sake of the twenty.”
But he still persisted:
“Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.
What if there are at least ten there?”
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

But not even ten innocent people could be found in Sodom and Gomorrah.

And so, as recounted in Genesis 19:

17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;

25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

Did you know that in 2011, archeologists had found evidence of the total annihilation of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah by a catastrophic “heat event”(“rained…brimstone and fire”) sometime in the late Bronze Age, ca. 1,600 BC?

That “fiery, civilization-ending cataclysm” covered Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as many satellite towns and villages (“those cities, and all the plain”), in heavy ash and rendered the entire area uninhabitable (“all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground”) for the next 600 years.

See my post of July 29, 2012, “Archeologists find evidence of the obliteration of Sodom-Gomorrah“.

St. Paul counseled us in Philippians 2:13 to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” for, as Proverbs 1:7 and 14:27 instruct and warn us:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

See these other scientific confirmations of the Bible:

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Sunday Devotional: God of Mercy and of Right & Wrong

Genesis 18:20-21, 23-26, 32

In those days, the LORD said:
“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out.”

Then Abraham drew nearer and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
The LORD replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

“Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.
What if there are at least ten there?”
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

The Genesis passage above is a sobering reminder that God is a just God, who has inscribed within each of us a moral code of right and wrong. As the Book of Jeremiah (31:33) puts it, that law is “written in our very hearts.”

If we, exercising God’s gift of free will, violates that moral code, knowing already in “our very hearts” what is right and what is wrong, there will be consequences, as the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah discovered, too late.

Genesis 19: 24-25

Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah
brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;
And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain,
and all the inhabitants of the cities,
and that which grew upon the ground.

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin, 1852

If you think the Genesis account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is fictive, you should know that archeological excavations at Tall-el-Hammam, which fits the geographical context of Sodom and Gomorrah at 14 km. northeast of the Dead Sea in contemporary Jordan, confirmed the biblical account.

The archaeological team found stunning evidence that the cities in Tall-el-Hammam were suddenly and completely obliterated in the Late Bronze Age in a “terminal MB2 heat event”. In the words of one of the archaeologists, Dr. Steven Collins:

“…multiple lines of evidence continue to confirm that not only massive Tall el-Hammam, but also its many satellite towns and villages on the eastern Kikkar, suffered some sort of fiery, civilization-ending cataclysm toward the end of the Middle Bronze Age, with the selfsame, well-watered-in-abundance area remaining devoid of settlements for the next 600 years or so [….] The entirety of Tall el-Hammam’s MB2 footprint is covered in heavy ash (from .5m-1m thick), ash filled destruction debris, and other conflagratory indicators….”

See “Archaeologists find evidence of the obliteration of Sodom-Gomorrah“.

Let this sink in: A cataclysmic, “civilization-ending,” “conflagratory” (fiery) “heat event” that reduced Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, making the area uninhabitable for 600 years.

That’s no ordinary fire. Not even a volcanic eruption would do that.

As an example, the ecology of Mount St. Helens in Washington state quickly recovered after the devastating eruptions of May 18, 1980. Within weeks, small mammals like pocket gophers already started meandering through the devastation.

Sobering and frightening though the obliteration of Sodom and Gomorrah is, remember that God is also merciful and loving. All He asks is that we choose right, and when we go astray, we admit we had done wrong and ask for His forgiveness.

And when we do that, He is overjoyed and envelopes you in His warm embrace, and you will have a peace beyond all understanding, no matter this world’s slings and arrows, abuse and buffeting.

Coming HomeLuke 11:9-13

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

But admitting we’re wrong, of course, takes humility. And humility is sorely lacking in an increasingly narcissistic people and culture, devoted to the worship of the self, of “Do As Thou Will” — that first temptation by the serpent in that first garden.

All He asks is that we are true to what we already know “in our hearts”. Is it so much to ask?

The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

And may the joy and peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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Archeologists find evidence of the obliteration of Sodom-Gomorrah

Since God created the world, and since science is all about studying the natural world, there is no intrinsic reason why science and religion, specifically Christianity, should be at loggerheads. Indeed, as science becomes more advanced, more and more it is confirming biblical accounts.

Several months ago, geologists found confirmation that, just as Matthew 27:50-52 recounted (“But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened….”), an earthquake did take place at or around the time of Jesus’ death on the cross. The geologists gave a precise date for His death: Friday, April 3, 33 A.D.

Now, a team of archeologists have discovered evidence of a catastrophic “heat event” that wiped out ancient Sodom and Gomorrah — just as the Old Testament had chronicled in Genesis 19:

17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;

25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

John Bergsma writes for The Sacred Page, Dec. 7, 2011:

By far the most interesting session at the recent Society of Biblical Literature Congress in San Francisco was one I wandered into by chance.  I am always curious about what is going on in biblical archeology, so one afternoon I decided to … go hear about the excavations at a certain site called “Tall-el-Hammam.”

I had no idea what I was in for.

After about five minutes into the session, I realized that the archeological team assigned to this dig was convinced that they had found the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. After another half-hour, it seemed they had most of the participants convinced as well. The sites fit the geographical and temporal context into which Sodom and Gomorrah are placed in the biblical texts. The cities at the site were suddenly and completely wiped out in the Late Bronze Age, which makes a reasonably good fit with the biblical accounts of Abraham and Lot.

The entire presentation was very convincing, but never once did they deal with the “elephant in the room”: what caused the sites to be suddenly abandoned?  As soon as the session was over, I was the first to raise my hand. “Did you find any arrow heads?  Signs of invasion? What happened to them?”

The lead archeologist paused for a moment. “I didn’t want to go there,” he said. Another pause. “I’m preparing material for publication.” Pause. “All I want to say ‘on camera’ is, they appear to have been wiped out in a ‘heat event’.”

A “heat event”!?  What?!

“If you want to know more, I’ll talk after the session off the record.”

I wish I could divulge what he said to a small group of us clustered around the podium after the session was over, but it would break confidence. We’ll have to wait for the official peer-reviewed publications.

Here’s a link to the dig’s main website: https://www.tallelhammam.com/

One of the archeologists, Dr. Steven Collins, was more forthcoming in a comment he wrote on Bergsma’s article. This is what Dr. Collins wrote:

“On our terminal MB2 event, what I can say is that multiple lines of evidence continue to confirm that not only massive Tall el-Hammam, but also its many satellite towns and villages on the eastern Kikkar, suffered some sort of fiery, civilization-ending cataclysm toward the end of the Middle Bronze Age, with the selfsame, well-watered-in-abundance area remaining devoid of settlements for the next 600 years or so […] The entirety of Tall el-Hammam’s MB2 footprint is covered in heavy ash (from .5m-1m thick), ash filled destruction debris, and other conflagratory indicators that will be published in appropriate venues. […] Is Tall el-Hammam biblical Sodom? Well, if it isn’t (and I say this with complete confidence in what I know to be the facts of the case), there are going to be a lot of people with a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, Lucy!”

In a comment responding to Dr. Collins, Bergsma asks a follow up question: “Is there any associated destruction layer at Jericho from this same time period?”

Dr. Collins’ answer:

“Yes, John, there is. The terminal MB destruction at Jericho seems to be of similar date (17th/16th century BCE). Still needs a lot of study. Our ceramic assemblage is very similar, perhaps identical. It seems reasonable that Hammam and Jericho, along with the rest of the towns in the Kikkar, went down together. Jericho was re-occupied by around 1400 for a brief period. The eastern Kikkar didn’t recover at all until about 1000 BCE when a few Iron 2 walled towns sprang up.”

A cataclysmic “civilization-ending” “conflagratory” (fiery) “heat event” that reduced Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, making the area uninhabitable for 600 years. That’s no ordinary fire. Not even a volcanic eruption would do that.

As an example, the ecology of Mount St. Helens in Washington state quickly recovered after the devastating eruptions of May 18, 1980. One account chronicles:

[W]ithin weeks, an exotic mammal started meandering through the devastation…. A few burrowing animals survived in zones of complete devastation. Volcanic ash is sterile and lifeless, but in parts of the blast area … [Virginia Dale, an ecologist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, says,] ‘Pocket gophers came up through the ash, and because of their habits, succeeded in mixing the soil with the ash layer, and with seeds and parts of plants.’ In areas with less than, say, 25 centimeters of ash, gophers ‘were really important to the recovery.’ Credit the gophers for mixing essential fungi that help plant roots to absorb soil nutrients. … Overall, Dale says, the recovery has been ‘highly variable but rapid in some disturbance types,’ and quite different from what ecologists would have predicted.

The archeological evidence of what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah is sobering….

~Eowyn

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