Gomorrah

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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Traces of the catastrophe recorded in Genesis 19 are visible in the whole region about the Dead, or as Scripture calls it, the Salt Sea. (See Salt SEA.) . Volcanic agency and earthquake, accompanying the fire shower, may have produced the deep depression of the sea, and so arrested the Jordan's original onward course through the Arabah into the gulf of Akabah. The northern end of the lake is 1,300 ft. deep, the southern only 13 ft. below the surface. The southern division or bay of the sea most probably was formed at a late date. It abounds with salt, throws up bitumen, sulphur, and nitre on its shores. This answers to the vale of Siddim, "full of slime pits" ( Genesis 14:10); and it accords with the destruction of the four cities of the plain by fire and brimstone, and with the turning of Lot's wife into a pillar of salt.

Scripture does not say the cities were immersed in the sea, but that they were destroyed by fire from heaven ( Deuteronomy 29:23;  Jeremiah 49:18;  Jeremiah 50:40;  Zephaniah 2:9;  2 Peter 2:6;  Judges 1:4-7, "an example unto those that after should live ungodly";  Amos 4:11). So Josephus, B. J., 4:8, section 4. The traditional names of Usdum, and site of Zoar, the hill of salt, said to have been Lot's wife, favor the view that the cities lay either in or around the present southern bay. Grove argues for the northern site that Abram and Lot near Bethel could not have seen the southern valleys ( Genesis 13:10) but could see the northern, and that what they saw was "the Ciccar of the Jordan," whereas Jordan flowed into the northern end of the Dead Sea but not into the southern.

But Genesis 13 probably means only that Lot, seeing the Jordan N. of the Dead Sea, and knowing the whole valley N. and S. to be well watered, chose it. Moreover, the catastrophes palpable to sight all round the southern end imply that the Jordan once flowed to the S. of that sea. Gomorrah means submersion; Arabic ghamara, to "overwhelm with water." Gomorrah was one of the five cities of the vale of Siddim whose forces were routed by Chedorlaomer, until Abram helped them. Zoar or Bela alone of the five, at Lot's request, escaped destruction by the fire from the Lord. Jerusalem when corrupted (for "the corruption of the best is the worst of all corruptions") is termed Sodom and her people Gomer ( Isaiah 1:9-10); as the church apostate corrupted is termed "Babylon" (Revelation 17).

Worse still are they who see Christ's "mighty works" yet "repent not," and who receive not the apostles' teaching ( Matthew 10:15;  Mark 6:11). The profound depression of the plain of Gomorrah, the deepest on the earth, and its stagnant tropical air, answered to its sunken morals. DeSaulcy thinks that in Usdum and Um Zoghal traces of Sodom exist; and in Ain Feshkah (Goumran, Arabic) on the N.W. traces of Gomorrah. Rather in wady Amrah is to be sought a connection with Gomorrah. Tristram objects to the southern site for Sodom and Gomorrah that Chedorlaomer marching from mount Seir to Hazezon Tamar (Engedi) afterward meets the king of Sodom in the vale of Siddim, which therefore in the order ought to be rather at the northern end of the Dead Sea.

Also Moses saw Zoar from mount Nebo ( Deuteronomy 34:3), which he could not had it been at the S.E. of Dead Sea. He thinks that the southern bed of the sea was formerly deeper than now, and that it was raised by deposits brought from the Arabah. Lightning probably kindled the masses of sulphurous bitumen abounding around. Combining with an earthquake, the storm cast showers of ignited bitumen on the cities, so that "the smoke of the country" was "as the smoke of a furnace," as beheld by Abraham. God often uses natural means in His most supernatural interventions.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [2]

Gomorrah ( Go-Mŏr'Rah ), Submersion. One of the five cities in the vale of Siddim,  Genesis 14:1-11; destroyed for its wickedness,  Genesis 18:20;  Genesis 19:24;  Genesis 19:28; made a warning by Moses,  Deuteronomy 29:23;  Deuteronomy 32:32; referred to by  Isaiah 1:9-10; by  Jeremiah 23:14;  Jeremiah 49:18;  Jeremiah 50:40; by  Amos 4:11; by  Zephaniah 2:9 : by our Saviour,  Matthew 10:15;  Mark 6:11, A. V.; by Paul, quoting Isaiah,  Romans 9:29; by Peter and Jude,  2 Peter 2:6. Its site is disputed. Some place it at the southern, others at the northern, end of the Dead. Sea.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [3]

 Genesis 10:19 13:10 19:24,28 Genesis 18:20 Romans 9:29 2 Peter 2:6 Jude 1:4-7 Deuteronomy 32:32 Isaiah 1:9,10 Jeremiah 23:14 Matthew 10:15 Mark 6:11

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [4]

The city of Gomorrah was located near Sodom but, like Sodom, it was destroyed almost four thousand years ago. Its remains probably lie buried beneath the Dead Sea. (For details see Sodom .)

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

One of the cities in the fruitful vale of Siddim, near the southern part of the ancient Dead Sea, miraculously blasted by God. See Sodom .

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [6]

one of the five cities of the Pentapolis, consumed by fire,  Genesis 19:24 , &c. See Dead Sea .

Holman Bible Dictionary [7]

Sodom And Gomorrah

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [8]

GOMORRAH . See Plain [Cities of the].

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [9]

See Sodom.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

(Heb. Amorah', עֲמֹרָה prob. Submersion; Sept. or Τὰ Γόμοῤῥα , N.T. "Gomorrha"), one of the four cities in or near the vale of Siddine ( Genesis 10:19;  Genesis 13:10), apparently overwhelmed by the destruction which caused the Dead, Sea ( Genesis 19:24;  Genesis 19:28). B.C. 2061. (See Siddim). Its king, Birsha, was one of those that joined battle with the forces of Chedorlaomer, and in the rout Lot's family became involved until rescued by Abrahams ( Genesis 14:2;  Genesis 14:8-11). B.C. cir. 2080. The allusions in Scripture to the "cities of the plain" appear to indicate that they stood close together ( Genesis 13:10;  Genesis 14:8-11), and that they lay near the southern extremity of the present lake, for Abraham, one going to the brow of the mountain near Hebron, "looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and all the plain" ( Genesis 19:28), and this he could not have done had they been situated further north. The battle between the eastern kings and the people of the plain took place "in the vale of Siddim, which is the Salt Sea" ( Genesis 14:3). The phrase, however, is not quite decisive as to the precise position; for, as Reland observes (Palaest. page 254), it is not stated that the five cities stood in the vale of Siddim, although this perhaps may be inferred, and seems to be implied in the name of Gomorrah. This city appears to have been next in importance to Sodom, as it is always mentioned second, and often these two of the four cities alone are named, as types of impiety and wickedness ( Genesis 18:20;  Romans 9:29). What that atrocity was may be gathered from  Genesis 19:4-8. Their miserable fate is held up as a warning to the children of Israel ( Deuteronomy 29:23); as a precedent for the destruction of Babylon ( Isaiah 13:19, and  Jeremiah 50:40), of Edom ( Jeremiah 49:18), of Moab. ( Zephaniah 2:9), and evens of Israel ( Amos 4:11). By Peter in the N.T., and by Jude ( 2 Peter 2:6;  Judges 1:4-7), it is made "an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly," or "deny Christ." Similarly, their wickedness rings as a proverb thiroughout the, prophecies (see  Deuteronomy 32:32;  Isaiah 1:9-10;  Jeremiah 23:14). Jerusalem herself is there unequivocally called Sodom, and her people" Gomorrah, for their enormities; just in the same way that the corruptions of the Church of Rolme have caused her to be called Babylon. On the other hand, according to the N.T., there is a sin which exceeds even that of Sodom and Gomorrba, that, namely, of which Tyre and Sidon, Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida, were guilty when they "repented not," in spite of "the mighty works" which they had witnesesed ( Matthew 10:15); and Mark has ranged under the same category all those who would not receive the preaching of the apostles ( Mark 6:11). (See Sodom).

To turn to their geographical position, one passage of Scripture seems expressly to assert that the vale of Siddim had.become the "salt," or dead, "sea" ( Genesis 14:3), called elsewhere to the "sea of the plain" ( Joshua 12:3); the expression, however, occurs antecedently to their overthrow. Josephus ( Ant. 1, 9) says that the late Asphaltites, or Dead Sea, was formed out of what used to be the valley where Sodom stood; but elsewhere he declares that the territory of Sodom was not submerged in the lake (War, 4:8, 4), but still existed parched and burnt up, as is the appearance of that region still; and certainly nothing in Scripture would lead to the idea that they were destroyed by submersion (though they may, have been submerged afterwards when destroyed), for their destruction is expressly attributed to the brimstone and fire rained upon them from heaven ( Genesis 19:24; see also  Deuteronomy 29:22, and  Zephaniah 2:9; also Peter and Jude before cited). St. Jerome, in the Onomasticon, merely says of Sodom, "civitas impiorum divino igne consunepta juxta mare mortuum" (s.v. Σόδομα , Sodof man; comp. s.v. Γομμορά , Gommora). The whole subject is ably handled by Cellarius (ap. Ugol. Thesaur. 7:739-78), though it is not always necessary to agree with his conclusions. Among modern travelers, Dr. Robinson shows that the Jordan could not have ever flowed iinto the gulf of Akabah; on the contrary, that the rivers of the desert themselves flow northwards into the Dead Sea. (See Arabah).

This added to the configuration and deep depression of the valley, serves in his opinion to prove that there must have always been a lake there, into, which the Jordan flowed; though he admits it to have been of far less extent than it now is, and even the whole southern; part of it to have been added subsequently to the overthrow of the four cities, which stood, according to him, at the original south end of it, Zoar probably being situated is the mouth of wady Kerab, as it opens upon the isthmus of the peninsula. In the same plain, he remarks, were slime-pits, or wells of bitumen ( Genesis 14:10); "salt-pits" also ( Zephaniah 2:9); while the enlargement of the lake he considers to have been caused by some convulsion or catastrophe of nature connected with the miraculous destruction of the cities volcanic agency, that of earthquakes, and the like (Bibl. Res. 2:187-192, 2d ed.). He might, have adduced the great earthquake at Lisbon as a case in point. The great difference of level between the bottoms of the northerns and southern ends oaf the lake, the former 1300, the latter only 13 feet below the surface, singularly confirms the above view (Stanley, S. & P. page 287 2d ed.). Pilgrims of Palestine formerly saw, or fancied that they saw, ruins of towns at the bottom of the sea, not far from the shore (see Maundrell, Early Travellers, page 1454). Smith, s.v.; Kitto, s.v. M. de Saulcy is confident he has discovered the remains of Gomorrah in certain ruins which he reports in a valley by the name of Gumrar, on the N.W. shore of the Dead Sea, just north of Ain sel-Feshkah (Dead Sea, 2:49); but Van de Veldea makes light of this account (Narrative, 2:115 sq.), which, indeed, lacks confirmation, especially as it is, generally believed that the sites of these cities are all buried under the southern shallows of the lake. (See Dead Sea).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

gō̇ - mor´a ( עמרה , ‛ămōrāh  ; Septuagint and New Testament Γομόρρα , Gomórra , or Γόμορρα , Gómorra  ; Arabic Ghamara , "to overwhelm with water"): One of the Cities Of The Plain (which see) destroyed by fire from heaven in the time of Abraham and Lot ( Genesis 19:23-29 ). It was located probably in the plain South of the Dead Sea, now covered with water. See Arabah; Cities Of The Plain; Dead Sea . De Saulcy, however, with others who place the Cities of the Plain at the North end of the Dead Sea, fixes upon Khumran (or Gumran ), marked on the Survey Map of Palestine North of Ras Feshkeh , where there are ruins about a mile from the Dead Sea. But there is nothing to support this view except the faint resemblance of the name and the inconclusive arguments placing the Cities of the Plain at that end of the sea.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

Gomorr´ah. One of 'the cities of the plain,' destroyed along with Sodom. An account of that catastrophe is given under Sodom.

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