Sodom….again

I am a bit under the weather so I will be brief and do not know how consistent I will be in posting the next few days but I wanted to address the latest article in BAR and you can find it here:

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/where-is-sodom/?mqsc=E3461295&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=BHDDailyNewsletter&utm_campaign=E3B221

In the little piece offered at that link we find these words

So where is Sodom, according to the Biblical geography of Genesis 13? Sodom and its sister cities are located in the large oval-shaped, fertile plain just north of the Dead Sea called simply ha-kikkar, or “the Disk” (Genesis 13, verse 13). In Biblical geography, this well-watered disk-shaped plain, said to have been located east of the highland towns of Bethel and Ai, was an area “like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt” where Lot moved his family after his quarrel with Abraham (Genesis 13, verse 10). It is also the place where the Biblical writers set their dramatic tale of Sodom’s wickedness and destruction (Genesis 19).**

This is just not so. Genesis 13 does not locate Sodom north of the Dead Sea and the Plain of Jordan is not limited to Dr. Collins’ self-made restrictions. {Of course, Dr. Collins has to impose his own restrictions to ensure his theory works} This is what Genesis 13 has to say:

10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord. (NIV 1984)

At no time does the chapter locate Sodom north of the Dead Sea and to say so is pure bad eisegesis . If one looks closely at the passage, and I point this out as Dr. Collins has insisted in the past that a strict reading of the passage is needed, we find that it does not mention Lot crossing the Jordan River.

Tel El-Hamman is on the nation of Jordan’s side of the river and without that detail being mentioned, there is no biblical support for Sodom being North of the Dead Sea. Most of Dr. Collin’s arguments (and his supporter’s) are based in faulty reasoning not scripture. A lot has to be read into the passages about Sodom to make Tell El-Hamman work as the site of Sodom.

I also need to point out that the words, ‘set out’ do not mean ‘stayed in’ thus room is left in the passage for Lot to veer southerly towards Sodom and avoid crossing the swift flowing Jordan river. he also avoids the loss of livestock and life by not crossing the river where Dr. Collins would have him cross.

Across Tall el-Hammam, archaeologists found widespread evidence of an intense conflagration that left the Middle Bronze Age city in ruins. They found scorched foundations and floors buried under nearly 3 feet of dark grey ash, as well as dozens of pottery sherds covered with a frothy, “melted” surface; the glassy appearance indicates that they were briefly exposed to temperatures well in excess of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the approximate heat of volcanic magma. Such evidence suggests the city and its environs were catastrophically destroyed in a sudden and extreme conflagration**

What Dr. Collins fails to realize is that there are many sites and cities that were burned in the ancient world and discovering cities burned does not make them Sodom or the cities of the plain. He needs more evidence than that and he does not have it.

Dr. Bryant Wood has thoroughly gone through the evidence for the southern location of Sodom and has written about it:

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/04/16/The-Discovery-of-the-Sin-Cities-of-Sodom-and-Gomorrah.aspx

You will need to scroll down to the subsection titled ‘The Evidence’ to see for yourself what has been found in the Southern locations. It is far more convincing than anything Dr. Collins offers up.

From what I have read over at the Tell El-Hamman website, Dr. Collins and his group have failed to find one skeleton remains with burn marks. They should find those within the city walls with ease as there was no one left to bury them after God finished with them. The southern location has several such skeletal remains.

One of the arguments Dr. Collins or one of his supporters have used in defense of their location, {this was done on the now removed forum at BAS} was why would people build cities in such a desolate area that the southerly location now displays.

The answer is, the southern location was not always desolate. It was a rich and fertile land and Dr. Bryant’s article above provides the evidence for that. The area remains desolate because, as Peter said:

if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly (2 peter 2:6 NIV 1984)

God left an example for people to learn from. An example does no one any good if it is buried under thousands of years of occupation and forgotten. This is what Dr. Collins and his supporters fail to realize. God had a purpose for leaving the area desolate and people need to learn from the mistakes of those who came before them.

Sodom is not found at Tell El-Hamman no matter what supposed evidence Dr. Collins and his supporters drag out to justify their mis-leading the people. God’s purpose trumps human declarations and we see God sending a warning and letting it remain so people can repent and change their ways before it is too late.

Sadly, people like Dr. Collins do not listen and go running off in another direction while leading as many people behind them as they can. Dr. Collins is completely wrong with his declarations and conclusions about Sodom and he is too stubborn and arrogant to admit it.