Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Sodom and Gomorrha

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Sodom, a city of Pentapolis (Wisd., x, 6; Gen., xiv, 2): Sodom, Gomorrha, Adama, Seboim, and Bala — later called Segor (Gen., xix, 22). They were situated in "the country about the Jordan" (Gen., xiii, 10); their exact location is unknown (cf. Gen., xiv, 3, 8, 10, 17; xix, 20-22, 30, 37; Deut., xxxiv, 3). Josephus identifies Segor with "Zoara of Arabia" at the south end of the Dead Sea ("Bel. Jud.", IV, viii, 4; cf. "Ant. Jud.", I, xi, 4; XIII, xv, 4; XIV, i, 4). Conder identifies it with Tell esh-Shaghur, seven miles north of the Dead Sea; Burkhard, Wetstein, and others with Chirbet es-Safich, three miles south of the Dead Sea; E. Robinson puts it on Lisan, etc. For the unnatural sins of their inhabitants Sodom, Gomorrha, Adama, and Seboin were destroyed by "brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven" (Gen., xiii, 13; xviii, 20; xix, 24, 29; Osee, xi, 8). Since then, their names are synonymous with impenitent sin, and their fall with a proverbial manifestation of God's just wrath (Deut., xxix, 23; xxxii, 32; Is., i, 10 sqq.; Ezech., xvi, 49; Matt., xi, 23 sq.; II Peter, ii, 6; Jude, 7). The Septuagint rendering katestrephe (Gen., xix, 25) probably led to the erroneous opinion that the destruction of Sodom was accompanied by great upheavals of the earth, and even to the formation of the Dead Sea.

HUMMELAUER, Comment. In Gen. (Paris, 1895), 376, 416 sq.; BUHL, Geog. des Alt. Pal. (Leipzig, 1896), 271-74; ROBINSON, Bibl. Researches in Palestine, II (Boston, 1847), 480 sqq.; Palestine Explor. Fund (1879), 15, 99, 144 (1881), 277 (1884), 126 (1886), 19-22; BLANCHENHORN in Zeirschr. des deutsch. Pal. Vercins (1896); CONDER, Handbook to the Bible (London, 1873), 38; IDEM, Heth and Moab (London, 1880), 154 sqq.

Nicholas Reagan.