The Berean Expositor
Volume 36 - Page 200 of 243
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"As when the Lord overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited,
neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation; neither shall the Arabian pitch
tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there" (Isa. 13: 19-22).
Jeremiah also makes a similar comparison when referring to Edom (Jer. 49: 17, 18).
M. de Saulcy has brought to light the truth of the Scripture record, and has discovered
the ruins of these cities of the plain. De Saulcy describes the ruins which he investigated,
and which the Arabs call Kharbet-Goumran, which he identified with the ruins of the
Scriptural Gomorrah.
"If this point be disputed--a controversy for which I am fully prepared--I beg my
gainsayers will be so obliging as to tell me what city, unless it be one contemporaneous
with Gomorrah, if not Gomorrah itself, can have existed on the shores of the Dead Sea at
a more recent period."
These ruins have been visited by the eminent archaeologist, Clermont Ganneau, who
undertook excavations there, and De Saulcy re-visited the ruins and wrote:
"North of the Lake there is a mount, called by the Arabs, Gebel Sedoum `Mount of
Sodom', and below the mount, ruins called Kharbet Sedoum `Ruins of Sodom'. The
Arabic exactly represents the Hebrew name."
The Commander of the American Expedition to this locality made a thorough
exploration of the stretch of water known as the Dead Sea, and said:
"The bottom of this sea consists of two submerged plains, an elevated, and a
depressed one; the former averaging thirteen, the latter about thirteen hundred feet
below the surface."
This shallow southern portion "is a flat plain with the greater part of its area nearly
level, a very few feet only below the surface" (Ant. The Salt Sea).
This is the submerged battlefield of Gen. 14:
The valley of Siddim, we are told, was full of "slime pits" (Gen. 14: 10). This same
word chemar is used in Gen. 11: 3, "slime had they for mortar", and means "bitumen".
"Chemar (masc.) bitumen or asphaltus, a glutinous matter issuing from the earth,
which springs in a turbid effervescence near Babylon, also near the Dead Sea and at its
bottom" (Davidson, Lexicon).
The ancient name of the Dead Sea was Lacus Asphaltites. The Arabs called it
Birkit-Lut, or "The Lake of Lot". Its waters contain 25% of salts, of which 7% is
common salt. On the west side of this Sea is a hill of rock salt named by the Arabs
Hajar Usdam, or "The Stone of Sodom".
The presence of so much salt in the vicinity of Sodom, when taken together with the
tremendous upheaval that took place at its destruction, reveals that the fate of Lot's wife
"turned into a pillar of salt", to be no mere figure of speech.