The Truth of Sodom and Gomorrah

Early this morning the two cities known as Sodom and Gomorrah were destoryed. Sodom and Gomorrah were cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis and throughout the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur'an. According to the Torah, the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah were allied with the cities of Admah, Zeboim and Bela. These five cities, also known as the "cities of the plain", were situated on the Jordan river plain in the southern region of the land of Canaan. The Jordan river plain (which corresponds to area just north of the modern day Dead Sea) has been compared to the garden of Eden, being a land well-watered and green, suitable for grazing livestock and farming.
The Book of Genesis is the primary source that mentions the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Major and minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible have also referred to Sodom and Gomorrah to parallel their prophetic events. In suite, the New Testament also contains passages of parallels to the destruction and surrounding events that pertained to these cities and those who were involved. Later more Biblical texts attempt to glean additional insights about these cities of the Jordan Plain.

Background

In Genesis Chapter 14, Sodom and Gomorrah's political situation is described during the time biblical Lot had encamped in Sodom's territory. Genesis 13:13 indicates that at that time, "the men of Sodom [were] wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." Sodom was ruled by King Bera while Gomorrah was ruled by King Birsha. Their kingship, however, was not sovereign, because the entire river Jordan plain was under Elamite rule for twelve years. The kingdom of Elam was ruled by king Chedorlaomer. [Genesis 14:1-4]
In the thirteenth year of subjection to Elam, the five kings of the river Jordan plain aligned together to rebel against Elamite rule. These kings included those of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as their neighbors: king Shinab of Admah, king Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the unnamed king of Bela (later called Zoar).
In response, Elam's king Chedorlaomer, gathered additional forces from Shinar, Ellasar and Goyim to suppress this rebellion from the cities of the plain. They waged war in the Vale of Siddim in the fourteenth year. The battle was brutal with heavy losses in the cities of the plain, with their resultant defeat. Sodom and Gomorrah were spoiled of their goods, and captives were taken, including Lot.
The tide of war turned when Lot's uncle Abram gathered an elite force that slaughtered king Chedorlaomer's forces in Hobah, north of Damascus. The success of his mission freed the cities of the plain from under Elam's rule.

Judgment

In Genesis 18, three men came, thought by most commentators to have been angels appearing as men, to Abram (Abraham) in the plains of Mamre.
After the angels received the hospitality of Abraham and Sarah, his wife, the LORD revealed to Abraham that he would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, because their cry was great, "and because their sin is very severe."[Gen 18:20] In response, Abraham inquired of the LORD if he would spare the city if 50 righteous people were found in it, to which the LORD agreed he would not destroy it for the sake of the righteous yet dwelling therein. Abraham then inquired of God for mercy at lower numbers (first 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, and finally at 10), with the LORD agreeing each time.[Gen 18:22-33] Two of the angels proceeded to Sodom and were met by Abraham's nephew Lot, who convinced the angels to lodge with him, and they ate with Lot.
Genesis 19:4-5 (KJV) described what followed, which confirmed its end:
Line 4: But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
Line 5: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. (NRSV: know them, NIV: can have sex with them, NJB: can have intercourse with them).
Lot refused to give his guests to the inhabitants of Sodom and, instead, offered them his two virgin daughters and to "do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes". [Gen 19:8] However, they refused this offer and threatened to do worse to Lot than they would have done to his guests, and then came near to break down the door. Lot's angelic guests rescued him and struck the men with blindness, thereby revealing to Lot that they were not ordinary men but angels, and they informed Lot of their mission to destroy the city.[Genesis 19:9-13]
Then (not having found even 10 righteous people in the city), they commanded Lot to gather his family and get the hell out of here!!! As they made their escape, one angel commanded Lot to "look not behind thee" (singular "thee" or you). [Genesis 19:17] However, as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with brimstone and fire from the LORD. Lot's wife was curious and she looked back at the city, and she became a pillar of salt.

Religious views

The Jewish Encyclopedia has information on the importance of hospitality to the Jewish people. The people of Sodom were seen as guilty of many other significant sins. Rabbinic writings affirm that the Sodomites also committed economic crimes, blasphemy and bloodshed. One of the worst was to give money or even gold ingots to beggars, after inscribing their names on them, and then subsequently refusing to sell them food. The unfortunate stranger would end up starving and after his death, the people who gave him the money would reclaim it. Other religions focus on the associated explicitly with their sexual practices and hospitality to strangers.

Truth

A clay tablet that has baffled scientists for 150 years has been identified as a witness's account of the asteroid suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Researchers who cracked the cuneiform symbols on the Planisphere tablet believe that it recorded an asteroid thought to have been more than half a mile across.
The tablet, found by Henry Layard in the remains of the library in the royal place at Nineveh in the mid-19th century, is thought to be a 700 B.C. copy of notes made by a Sumerian astronomer watching the night sky.
He referred to the asteroid as a "white stone bowl approaching" and recorded it as it "vigorously swept along."
Using computers to recreate the night sky thousands of years ago, scientists have pinpointed his sighting to shortly before dawn on June 29 in the year 3123 B.C.
About half the symbols on the tablet have survived and half of those refer to the asteroid. The other symbols record the positions of clouds and constellations. In the past 150 years scientists have made five unsuccessful attempts to translate the tablet.
Mark Hempsell, one of the researchers from Bristol University who cracked the tablet's code, said: "It's a wonderful piece of observation, an absolutely perfect piece of science."
He said the size and route of the asteroid meant that it was likely to have crashed into the Austrian Alps at Köfels. As it traveled close to the ground it would have left a trail of destruction from supersonic shock waves and then slammed into the Earth with a cataclysmic impact.
Debris consisting of up to two-thirds of the asteroid would have been hurled back along its route and a flash reaching temperatures of 400 Centigrade (752 Fahrenheit) would have been created, killing anyone in its path.
About one million sq kilometers (386,000 sq miles) would have been devastated and the impact would have been equivalent to more than 1,000 tons of TNT exploding.The researchers say that the asteroid's impact would explain why at Köfels there is evidence of an ancient landslide 3 miles wide and a quarter of a mile thick.
Dr Hempsall said that at least 20 ancient myths record devastation of the type and on the scale of the asteroid's impact, including the Old Testament tale of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the ancient Greek myth of how Phaeton, son of Helios, fell into the River Eridanus after losing control of his father's sun chariot. 

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