Another difference between the story of Lut in the Qur'an and the story of Lot in the Bible is that the Qur'anic account does not include Lot's incestuous relationship with his daughters, since, as a prophet in Islamic tradition, Lot would never engage either in drunkenness or incest.


Geological formation overlooking the Dead Sea, known as "Lot's wife."

The historical existence of Sodom and Gomorrah is still in dispute by archaeologists, with some believing they never existed, some believing they are now under the Dead Sea, and others claiming that they have been found (under other names) in the region to the southeast of the Dead Sea. The Bible indicates they were indeed located near the Dead Sea (Genesis 14:1-3, Deuteronomy 34:3).

An ancient Akkadian poem describes cities that were destroyed in a rain of fire, written from the view of a person who escaped the destruction, however the names of the cities are not given.2

The Greek historian Strabo (first century C.E.) states that locals living near Moasada (probably referring to Masada) reported that "there were once 13 inhabited cities in that region of which Sodom was the metropolis."3 There is a small "mountain," mainly composed of salt, next to the Dead Sea, called in Arabic Jabal (Mount) Usdum, which is similar to the Arabic for Sodom, Sadūm.

Some modern biblical scholars suggest the destruction of the cities may have been factual, with the account of Lot and the sin of the Sodomites added later as an explanation for a natural disaster. Geologists have confirmed that no volcanic activity occurred in the region within the last 4000 years, but it is possible that the towns were destroyed by an earthquake, especially if the towns lie along a major fault, the Jordan Rift Valley, the northernmost extension of the Great Rift Valley of the Red Sea and East Africa.4

One candidate for Sodom is a site known as Bab edh-Dhra. Bab edh-Dhra was an Early Bronze Age city located near the Dead Sea, and bitumen and petroleum deposits have been found in the area, which contain sulfur and natural gas. The theory is that an earthquake opened a nearby pocket of natural gas. This gas drifted up and reacted with fires burning in the city. As a result, the city was devastated. Another site suggest is that of nearby Numeira.

Modern Sodom

Aerial view of the Dead Sea Works evaporation ponds at modern Sodom, used to collect potash and other minerals.

In accordance with the general Israeli practice of naming places for the cities or villages which existed in biblical times, the site of the present Dead Sea Works, extensively extracting the Dead Sea minerals, is called "Sdom" (סדום). It is not claimed, however, that this is the biblical city. Unlike its biblical namesake, the modern Sodom is not associated with sins but with hard working crews sweating in the summer heat of the Dead Sea shores to harvest potash and other minerals from the region.


  1. ↑ A similar event is recorded in the Judges 19:20-22, this time involving the town of Gibeah, where a Levite is offered hospitality by one man but runs into trouble from the other local inhabitants: 'As they were enjoying themselves, and behold, the men of the city, men of wickedness, surrounded the house, (and were) beating at the door. And they spoke to the man, the elderly master of the house, saying, "Bring out the man that came into your house, so that we may be intimate with him."' In this case the man's concubine is offered as a replacement. She is brutally raped and later dies, sparking a bloody war between the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of Israel.
  2. ↑ A. H. Sayce. Records of the Past XI 119.
  3. ↑ Strabo XVI 2:44.
  4. ↑ J. Penrose Harland, Sep. 1943, Sodom and Gomorrah: The Destruction of the Cities of the Plain. Biblical Archaeologist 6 (3).

See also

  • Lot
  • Book of Judges
  • Book of Genesis
  • homosexuality


  • Gagnon, Robert A.J. 2002. The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Abingdon Press, 2002, 71-91. ISBN 978-0687022793
  • Goldberg, Jonathan. Reclaiming Sodom. New York: Routledge, 1994. ISBN 9780415907552
  • Letellier, Robert Ignatius. 1995. Day in Mamre Night in Sodom: Abraham and Lot in Genesis 18 and 19. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-9004102507
  • Noort, Edward, and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar. Sodom's Sin: Genesis 18-19 and Its Interpretation. Themes in biblical narrative, v. 7. Leiden: Brill, 2004. ISBN 9789004140486
  • Pellegrino, Charles R. 1995. Return to Sodom and Gomorrah. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0380726332

External links

All links retrieved November 16, 2019.

  • “Lot” Jewish Encyclopedia