The Dead Sea as Evidence of Sodom's Overthrow

Not open for further replies.


Staff member
From Adams' commentary on 2 Peter 2:6...

It was a miraculous rain; brimstone mingled with the fire, as a fit matter to disperse it: and, it is very likely, salt too; it shall burn with brimstone and salt, Deut. xxix. 23. Yea, and that water was poured down also, from which was gathered the Dead Sea remaining to this day.

Was this a commonly held notion among the Puritans? Is it still held by some today? I hadn't heard of it before.
I can't speak regarding any Puritan-era literature. But I can tell you that when I was young, I had Sunday school teachers tell me that Sodom and the other cities became the Dead Sea. They said this with such certainty that I thought it was part of the account in Genesis. So I do suspect that view has had other well-known proponents. I also recall stumbling upon apologists who've attempted to show that the sea was once a fertile area.
Geologically, this is unlikely to be true. What is true is that the area on the east side of the Jordan river mouth near the dead sea suffered massive depopulation despite being the most desirable farmland in the area. More information and links
John Gill thought so (Deut. 29:23)
like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, of Admah and Zeboim; which indeed are, strictly speaking, become a sulphurous and bituminous lake, called the salt sea, and the lake Asphaltites, and where no green grass or corn, or any kind of fruit grow: which the Lord overthrew in his anger and in his wrath

And so did Matthew Henry (commentary on Gen. 19:24-25)
That it was a judgment that laid all waste; it overthrew the cities, and destroyed all the inhabitants of them, the plain, and all that grew upon the ground, v. 25. It was an utter ruin, and irreparable; that fruitful valley remains to this day a great lake, or dead sea; it is called the Salt Sea, Numb. 34. 12. Travellers say that it is about thirty miles long, and ten miles broad; it has no living creature in it; it is not moved by the wind; the smell of it is offensive; things do not easily sink in it. The Greeks call it Asphaltites, for a sort of pitch which it casts up. Jordan falls into it, and is lost there.

It looks like a good number of expositors from the last 400 years have made mention of the Dead Sea in their commentary on Genesis 19.

I was told growing up that Lot's wife turning into salt was the reason for the Dead Sea's saltiness.
Thank you for the resource, brother. This piqued my interest when I was browsing the board last Friday. I searched for more information on the Tall el-Hammam site over the weekend and found this helpful video presentation on Youtube by Dr. Steven Collins that was posted last spring:

The evidence that this site is Sodom is compelling.

The Lord be gracious to you,

The boys and I came across an assertion recently that the story of Lot's wife was part of the local lore to explain the geologic salt structures. I'll take Moses' explanation, thank you! I thought the site mentioned was to the southeast of the Dead Sea. In any case, the location isn't fully established, and we likely have far more physical info today than would have been available to even the most careful of commentators from 400 years ago.
Not open for further replies.