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GOMORRAH (gō-mŏr'ra, Heb. ‘ămōrâh, Gr. Gomorra, submersion). One of the five “cities of the plain” located in the Vale of Siddim at the south end of the Dead Sea. Zoar alone escaped the destruction by fire from heaven in the time of Abraham and Lot. The district where the five cities were located was exceedingly productive and well-peopled, but today traces of the punitive catastrophe abound. There are great quantities of salt, with deposits of bitumen, sulphur, and niter on the shores of the Dead Sea. The location was long a contention, but it reportedly was established in a.d. 1924 by an archaeological expedition led by M. G. Kyle that placed it beneath the shallow waters of the Dead Sea south of the Lisan promontory.——BPD


GOMORRAH gə môr’ ə (עֲמֹרָ֖ה, LXX, Γόμορρα, G1202; meaning unknown). A city located in the Valley of Siddim, prob. at the S of the Dead Sea.

Gomorrah is first mentioned as the S or E extent of the Canaanite territory (Gen 10:19) Later, Lot, Abram’s nephew, chose to live in Sodom. It was then that four eastern kings under the leadership of Chedorlaomer attacked the five cities of the plain (Gen 14). Genesis 18 and 19 record the meeting of Abram with the angels and their warning to Lot of the imminent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot escaped and “the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire” (19:24).

The location of Gomorrah is unknown. There are theories that it was at either the N or S end of the Dead Sea. Both arguments have strengths; both have weaknesses, but the most accepted view is that Gomorrah and the other cities are sunken beneath the shallow waters of the Dead Sea S of the Lisan peninsula.


W. F. Albright, BASOR, 14 (1924), 5-7; AASOR VI (1924-1925), 58-62; F. G. Clapp, “The Site of Sodom and Gomorrah,” AJA (1936), 323-344; J. P. Harland, “Sodom and Gomorrah, The Location and Destruction of the Cities of the Plain,” BA, V (1941), 17-32; VI (1943), 41-54.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

One of the CITIES OF THE PLAIN (which see) destroyed by fire from heaven in the time of Abraham and Lot (Ge 19:23-29). It was located probably in the plain South of the Dead Sea, now covered with water. See Arabah; Cities of the Plain; DEAD SEA. De Saulcy, however, with others who place the Cities of the Plain at the North end of the Dead Sea, fixes upon Khumran (or Gumran), marked on the Survey Map of Palestine North of Ras Feshkeh, where there are ruins about a mile from the Dead Sea. But there is nothing to support this view except the faint resemblance of the name and the inconclusive arguments placing the Cities of the Plain at that end of the sea.

George Frederick Wright