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Valley of Siddim

The Valley of Siddim was located in the general area between Engedi and the "cities of the plain," which in the time before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah may have included the area of what has today become the underwater southern section of the Dead Sea (see The Salt Sea). It was in earlier times much more verdant (as it will be again, according to Prophecy - see Engedi and Living Waters), which was the reason that it was chosen by Lot when he parted company with his uncle Abraham. It was also "full of slime-pits," the correct translation of which should have been "bitumen pits," a highly-flammable natural petroleum substance that may have significantly contributed to "the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace" as witnessed the next morning by Abraham from Hebron after God destroyed the perverted cities of the valley.

Valley of Siddim The Valley of Siddim had numerous bitumen pits:

"In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, that is, Zoar. And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim, that is, the Salt Sea ... Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, that is, Zoar, went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five. Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits (see Pitch); and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the mountain." (Genesis 14:1-3,8-10 RSV)

Lot chose to live in the Valley of Siddim because it was then "well watered everywhere like the garden of The Lord":

"And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites dwelt in the land. Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen; for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left." And Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw that the Jordan valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of The Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before The Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan valley, and Lot journeyed east; thus they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, while Lot dwelt among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against The Lord." (Genesis 13:5-13 RSV)

God incinerated the Valley of Siddim to rid the earth of the perverted people who inhabited the cities there:

"When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city." But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, The Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him forth and set him outside the city. And when they had brought them forth, they said, "Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley; flee to the hills, lest you be consumed." And Lot said to them, "Oh, no, my Lords; behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me, and I die. Behold, yonder city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there - is it not a little one? - and my life will be saved!" He said to him, "Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Make haste, escape there; for I can do nothing till you arrive there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then The Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire [see Fire and Brimstone] from The Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground" (Genesis 19:15-25 RSV)

Fact Finder: Was the incineration of Sodom and Gomorrah an example of what is coming for the wicked?
2 Peter 2:6
See also Planet On Fire!


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