The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

Sodom and Gomorrah
"The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah" by Jules-Joseph-Augustin Laurens. DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI / Getty Images

Three angels visited Abraham, God's hand-picked founder of his chosen nation, Israel. They came disguised as men, travelers along the road. Two of them went down to Sodom and Gomorrah, to observe firsthand the wickedness in those cities.

The other visitor, who was the Lord, stayed behind. He revealed to Abraham that he was going to destroy the cities because of the evil ways of their people. Abraham, a special friend of the Lord, began to bargain with God to spare the cities if there were righteous people in them.

First, Abraham asked if the Lord would spare the cities if 50 righteous people lived there. The Lord said yes. Boldly, Abraham kept bargaining down, until God agreed not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if even ten righteous people lived there. Then the Lord departed.

When the two angels arrived at Sodom that evening, Abraham's nephew Lot met them at the city gate. Lot and his family lived in Sodom. He took the two men to his home and fed them.

Then all the men of the city surrounded Lot's house and said, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." (Genesis 19:5, NIV)

By ancient custom, the visitors were under Lot's protection. Lot was so infected by the wickedness of Sodom that he offered the homosexuals his two virgin daughters instead. Furious, the mob rushed up to break down the door.

The angels struck the rioters blind. Leading Lot, his wife, and two daughters by the hand, the angels hurried them out of the city. The daughters' fiancés would not listen and stayed behind.

Lot and his family fled to a tiny village called Zoar. The Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying the buildings, the people, and all the vegetation in the plain.

Lot's wife disobeyed the angels, looked back, and turned into a pillar of salt.

Points of Interest from the Story of Sodom and Gomorrah

  • God was mercifully willing to spare the cities for the sake of a few righteous people, but none lived there. The Bible tells us all the inhabitants were depraved.
  • One of the reasons God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was because he did not want the Jews to be influenced by this evil. As the Creator of all things, God has the divine right to destroy evil as he sees fit.
  • Lot and his family were spared, but his future sons-in-laws were destroyed because they thought Lot was joking about God's wrath. Millions of people today think God and sin are things to joke about. God does exist, and he does punish unrepentant sinners.
  • The Bible clearly states that the fire and sulfur, or brimstone, rained down "from the Lord out of the heavens" (Genesis 19:24, NIV), not upward from a volcano.
  • Lot's wife, whose name is not given, became a pillar of salt. Why would God turn her into a pillar of salt? While salt has other associations in the Bible, it is often used as a symbol of death, destruction, judgment, and disobedience. Although some scholars believe Lot's wife was covered with molten material. 

Sodom and Gomorrah in Modern TImes

Similar to the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, evil is all around us in today's society, from lying and stealing to pornography, drugs, illicit sex, and violence. God calls us to be holy people set apart, not influenced by our wicked culture. Sin always has consequences, and you should take sin and God's wrath seriously.

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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah." Learn Religions, Sep. 6, 2021, Zavada, Jack. (2021, September 6). The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah." Learn Religions. (accessed June 8, 2023).