Mt. Sodom

Archaeological evidence shows that the barren, salty Mt. Sodom was fertile up until the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

By Nosson Shulman, Licensed Tour Guide

“G-d caused rain of sulfur and fire to fall on Sodom and on Gomorrah…(Lot’s) wife looked behind her and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:24-26)”

Today we are visiting an unusual Biblical site, where truth is stranger than fiction! Located in the heart of the Judean Desert, Mt. Sodom is completely composed of sulfur (as opposed to the rest of the desert which is composed of limestone).

When standing at this abnormal “enclave” of salt, tourists immediately understand that this is not a natural geological feature. Indeed, the sulfur found here is unique (it’s 98 percent pure and white, unlike natural sulfur formed by geothermal activity).

What happened here would have remained an unexplained mystery, if not for the Bible recording what occurred.

Mt. Sodom

Despite the fact that the rest of the Judean Desert is composed of desert limestone, Mt. Sodom is entirely composed of salt. (Shutterstock)

Four thousand years ago, the wicked people of Sodom were murderers, robbers, and well renowned for their selfishness. Even feeding the poor was a capital crime! According to Jewish sources, this was meant to keep poor people from having a reason to come to their town.

Selfishness was so ingrained in their psyche that they used to strip the trees bare of fruits, lest any birds or animals should benefit even the slightest from their property.

They were also exceedingly wealthy due to their precious stone mines and agricultural fertility as it says “It was all watering (full of springs) before G-d destroyed Sodom…Like the Garden of G-d (Genesis 13:10).”

Indeed, the archaeological evidence shows that this barren, salty mountain was fertile up until that time.

Because of their evil deeds G-d decided to destroy Sodom and four nearby cities with a rain of fire and brimstone. Lot (Abraham’s nephew) had settled in Sodom with his family. In the merit of his uncle, G-d sent angels to inform Lot’s family that the city would be destroyed and that they needed to flee immediately.

They were specifically warned not to look back as Sodom was destroyed.

Nevertheless, Lot’s wife turned around and was instantly turned into a pillar of salt along with Sodom, the surrounding cities and the Dead Sea.

Lot's Wife

Lot’s Wife overlooking the Dead Sea was turned into a pillar of salt some 4,000 years ago as described in Genesis 19. (Shutterstock)

The Bible tells us that in the end of days, Sodom and the Dead Sea will be healed and once again become a place of great fertility (see Ezekiel 47).

In the meantime, you can still visit this wonderous site to see firsthand where one of the most dramatic Biblical events took place!

Nosson Shulman is a journalist and Licensed Tour Guide in Israel specializing in Biblical tours. To allow tourists to experience Israel during the Corona era, he created the new hit Israel tour video series, which brings Israel to the home of viewers by simulating actual tours. To check out his free sneak preview tour videos, click here. To view sample tour itineraries or to inquire about private tour opportunities with a personalized itinerary on your next trip to Israel, click here.

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