THE CITIES OF THE PLAIN - PART
Last week we mentioned that the late P. W. Lapp, who excavated the
site of Bab Edh-Dhra between 1965-1967 estimated that there were the
remains of over 500,000 people in the cemetery there.
What we didn't mention is that there are TWO other cemeteries in the
area. The one at Safi "which looks to be almost as large as the one at
Bab edh-Dhra" and another one at Feifa "almost a mile in either
direction that can also compete with Bab Edh Dhra both in size and
usage". (Biblical Archaeological Review Volume 6 No. 5).
Now it is true that the present excavators Rast and Schaub have
personally told me that these figures may be exaggerated, but they so
far have not come up with figures of their own and admit that Lapp was
an extremely competent investigator.
Thus we have a situation where there are an estimated ONE AND A HALF
MILLION bodies in a land that cannot grow enough today to feed even a
This is the landscape around Numeira. It looks like a shot of the
terrain on the moon. What then of the famous Biblical quote:- [Gen
13:10.39] 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. Two questions are immediately obvious.
1) If this was written or even edited in post exilic times after the
captivity in Babylon, how would they know that the land was well
2) All the scientists state that this land was NOT well watered at
the time of the Biblical account. Then, how do they account for the 1.5
million well fed bodies. How were these people fed taking whatever time
period one wants to try and fit the data to the theory?
Those questions however are an important side-issue. The question at
hand is to explain the evidence at these sites. Some have said that they
were the remains of the Cities of the Plain including Sodom and
Gomorrah, but the evidence is clearly otherwise. The bodies were buried
BEFORE the destruction by burning.
We will now see how important the revised chronology really is in
explaining the major Mysteries of the Bible.
My revised chronology dates the Exodus to the end of the early Bronze
Age and the final destruction of these sites coincides with the
area-wide catastrophe which occurred at that time with the mass
migrations and disruptions that followed.
The vast cemeteries were therefore begun some 1,800 years earlier
using conventional dating figures (much less using the conventional
chronology) and were created as a result of the mass slaughter that took
place at the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as recounted
in the Bible.
The scenario probably involved the survivors of that holocaust those
from the cities and the majority living outside the cities dragging
their dead and wounded to a safe haven, preferably near a fresh water
source (hence by a wadi). Those that died were buried in mass graves
BEFORE a settlement was established at Bab edh Dhra and Safi.
Gradually as the danger subsided and a semblance of normality
returned, the survivors broke up into settlement groups mirroring the
original towns of origin. Thus, those Sodomite survivors gathered
together and formed a new settlement as did the survivors of Gomorrah,
Admah, Zeboim and Bela. Fortunately there was a wadi complex somewhat
nearby and each settlement group managed to have their own access to
fresh water at the head of individual wadis.
Thus the sites found by our modern archaeologists are in fact the
"mirror" cities of the plain.
We suggest that the remains of the original five "cities of the
plain" will be found buried deep under the southern part of the Dead Sea
or possibly deep beneath the area designated Lisan and Ghor.
Although these areas are presently 300 meters below sea level it does
not necessarily mean that this was the case in 1882 BC. (This is our
estimated date under the revised chronology for the destruction of the
cities of the plain.) The mere fact that so many grave sites were
discovered in an area which today is unable to sustain any population of
any size, proves the validity of the Biblical description that describes
the area as a "fertile plain". Where else could the food have come from
to feed the millions which modern Israeli and Jordanian technology is
unable to emulate. The mere existence of the graves and charnel houses
proves two things.
1) Both the climate and topography MUST have been different in the
early bronze age.
2) A catastrophe must have taken place to change that state of
affairs. These graves alone destroy the credibility of those who preach
uniformitarianism whose credo is that there have been no major changes
in climate and topography in the Middle east in recorded history. One
and a half million corpses buried in one of the most inhospitable spots
of the world today may be a striking testimony to the theory of
Michael S. Sanders
1988 to May 27, 1998
STOP PRESS !!!!
I have just received a note from Tom Schaub, one of the directors of
the excavation of the area. He informs me that the information contained
in the article in Biblical Archaeological Review was incorrect in many
ways. I am investigating the discrepancies.
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