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A town always coupled with Gomorrah in characterizing places of infamy and sinful living. They were probably located on land now completely covered by the southern waters of the Dead Sea. The most likely explanation for this is that about 1900 B.C. an earthquake depressed the plain on which Sodom and Gomorrah were established (Genesis 13:10). Scripture interprets this catastrophe as Yahweh's determination to punish an evil population. Abraham tried his best to dissuade Yahweh, lest innocent people be punished with guilty, but evidently the only just man who could be found was Lot, Abraham's nephew (Genesis 18:20-32). Frequently in Scripture reference is made to the destruction of the doomed cities as proverbial warnings of Yahweh's punishment of evil (Isaiah 3:9; Lamentations 4:6). Indeed, Jesus himself, in instructing his Apostles, told them that towns that refused to listen to their message would suffer the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15).
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.