The "cities of the plain," or "cities of the valley," were identified as Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar. All but Zoar were destroyed by God when Sodom was incinerated.
Their location is subject to speculation. What is known for certain is that they were somewhere east or southeast of Jerusalem, in the area of the Dead Sea (see The Salt Sea) - some believe at the northern end, while others say at the southern end. We do know that Abraham was able to see Sodom from the great trees of Mamre, near Hebron (Genesis 18:1, 19:27). Hebron is located about 18 miles (29 kilometers) west of the Dead Sea, at a latitude about half-way between its north and south ends.
Cities Of The Plain Destroyed
Zoar was the town to which Lot and his daughters fled from Sodom.
"So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, "Up, get out of this place; for The Lord is about to destroy the city." But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting."
"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 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. But Lot's wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."
"And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before The Lord; and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace."
"So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt." (Genesis 19:12-29 RSV)
Fact Finder: What was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah an example of?
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This Day In History, September 6
394: Theodosius became the sole ruler of the East and West Roman empires after defeating Eugenius at the Battle of the River Frigidus. After he died however, the Roman empire again divided - as illustrated in the two legs of the great prophetic statue seen in Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2:31-25. See Daniel's Statue
1522: One of the five ships that set out in Ferdinand Magellan's voyage around the world returned to Spain. Only 15 of the original 265 men that set out survived. Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.
1620: Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, bound for the New World.
1898: Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands was coronated.
1901: U.S. President William McKinley was shot in Buffalo, New York, by a 28 year old anarchist. He died a week later.
1914: During World War I, the first Battle of the Marne began along a 300 mile (500 kilometer) front when the French launched a counter-offensive against the German advance.
1941: The Nazi government issued an order that all Jews in Germany were to wear a yellow Star of David at all times in public.
1948: Princess Juliana became Queen of The Netherlands following her mother's (Queen Wilhelmina) abdication.
1970: Palestinian terrorists hijacked four airliners traveling to New York from Europe. One Pan Am Jumbo was blown up the next day in Cairo, and two Boeing 707s which landed at Dawson's field in Jordan were blown up on September 12. The fourth plane landed in London.
1991: After 67 years as Leningrad, the name St. Petersburg was restored to the Russian city.
1997: The funeral of Princess Diana. Great numbers of people lined the streets of London to view the procession, and hundreds of millions of people around the world watched on television. One of the biggest funerals in human history. She was later that day buried on the Spencer family property in the Northamptonshire countryside.