MemberMay 22, 2021 at 10:13 am
Thomas, I can’t get into an intensive discussion about this at present, but here are some preliminary thoughts:
1. What are the odds of a meteor explosion dead-centre in the Rift Valley as compared to a fire due to an earthquake in a known major faultline with lots of subterranean combustibles?
2. If such a meteor explosion wiped out 500 sq. km., half-melting and salting Hammam, there should be evidence in every tel in the southern Jordan Valley to a diameter of 22+ km, which includes Jericho. Also in the soil throughout the region. Yet the Southern Jordan Valley is fertile.
3. Which are his ”5 cities of the plain” in the southern Jordan Valley, (which he calls the Middle Ghor) and do they all show the same effects? If not, why not? Collins speaks of the Dead Sea as though it was always there. But it may have been created in Abraham’s time with the massive destruction of Sodom and the other cities of the plain. This plain was associated with the ‘Vale of Siddim’ (Gen 14:3, 8, 10) which, being full of slime pits (bitumen) may have been a proto-Dead Sea area (note the parenthesis by the biblical author Moses in v. 3, which gives the more ‘recent’ status of the Vale of Siddim as now being the Salt Sea).
4. There seems to be no comparative analysis of sherds from tels known to have been destroyed by burning. Perhaps the three-layer glass-dark-normal sequence is not so unusual after conflagration.
5. Are these sherds known for sure to be MBA II sherds? And if so, how about the clash this creates with Rohl’s and others’ chronologies which put Moses and not Abraham in the MBA II?
6. Why is Collins relying on the standard chronology for evidence of Sodom when it hugely disappoints expectations for all other biblical stories? LBA Arad, Jericho, and Ai, for example, are already abandoned ruins and Canaan is dominated by Egypt. The following IA period in Canaan/Israel is a poor decentralised era, not at all like the descriptions of the Israelite kingdom. Yet, suddenly, we are supposed to see literal evidence of Sodom’s destruction in the ‘right’ stratum (MBA) according to the standard chronology? I would say the odds of a meteor strike are better than that!
7. What does he have to say about the evidence of explosive destruction at the traditional ”5 cities” near the Southern Ghor? Bab adh Dhra, Tall Numayrah (Ar. ‘Gomorrah’) etc. I have seen these tells, just heaps of gritty white ash.
8. How can he explain that there is no mention of the 5 cities of the plain in the Southern Jordan Valley when Israel came through during the conquest? Rather the towns of Abel-shittim and Beth-jeshimoth are mentioned, and the various shrines around the valley, Beth-peor, Baal-meon, etc. That’s all. Sodom and Gomorrah are never mentioned casually in relation to a region that features all the way through Israelite and Moabite history. No biblical author ever writes ”This is that city which was called ’Sodom”, or similar.
9. Also, re the 4 kings of the north, their campaign implies a path from Kadesh ENE through Wadi Zin (this is a well-known ancient road) to the Southern Ghor. There were/are bitumen pits in this region but there are none in the Middle Ghor (the Jordan Valley), some 60 km further north. The battle with the 5 kings of the plain took place in this valley of bitumen pits. This text, terse though it is, does not seem to describe the Jordan Valley.
10. Yes, Lot chose the kikkar of the Jordan and travelled east from the Hill Country. However, Genesis 13:11-12 implies the passage of time during which Lot moved around. The detail that Lot “pitched his tent as far as Sodom” suggests a geographical separation from the kikkar of the Jordan.” Also, the word <em style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>kikkar does not exclusively refer only to the area of the Rift Valley just north of the Dead Sea. “Kikkar of the Jordan” can refer to the area as far north as Sukkoth in the mouth of the Jabbok River (1 Kings 7:46).
Gen 14: (7) then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and subdued all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar. (8) Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim (9) with King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar, four kings against five. (10) Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits; and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country.