Sodom, along with Gomorrah, are two of the most famous cities in the Bible. Sodom was the place where Lot, a nephew of Abraham, chose to dwell when the two of them decided to part ways in Bethel. Though the land of Sodom was rich and fertile, and the city was very prosperous, its people were wicked, sinning greatly against God.
'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. (Ezekiel 16:49-50)
God determined to wipe them out and told Abraham of his intentions. Knowing that his nephew Lot lived in the city, Abraham was horrified.
Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing-to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:23-25)
When God agreed he would, Abraham suddenly realized that he might have overestimated the number of good folk in the town; he knew too well of the sin in the city. "What if only ten can be found there?" he asked the Lord, who said that he would spare Sodom if even ten righteous people could be found there.
That evening, two angels, who looked like men went to Sodom and met Lot who invited them to spend the night.
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom-both young and old-surrounded the house. They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." (Genesis 19:3-4)
Lot went out to meet the mob, trying to talk them out of harming his guests, even offering his two virgin daughters in exchange for them. This offer makes a lot of readers quiver with revulsion, though knowing the sexual inclinations of the men gathered outside it appears to have been some sort of a diversionary tactic. Given the mob's disinterest, this appears quite likely, as they ignored the offer and moved to attack Lot. The angels inside pulled him back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men outside with blindness.
The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here-sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it." (Genesis 19:12,13)
Early the next morning Lot, with his wife and two daughters, hurried away. At noon, God sent a devastating story of burning sulpher raining down on Sodom, annihilating them completely.
No trace of it or of the other cities of the plain has been discovered, so complete was their destruction. Just opposite the site of Zoar, on the south-west coast of the Dead Sea, is a range of low hills, forming a mass of mineral salt called Jebel Usdum, "the hill of Sodom." It has been concluded, from this and from other considerations, that the cities of the plain stood at the southern end of the Dead Sea. Others, however, with much greater probability, contend that they stood at the northern end of the sea.
The word Sodomy, which means copulation with a member of the same sex, comes from the town Sodom.