And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes,
&c.] By raining brimstone and fire upon them from heaven, ( Genesis 19:24 ) which soon reduced them to ashes, with Admah and Zeboiim, ( Deuteronomy 29:25 ) , cities delightfully situated, which were as the garden of God, and the land of Egypt, together with the inhabitants of them; and after they had received a signal mercy, in being rescued by Abraham from the kings who had carried them captive; and though Abraham, the friend of God, interceded for them, and righteous Lot dwelt among them. The first of these cities is in the Hebrew language called Sedom; Philo the Jew F23 calls it Sodoma, as in ( Romans 9:29 ) and in the Septuagint on ( Genesis 13:10 ) ( 18:22 ) ( 19:1 ) ( Isaiah 1:9 ) here it is said to be a city, and Josephus F24 always calls it the city of the Sodomites, but in ( Matthew 10:15 ) ( 11:24 ) we read of the land of Sodom; and so Philo
F25 the Jew speaks of (cwra) , the region or country of the Sodomites; here the word is of the plural number, as in ( Matthew 10:15 ) ( Matthew 11:23 Matthew 11:24 ) ( Luke 17:29 ) as it is also in the Septuagint in ( Genesis 10:19 ) ( 13:13 ) ( Genesis 14:2 Genesis 14:8 Genesis 14:10-12 Genesis 14:16 Genesis 14:17 Genesis 14:21 Genesis 14:22 ) and in Philo the Jew F26, and so is Gomorrah in some copies of this, place, as in ( Matthew 10:15 ) . Solinus, the historian, gives an account of these cities, in agreement with this;
``a good way off of Jerusalem (he says F1) is opened a sorrowful gulf, which the black ground, "in cinerem soluta", "reduced to ashes", shows it to be touched by heaven; there were two towns, or cities, the one called Sodom, and the other Gomorrah; where an apple is produced, which, although it has an appearance of ripeness, cannot be eaten; for the outward skin that encompasses it only contains a sort of soot, or embers within, which, ever so lightly squeezed, evaporates into smoke and dust;''and so the author of the book of Wisdom 10:7 speaking of the five cities, on which fire fell, says,
``of whose wickedness, even to this day, the waste land that smoketh is a testimony; and plants bearing fruit, that never come to ripeness.''Philo the Jew F2 says, that
``there are showed to this day in Syria monuments of this unspeakable destruction that happened; as ruins, ashes, sulphur, smoke, and a weak flame, breaking forth as of a fire burning:''condemned [them] with an overthrow;
by this sad "catastrophe" God condemned the sins of those men of Sodom and Gomorrah, and condemned their persons to everlasting damnation; of which their temporal punishment was an emblem and figure; see ( Jude 1:7 ) , the word "overthrow" is generally used when this destruction is spoken of, ( Deuteronomy 29:23 ) ( Isaiah 13:19 ) ( Jeremiah 50:40 ) ( Amos 4:11 ) and therefore retained by the apostle here:
making them ensamples unto those who after should live ungodly;
in the commission of any sins, and be open, bold, and impudent in them, and declare them as they did; and especially that should live in the commission of the same sins, those unnatural lusts and uncleannesses, which to this day go by the name of "sodomy", and "sodomitical" practices; now the punishment of the inhabitants of these cities was an ensample to such wicked conduct, showing what they must expect, and was a representation of those everlasting burnings, which such sinners, as a righteous retaliation for their burning lusts, shall be cast into. The Jews say F3 the same of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah as of the old world;
``the men of Sodom have no part in the world to come, as is said ( Genesis 13:13 ) "but the men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly"; wicked in this world, and sinners in the world to come;''(See Gill on Jude 1:7).
F23 De Temulentia, p. 272.
F24 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 8. sect. 3. c. 11. sect. 3.
F25 De Abrahamo, p. 381.
F26 De Temulentia, p. 272.
F1 Polyhistor. c. 48.
F2 De Vifa Mosis, l. 2. p. 662.
F3 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 3. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 4. fol. 149. 1.