Due to its exceptional properties, the Dead Sea is a relevant place on its own right. However, its location and the numerous events that took place around it make it a sort of mystical place. The Bible is one of the elements that contributed to this perception all around the world. It is located close to Jerusalem and other places where the Bible´s stories occurred, and this holly book mentions it several times.
The name of the Sea
Currently, we know this accumulation of water as the Dead Sea. But in the past, it had different names. When the Bible mentions it, it does not do it with this name. Instead, it uses other direct and indirect ways. Sometimes, it talks directly about one Sea with another name and other times mentions it in general ways as a reference to certain areas next to it. Some of the names we can find in the Bible include Sea of Salt, The Sea, Valley of Siddim, Eastern Sea, or Sea of Arabah.
Mentions in the Bible
Like many other biblical studies, there is not an absolute consensus regarding the number of mentions of the Dead Sea. The discussion is around 9 to 16 times. Such inconsistency comes from the variety of direct and indirect mentions. However, some of them are out of discussions and became part of popular culture due to the importance of its mention. Here the most famous mentions:
- Lot´s wife: Lot was the nephew of Abraham and opted to settle down and getting married in Sodom located at the north of the Dead Sea and next to Gomorrah. He became a prosperous man and was even named the major of the city. According to the scriptures, Sodom was a wicked place and God sent two angels to destroy the city. The angels warned Lot and his family to leave Sodom before destroying it but set the condition of not looking back when they were on their way out. Unfortunately, Lot´s wife disobeyed the order and turned her head back. At that moment, she became a statue of salt. Moreover, some interpretations of the Bible and history say that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was the reason why the Dead Sea became hyper-saline and a wasteland.
- Ezekiel prophecy: The prophet Ezekiel predicted a time when he would see the Dead Sea become fresh water with plenty of life. Moreover, the prophet Zechariah repeated the same prophecy later in the Bible.
The Bible also has other mentions of the Dead Sea spread throughout the entire book. Mostly, they are referred to as a source of location. Some of them are the following:
- Deuteronomy 3:17: “the Arabah also, with the Jordan as a border, from Chinnereth even as far as the sea of Arabah, the Salt Sea, at the foot of the Slopes of Pisgah on the east”.
- Genesis 14:3: “All of this latter group of Kings allied together in the Valley of Siddim (that is the Salt Sea)”.
- Joshua 3:16: “The water that flowed south toward the sea in the Arabah (that is the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So, the people crossed opposite Jericho”.
With all the mentions in the Bible, it is clear and confirmed that the Dead Sea has a millenary origin. Moreover, the salt and all the mineral components have been progressively developing and obtaining all its minerals.