The Madaba Mosaic Map indicates a prominent but unnamed site near the upper-left edge, just above the Jordan River. Various attempts have been made to identify it with Tall Iktanu, Tall Kefrein, Tall Nimrin, Tall Rama, and Khirbet Sweimeh. This article demonstrates that the better candidate for this site is Tall el-Hammam which boasts superior size, perfect location, abundant water, and Early Roman/Byzantine remains.
In this paper I demonstrate that in no instance in the OT does kikkar refer to a geographical-topographical feature other than the southern Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea, and areas contiguous with it.
Zoar is typically located near the southern tip of the Dead Sea. However, a careful analysis of key biblical passages signals that it must be outside the territories of Moab and Edom, which makes the southern Dead Sea location questionable. Zoar is designated as the southern boundary of the Reuben tribal allotment, and, therefore, should be placed somewhere near the Arnon Gorge, north of the Moabite Kingdom boundary.
In this article, S. Collins responds to an article by C.E. Billington published in the Spring 2012 issue of Artifax magazine titled “Tall el-Hammam is Not Sodom.” Billington rejects Collins’ identification of Tall el-Hammam as Sodom because the date of its destruction is too late (between 1750 and 1650 BCE) to conform to Billington’s early placement of Abr(ah)am, ca. 2166-1991 BCE. He also attempts to support a more southern location for Sodom via textual geography. Finally, Billington suggests that Tall el- Hammam is perhaps a ‘western’ Heshbon. Collins refutes these ideas as categorically untenable.
In this article, S. Collins responds to an article by E.H. Merrill published in the Autumn 2012 issue of Artifax magazine titled Texts, Talls, and Old Testament Chronology: Tall el-Hammam as a Case Study.” Merrill rejects Collins identification of Tall el-Hammam as Sodom because the date of its destruction is too late (between 1750 and 1650 BCE) to conform to Merrill s early placement of Abr(ah)am, ca. 2166- 1991 BCE. While Merrill takes a literal, base-10, arithmetic approach to the patriarchal numbers in Gene- sis, Collins suggests that every available line of evidence from ANE archaeology, history, culture, litera- ture, climatology, and socio-economics demonstrates that the patriarchs fit best in the period following 1800 BCE, which also conforms to the terminal MB2 destruction of Hammam/Sodom.
Summary of the problem. The gamut of views concerning the conquest of Ai narrative in the 7th and 8th chapters of the Book of Joshua can be summarized as follows: the narrative is factual, having the weight of eye witness testimony; or, it is an aetiological legend, compiled long after the fact, either just before or during the Babylonian exile for the purpose of justifying Israel’s presence in the land of Canaan; or, it is a pernicious myth, deceptively and skillfully fabricated to correspond with the material time-space context in which it is alleged to have occurred. Is there a method that is capable of objectively arbitrating among these three views?
If Sodom existed, then was destroyed, during the Middle Bronze Age, then something of its architecture can be known by comparing statements from the text with known standard features of typical MBA cities.