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[202] But God was much displeased at their impudent behavior, so that he both smote those men with blindness, and condemned the Sodomites to universal destruction. But Lot, upon God's informing him of the future destruction of the Sodomites, went away, taking with him his wife and daughters, who were two, and still virgins; for those that were betrothed 1 to them were above the thoughts of going, and deemed that Lot's words were trifling. God then cast a thunderbolt upon the city, and set it on fire, with its inhabitants; and laid waste the country with the like burning, as I formerly said when I wrote the Jewish War. 2 But Lot's wife continually turning back to view the city as she went from it, and being too nicely inquisitive what would become of it, although God had forbidden her so to do, was changed into a pillar of salt; 3 for I have seen it, and it remains at this day. Now he and his daughters fled to a certain small place, encompassed with the fire, and settled in it: it is to this day called Zoar, for that is the word which the Hebrews use for a small thing. There it was that he lived a miserable life, on account of his having no company, and his want of provisions.

1 These sons-in-law to Lot, as they are called, Genesis 19:12-14, might be so styled, because they were betrothed to Lot's daughters, though not yet married to them. See the note on Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 13. sect. 1.

2 Of the War, B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 4.

3 This pillar of salt was, we see here, standing in the days of Josephus, and he had seen it. That it was standing then is also attested by Clement of Rome, contemporary with Josephus; as also that it was so in the next century, is attested by Irenaeus, with the addition of an hypothesis, how it came to last so long, with all its members entire.—Whether the account that some modern travelers give be true, that it is still standing, I do not know. Its remote situation, at the most southern point of the Sea of Sodom, in the wild and dangerous deserts of Arabia, makes it exceeding difficult for inquisitive travelers to examine the place; and for common reports of country people, at a distance, they are not very satisfactory. In the mean time, I have no opinion of Le Clerc's dissertation or hypothesis about this question, which can only be determined by eye-witnesses. When Christian princes, so called, lay aside their foolish and unchristian wars and quarrels, and send a body of fit persons to travel over the east, and bring us faithful accounts of all ancient monuments, and procure us copies of all ancient records, at present lost among us, we may hope for full satisfaction in such inquiries; but hardly before.

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