The Desertification of Zoar

Zoar was once a lush and thriving city in the southern Jordan Valley in the Levant. Situated at the base of the mountains in Moab, it was known for its lush beauty.

“Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt. Genesis 13:10”

Many Bible scholars date this to approximately 2085 BC.

By the time of Eusebius Pamphili of Caesarea in the 4th century AD–just over two thousand years later–Zoar  has diminished compared to its former glory. He describes its condition in the Onomasticon:

“That is Sigor (Segor), It is now called Zoora (Zoara), the only one [of the five cities] of the territory of Sodom [cursed by Lot] which escaped. It is now inhabited (remains still) in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. A garrison of (Roman) soldiers is (stationed) there (a peculiar people crowd in there.) The Balsam and the date palm in the land surrounding it proves the ancient fertility of the place. [Nothing is wrong because Segor is said to be Zoara, for they are the same word for “very little” or “little.”

Nowadays–again nearly two thousand years later–there is no trace of this former jewel of a city. The region is a desert, and Zoar has been swallowed up by it.

With the benefit of three snapshots, each taken about two thousand years apart, we see Climate Change manifested in the Bible.