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Updated: 2021.11.03

Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ

Peering Through Original Scribes' Primitive Lenses

Ancient Landscape + Ancient Mindsets

עֵ֖מֶק הַשִּׂדִּ֑ים  הוּא יָ֥ם הַמֶּֽלַח‫׃ 

Yam haMelakh, Eimeq haSidim, Kikar ESA
Click to enlargeYãm ha-MëlꞋakh (aka Lake Asphalt). South Basin (Ki•kãrꞋ in EiꞋmëq ha-Sid•imꞋ and the A•râv•âh). Major occurrences of asphalt and likely vicinities of unidentified Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ. Note that the "5th city" is widely misrepresented [1] in the wrong time period and [2] like the other 4 cities, not tiny & insignificant as per Text. (photo: USGS-ESA)

Before one can achieve clarity picturing the ancient destruction of Sᵊdōm and A•mōr•ãhꞋ from the original Biblical Hebrew into your mind's eye, it's first essential to true the context, understand the scene and ancient characters as they were, rather than as imagined, millennia later, by Dark Ages Europeans.

Click to enlargeAncient cosmology, elaborated in Pã•rãsh•at bᵊReish•itꞋ @ www.netzarim.co.il, Beit Kᵊnes­set (in left panel directory), then click the Seiphër Tōr•âh icon

We must relate to the level of science and military technology during the time of AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ (the Intermediate-1 Bronze Age [IB1], cBCE 1990); primitive by today's standards. (How primitive were they?) Animism, even idolatry, continued to taint and stunt the religion of ancient Israel and their primitive perception of an afterlife far more than today. But how prevalent was animism in IB1? How limited was their concept of an afterlife? In the ancient world, demi-gods were believed to become stars in the heavens ruling everything and everywhere.

Like physicists rewind the development of the universe to calculate early conditions, perceiving the ancients' reality of the world and the heavens requires rewinding our millennia of progress in science, technology and philosophy back to their level. Only in this way can we assess each category of ancient perspective.

Peering back into history to understand what the ancients were trying to communicate, as perceived through their primitive lenses, is further complicated by the routinely self-serving, power-addicted clergies—of all denominations including Orthodox Jews. All of the Abrahamic clerties are typically religiously blind-ignorant, and often uneducated, outside of their own "holy books" and consequent belief world. One would be naïve to think that this hasn't colored all of their translations into all foreign (i.e. non-Hebrew) languages, predetermining their interpretations and translations, all massaged to harmonize with their respective religious belief world. Especially among the most Ultra-Orthodox Jews, this manipulating of interpretations buries millennia of animistic interpretations, straying assimilations and preconceptions (often under the influence of foreign domination). Most "believers" (of all 3 Abrahamic religions) avoid whatever precludes their own clergy. The realist must confront and grapple with all of these realities.

When we look at a native tribe living in an impenetrable jungle we don't accept their sole education in jungle survival as qualifying them as "educated". A fortiori, how totally unjustified to accept clergy as "educated" or having any "superior" knowledge of "God", no matter how learned and degree-decorated they may be exclusively in their own belief-world of animistic, mystical and supernatural "holy books"—which contort Scripture to their clergy's agenda-interpreted translations! This holds equally true whether Muslims, Christians, or Jews (especially Orthodox) relying on translations or their own interpretational books (much moreso for any other religion.

The Ancient Landscape Of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh In bᵊReish•itꞋ 14
Hebrew Language Lost: 135 CE – 19th century CE

Until the 19th century CE, the Hebrew language had been lost since 135 CE—even to nearly all Jews. All but a very few Jews depended on the translations of Europeans who thoroughly fabulized their "Bibles" (translations permeated by misconceived foreign interpretations we see painted by the European "Great Masters"), into impossible, supernatural fairy tales that can only be believed through faith, despite their clear impossibility, i.e. denying reality through faith! Even today, few outside of Orthodox Jews know Scripture. They know well their translations—the agendized interpretations of their particular clergy The world stuporly [sic] remains completely reliant on misconceived, denominationally-agendized translations. Most are reliant on the Medieval European 1611 translation—incorporating interpretations elucidating the miso-Judaic beliefs of the English king (James) who expelled all Jews from his kingdom!!!

For the masses, especially Medieval European artists, perceptions of the destruction of Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ was left entirely to the imagination… of primitive superstitious mystics. These scenes of "the Masters" were idolized up through the 20th century; images that persist among many even today—Bible as fable, not historical record. Today, those boneheaded associations linger even among scientists.

Before Photography & Wireless Communications: Faraway Lands Conflated WIth Mythology

Before photography, and lasting even until Samuel Morse connected the New World to the Old World in the 20th century, Europeans and the New World had never experienced direct contact with the reality of "the Holy Land" (i.e. Yi•sᵊrã•eilꞋ or Yᵊru•shã•laꞋyim). Today, well into the 21st century, the tendency lingers among faux-intellectuals and pseudo-scientists to view "Scripture" as their particular clergy's interpretations, interpreted and illustrated by Medieval believer-fabulist mystics. The scholars who interpreted and translated the Hebrew (& Aramaic) Scriptures thought they were doing humankind a great service. But their clergy-agendized interpretations and translations defiled Scripture into idolatrous supernatural fables for children and the superstitious—in the genre of Cinder-Ella, Beauty & the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jack & the Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty… the Easter Bunny and Santa (Saint) Claus in a sleigh drawn by flying reindeer… or Mohammad on his flying horse (Islamic adoption of the Greek Pegasus)!

As recent as the 20th century CE, people had no direct and live personal connection with life on the far side of the planet. They were limited to horseback, carriage (and more recently train) to their nearest town to personally see and talk with others face to face. Maritime voyages were limited to a few and typically traversed a month or so from an "old reality" to a "new reality". Only the few who made the voyage had personal, live experience of both worlds; and even for them the two realities were separated by a month or so. Newspapers and letters, taking days or longer to deliver, provided only a relatively recent history of a "faraway place"; not a live connection in one's present reality. For most, the other side of the world was like an self-contradictory "true fable". Anything could be fabulized "in a faraway place", like Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin, Rip Van WInkle, Santa Claus—and the "once upon a time in a faraway place" Bible! The distinction between fable and Scripture had dissolved.

20th Century CE: Collision Of Fabulist-Religious Faith With Science

Then an explosion of scientific progress, surpassing anything ever seen in human history, rocked our world. With the inventions of photography and instant wireless communications, Israel was restored from the fable locker of Western & European folk back to the live world—the "real world"!

For the first time in the entire existence of mankind, rulers became constrained in writing "their" history as they determined their subjects should know it. Physical evidence of other accounts emerged; from Egypt with its hieroglyphs to Mesopotamia's cuneiform tablets and Yi•sᵊrã•eilꞋ—with our Hebrew & Aramaic Ta•na"khꞋ of the Yᵊhud•im!

The Book regarded as children's fables by ossified, primarily pre-20th century, degree-decorated, pseudo-intellectuals began to be reevaluated in the light of scientific reality, uninterpreting millennia of the "Abrahamic" clergies' fabulizing "interpretations"; beginning the process of restoring Ta•na"khꞋ back toward real-world events.

While there are rare—and exemplary—individual exceptions, today's 3 "Abrahamic" clergies still remain in those Dark Ages, still fanatically leading "believers" astray into supernatural, reality-denying "faith" cults, who have strayed and lost their Way over the millennia.

Peering Through Fabulized Mists Into The Real World
And The Real Ta•na"khꞋ!

Science applied to archaeological hard evidence and complemented by the weight of corroborating historical documents, by contrast, enables modern sapiens to peer into the real (not fabulized) ancient world; and then relate to the revolutionary philosophy of AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ, Mōsh•ëhꞋ Bën-AmᵊrãmꞋ & Hi•leilꞋ ha-Za•qeinꞋ "the Babylonian" (as well as his Pᵊrūsh•iꞋ protégé, RibꞋi Yᵊhō•shūꞋa) culminating in 1st-century CE YaꞋvᵊn•ëh.


YaꞋvᵊn•ëh stands in stark contrast to today's "Abrahamic" clergy and mystic "believers" in "the supernatural", who remain mired in Dark Ages mindsets. Today's so-called "Abrahamic" clergies deny—displace—the Creator-Existant's natural laws (reality) created by יְהוָׂה—i.e. physics. All clergies displace the Creator-Existant's laws with mortal-posed supernatural—unnatural, natural-contradicting—imaginings (i.e. fantasies & fables)! Even some of the most modern scientists displace the reality of יְהוָׂה with known-faulty models (mathematics). Thus, one must renounce primitive ignorance of displacement (reality-denying "belief"/​"faith" in supernatural delusions) in order to pursue hard-evidence, factual Knowledge—Truth—of the real world—the only perceptible-to-mortals, accurate manifestation of our Creator-Singularity, יְהוָׂה (English: the Existant), Who created the universe His Way; not according to mortals' imaginations.

Tragically, people in a stupor, aware only of the mundane, have remarkable, absolute-denial blinders and momentum to remain in their stupor no matter what. Learn to be a true influencer: expose their ignorance for others to see. Don't be concerned that they don't see their own ignorance. Write and speak not to the trolls; rather, use the opportunity to educate the unseen and silent onlooking (or onreading) audiences. Once you've exposed the errors for others to see, ignore the bleatings of the troll and move on to help others who may, unlike the trolls who distract from useful discussion, profit from your learning. Arguing forever with a troll, or the stupid-by-choice, never profits anyone; it only prevents you from helping others—which may be the troll's mission in life.

Today's Landscape Very Different From The Ancient Landscape Photos since 1964 of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh sinkholes are not the חֵמָ֔ר  (and salt) בֶּֽאֱרֹ֤ת of bᵊ-Reish•itꞋ 14.10

Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh south basin: evaporation pons & sinkholes
Click to enlargeYãm ha-MëlꞋakh south basin, post-1960 CE sinkholes & evapo­ration ponds (Heidi Levine Photojournal­ist)

Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh sinkholes
Click to enlargeYãm ha-MëlꞋakh post-1960 CE sinkholes

First of all, the notion that the fleeing kings of Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ fell (or threw themselves) into asphalt pits is not in the original (Hebrew), which reads only that they "fell" there—insinuating "fell in battle"     among the בֶּֽאֱרֹ֤ת חֵמָ֔ר  asphalt (bitumen) digs (wells). It's imperative not to confuse the ancient asphalt digs (mining), which I will show left no trace, with late 20th century CE sinkhole collapses—along the shores of the South Basin of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh!

Representing the asphalt surface mining of "beached" asphaltbergs like the kind of mines and pits found in Europe reflects the imagineering of intervening non-local interpreter-translators.

In contrast to asphaltbergs that date back to prehistory, "People began noticing sinkholes around the South Basin of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh in the 1970s, but back then they weren’t as common. Only in recent years have they started to spread. Currently, there are over 5500 sinkholes in the Dead Sea, most of them on its western shores and more sinkholes are rapidly forming. If you’re asking yourself “how large are sinkholes?” or “how deep are sinkholes?” you might be surprised to learn the answers. The Dead Sea sinkholes can reach a diameter of 40 meters (131 feet) and go as deep as 25 meters (82 feet). Occasionally, two or more adjacent sinkholes combine to form one huge sinkhole."


When visualizing the בֶּֽאֱרֹ֤ת חֵמָ֔ר  (like the mixture of חֵמָ֔ר  and זָּ֑פֶת with which Yō•khëvꞋëd sealed the wicker basket in which Mōsh•ëhꞋ Bën-AmᵊrãmꞋ floated down the Nile) into which the fleeing kings supposedly leapt in the Biblical account, modern readers are coaxed to superimpose photos of modern Dead Sea sinkholes.

Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh Sidim asphalt (bitumen, Nissenbaum 2004 Fig. 2)
Click to enlargeYãm ha-MëlꞋakh: (a) Asphalt from seeped asphaltberg; (b) Non-asphalt sediment from black mud looking & smelling like asphalt; (c) sinking through carbonate crust into black mud; (d) asphaltbergs of asphalt that have seeped from bottom & floated to shore.

Abstract Asphalt was found in the excavations of Tel Arad and Small Tel Malhata in the Northern Negev, Israel, in levels dated as Early Bronze I and II.

“Detailed chemical analysis indicates that this material, used as a glue on various utensils, resembles natural occurrences of asphalt blocks which are occasionally found floating on the Dead Sea. Although the historical records of 2000 years ago indicate that Dead Sea asphalt has been an important trade item of the region, this is the first evidence that Dead Sea material can be found outside its source area. It also indicates that the export of Dead Sea asphalt had begun at least 3000 years before the earliest historical record by Diodorus of Sicily (ca. 50 [CE]).

“Discussion The use of asphalt in this region dates back to [BCE] 7000. Recently, Venkatesan et al. (16) reported a goblet with asphalt, dated to [BCE] 1700 …

“As the historical evidence indicates, asphalt from the Dead Sea was a major economical asset of the Dead Sea region. …

“Although in addition to the floating blocks, seepages of asphalts are known on land along the shore of the Dead Sea, this source can be ruled out. Amit and Bein(17) and Nissenbaum and Goldberg (18) showed that surface, or near surface, occurrences are highly biodegraded and can be easily differentiated from the floating blocks. In addition, we have found in the excavations lumps of pure asphalt, without any mixture of mineral matter, of a size which today cannot be found anywhere but in the floating blocks.

“Thus, although historical evidence dates the export of asphalt from the Dead Sea to the 1st century [CE], the archeological and geochemical evidence indicates that this export began at least three thousand years earlier.”

Lake Asphalt

In Biblical times, Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh was known to non-Jews as "Lake Asphalt" (in Hellenist Greek & Roman Latin).

Yō•khëvꞋëd, (mother of Mōsh•ëhꞋ Bën-AmᵊrãmꞋ) when she waterproofed the wicker basket in which she released her infant son into the Nile, applied both חֵמָ֔ר  (almost certainly caravanned from Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh) and kōphꞋër. Even earlier, NōꞋakh used kōphꞋër to waterproof his houseboat-barge.)

In the Hellenist era, foreigners called Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh "λίμνη γέγονεν Ἀσφαλτῖτις"; i.e. Λίμνη Ἀσφαλτῖτις. Later, the Romans called it "Palus Asphaltites" (Latin "Lake Asphalt"). Ἰώσηπος mentions the salty taste of its water, the impossibility of diving in it, its change of color, and the great floating asphaltbergs, which were used for calking ships and for medicinal treatments. Similar descriptions are given by Pliny  & Tacitus  

Abstract—The Dead Sea area has been associated with bitumen (= asphalt) for thousands of years. For this reason, it has commonly been taken for granted that pits of bitumen existed in the Dead Sea area, and into which the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell after losing a battle in the vale of Siddim in the Dead Sea region (Genesis, 14:10). However, physical evidence for the existence of such pits is practically non-existent. At times when the Dead Sea water level is low, as it is nowadays, large expanses of black mud covered with a carbonate crust are exposed along the coast of the lake. The black mud resembles asphalt in its shiny black color and sulfurous smell. It has been sometimes assumed that the mud contains asphalt, although this is not the case, and the color and smell are due to poorly crystallized iron surfides. The solid looking carbonate veneer is quite frail and it is easy to sink through it into the underlying black mud. Thus, the biblical description may be of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fleeing through the mud flats when the lake level was low, and sinking into the black sulfurous mud.” 

“Asphalt from the Dead Sea has been of major economic importance to the region and was used as a medication for 2000 years until the mid-20th century. Geochemical analysis of the Black Mud showed that it contains relatively little organic matter (ca. 0.6–0.8% organic carbon) and that the organic matter is mostly derived from the land masses surrounding the lake. Asphalt was totally absent and the concentration of humic acids very low. … The black color of the mud is due to the presence of poorly crystallized inorganic iron monosulfide in organic-poor sediment.”   Also, the black mud reeks slightly of hydrogen sulfide which resembles somewhat the smell of the sulfur-rich asphalt.

Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh asphalt asphaltberg
Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh — asphaltbergs seep from the bottom of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh. Like a giant lava lamp, the bouyant asphaltbergs—some "up to several hundred cubic meters" and as large as several tons—then float to the surface and drift to shore.

"The thin veneer of carbonates and gypsum on the mud flats can give the impression of a robust and strong cover, sufficient to support the weight of a human body. This, however, is quite illusionary and when walking over the crust, it is easy to sink into the black mud to a considerable depth…"

If that had confused you and virtually all non-experts, then it shouldn't be surprising to think that ancient peoples, outside of the secretive asphalt (bitumenous) producers themselves, were similarly confused!

"Natural Bitumen … [is] formed due to various natural phenomena. One of these phenomena is called seduction. The movement of the earth’s plates on top of each other has caused faults that pave the way for exiting crude oil along with sand, etc. to the earth’s surface. The material that reaches the surface, under the influence of years of evaporation, becomes natural bitu­men." 


בֶּֽאֱרֹ֤ת is the correct term where English translations describe the destruction of Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ (bᵊ-Reish•itꞋ 14.10) translate as "pits".

Practically all of the sinkholes along the shores of the South Basin of the ancient "Asphalt Lake", i.e. Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh, have occurred since 1980, the result of a couple of decades of gradual formings of underground caverns that resulted from human diversion of water from Nᵊhar Ya•rᵊd•einꞋ beginning in 1964! Photos of sinkholes since that time now mislead casual observers to mistake the sinkholes for ancient בֶּֽאֱרֹ֤ת חֵמָ֔ר.

"The diversion of freshwater from the Jordan River since the 1964, by both Jordan and Israel (and since 2011 by Syria), has reduced the flow of water into the Dead Sea so that the volume of water evaporated is now greater than the volume of water input. … … [S]alt dissolution [is a] major process that controls sinkhole formation. Dissolution of a salt layer [especially a salt dome] as a result of water level recession is shown to be a plausible mechanism to explain the fast creation of sinkholes at the western shore of the Dead Sea over the past 30 years. The recession of the Dead Sea level causes a recession in the groundwater level and in the fresh/saline water interface. The Dead Sea rines are flushed with freshwater that dissolves salt layers [domes] and creates sinkholes."

Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh Water Level in bᵊReish•itꞋ 14

Dead Sea Levels cBCE 1990
Click to enlargeDead Sea Levels cBCE 1990

"During the Early Bronze, Intermediate Bronze, Middle Bronze, and Late Bronze Ages, the Dead Sea saw significant level fluctuations, reaching in the Middle Bronze an elevation of ~370 m below mean sea level (bmsl), and declining in the Late Bronze to below 414 m bmsl. At the end of the Late Bronze Age and upon the transition to the Iron Age, the lake recovered slightly and rose to ~408 m bmsl."

Note particularly in the graph that the topographical sill separating the north and south basins is ~402-403 mbmsl.

Having only a single source and no outlet, Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh is a "terminal trap". Thus, millennia BP (before pumping), when the lake's water level dropped below the topographical sill separating the north and south basins of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh, only the north basin received water from Nᵊhar Ya•rᵊd•ein. Deprived of its water source, the South Basin then dried up—which would have exposed any asphalt seepage as growing asphalt blobs amidst the dry "land" (carbonate crust, underlain with black, non-asphalt, mud). Scientists have determined that this was the case in the Early & Intermediate Bronze (EB & IB) Ages—when the destruction of Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ occurred (bᵊReish•itꞋ 14).

Note also that the South Basin has dried-up 3 times in the ancient past as well as in the modern time. Though it is now underwater again due entirely to pumps supplying water from the north basin, the South Basin lakebed has been exposed, including in our modern time. Archaeologists and scientists have looked for EB or IB ruins in the area without success. A priori, neither Sᵊdōm nor A•mōr•ãhꞋ are there and merely hidden underwater.

What Type Of Asphalt Mining "Pits" Should We Look For In Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh?

Asphalt La-Brea pit lake, Trinidad
Click to enlargePhoto A. Large floating asphaltbergs in fresh­water La-Brea Pit, Lake Trinidad. Like ice­bergs, asphaltbergs loom mostly under the lake surface.

During the lifetime of AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ (cBCE 2039–1950 in IB1), the South Basin of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh was entirely a dry lakebed.

The shore of IB1 Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh must have been similar to today's shore: carbonate crust on top of black mud. The major difference one would have noticed is that, after the South Basin had been underwater for millennia, the prevailing winds would have pushed the floating asphaltbergs to one side of the basin, crowding that shore. When the South Basin dried up—voila! An enormous crowd of asphaltbergs beached on one shore of the dry lakebed.

Due to the constancy of the earth's rotation and consequent consistent centrifugal force, the prevailing winds in the eastern Mediterranean have always been from NW to SE. One should then expect that when the South Basin dried up, the asphaltbergs became beached, asphalt mountains left high and dry on the exposed lake bed of the SE side of the South Basin. And, indeed, this is where we find the archaeological evidence of IB1 cities thought to have been built on the asphalt trade—including Sᵊdōm and A•mōr•ãhꞋ!

Asphalt La Brea Lake Pit, Trinidad
Click to enlargePhoto B. Asphaltbergs floating on lake surface crowd out water's surface. More like what ancient Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh was like before mining outpaced seep­age. Asphaltbergs are bouyant enough, even in freshwater, and firm enough in ordinary temperatures to support one's weight—as long as one keeps moving (doesn't slowly sink into sun-warmed soft asphalt)—and doesn't step off of an asphaltberg into the water. (La Brea Lake Pit, Trinidad; geoexpro, Tim Daley)

Searching today for ancient (IB1) archaeological evidence of asphalt "pits" mining, one determinant of the type of excavating to look for is appropriateness to the type of natural asphalt being mined. Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh asphalt was an "oil sands" natural asphalt—seeping up from a lakebed and floating in a lake; a hypersaline version of La Brea Pit Lake in Trinidad.

Describing one of the crowd of asphaltbergs clogging freshwater Lake Trinidad, “…It is like soft tar. Indeed, it is soft tar. But it does not move or rebound and nor does it clag to your shoes. There is no particular odor; nor does it flow except in a few places where the surface skin is split, causing the gentle exuding of a rich black fudge. None can resist poking and probing at the wound and pulling the tar into extended tendrils of thick, viscous grease. There is a network of fissures that are mostly filled with water, and I am surprised to see the water is clear, with no slick, revealing schools of small fish suspended among a desultory fizz of bubbles."

Mining beached asphaltbergs in the dry lakebed of the South Basin of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh, however, didn't require digging "pits", wells or mines—not even a strip mine. Workers simply walked over with an axe and broke up asphalt blocks from beached asphaltbergs. When an asphaltberg was used up, nothing but a slight indentation on the beach where it had rested was left. No trace of "mining", digging or "pits" for archaeologists to find. Probably sometime in the Intermediate to Late Bronze Age, production began to outpace seepage. Sometime in the CE Middle Ages, seepage was all that remained—the case today.

Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh: large floating bitumen mass *Oron et al., 1969)
Click to enlargePhoto C. Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh large asphaltberg floating. Not how much higher above the water surface these asphaltbergs float in the hyper­saline water of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh.

Although "this raw material highly resembles asphaltite (in some papers it is even counted as one of the asphaltites)", oil sands natural asphalt is technically distinct from natural asphaltite. But this was not the major factor determining the type of mining at Intermediate Bronze Age "Lake Asphalt".

What happened to the asphalt "pits" (one lake, countless asphaltbergs) in Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh is almost certainly what is predicted to happen to La Brea Lake in Trinidad about 400 years from now if production isn't reduced—production rate exceeding seepage rate will exhaust the asphaltbergs in the lake, except for the periodic seepage of an asphaltberg floating to the surface. Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh in the Early & Intermediate Bronze ages, before being mined out in the CE Middle Ages, must have been very much like a hypersaline version of today's La Brea Lake in Trinidad. Except that Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh is hypersaline and the South Basin had dried up. Though the South Basin periodically refilled and drained dry, it most recently became dry again. It would have remained dry today except that industrial companies pump hypersaline water from the North Basin into evaporation ponds built in the South Basin to glean precious chemicals.

Any faint depressions left by chopping up asphaltbergs resting where they had been beached, and exposed by the drying-up of the south basin, would leave no discernible evidence of being broken up—"mined"—sold and carted away. By contrast, we know that asphalt seepage occurred, and still occurs. Ergo, they were there and they were chopped up with axes and sold to international caravan merchants throughout the ancient Middle East. No one should be surprised that there's no evidence of asphalt mining on the SE shore of the South Basin of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh.

“In the Middle Ages, two writers do mention asphalt pits in the Dead Sea area. Burchard of Mt Sion, a Dominican pilgrim to the Holy Land, who spent 10 years there between 1275 and 1285. Burchard is considered to be a careful observer of the geography, flora and fauna of the region. He wrote that there are many slime pits on the shore of the lake. There is always a pyramid built beside each pit, which he saw with his own eyes (BURCHARD OF MT SION, 1895-1896). It is not clear what the purpose of the pyramids were and neither is a description of the slime pits given. Another Dominican pilgrim to the holy land, Brother Felix Fabri who visited the holy land twice in 1480 and 1483, and who is considered a somewhat less reliable source, also writes that there are wells of bitumen along the Dead Sea shore. The bitumen is dug and sold to make an "exceedingly strong cement for walls" (FABRI, 1893). He also says near those wells, strong pyramids have been built.”

The "(strong) pyramids" may refer to conical mountains of asphalt blocks chopped from the giant asphaltbergs with axes, awaiting sale and loading onto caravan animals. Or perhaps excavated blocks were stored stacked, safely, in the shape of pyramids to display the asphalt, ready for visiting caravan merchants to load.

Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh Chemicals

"The minerals that can be found in the Dead Sea water are magnesium, sodium, … and potassium; … Prominent minerals of the Dead Sea mud are … magnesium oxide, … sulfur trioxide, phosphorous pentoxide, …"


Often translated "brimstone" in translations, roughly a millennium after the battles of Sᵊdōm and A•mōr•ãhꞋ, in the Iron Age (cBCE 937), Eil•i•yãhꞋū ha-Nã•viꞋ used sulfur, along with other chemicals found naturally at Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh, to defeat the priests of BaꞋal.


If you read the original language, you find that all of the confusion has been infused by interpreter-translators.

(Full disclosure: anal sex is prohibited between men by wa-Yi•qᵊr•ãꞋ 18.22 & 20.13. This unambigous prohibition of Tōr•âh doesn't need reinforcement in the account of the destruction of Sᵊdōm (nor anywhere else); nor is it relevant to the destruction of Sᵊdōm. Such insinuation has been baselessly interpreted into the story of the destruction of Sᵊdōm by overzealous clergies whereas Scripture clarifies to the contrary, that the kheit, and ã•wōnꞋ, of Sᵊdōm was gã•ōnꞋ (Yᵊkhë•zᵊq•eilꞋ 16.49).

On the eve of the attack on Sᵊdōm, the mᵊlãkh•imꞋ from Iran-Iraq sent two of their Special Ops "ma•lᵊãkh•imꞋ" to extricate Lōt and his family. The townspeople were clearly suspicious of two foreigners visiting a resident foreigner (Lōt) with an enemy army camped menacingly outside of town, threatening to attack. Read logically (pragmatically), in the evening darkness (millennia before electric, or even gas, streetlights), men carrying torches, being frightened for their lives by the enemy army bivouacking outside the town, worried that enemy had even infiltrated spies into their town (which, indeed, was the case), confronted Lōt to question the two foreigners about their business and intentions in Sᵊdōm. Lōt's cowardly offer to trade his two daughters to be gangbanged by all the men in the city in return for his and his rescuers' safety speaks only to Lōt's incomprehensibly despicable and disgraceful disregard for his own daughters—not shared by the two ma•lᵊãkh•imꞋ who were under orders to extricate the family to placate AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ and keep him out of the war.

Kings and nations go to war over taxes, treasure, economics and power; never over who's having sex with whom, or how. For those willing to read rather than interject, Scripture already told the reader that these cities had rebelled against the kings of Iran-Iraq who otherwise ruled the region. The crux of the war was the enormous treasure of cornering the international market on asphalt, not the sexual activities of the population.

The importance of this is that the ma•lᵊãkh•imꞋ repulsed the townspeople (bᵊReish•itꞋ 19.11) by "bedazzling" them in the torch-lit darkness of the night street. One of the prominent chemicals around Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh is magnesium, which has an ignition temperature of only "800°F [425°C] to 1300°F [700°C] … Some will remember the magnesium powder used by photographers years ago. This was easily ignited with a mere spark and burned almost with explosive violence … [after which it] burn[s] at 3,100 °C (5,610 °F)." Photographers seem to have adopted it from magicians (who used it bedazzle in order to simulate disappearance). Many ancient peoples had also seen limestone temples burn, as well as various minerals from "Asphalt Lake". Oil-burning torches and lamps, burning at 1500°K (1225°C, 2240°F), far above the ignition point of magnesium, would easily have ignited powdered magnesium to bedazzle the townspeople and render them temporarily blind—long enough to bug-out.

The usage of magnesium powder suggests two other implications: (1) ancient chemists, experimenting with Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh chemicals by oil-lamp, could easily have discovered, by accident, how dazzling magnesium burns. IB1 chemistry technology seems to have been somewhat more advanced than historians assumed just as military artillery technology has recently been proven to be significantly more advanced than historians have credited; and (2) Burning magnesium powder would eliminate the stilts upon which the asteroid hypothesis depends (see appropriate section below).

Phosphorous Pentoxide

"Rub the head of [a] match stick against the side of the match box, the red phosphorus on the box will peel off and stick to the head of the match. When this red phosphorus burns due to the frictional heat generated by friction, the sulfur on the head of the match will also burn, so it ignites with a flutter.

"The temperature at which objects burn vary. The temperature at which it starts to burn is called the "fire point". The burning point of paper is 450℃, and that of wood is about 400 to 470℃.

"The red phosphorus used in … matches has a very low ignition point, only about 260 degrees [C]. The temperature generated during friction is sufficient to burn red phosphorus. Although the temperature at the beginning of the burning is very low, the temperature of the match is as high as 2500℃ within the instant after it is lit!

"In summary, … matches will ignite spontaneously when they reach a temperature of 260℃."

Phosphorous pentoxide—"Reacts violently with water to evolve heat." It is a fire hazard. "8.1.4 Fire Hazards
"Reacts violently with water to evolve heat. Flammable poisonous gases may accumulate … Phosphorus pentoxide reacts violently with the following: ammonia, hydrofluoric acid, oxygen difluoride, potassium, sodium, propargyl alcohol, calcium oxide, sodium hydroxide and chlorine trifluoride."

Asphalt (Bitumen)

One flashpoint of (treated?) asphalt/​bitumen: >200°C c.c. (closed cup) Petroleum companies appear to only give this info for asphalt that they've treated to elevate the flash-point >200°C for safety. But I also saw that unspecified asphalts exist with flash points <79°C. For a wood campfire, Ember temperatures have been measured between 750 – 1070 °C with a mean of 930 °C.

"[T]he flash point of architectural asphalt is normally about 230"C" It would seem that lighting some samples of natural asphalt (e.g., from a torch or wood ember) would be easier than lighting a modern match.

"The minimum reported value for the flash point of dark crude sulphur is 168°C (335°F)." For comparison, "The temperature of a burning match is 600 to 800 degrees Celsius. The temperature of a burning candle is 600 to 1,400 degrees Celsius." 

asphalt / bitumen "High sulphur content" flammable

High-sulphur asphalt likely ignites at a lower temperature. If the case is made for catapult technology c. BCE 2000, then making a ballista-sized ball of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh asphalt, setting it alight from a burning ember and launching it into the sky onto a target as "fireballs out of the heavens" becomes pedestrian.

Ancient Mindsets Of Narrator & Scribes
Ancient Religion — Idolatry (Totemism & Animism)

In the ancient world, animism, the engine of idolatry, was universal. Everything was perceived in animist terms. Like all "supernatural" "miracles" in Ta•na"khꞋ, the description of "fire and brinstone raining from the heavens" was the description of a real event as witnessed through ancient—animist—eyes.

While the English lexicon of modern anthropology derives "totemism" from the Anishinaabe (Chipewa) Native North-Americans, totemism, along with animism, was a key element comprising ancient idolatry. "Totemism [is a] system of belief in which humans are said to have kinship or a mystical relationship with a spirit-being, such as an animal or plant [and even inanimate objects; e.g., a holy a•shᵊr•ãh, temple, carving, sculpture, painting or mountain]. The entity, or totem, is thought to interact with a given kin group or an individual and to serve as their emblem or symbol. The term totemism has been used to characterize a cluster of traits in the religion and in the social organization of many peoples." (

In the ancient world, the engine of totemism was animism. Together they comprise idolatry. Animism is the "attribut[ion of] sentience to other beings that may include persons, animals, plants, spirits, [and even] the environment…" (divine souls/​spirits in lightning bolts, thunder, idols & scary mountains).

AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ Revolutionizes Philosophy

Forsaking the khâ•lâv-meme of his mother-meme's totemic and animistic idolatry, AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ, realized that the universe couldn't have been self-created. That realization precluded the notion, universal in the ancient world, that the world was the product of a group (pantheon) of gods. (If some gods were descendants of other gods , then what explains the ultimate father-god?) Thus, AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ took the first major step away from idolatry to a Creator-Singularity, יְהוָׂה—the Existant!

Yet, unrecognized remnants of animism persisted, primarily in the form of a "holy" temple housing a spirit-sentience, served by "holy" priests, officiating over "holy" sacrifices involving animism (transferrence of persisting perceptions of sin sentiences via animal sentiences and smoke sentiences).

Mōsh•ëhꞋ Bën-AmᵊrãmꞋ refined this new monotheism by limiting the priesthood (to temporal documented genealogy), the sacrifices (within a one and only temporal structure) and the temple (which is temporal and must contain the one and only temporal A•rōn ha-Bᵊrit, etc.). These were unalterable constraints that were known to be temporal; ensuring that the animism would die out and Yi•sᵊrã•eilꞋ would be weaned from idolatry.

The Nᵊviy•imꞋ

The Nᵊviy•imꞋ and scribes who documented and preserved Scripture for us were the scientists of their day. Many of the works of Eil•i•yãhu ha-Nã•vi can only be understood in terms of chemistry, understanding weather patterns and the like—complemented by subsequent scribes' inability to understand, compounded by their lack of scientific lexicon. Fortunately for modern civilization, it seems that, early on, they realized: you don't need to understand it, it doesn't even have to make sense to you; just be competent at your job and transcribe it without changing anything. Today, we can discuss it, as we are in this article, but, for the same reason, we still cannot change it—and translating it is an enormous and drastic change.

While the superficial, and arrogant, European view of humanities, history and archaeology have functioned as an anchor hampering scientific progress, recent reorientation to a combined and cooperating set of science disciplines, analyzing civilization's development, is clarifying our view of our past and the development of human civilization. Our insights into the periods and stages of development are continually improving.

Medieval European Fabulizations

From Michelangelo's anthropomorphic (animist, idolatrous) "Creation of Adam" painting, Dante's Inferno, depictions of Christian saints and Mohammad's Pegasus-horse to the anthropomorphic "Arm of god" and a giant frog in the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Ha•gãd•ãhꞋ, the European Superstitiati, posing as "Masters", have defiled gentile interpretations, ultimately producing translations that have molded gentile public perceptions of Scripture. Thus, what AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ, Mōsh•ëhꞋ Bën-AmᵊrãmꞋ, Hi•leilꞋ ha-Za•qeinꞋ, "the Babylonian" and RibꞋi Yᵊhō•shūꞋa refined, the displacement mythologies of Christianity and Islam reversed.

As a result, descriptions from ancient witnesses, perceived through animistic eyes, are couched in animist terms: e.g., summer solstice ("sun-still") became the supernatural miracle "sun stood still"! All of the "miracles" the Scripture are natural events that exceeded ancient understanding and, therefore, description. Ancient wItnesses were unable to describe reality incomprehensible to them. They lacked any lexicon even if they had understood scientifically.

These ancient misperceptions and misdescriptions were further distorted and exaggerated by institutional cult-clergies from Medieval Europeans and perpetuated by evangelists, preachers, pastors, Divinity PhDs & Professors; churning out fodder for the eventual and ultimate ignorance of Catholic blatant idolatry and the Charismatic Movement Gifts of the (animist) "Spirit". Make no mistake: the Christian "Spirit" is an idolatrous contradiction of Ta•na"khꞋ!

(Idolatry In Today's World & "Abrahamic" Religions)

Modern people like to dismiss ancient idolatry merely as a foolish worship of stones and wood. But ancient idolatry is merely the expression of the same totemism and animism—idolatry—that still lurks unrecognized within most modern people! Are synagogues, churches, mosques or temples "holy"? Or simply the study and prayer that takes place there? Does institutional religious certificate or garb (e.g., ta•litꞋ, tᵊphil•inꞋ, prayer rug) make a rabbi, priest, pastor, evangelist or Imam or any other person holy (sanctify)? Are you ok to treat a crucifix like any other stick? "Holy" paintings, books or mountain like any rag or cesspool? Monuments? Cemeteries? Graves (e.g., of Biblical ancestors or "saints"—the Christian demigod, and Islamic Mohammed & Pegasus)? The Russian bear, mascots of sports teams & schools, etc. What about the emblems of each of the 12 Shi•vᵊt•eiꞋ Yi•sᵊr•ã•eil? This is only a partial list to start the process of ridding oneself of idolatry. These things are "out there". But you can regard them as merely rallying or unifying emblems while being careful to think of them neither totemically nor animistically.

"Historians" Leashed To Simplistic-Animist Interpretations Represent Ta•na"khꞋ As Fable

There are numerous passages that "traditional" religious-clergy historians have tenaciously interpreted animistically (e.g., "the Lord spoke to…"), embedded in the Biblical account that has come down to us from ancient times. "The Lord rained…" likely derived from this same genre of "interpretations and translations" by intervening animist interpreters and translators, who don't rely directly on the original Hebrew and Aramaic—principally Europeans. The account of this battle names no eyewitness other than Lōt and the conquering kings from Iran-Iraq to transcribe this description (or dictate it to a scribe). It appears that the kings would have been back in touch with AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ to confirm with him that Lōt had been rescued. Thus, the account likely originated directly from these kings from Iran-Iraq who had pressed the war and destroyed Sᵊdōm and A•mōr•ãhꞋ, narrated to AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ; and perhaps subsequently confirmed and further elaborated to him by Lōt. But it seems likely that AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ (if, perhaps, not Lōt) would have eschewed the animist interpretation while crediting the Ultimate Power at work, יְהוָׂה. Thus, both the author of the Ta•na"khꞋ description (i.e. AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ) and early Yi•sᵊrã•eilꞋ, likely understood this passage as crediting "יְהוָׂה as the Ultimate Power Who enabled" (fire & brimstone to rain down on Sᵊdōm and A•mōr•ãhꞋ).

History: Ancient Science & Military Technology

Written history didn't exist until the Egyptian hieroglyphs, followed quickly by Sumerian cuneiform, during the twilight of the Neolithic Age and the dawn of the Bronze Age (cBCE 3300). There was no previous record other than oral recountings by different peoples; perhaps in early memorization drills or simply legends told over campfires. There was no demonstrable distinction between history, tall-tales of bygone heros and outright fables.

Only the written records of the conquerors have survived as "history", embedding their agendas, especially their particular religious agendas of "Divine Chosenness" and "Divine Right to Rule"—claimed by every monarch and despot over the conquered and ruled.

As written alphabets evolved, European conquerors were unable (and initially uninterested) to read earlier—hieroglyphic and cuneiform—histories of Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Levant. European (and offspring Western) history thus assumed the right to begin modern civilization—history—with Europeans (i.e. Hellenists Greeks). Ergo, before the Greeks, "history" assumed there were only dinosaurs, club-carrying cavemen (who developed into Egyptians with their bows & arrows, carts and chariots), and supernatural mysteries of god(s) (e.g., pyramids, Floods, Atlantis, Bible stories). The modern written "historical" record was interpreted and transcribed by European institutional clergy—under the thumb of the ruler, with the top priority of maintaining their respective "Divine Right" to rule. Ergo, there could be no war machines like ballistas or catapults in the time of AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ (c. BCE 1990) because (Roll eyes) such technology didn't exist until the Greeks invented them cBCE 400!

Until recently, artillery weapons were assumed, based on assertions of European historians, not to have developed beyond the bow and arrow until, in the space of only a couple of centuries, (European) Greeks developed and deployed working ballistæ and catapults cBCE 400—8 centuries after the (cBCE 1990) battles at Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ.

However, this primitive view of history has recently taken a fatal hit—as Japanese researchers have informed us that the bow and arrow developed 20,000 years ago. The assumption that there was no advancements in the technology, i.e. no ballistas or catapults, until the Greeks invented them is no longer viable. The domino that Hebrew history is fable because catapults couldn't have existed in the pre-Greek Biblical era also falls! It's increasingly apparent that there was never any basis for denying that ballista-catapults launched rained burning balls of high-sulfur asphalt down upon Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ.

The most ancient artillery weapon (after the lance) were the first “mechanically delivered projectile weapons”—beyond hand-to-hand, knife & club combat; i.e. the earliest artillery: the sling and the bow & arrow. Obvious stages of development not happening for nearly 20,000 years doesn't square with historians' account—for good reason. Historians had collapsed 20,000 years of development from the bow & arrow to the ballista into 2-3 centuries prior to the Greeks, who, historians insisted contrary to Biblical evidence, invented the ballista, catapult and other military engines of war.

Obvious Development: Longbow To ???

Until recently, historians assumed that the bow & arrow in Biblical times was invented only a few centuries before the Greeks improved on it in the BCE 5th century. However, this assumed bubble was burst in 2019 when the bow & arrow was found to date back to the age of the Human-Neanderthal encounter. “A team of Japanese and Italian researchers, including from Tohoku University, have evidenced mechanically delivered projectile weapons in Europe dating to 45,000-40,000 years [BTP; i.e. BCE 43,000–38,000] — more than 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.”

A fortiori, new research of a cuneiform numbers table on an ancient Babylonian clay tablet shows that Babylonians were far more advanced than thought, knowing trigonometry (e.g., for calculating trajectories) a millennium before the Greeks, who were previously thought to have invented it.

With the Greek bubble burst, development from the bow & arrow to the ballista must be revisited—this time subject to the discipline of discrete logic. There's missing pieces in the historians' account of the development process from bow & arrow to the ballista. Historians have provided no stages of development from the bow & arrow to the crossbow. Just "Poof!", for eons, cavemen carried a club or bow and arrow and then, one day, Greeks invented the crossbow, beginning the ballista-catapult era; until that bubble burst only a few months ago. This suggests that development of the crossbow required practically 19,000 years—then progress from crossbow to the ballista was simple and quick. That's exactly backward.

Evolution Of The Bow To Super Bows

Beginning with the bow and arrow, development of better bows and arrows would have likely have spanned the largest fraction of that 20,000 years. Improving woods, grips, design; don't even think about the ballistics of arrows. Ultimately, refinement would naturally lead to a longbow—with its resulting design refinements, etc. A toxophilite could compile a lengthy, challenging and time-consuming list of necessary experimentation, refinement and inventions along the way. Still, would that take more than, say, even several centuries? And no one seems to have explained how the horizontal crossbow proceeded in any natural progression from an upright longbow. Arguing that this had to take up almost the entire 20,000 years of development until the Greeks achieved all of the development, collapsed into a mere few decades isn't plausible. While development has breakthroughs with periodic bursts of progress, in the long term it is generally a continuous and understandable process, building or improving on preceding states.

When taking the Japanese findings into account, archaeologists should be better able estimate the development times

Bows first developed into the longbow. However, this reached a point in development in which bows became too much for the average soldier to pull.

The next likely development was some enterprising warrior sitting down, holding the bow with his feet and pulling the string and arrow with both hands. This enable the average soldier to upgrade to a super longbow (longbow+, longbow 2.0).

Working back from the recent time corroborates this. One can see that the ballista is just a big, winch-assisted crossbow mounted on a platform and given wheels. The crossbow, in turn, is merely a super longbow rotated 90° with a grooved slide to assist drawing the bow and guiding the bolt. But no one has offered a natural progression to explain how the first longbow became rotated 90° with no precedent or reason. WIthout that 90° rotation it wouldn't have become mounted on a platform. Becoming able to produce bows too powerful for most soldiers to handle in an upright position, suggests adapting to shooting the bow from a supine position, requiring the 90° rotation—filling that gap.

When the first superbow was shot from the supine position, as the arrow left, the bow would have jumped, out of control. This would have been easily solved with some kind of rope stirrup. But a bigger problem would have been the super-powerful bowstring catching the forelegs and knees of an archer—leading to a major innovation with implications.

It's a certainty that somebody, discontent at repeatedly skinning the anterior thighs and knees of his legs, would have secured a plank under the bow, between his legs and the bowstring, to protect his legs from the bowsting [sic]. Similarly, tying stirrups onto the bow for his feet would have been a no-brainer. He and his fellow warriors would have quickly realized that the protective plank worked best when aligned with the bow's arrow plate, that it increased control and resulting accuracy, and that it performed better with the incorporation of a groove to cradle and guide the arrow (or bolt) in the proper position for aiming. Eureka! A relatively quick chain of fixes became a crossbow complete with attached slide—the first proto-ballista!

Someone with experience in snares would have seen the usefulness of a trigger mechanism.

Together, all of these would have led directly to an Οξυβόλος , proto-ballista type of artillery; negating any need or added development time for a γαστραφέτης  branch preceding the development of a full-blown ballista. It isn't reasonable to think that the remaining development to a small proto-ballista required the brunt of that 20,000 years until the Greeks arrived to develop it.

It was then a short step from the bolt-ballista (launching lance-like arrow-bolts) to the sling-ballista (launching large stones, etc.). It couldn't have been very long before some enterprising warrior or artillery (archery) commander realized that, just as the ballista extended the range of its bolt beyond that of an arrow, by changing-out the bow-rope of a ballista to a bow-rope fitted with a sling-pouch, the range and size of stones—and other missiles (disease-carrying animal carcasses, etc.)—could also be extended well beyond the hand sling—the simple ballista catapult!

All of this, historians tell us (after being corrected that the bow & arrow is 20 millenia older than historians had thought) can't be squared with 20 millennia of no progress or innovation whatsoever until the Greeks came along, 19+ millennia later; and they invented all of these! That defies imagination!

Assuming that, because the record is unclear or silent, that no progress was made for nearly 15–20k years until super-genius Greeks appeared and changed the world overnight is just silliness. More than a few arts academics have a penchant for assuming the logical fallacy that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Finding evidence is much more difficult, and chancy, than assuming absence. The earliest known example of a longbow was found in 1991 in the Ötztal Alps with a natural mummy known as Ötzi. His bow was made from yew and was 1.82 meters (72 in) long; the body has been dated to around [BCE] 3,300! While this establishes the current terminus ante quem, we cannot tell from this how much earlier the longbow may have been in use.

Yet, archaeologists have found no supine-fired super longbows. Why? For the same reason that archaeologists can't find ancient asphalt pits: they're looking for the wrong thing.

Ancient super-longbows are in evidence—mounted in crossbows! They wouldn't have been simply discarded to be found by archaeologists. Too much bow for the average archer, they would have mounted them into crossbows.

Nor could it have required 20,000 years to realize that fixing the crossbow to a stand not only steadied it for better accuracy, now the string could be pulled back with a winch—and ever stronger bows became useful.

Putting wheels on it likely required about 5 seconds of contemplation by a military commander.

This improved perspective dictates reassessment of a BCE 8th century Assyrian wall relief panel that depicts their catapult war engine deployed in the conquering of Lã•khishꞋ in BCE 701.

Accordingly, arguing that ballistas couldn't have been invented until after the battles of Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ because the Bible is supernatural is not only a silly assumption contradicting logic and exposing a conspicuously brazen and delusional religious agenda, it's a base and blatant crime against knowledge!

King Sin•akh•i•riꞋbã "Siege Of Lã•khishꞋ" Wall Relief, BCE 701

That said, I'd been researching the development of these war machines for some time because the account stipulates that:

וַֽיהֹוָ֗ה הִמְטִ֧יר עַל־סְדֹ֛ם וְעַל־עֲמֹרָ֖ה גׇּפְרִ֣ית וָאֵ֑שׁ מֵאֵ֥ת יְהֹוָ֖ה מִן־הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃

BCE 701, Siege of Lã•khishꞋ; Assyrian wall relief siege ballista
Click to enlargeBallista depicted in BCE 701 Siege of Lã•khishꞋ on stone wall relief from SW Palace of Neo-Assyrian king 𒀭𒌍𒉽𒈨𒌍𒋢  at NiꞋnᵊwæh. Relief depicts an Assyrian base camp with a road through the middle, with soldiers working in or near tents. Two priests perform a ceremony in front of mobile ballista catapult. Confusing this ballista with a chariot, very different from those in other panels, is a case of allowing one's historical belief (believed context) to constrain perception of the evidence instead of the reverse (science). Chariots lacked such superstructure and launch spoon (bucket). (British Museum, London. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin)

But I have discovered indisputable hard evidence—an ancient picture (royal wall relief) of a ballista from BCE 701—proving that sophisticated ballistæ were in use about 3 centuries before the Greeks. Ta•na"khꞋ further informs that early ballistas were fully deployed, mounted on the fortification walls of Yᵊru•shã•laꞋyim, almost half a millennia earlier (cBCE 808-756)  by A•zarᵊyâhꞋ(u) Bën-A•matzᵊyâhꞋu ha-MëlꞋëkh (conflated with his contemporary, Ūz•i•yãhꞋū ha-ko•heinꞋ)! mounted ballista-like weapons on the walls of Yᵊru•shã•laꞋyim cBCE 808–756. It's unreasonable to argue that no rudimentary types at all were in existence only 1,200 years earlier—after 19,000 years of development.

By the time AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ became involved in the battles between kings from Iran-Iraq and the city-kings of עֵ֖מֶק הַשִּׂדִּ֑ים (cBCE 1990), there should be no doubt that some form of proto-ballista catapults capable of delivering stone balls—or balls of burning pitch or sulfur were in wide and routine use, at least in some of the more advanced armies.

About a month ago (2021.09.25), while looking specifically for pre-Greek ancient evidence of military catapults, I noticed a scene depicted on a stone wall relief from the SW Palace in NiꞋnᵊwæh of the conquering Neo-Assyrian king 𒀭𒌍𒉽𒈨𒌍𒋢 depicting the Assyrian siege of Lã•khishꞋ in BCE 701—3 centuries before the Greeks! The panel on the far right immediately caught my attention: a wheeled military weapon—clearly not a chariot (see the adjoining panel in the enlargement)—incorporating some kind of superstructure.

As a former military intelligence analyst, this wheeled military weapon immediately caught my attention for what had been removed from the relief. The trigger mechanism and core workings of the weapon had carefully and deliberately been chiseled-out, strongly suggesting an early intelligence advisor to the king who apprised the king that this public display advertised their military secrets to visiting international dignitaries. (If it was not secret, that's admission that ballista-catapult technology was widespread, public knowledge!) International dignitaries have always been notorious traders in espionage and dealers in military secrets. The removed detail is where the slide and triggering mechanisms would have been depicted, revealing how the weapon worked—thereby teaching their enemies their weaponry technology! (As always, the reader should anticipate that this will attract European and Hellenist-oriented scientists to find "scientific evidence" to argue that the edges of the deletion are clearly more recent. But, if my analysis is correct, there will follow other scientists to expose the biased flaws in their analyses.

This wheeled military weapon was mislabeled as a chariot (which was a different military weapon) with a bracket for an idol-standard. However, even a cursory glance at the chariot in the adjoining panel (see enlargement) makes it painfully clear that this mystery wheeled military weapon was no chariot. No chariot was ever equipped with a spoon-bucket, winch, removed mystery mechanism plus a non-working "idol standard" superstructure! The recoil, called a donkey-kick, would have ripped a chariot apart.

catapult ballista
Ancient Artillery: Catapult ballista (trigger mechanism not detailed)

catapult ballista showing winch
Click to enlargeAncient Artillery: Bolt ballista with short-axle winch. (Bow-arms winches not labeled. Wrench shown on left bow-arm winch. Torsion impossible to measure in ancient world; ergo, weapon not accurate.)

The superstructure at the right of the wheeled-weapon in the wall relief immediately reminded me of the superstructure of the earliest ballistas and catapults. Left of center, the relief clearly reveals a spoon-like bucket of a ballista/​catapult. At the extreme left one can see the winch mechanism for winching down the bucket arm—clear evidence of an early ballista/​catapult in BCE 701—only 2 centuries after A•zarᵊyâhꞋ(u) Bën-A•matzᵊyâhꞋu ha-MëlꞋëkh deployed their prototype on the fortification walls of Yᵊru•shã•laꞋyim!

It wasn't a difficult transition to switch out a bow-rope for a bow-rope with a sling-pouch, enabling the ballista to launch large stone balls as well—or a big ball of high-sulfur asphalt that had been set afire.

Prototype Of Later Roman Onager & Mangonel

Aside from the Lã•khishꞋ wall relief, there are no other known extant depictions of the early ballistas or catapults. So we can only look at the results several centuries later.

Roman Onager

“Constructed entirely of wood, the Roman onager consisted of a kind of chassis set on four wheels upon which was mounted a long wooden “arm” with a large sling on the end of it.

“The throwing arm of the onager was placed between strands of thick, sinewy rope that had been coiled and twisted to create a rotational force. A winch and ratchet were used to ensure that the rope was wound tightly, then a windlass (and a considerable amount of elbow grease) supplied the final measure of tension, pulling the throwing arm tightly back until it was nearly plumb with the ground. The arm was then secured with a slip hook and the sling was loaded—usually with a large rock. When the slip hook was tripped, the sudden, violent release of energy sent the throwing arm rocketing back into its upright position while the sling sent the payload hurtling toward the target. The word ‘ onager’ … is actually the latin word for a donkey (literally, a ‘wild ass’). The Romans so christened the device owing to its tendency to rear up its back end when fired. …

“As a result, the ‘ onager’ of the early medieval period, known as a mangonel (or ‘nag’), remained a poor relation. It did, nevertheless, make one enduring, if dubious contribution to the lexicon. The mangonel (from the Latin ‘manganon’ or ‘engine of war’) was often referred to by its other nickname, the ‘gonne’, from which our modern word ‘gun’ is derived.”

"In the ballista, the bow string would be winched back and the tension set. It would be used to launch darts, bolts and spears with deadly force and accuracy. It could also be used to launch stone projectiles of various sizes."

Of Earthquakes & Asteroids


The chronologically closest earthquake in the region was about half a millennium earlier. That's why an earthquake is never taken seriously as an explanation of events in bᵊReish•itꞋ 19.

Evidence of an earthquake and fire in one charnel building, along with evidence of violent deaths, suggest a violent end. However, this is >2–7 centuries before Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ and the destruction of Sᵊdōm


Arguments against Tall al-Hammam, see

Researchers at first identified the Early Bronze 3 (BCE 2700-2200) site of Sᵊdōm with modern Bab adh-Dhra`(Sᵊdōm), Jordan, on the eastern coast of the southern portion of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh. This is credible; though I'm persuaded that Safi, Jordan is a better fit because of its proximity to the nearby tiny and insignificant village, with the most likely known cave, to which Lōt and his daughters reportedly fled in the short time between dawn and the sunrise attack on Sᵊdōm.

We also know from the account that Lōt fled from Sᵊdōm to Tzō•ar in the space of about an hour or so (from pre-dawn to sunrise) because it was tiny and unimportant—and it was close. That strongly suggests that Tzō•ar was located next to Sᵊdōm.

Lot was extricated from Sᵊdōm by one of the allied .armies ?? , fleeing on foot with his 2 ?? daughters in the space of an hour or so ?? to Tzoar bᵊReishit 19.20-22; -30. Ergo, Sᵊdom was within about an hour or less walking distance from Tzoar; i.e. ≤ 6-7 km (≈5 mi).

Since around 2005-7, pseudo-archeologists affiliated with 2 Biblical-Inerrancy "universities" (one unaccredited), given little credence by archeological scientists (or anyone else beyond the King of Jordan and the trendworthy profiteering media), claim to have uncovered evidence at a site further north, northeast of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh, that appears to suggest the airburst of a significant (≈80m diam.) rocky asteroid ≈5 km above Tall el-Hammam, in western Jordan not far from

More recently, scientists have concluded, based on diamonoid-making "shocked quartz" in the soil, evidence high temperatures and pressures beyond earthquakes, volcanoes or warfare. "These structures are nearly as hard as diamond and are stable at temperatures up to ~ 1000–1200 °C" A priori, this appears to suggest that, in cBCE 1650, a low-density rocky asteroid fireball ≈80 m (200 ft) in diameter, traveling at ≈38,000 mph (61,000 kph) heating up in our atmosphere and exploding in an airburst ≈3 mi (5 km) above ground, creating temperatures <1200°C—like a 12 megaton nuclear weapon.

Wrong time, wrong place. First of all, that hypothesis points to the wrong time: nearly 3 ½ centuries after AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ and the battles destroying these cities (cBCE 1990). It is also the wrong place. Tall el-Hammam is not in עֵ֖מֶק הַשִּׂדִּ֑ים.


As shown earlier, magnesium powder was abundant in Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh. Scripture suggests that it's likely the Mesopotamians, probably having learned it from the locals around Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh, knew how to ignite it, perhaps using sulphur or simply an oil-torch, oil-lamp or burning wood ember, to dazzle people temporarily blind, particularly at night. Since magnesium burns at 3,100 °C (5,610 °F), that's more than twice as hot as needed to form diamonoids! That leaves no need for any otherwise unreported asteroid. In fact, knowledge of burning magnesium suggests storage of it. Burning asphalt missiles being lobbed into the city and igniting a supply of magnesium could easily have occurred in several buildings, and in several of the cities; creating the diamondoids.


Locations Of Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ (+3)

Order vs Location of Cities

Sᵊdōm-A•mōr•ãhꞋ (Bab edh-Dhra) destroyed ca BCE2350 Todd Bolen-BiblePlaces.com
Click to enlargeBab adh-Dhra`, reportedly destroyed cBCE 2350; 3½ centuries before AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ.

Researchers have argued that since the "5 Cities of the [Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh] Plain" are always listed in order, that implies their geographic order. The mere spotlighting of that question probably caused many readers to realize the logical fallacy in that. If I listed Majuro, Ebaye, Arno, Jabor and Wotje would you assume that they are 5 cities in a geographical row? You would be wrong. They are the 5 largest cities in the Marshall Islands, listed in order of their size.

Numeira, Jordan; Arab Potash Co. plant
Click to enlargeNumeira, Jordan Arab Potash plant

We are practically informed by the author of the passage, who mentions that the 5th in the list is tiny! But scholars often overlook evidence when it doesn't fit their theory. Size being the most likely order of listing is important for 2 reasons: (1) it frees analysts to consider the geographic order of these 5 cities in whichever order best fits the context, and (2) the text then additionally tells us that Lōt lived in the NYC of the 5 cities of הַכִּכָּ֔ר of עֵ֖מֶק הַשִּׂדִּ֑יםSᵊdōm!

Safi, Jordan, Lowest Place on Earth Museum
Click to enlargeYãm ha-MëlꞋakh Plain: Safi Jordan, showing Museum Lowest Place on Earth, believed to be location of ancient TzōꞋar/​BëlꞋa—beneath "Lōt 's Cave".

The 5 cities would then be ordered according to importance (size being an important, but not sole, factor). Sᵊdōm was then not necessarilyy either northernmost nor southernmost city, but rather the capital of the 5 cities of the Ki•kãrꞋ , the chief asphalt-production city, the largest of the 5 cities or some combination of these. The prevailing NW wind in the eastern Med correlates with the accretion of asphaltbergs on the SE shore of the South Basin—centered at Sᵊdōm! The flanking cities, along with a 4th city either to the north (modern Dab edh-Dhra, destroyed too early?) or to the south (i.e. Khanazir?) would have completed the 4 cities. It appears to me that IB1 ruins of the 4th city haven't yet been discovered.

Feifa, Jordan (Jane Taylor Collection, ACOR 1998)
Click to enlarge Ki•kãrꞋ Sid•imꞋ (Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh Plain): Feifa, Jordan. Aerial photo: Nabataean fortress & adjacent Early Bronze Age cemetery; Feifa, Jordan. (1998. Jane Taylor Collection. Courtesy of the American Center of Oriental Research, Amman.))

It's often overlooked that the distinctly separate 5th city, Tzō•ar /​ Bëla, was [1] very close to Sᵊdōm and [2] tiny, militarily insignificant—unlike the other 4 great cities of the era, whose asphalt was famous and purchased for a wide range of uses throughout the ancient eastern hemisphere.

DSP-Khanazir looking W to Aravah (EDSP)
Click to enlarge Khanazir looking W to the A•râv•âh. Khanazir cannot be one of the 4 cities of Ki•kãrꞋ עֵ֖מֶק הַשִּׂדִּ֑ים  because (1) it is on top of a cliff, not down on the ki•kãrꞋ, and (2) while tombs date from the Bronze Age, it was first settled in the Iron Age. (photo: © EDSP)

Interestingly, although a millennia and a half later a Hellenist (Greek) Herodotus (cBCE 484-425) attributed the asphalt of Bã•vël to "drops" of asphalt from a "tiny" river only 8 days walk, these 4 kings were from Bã•vël and its neighboring allies; and they were willing to march 45 days, covering about 1350 km (840 mi) and conduct a major war on a confederation of 4 prominent cities, to control their international asphalt supply, production and distribution at Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh!

The Real(ity) Battles Of Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•ãhꞋ

Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ An International Power
Kings From The East: First Campaign

Well before the kings from the east attacked the cities of Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•âhꞋ the second time, they had already attacked them a first time—abducting Lōt and his family. Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ rescued Lōt and his family, chasing down the kings from the east all the way beyond Damascus.

14.1 Four mᵊlãkh•imꞋ from Mesopotamia (i.e. Iraq), including King Kᵊdãrᵊlã•ōꞋmër , attacked 14.2 the 5 mᵊlãkh•imꞋ of ki•kãrꞋ Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh in 14.3 עֵ֖מֶק הַשִּׂדִּ֑ים 14.4 The 5 cities had been serving the Mesopotamian king Kᵊdãrᵊlã•ōꞋmër for 12 years, when they, rebelled in 13th year.

14.5-8 After the armies from the east, under Kᵊdãrᵊlã•ōꞋmër , had defeated several kings in their path, then they finally attacked the 5 kings of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh in עֵ֖מֶק הַשִּׂדִּ֑ים.

14.10 King [ BërꞋa] of Sᵊdōm & king BirᵊshaꞋ] of A•mōr•ãhꞋ fled their cities out across the crusty, black-muddy shores of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh, which were בֶּֽאֱרֹ֤ת בֶּאֱרֹת֙ חֵמָ֔ר (riddled with asphaltbergs being excavated) and that's where they fell—while the remnant fled toward the hill country.

14.12 The 4 Mesopotamian kings also took Lōt !

14.13 An escapee brought news to AvᵊrãmꞋ, in MamᵊreiꞋ, who mustered 318 of his trained-soldiers (along with his regional allies of MamᵊreiꞋ, ËshᵊkōlꞋ & ÃneirꞋ) and pursued the Mesopotamian kings as far as Dãn (in Râm•at ha-Gō•lân, 3km (2mi) NW of Pǎn•æ•ǎs, where 15 he carried out a night attack on the Mesopotamian kings. AvᵊrãmꞋ and his allies continued to pursue the Mesopotamian kings even north of Damascus, where 16 he finally rescued Lōt 17 from the 4 Mesopotamian kings.

14.18 After Lōt had returned home to Sᵊdōm, the new king of Sᵊdōm went forth to Eimëq Shavæh/haMëlëkh to call on [AvᵊrãmꞋ, who had chased away their conquerors]. King Malᵊki-TzëꞋdëq of ShãleimꞋ, a kō•hein of Eil Ël•yōnꞋ, who brought bread & wine 19 and blessed AvᵊrãmꞋ 20 AvᵊrãmꞋ gave King Malᵊki-TzëꞋdëq 10% of all [of the war booty]. 21 But the new King ofSᵊdōm (failing to bless AvᵊrãmꞋ for rescuing him) haughtily set his conditions allowing AvᵊrãmꞋ to keep the booty on condition he return the nëphësh 22-24AvᵊrãmꞋ refused to accept anything from him. …”

The BᵊritAvᵊrãmꞋ Becomes Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ
Kings From The East: Second Campaign

Thus, after having inflicted days of constant casualties on the 4 Mesopotamian mᵊlãkh•imꞋ in the first campaign, while chasing them out of the Levant all the way past Damascus during the rescue of Lōt and his family, Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ was a potential block to the 3 returning Mesopotamian mᵊlãkh•imꞋ who were determined to destroy the cities of Sᵊdōm & A•mōr•âhꞋ in Ki•kãrꞋ Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh that had rebelled against their rule. Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ's lifetime fixes this time to cBCE 1990, when Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ (cBCE 2039–1950) was ≈49.

Before the kings from the east dared attack the cities the second time, they had to satisfy Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ that they would spare Lōt and his family, to avoid Avᵊrã•hãmꞋ's retaliation a second time. The account of these 3 kings meeting with AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ is recorded in bᵊReish•itꞋ 18!!!

Great Balls of Fire!

There were simply balls of burning asphalt and sulfur, both prevalent throughout the area of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh, launched by early ballista-catapults deployed by the armies of the 3 kings from the east (Persia-Iran & Bã•vël-Iraq), the three men who visited with Av•rãmꞋ in bᵊ-Reish•itꞋ 18). These combined armies were under the command of Chief king Kᵊdã•rᵊlã•ō•mër (bᵊ-Reish•itꞋ 14-18, reviewed in greater detail in bᵊ-Reish•itꞋ 19).

Especially in pre-electricity times, armies preferred to attack at sunrise and preferably from the east so that their enemies would have the sun in their eyes. Thus, these balls of fire came at them from out of the sun; "raining upon them from the heavens". Animist beliefs, popular universally in these ancient times, would have imbued these heavenly fireballs with supernatural and angelic properties—echoed into the 20th century CE!

Exciting novel explanations, no matter how natural and awesome, if they aren't both: 1. chronologically compatible and 2. in Ki•kãrꞋ Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh (at the southern tip of Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh), then the supposition is either anachronistic, in the wrong place, or both. They may have happened at another time and/or another place. So far, only one proposed real-world explanation is plausible.

18.1 [Avᵊrãhãm] perceived יְהוָׂה  appearing to him while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent at Mamᵊrei as the heat of the day approached. 2 He looked up and noticed 3 אֲנָשִׁ֔ים positioned [on a hill] above him. When he saw them he ran from his tent door to greet them, and prostrated himself groundward… and he instructed SãrꞋãh to prepare a grand meal for them…”

AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ had chased and harrassed these kings and their armies out of Kᵊna•anꞋ past Damascus. Now, alone and Obviously prearranged, AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ was clearly expecting them as they returned, also alone, for a preagreed pow-wow with AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ. They were set on 2 objectives: 1. Keep peace with AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ but 2. take down the 5 Ki•kãrꞋ Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh cities. That meant finding a way to keep AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ happy, which translated to the 3 kings of Iran-Iraq protecting Lōt when they punished and reestablished control over the rebel cities. They had common interests: AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ had no stake in the 5 Ki•kãrꞋ Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh cities, nor reason to expose his soldiers to harm. The 3 kings of Iran-Iraq didn't want to meet AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ on the battlefield again, which would cause them to lost entire war—again.

18.16 From there, AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ went with הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים to a place where they stood-up and looked out over the face of Sᵊdōm. … 20 [As they walked], [AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ] perceived יְהוָׂה  (through the person of king Kᵊdãrᵊlã•ōꞋmër of Iran-Iraq) telling him, "The egregiousness of Sᵊdōm and A•mōr•ãhꞋ is great, as is their khat•ã•ãhꞋ, for it is very serious. 21 I'll go down and see if they did all of the egregiousness that came to me. If not, then I'll know."

22 When הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים reached the turn-off toward Sᵊdōm and A•mōr•ãhꞋ, AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ remained standing before יְהוָׂה [i.e. just him and king Kᵊdãrᵊlã•ōꞋmër] 23 negotiates from 50 worthy men down to 10 men to spare the Ki•kãrꞋ Yãm ha-MëlꞋakh cities 33 When יְהוָׂה  [king Kᵊdãrᵊlã•ōꞋmër] had concluded talks with AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ, then AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ returned home [to Khë•vᵊr•ōnꞋ].

19.1 The two Special-Ops ma•lᵊãkh•imꞋ (who had proceeded ahead of king Kᵊdãrᵊlã•ōꞋmër, when king Kᵊdãrᵊlã•ōꞋmër remained behind to wrap-up talks with AvꞋrã•hãmꞋ) reached Sᵊdōm in the evening; while Lōt was seated on the bench (adjudicating disputes) in the Gate of Sᵊdōm.

“Upon seeing [recognizing?] them, Lōt stood up to greet them and prostrated himself face groundward. 2 And he said, "Look, please אֲדֹנַ֗י , a tiny excursion please, to the household of your servant. Lodge the night and bathe your feet. Then you can get up at donkey-loading time and be on your way."

“But they said, "No, we'll just lodge beside the caravan-trail."

“ 3 encounter with townspeople of Sᵊdōm 11 no streetlights; spec ops agents blinded residents … 12 agents urge Lōt to gather daughters' families to leave with them because יְהוָׂה had sent them to devastate the city. … 15 As dawn rose, the agents tried to herd them out 16 Still Lōt resisted, so הָאֲנָשִׁ֜ים seized him, his wife and his 2 daughters by their hands, in יְהוָׂה's's pity on him, and forcibly extracted them out of the city. 16-17 The [2 ma•lᵊãkh•imꞋ] instructed them to flee, not to look back, and not to stop anywhere on Ki•kãrꞋ. Rather, flee into the hill country, lest you be swept away.18-23 Lōt pleaded to take refuge in a nearby מִצְעָ֛ר city, which subsequently became known as צֽוֹעַר. Lōt and his daughters came צֹֽעֲרָה.

24 Then יְהוָׂה  rained upon Sᵊdōm and A•mōr•ãhꞋ sulphur and fire from יְהוָׂה  out of the heavens. 25 So he overthrew those cities and the entirety of the ki•kãrꞋ, all the residents of the cities and plants of the ground. 26 But his wife lingered behind, gazing back, becoming an upright-figure entombed in the falling salt. …”

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