Tar Pits

Tar Pits

Welcome to a behind-the-scenes look at the research that goes into making each scene of iBIBLE. Let's take a look at the creation of the tar pits.

iBIBLE battle scene of warriors fighting in the nine kingdom war

The nine kingdoms were at war, four kings against five, as the two separate alliances met in a great battle in the valley of Siddim. The armies of nine kingdoms, facing off and at the ready. The battle rages, the lines push back and forth. Shouts, clamor, and dust fill the air.

Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five. Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country. (Genesis 14:8-10)

As the story comes to life in iBIBLE chapter 9, we see a compelling scene playout: a battle between many different armies in a rich valley surrounded by hills ... with tar/bitumen pits.

iBIBLE image of two warriors battling in the nine kingdom war

iBIBLE image of arrows and warriors on the battlefield

iBIBLE image of on warrior kneeling as an enemy warrior stands over him with sword raised above head

The Scene of the Battle

The land was fertile and lush with enough grazing space for a wealthy livestock owner to bring his flocks to graze without upsetting five already established cities:

And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. (Genesis 13:10-13 excerpted)

It was a valley:
Then the [kings] went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim (Genesis 14:8)

It was full of tar (bitumen) pits:
Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits. (Genesis 14:10)

An Unexpected Ending

As the battle rages, something changes. The soldiers realize they are losing and some panic. They know the last one to run is the first to die. So one man turns and runs, then another. The battle line crumbles. Everyone is running, some fleeing, some pursuing. Some run to the hills and are saved, but others run through the valley... and into the tar pits.

iBIBLE image of two warriors falling into a tar pit as they retreated

iBIBLE image of a tar pit

There are a number of tar pits that exist today in the US, Azerbaijan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. These pits are a wealthy deposit of information about the past. The preserved bones of animals from past millennia are regularly uncovered in these pits including mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and even a person!

Tar pits form a black, sticky liquid bitumen so thick that even very strong animals like mammoths who got trapped in it could not get free. Sometimes debris would stick to the surface, making these death traps even harder to see.

One could only imagine how incredible it would be if the valley of Sodom hadn't been destroyed, and we could explore the tar pits to find the remains of the fleeing soldiers.

Images of Real Tar Pits

Image one of an actual tar pit

Image 2 of an actual tar pit

Image 3 of an actual tar pit

Image 4 of an actual tar pit

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