Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."About this time, the Sodomites grew proud on account of their riches and great wealth.
They became unjust towards men and impious towards God, insomuch that they did not call to mind the advantages they received from him. They hated strangers and abused themselves with the practice of Sodomy.
God was therefore much displeased with them, and determined to punish then for their pride, and to overthrow their city, and to lay waste their country, until there should neither plant nor fruit grow out.
Here he again refers to their affluence and the fruitfulness of the land. Apart from the fruit and food, they had wealth in other forms. Bitumen for the caulking of ships, preservation of bodies and medicinal use, and salt from the Dead Sea, a valuable commodity indeed.
It was said that the Egyptians bought their embalming fluids from this area.
He goes on: It was of old a most happy land, both for the fruits it bore and for the riches of its cities, although it be now all burnt up. It is related how for the impurity of its inhabitants, it was burnt by lightning.
In the consequences of which there are still the remains of the divine fire, and the traces (or shadows) of five cities are still to be seen.
So he confirms that these cities are still there now to be seen and that they are all burnt up. You have seen the pictures of the strange shaped buildings surrounded by tons of ash, so judge for yourselves. Josephus goes on to describe the arrival of angels in Sodom:
And the angels came to the city of the Sodomites and Lot entreated them to accept lodging with him, for he was a very generous man, and one that had learned to imitate the goodness of Abraham Now when the Sodomites saw the young men to be beautiful of countenance to an extraordinary degree, and that they took up lodgings with Lot, they resolved themselves to enjoy these beautiful boys by force and violence.
And Lot exalted them to sobriety and not to offer anything immodest to the strangers, but to have regard to their lodgings in the house, and promised that if their inclinations could not be governed, he would expose his daughters to their lust instead of these strangers. Neither thus were they made ashamed, but God was much displeased at their impudent behaviour, so that He both smote these 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.
So Josephus re-tells the biblical story from the perspective of 2,000 years ago, and in great detail. He goes on to say that God set Sodom and Gomorrah on fire: with its inhabitants and laid waste to the country with the like burning.
Consider the photographs of the tons of ash below the buildings and make up your own mind.