The second description is the way it appeared earlier, at its Patriarchal Era zenith as depicted in the Talmud and the Midrash (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 109a, Midrash Rabah Leviticus 5:2, Midrash Rabah Numbers .) Sodom and Gomorrah were part of a metropolis assumed to have been located on the eastern bank of the Dead Sea consisting of five cities, each with its own king.
Mention of the route was subsequently found in cuneiform tablets in Mari and in Ebla.
By 1924, the previously doubtful Albright became convinced of the possibility of some ancient inhabited area near the barren eastern bank of the Dead Sea.
There are no predatory animals to threaten passersby.
The great metropolis and its citizenry are self sufficient; every need can be met locally.
According to the Torah, with the help of the patriarch Abraham, the cities gained their independence, though their independence was only short-lived.