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What were the names of the governors of Sedom, and what is the significance of those names?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Or perhaps you mean the kings of Sodom and its sister cities?

Their names were: Bera, Birsha, Shin'av, Shem'ever, and one whose name is not recorded (Ramban says that this is because he wasn't famous, as he ruled over the small town of Tzoar).

(Gen. 14:2)

The significance of their names, according to Rashi:

  • Bera - ב' רע, doubly bad - against Hashem and against humanity
  • Birsha - נתעלה ברשע, superbly wicked
  • Shin'av - שונא אב, hates his Father in Heaven
  • Shem'ever - שם אבר, he made himself "wings" to fly up and attack Hashem

and according to the Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 42:5):

  • Bera - בן רע, an evil son
  • Birsha - בן רשע, a wicked son
  • Shin'av - שואב ממון, sucking up money
  • Shem'ever - שם אבר, flying around to get money
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Perhaps you mean this Gemara (Sanhedrin 109b)?

ארבע דייני היו בסדום שקראי ושקרוראי זייפי ומצלי דינא

There were four judges in Sdom: Mr. Liar, Mr.Liarar, Mr. Forger, and Mr. Justice-Perverter.

I think the Gemara's indicating they weren't too honest!

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Your booth Right Alex just had more votes so I gave him the Check – SimchasTorah Oct 22 '10 at 4:55

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