Salem’s alot

So Lot and his family settled at Sodom, where King Bera, along with the kings of Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela, were growing tired of paying tribute to Chedorlaomer, King of Elam.

Chedorlaomer and his band of loyal kings went down to the Valley of Siddim to quell the rebellion and to force tribute, if only by the tip of the sword.

The valley was peppered with tar pits, and as Bera and the other rebel kings fled the imposing wrath of Elam, some fell prey to the pits while the rest found safety in the hills. Chedorlaomer went and took all the spoils of Sodom and Gomorrah, including Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions.

One of the Sodomite rebels who escaped by the skin of his teeth sought the help of Abram at Mamre Oaks. When Abram learned of his nephew’s capture, he rallied all his blood relations together, those who had been trained in the art of war and the fledgling Hebron religion. They totaled 318 Hebrews, an impressive mob but a paltry turnout for a menacing army.

So Abram called on his allies, Mamre, Eschcol, and Aner, and together they pursued the armies of Chedormaomer as far as Dan. There they hung back and regrouped. At nightfall, they divided their ranks and attacked their enemies at Hobah.

This shock and awe strategy brought Chedorlaomer and his mighty armies to their knees. Abram rescued Lot with his possessions, and although he was under no obligation, he liberated the Sodomite captives along with their goods as well.

Abram and his men were camped down at King’s Valley, when the king of Sodom came out to meet him. Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High, also came and presented refreshments of bread and wine to Abram and his men.

He blessed Abram, saying, “God Most High, maker of all things, blesses you, Abram. May God Most High be blessed for delivering your enemies to you.”

As a token of gratitude, Abram gave King Melchizedek a tenth of all the spoils of war.

King Bera of Sodom pulled Abram aside and said, “As long as you’re divvying up the spoils, give me the people and you can have the goods.”

Abram’s eyes pierced the king’s. “I swore to my Lord, God Most High, maker of all things, that I’d not take a single thread or shoe,” he said. “I’ll not have it said by anyone, ‘I have made Abram rich.’”

The king was dumbfounded.

Abram concluded. “I’ll take nothing except what my men have eaten. Let my allies, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.”

Inspiration: Genesis 14

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