For thirteen years a syndicate of kings, including King Bera of Sodom, served under King Chedorlaomer of Elam, east of Babylonia. All the kings had to pay tribute from the resources of their rich lands, and soon this became intolerable to the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (a little town later renamed Zoar). (Incidentally, Sodom falls under the curse of Canaan, while Elam comes from the house of Shem. Recall here the prophesy that Shem would rule over Canaan.)
In the fourteenth year, King Chedorlaomer and his band of loyal kings went to Siddim Valley 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 the rebel kings fled, some fell prey to the pits while the rest found safety in the hills. King Chedorlaomer went and took all the spoils of Sodom and Gomorrah, including Abram’s nephew Lot, and all he possessed.
One of the Sodomite rebels who escaped went to plead with Abram at Mamre Oaks. When Abram learned of his nephew’s capture, he rallied all of those of his own blood relations who had been trained in the art of war and the religion of the Hebrews. They totaled 318 men, an impressive family gathering but a poor turnout for an invading army.
Abram called on his allies, Mamre, Eschcol, and Aner. Together they pursued the armies of Chedormaomer as far as Dan, where they regrouped. At nightfall, they divided their ranks and attacked them by four sides at Hobah.
This shock and awe strategy brought Chedorlaomer and his mighty armies to their knees. Abram brought back Lot and his possessions. And although he was under no obligation, but for Lot’s sake, he liberated the Sodomite women and other captives along with their goods.
Abram and his men were camped at King’s Valley, and 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 humble token of respect and thanks, Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the spoils of war.
Bera, King of Sodom, pulled Abram aside and said, “Give me the people and you can have the goods.”
Abram fixed his eyes onto the king. “I swore to my Lord, God Most High, maker of all things, that I’d not take a single thread or shoe,” Abram 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