How Lot's Choice Brought Trouble
Genesis xiv: 1, to
lived in Sodom, and Abram lived in his tent on the
mountains of Canaan. At that time in the plain of
Jordan, near the head of the Dead Sea, were five
cities, of which Sodom and Gomorrah were two; and
each of the five cities was ruled by its own king.
But over all these little kings and their little
kingdoms was a greater king, who lived far away,
near the land of Chaldea, from which Abram had come,
and who ruled all the lands, far and near.
time these little kings in the plain would not obey
the greater king; so he and all his army made war
upon them. A battle was fought on the plain, not far
from Sodom, and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were
beaten in the battle, and their soldiers were
killed. Then the king who had won the victory over
his enemies came to Sodom, and took everything that
he could find in the city, and carried away all the
people in the city, intending to keep them as
slaves. After a battle, in those times, the army
that won the victory took away all the goods, and
made slaves of all the people on the side that had
So Lot, with all that he owned, was carried away by
enemies, who went up the valley from Sodom, and did
not stop to rest until they came to the head-waters
of the river Jordan, at a place afterward called
Dan. So, all that Lot's selfish choice gained for
him was to lose all that he had, and to be made a
prisoner and a slave.
Some one ran away from the battle, and came to
Abram, who was living in his tent under the oak tree
near Hebron. As soon as Abram heard what had
happened, he called together all the men who were
with him, his servants, his shepherds, and his
people, and his friends; and he led them after the
enemy that had taken away Lot. He followed as fast
as his men could march, and found the enemy, with
all the goods they had taken and all their
prisoners, at Dan, one of the places where the
Jordan River begins.
Abram rushed upon the enemies at night, while they
were asleep, and fought them, and drove them away;
so suddenly that they left behind them everything,
and ran far off among the mountains. And in their
camp Abram found his nephew Lot, safe, with his wife
and daughters, and all his gods, and besides, all
the goods and all the other people that had been
carried away from Sodom.
Then the king of Sodom came to meet Abram, at a
place near the city of Jerusalem, which was
afterward called "The King's Valley." And with him
came the king of Jerusalem, which at that time was
called Salem. The name of this king was Melchizedek,
and unlike most other kings in the land at that
time, he was a worshipper of the Lord God, as Abram
was. And the King Melchizedek blessed Abram, and
said, "May the Lord God Most High, who made heaven
and earth, bless Abram; and blessed be the Lord God
Most High, who has given your enemies into your
And Abram made a present to the King Melchizedek,
because he worshipped the Lord. And Abram gave to
the king of Sodom all the people and all the goods
that had been taken away; and he would not take any
pay for having saved them.
would have thought that after this, Lot would have
seen that it was wrong for him to live in Sodom; but
he went back to that city, and made his home there
once more, even though his heart was made sad by the
wickedness that he saw around him.
After Abram had gone back to his tent under the oak
trees at Hebron, one day the Lord God spoke to him,
"Fear not, Abram; I will be a shield to keep you
safe from enemies; and I will give you a very great
reward for serving me."
And Abram said, "O Lord God, what good can anything
do to me, since I have no child to whom I can give
it; and after I die, the man who will own everything
that I have is not my son, but a servant." For
although Abram had a large family of people around
him, and many servants, he had no heir, and he was
now an old man, and his wife Sarai was also old.
And God said to Abram, "The one to receive what you
own shall not be a stranger, but shall be your own
And that night God brought Abram out of his tent,
under the heavens, and said to him:
"Look now up to the sky, and count the stars, if you
can. The people who shall spring from you, your
descendants, in the years to come, shall be many
more than all the stars that you can see."
Abram did not see how this promise of God could be
kept; but he believed God's word, and did not doubt
it. And God loved Abram because he believed the
promise. Although Abram could not at that time see
how God's promise could be kept, yet we know that it
was kept, for the Israelite people in the Bible
story, and the Jews everywhere in the world now, all
came from Abram.
After that, one day, just as the sun was going down,
God came to Abram again, and told him many things
that should come to pass. God said to Abram:
"After your life is ended, those who are to come
from you, your descendants, shall go into a strange
land. The people of that land shall make slaves of
them, and shall be cruel to them. And they shall
stay in that strange land four hundred years; and
afterward they shall come out of that land, not any
more as slaves, but very rich. And after the four
hundred years they shall come back to this land, and
this shall be their home. All this shall come to
pass after your life, for you shall die in peace and
be buried in a good old age. And all this land where
you are living shall belong to your people."
So that Abram might remember this promise of God,
God told Abram to make ready an offering of a lamb
and a goat and a pair of pigeons, and to divide them
in pieces, and place them opposite to each other.
And that night Abram looked, and saw a smoke and
fire, like a flaming torch, that passed between the
pieces of the offering.
So a promise was made between God and Abram. God
promised to give Abram a son and a people and a
land, and Abram promised to serve God faithfully.
Such a promise as this, made by two people to each
other, was called a covenant; and this was God's
covenant with Abram.