Abram Saves Lot
Amraphel was the king of Babylon. Arioch was the king of Ellasar. Kedorlaomer was the king of Elam. And Tidal was the king of Goyim. They went to war against five other kings. They were Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboyim, and the king of Bela. Bela was also called Zoar. These five kings all gathered their armies together in the Valley of Siddim. It was also called the valley of the Dead Sea. For 12 years Kedorlaomer had ruled over them. But in the 13th year they opposed him.
So in the 14th year, Kedorlaomer and the kings who helped him went to war. They won the battle against the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim. They also won the battle against the Zuzites in Ham and the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim. They did the same thing to the Horites in the hill country of Seir. They marched all the way to El Paran near the desert. Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat. En Mishpat was also called Kadesh. They took over the whole territory of the Amalekites. They also won the battle against the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.
Then the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboyim and Bela marched out. Bela was also called Zoar. They lined up their armies for battle in the Valley of Siddim. They got ready to fight against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Babylonia, and Arioch king of Ellasar. There were four kings against five. The Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah ran away from the battle. Some of their men fell into the pits, but the rest escaped to the hills. The four kings took all the things that belonged to Sodom and Gomorrah. They also took all their food and then left. They carried away Abram’s nephew Lot and the things he owned. Lot was living in Sodom at that time.
A man escaped and came to report everything to Abram. Abram was a Hebrew. He was living near the large trees of Mamre the Amorite. Mamre was a brother of Eshkol and Aner. All of them helped Abram. Abram heard that Lot had been captured. So he called out his 318 trained men. All of them were sons of his servants. Abram and his men chased their enemies as far as Dan. During the night Abram separated his men into groups. They attacked their enemies and drove them away. They chased them north of Damascus as far as Hobah. Abram took back everything the kings had taken. He brought back his nephew Lot and the things Lot owned. He also brought back the women and the other people.
After Abram won the battle over Kedorlaomer and the kings who helped him, he returned home. The king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh. It was also called the King’s Valley.
Melchizedek was the king of Jerusalem. He brought out bread and wine. He was the priest of the Most High God. He gave a blessing to Abram. He said,
“May the Most High God bless Abram.
May the Creator of heaven and earth bless him.
Give praise to the Most High God.
He gave your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything.
The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people. Keep everything else for yourself.”
But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to make a promise to the Lord. He is the Most High God. He is the Creator of heaven and earth. I’ve said I will not accept anything that belongs to you. I will not take even a thread or the strap of a sandal. You will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ I’ll accept only what my men have eaten and what belongs to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. These three men went with me. Let them have their share.”
God Makes a Covenant With Abram
Some time later, Abram had a vision. The Lord said to him,
“Abram, do not be afraid.
I am like a shield to you.
I am your very great reward.”
But Abram said, “Lord and King, what can you give me? I still don’t have any children. My servant Eliezer comes from Damascus. When I die, he will get everything I own.” Abram continued, “You haven’t given me any children. So this servant of mine will get everything I own.”
Then a message from the Lord came to Abram. The Lord said, “When you die, what you have will not go to this man. You will have a son of your own. He will get everything you have.” The Lord took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky. Count the stars, if you can.” Then he said to him, “That’s how many children will be born into your family.”
Abram believed the Lord. The Lord was pleased with Abram because he believed. So Abram’s faith made him right with the Lord.
He also said to Abram, “I am the Lord. I brought you out of Ur in the land of Babylon. I will give you this land to have as your very own.”
But Abram said, “Lord and King, how can I know I will have this land as my own?”
So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a young cow, a goat and a ram. Each must be three years old. Bring a dove and a young pigeon along with them.”
Abram brought all of them to the Lord. Abram cut them in two and placed the halves opposite each other. But he didn’t cut the birds in half. Then large birds came down to eat the dead bodies of the animals and birds. But Abram chased the large birds away.
As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep. A thick and scary darkness covered him. Then the Lord said to him, “You can be sure of what I am about to tell you. For 400 years, your family who comes after you will be strangers in another country. They will become slaves there and will be treated badly. But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves. After that, they will leave with many possessions. But you will die in peace. You will join the members of your family who have already died. And you will be buried when you are very old. Your children’s grandchildren will come back here. That’s because the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached the point where I must punish them.”
The sun set and it became dark. Then a burning torch and a pot filled with smoking coals appeared. They passed between the pieces of the animals that had been cut in two. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram. He said, “I am giving this land to your family who comes after you. It reaches from the River of Egypt to the great Euphrates River. It includes the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites and Rephaites. The Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites also live there.”
Hagar and Ishmael
Abram’s wife Sarai had never had any children by him. But she had a female slave from Egypt named Hagar. So she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go and sleep with my slave. Maybe I can have a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai had said. His wife Sarai gave him her slave Hagar to be his wife. That was after he had been living in Canaan for ten years. Then he slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant.
When Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to look down on the woman who owned her. Then Sarai said to Abram, “It’s your fault that I’m suffering like this. I put my slave in your arms. Now that she knows she’s pregnant, she looks down on me. May the Lord judge between you and me. May he decide which of us is right.”
“Your slave belongs to you,” Abram said. “Do with her what you think is best.” Then Sarai treated Hagar badly. So Hagar ran away from her.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring of water in the desert. The spring was beside the road to Shur. The angel said, “Hagar, you are Sarai’s slave. Where have you come from? Where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my owner Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to the woman who owns you. Obey her.” The angel continued, “I will give you and your family many children. There will be more of them than anyone can count.”
The angel of the Lord also said to her,
“You are now pregnant
and will have a son.
You will name him Ishmael,
because the Lord has heard about your suffering.
He will be like a wild donkey.
He will use his power against everyone,
and everyone will be against him.
He will not get along with any of his family.”
She gave a name to the Lord who spoke to her. She called him “You are the God who sees me.” That’s because she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That’s why the well was named Beer Lahai Roi. It’s still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
So Hagar had a son by Abram and Abram gave him the name Ishmael. Abram was 86 years old when Hagar had Ishmael by him.