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Tuesday, June 19 2012

A Biography Of Abraham: The Battles Of Sodom

Studies in this series of A Biography Of Abraham:
1. The Genealogy Of Abram 2. From Ur To Canaan 3. The Battles Of Sodom 4. Hagar And Ishmael
5. Isaac 6. Sarah 7. Mamre in Hebron 8. Abrahamic Religions


"They took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed"

After arriving from his native Iraq (see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram), Abraham settled in the southern area of "the land of Canaan," in Hebron (see A Biography Of Abraham: From Ur To Canaan). From there, Abraham had encounters with the Dead Sea area "cities of the plain" - which included Sodom, where Abraham's nephew Lot had settled because it provided water and grazing for his cattle.

Abraham and Lot

"13:5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 13:6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 13:7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

13:8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 13:9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 13:12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." (Genesis 13:5-13 KJV)

From that time on, Abraham was forced into occasional involvement in the battles and troubles of Sodom, solely for the sake of his nephew Lot. It began when the people of Sodom were unable to defend themselves from an invasion.

"14:1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations [see also What Did The Messiah Say About Gentiles?]; 14:2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 14:3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea [see also The Salt Sea In History And Prophecy]. 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

14:5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 14:6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. 14:7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar." (Genesis 14:1-7 KJV)

When Sodom was looted by the foreign kings, Lot, and his property, were taken away.

"14:8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim; 14:9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. 14:10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. 14:11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 14:12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed." (Genesis 14:8-12 KJV)

After he heard of it, Abraham pursued the departed invaders all the way north to Syria. With a small force of only about 300 men, Abraham attacked from multiple directions, at night, and defeated the invaders. He then recovered Lot and all of the people and goods of Sodom (notice that Sodomites, the people of Sodom, were "women also" - keep that point in mind; we will discuss it further).

Abraham At War

"14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. 14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. 14:15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus [see also Damascus In History And Prophecy]. 14:16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

14:17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale." (Genesis 14:13-17 KJV)

On his return journey (Salem, later known as Jerusalem, was located on Abraham's journey home; Hebron is south of Jerusalem), Abraham had his famous encounter with "Melchizedek king of Salem."

"14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 14:19 And he blessed him, and said,

Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.

And he gave him tithes of all." (Genesis 14:18-20 KJV)

The significance of Abraham's meeting with Melchizedek / Melchisedec is further explained in the book of Hebrews (see the Fact Finder question below).

"7:1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God [see Appearances Of The LORD God]; abideth a priest continually.

7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi [see Are Levites 'Jews'? and Who Were The First Jews?], who receive the office of the priesthood [see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood], have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7:7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 7:10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him." (Hebrews 7:1-10 KJV)

The king of Sodom then sought to reward Abraham for defending his city, but Abraham refused. Abraham had gone to war to save Lot, not to save Sodom.

"14:21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.

14:22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 14:23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 14:24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion." (Genesis 14:21-24 KJV)

"The LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous"

Some time later, the LORD and two angels appeared to Abraham with a wonderful announcement - childless Abraham and Sarah would be given to have a child.

Abraham and The Three Angels

"18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him [see Appearances Of The LORD God and Did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Know 'The LORD'?] in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

18:3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 18:4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 18:5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant.

And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

18:6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

18:7 And Abraham ran unto the herd [see also The Herds Of Abraham, Isaac And Jacob], and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 18:8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

18:9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife?

And he said, Behold, in the tent.

18:10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son [see Sarah's Promise]. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

18:15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh." (Genesis 18:1-15 KJV)

It was a two-fold appearance for the LORD and the two angels. They were on their way to Sodom, "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous."

Sodomites

"18:16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

18:20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 18:21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

18:22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD." (Genesis 18:16-22 KJV)

Abraham was already well aware of the perversion of the men and women of Sodom, but for the sake, again, of Lot, Abraham intervened. Despite his living there, for economic reasons (water and pastureland), Lot was righteous ("2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 2:8 For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds" 2 Peter 2:6-8 KJV). For that reason, Abraham negotiated with the LORD for the few righteous people, Lot and his family, in the city.

"18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 18:24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

18:26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

18:27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 18:28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five?

And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

18:29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there.

And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake.

18:30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there.

And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

18:31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there.

And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.

18:32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there.

And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.

18:33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place." (Genesis 18:23-33 KJV)

"Abraham ... looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah ... and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace"

The two angels who had gone ahead while the LORD had delayed with Abraham were attacked upon entering the city.

Escape From Sodom

"19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 19:2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.

And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

19:3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

19:6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 19:7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

19:9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door." (Genesis 19:1-9 KJV)

The angels then ordered Lot to collect his family and get out of the city. Lot's married daughters (plural, at least two; Lot had at least four daughters in Sodom) and their husbands mocked their father's warning: "Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law." Lot was only able to get his wife and two unmarried, living at home, daughters to leave: "Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here" (see Why Did Lot's Wife Look Back?).

"19:10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 19:11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

19:12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

19:16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city." (Genesis 19:10-16 KJV)

The city was then destroyed; all of the citizens of the city, male and female, died because there were not any righteous people beyond the ten that the LORD had agreed to spare the city for i.e. the reason that Abraham was satisfied at negotiating only to ten people is because that was the number of Lot's family. But even then, those who refused to follow their righteous father were also incinerated.

Sodom

"19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

19:18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 19:19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 19:20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

19:21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 19:22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

19:23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." (Genesis 19:17-26 KJV)

The next morning, from the distance of Hebron, Abraham "looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace."

"19:27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:

19:28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

19:29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt." (Genesis 19:27-29 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who was Melchizedek? Why did Melchizedek bless Abraham, as stated in the verses quoted above?
See A History Of Jerusalem: Melchizedek's Salem and What Did Jesus Christ Say About Abraham?


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This Day In History, June 19

325: The month-long Council of Nicea closed. Known as the first ecumenical council in the history of Emperor Constantine's Church of Rome (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad), it formulated the Nicene Creed and established the method for calculating their "Easter."

1269: King Louis IX of France ordered all Jews to wear a yellow badge in public (centuries later, the Nazis under Adolf Hitler issued the same order; see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1536: Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, was beheaded.

1566: James VI of Scotland was born. Upon the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, he ascended the English throne as James I. He is best remembered for authorizing the publication known today as the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible.

1610: French forces under Samuel de Champlain battled the Iroquois near the mouth of the Richelieu River in Quebec.

1793: The Upper Canada legislature passed an act prohibiting the importation of slaves into the colony, the first such law in the British Empire.

1821: The Battle of Dragasani between the Ottomans and the Greeks (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire; see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1850: Princess Louise of the Netherlands married Crown Prince Karl of Sweden-Norway.

1867: Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, emperor of Mexico, was executed by firing squad.

1917: During the First World War, King George V ordered members of British royal family to dispense with German titles and surnames, and to assume the name Windsor (listen also to our Sermons The European World Wars and The Balfour Declaration).

1953: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in the electric chair at the "Sing Sing" Prison in New York after being convicted of transmitting atomic bomb secrets to Russia. Their execution had been originally scheduled for 11:00 pm on a Friday, however after an appeal by their lawyers saying that an execution during the Sabbath would offend their Jewish heritage, the Federal Government changed the execution time to 8:00 pm, about an hour before the Sabbath was to begin. According to official witnesses, while Julius Rosenberg died as expected, it was discovered that Ethel Rosenberg was still alive, so the unconscious woman was strapped back into the chair and electrocuted further until smoke from her head filled the execution chamber.

1961: Kuwait was granted independence from the United Kingdom.

1976: The U.S. Viking 1 went into Martian orbit after a 10-month flight from Earth.

1991: The Soviet occupation of Hungary ended.


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