Most folks are familiar with Sodom and Gomorrah, the two evil cities destroyed by the Lord. Oops . . . Spoiler alert! Sorry.
What many don’t know is how Lot, Abram’s nephew, came to be there. That’s in Genesis 13 and 14. Soon, we will get to Genesis 18 for the rest of the story.
When last we saw Abram and Lot, Abram had whored out his wife to Pharaoh, thus bringing a curse of God upon the trusting and unknowing Pharaoh’s house. Pharaoh had sent Abram away with his wife and all the cattle, slaves, and goods that he’d provided Abram, proving Abram a successful pimp.
In Genesis 13, Abram and Lot return to Bethel, Abram with his great wealth, and Lot with his pretty darned good wealth. Between the two of them, and their herdsmen and slaves and cattle, the land couldn’t support them all. Abram’s and Lot’s herdsmen started fighting! Abram didn’t like this, so he told Lot to look around and decide where he wanted to go; wherever Lot went, Abram would go the opposite way so there would be no fighting. (Gen. 13:1-10)
Lot chose the Jordan plain, which included the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
After Lot left, the Lord came to Abram and told him to look in all directions, and see the land God was going to give him and his descendants. Abram picked up and moved to Hebron.
Now, after Lot moved to Sodom, four kings got together and attacked four cities of the Jordan plain . . . including Sodom and Gomorrah.
Each city had its own king back in those days. They weren’t what we Western folk think of as kings; more like warlords or tribal chieftains.
After this war, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other two cities were subjects of one of the attacking kings for 12 years. Then they rebelled, and there was much smiting. 14 years after the initial war, the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, along with others, got together and fought. They failed, and all who survived the massacre fled to the mountains! The victors came and took all the goods and slaves and people remaining in Sodom and Gomorrah . . . including Lot and his family! (Gen. 14:1-12)
When Abram learned of this, he armed his 318 trained slaves and chased after the enslavers. He attacked by night, and conquered them, bringing back Lot, his goods, and not just the women, but also the people. (Yes, the Bible does list the goods, the women, AND the people, in that order.) (Gen. 13-16)
Melchizedek, a priest and also king of Salem, blessed Abram and praised God. The king of Sodom offered to Abram all the goods, asking only for the people to be returned; Abram, being a Godly man, refused the offer lest the king be able to say that he had made Abram rich, but asked that the tree men who came with him have their share. (Gen. 14:17-24)
Those of the 318 slaves who survived the adventure apparently received no reward for their valiant efforts.
And so, Lot moved to Sodom, was abducted after Sodom was conquered, then was rescued by Abram and returned to Sodom.
I know. Not a terribly interesting story, but now you know what he was doing in that den of iniquity. Avoiding strife between his herdsmen and Abram’s.
You also get to see that Abram, the righteous and most favored of God, who was happy to rent out his wife’s favors to Pharaoh for a princely sum, did have some standards.