After rescuing Lot and his family, Abram made the 200-mile journey home. As he traveled, the kings of Salem and Sodom met him in the Valley of Shaveh where the city of Jerusalem would one day be located. His response to each king is indicative of his integrity as a man of faith.
“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.
And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’
And he [Abram] gave him a tithe of all.
Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.’
But Abram said to the king of Sodom,
‘I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’— except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”
Melchizedek the king of Salem came out to meet Abram with wine and bread—indicative of the celebratory nature of the provisions made to honor the returning warriors. He was the king of Salem and also a priest who blessed Abram in the name of the Most High God confirming the God-given victory. Abram recognized Melchizedek’s office as priest and out of gratitude to God, tithed one-tenth of the spoils.
Then Bera, the king of Sodom, offered Abram what sounded like a lucrative deal (v.2). Abram could have all the spoils if the captives would be permitted to return to their homes. The offer sounded magnanimous; however, the spoils were not his to give and Abram had already tithed a tenth to Melchizedek. The deal was a sleazy attempt to give the appearance that Bera was also blessing Abram.
Abram publicly refused the goods.
He had not entered the conflict for profit; justice had prompted his actions. God had granted victory and Sodom’s king would have no claim to Abram’s success.
Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre—the three brothers who were allied with Abram—were granted portions for their service. Abram took nothing choosing to wait for the fulfillment of God’s promised blessing.
1) Bible opened to Isaiah. By, Ken Horn, [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Abraham meets Melchizedek, circa 1300. By anonymous master, Basilica di San Marco, [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement- MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.charles-e-mccracken-ministries.org