Story Six

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
SO Lŏt lived in Sŏd́ om, and Ā́ brăm lived in his tent on the mountains of Cā́ năan. At that time in the plain of Jôŕ dan, near the head of the Dead Sea, were five cities, of which Sodom and Gō̇-mŏŕ rah 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 Chăĺ˗dḗa, from which Abram had come, and who ruled all the lands, far and near.
After a 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 Sŏd́ om, and the kings of Sŏd́ om and Gō̇-mŏŕ˗rah were beaten in the battle, and their soldiers were killed. Then the king who had won the victory over his enemies came to Sŏd́ om, 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 been beaten.
So Lŏt, with all that he owned, was carried away by enemies, who went up the valley from Sŏd́om, and did not stop to rest until they came to the head-waters of the river Jôŕdan, at a place afterward called Dăn. 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.
Someone ran away from the battle, and came to Ā́ brăm, who was living in his tent under the oak tree near Hḗ bron. As soon as Ā́ brăm 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 Lŏt. 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 Dăn, one of the places where the Jôŕ dan River begins.
Ā́ brăm 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 among the mountains. And in their camp Ā́ brăm found his nephew Lot, safe, with made heaven and earth, bless Ā́ brăm; and blessed be the Lord God Most High, who has given your enemies into your hand.”
And Ā́ brăm made a present to the King Mĕl-chĭź e-dĕk, because he worshipped the Lord. And Ā́ brăm gave to the king of Sŏd́om all the people and all the goods that had been taken away; and he would not take any pay for having saved them.
You would have thought that after this, Lot would have seen that it was wrong for him to live in Sŏd́ om; but he went back to his wife and daughters, and all his goods, and, besides, all the goods and all the other people that had been carried away from Sŏd́ om.
Then the king of Sŏd́ om came to meet Ā́ brăm, at a place near the city of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, which was afterward called "The King's Valley." And with him came the king of Jē̇-rṳ́sā̇-lĕm, which at that time was called Sā́ lem. The name of this king was Mĕl-chĭź e-dĕk, and unlike most other kings in the land at that time, he was a worshipper of the Lord God, as Ā́ brăm was. And the king Mĕl-chĭź e-dĕk blessed Ā́ brăm, and said, "May the Lord God Most High, who 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 Ā́ brăm had gone back to his tent under the oak trees at Hḗ bron, one day the Lord God spoke to him, and said:
"Fear not, Ā́ brăm; I will be a shield to keep you safe from enemies; and I will give you a very great reward for serving me.”
And Ā́ brăm 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 son, and he was now an old man, and his wife Sā́ rāi was also old.
And God said to Ā́ brăm, "The one to receive what you own shall not be a stranger, but shall be your own son.”
And that night God brought Ā́ brăm 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.”
Ā́ brăm 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 Ā́ brăm because he believed the promise. Although Ā́ brăm could not at that time see how God's promise could be kept, yet we know that it was kept, for the Ĭś̝ ra-el-īte people in the Bible story, and the Jews everywhere in the world now, all came from Ā́ brăm.
After that, one day, just as the sun was going down, God came to Ā́brăm again, and told him many things that should come to pass. God said to Ā́ brăm:
"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 Ā́ brăm might remember this promise of God, God told Ā́ brăm 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 Ā́ brăm 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 Ā́ brăm. God promised to give Ā́ brăm a son and a people and a land, and Ā́ brăm 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 Ā́ brăm.