The Battle at the Valley of Siddim

Genesis 14

The battle at the Valley of Siddim took place before the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were famously destroyed for their wickedness. At that time these cities, along with Bela (Zoar), Admah, and Zeboiim, had been subject to king Kedorlaomer of Babylonia for twelve years, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. So Kedorlaomer and three of his allies marched to the region and subdued Ashtaroth, Ham, Kiriathaim, Seir, El-paran (perhaps ancient Elath), En-mishpat (Kadesh-barnea), Amalek, and Hazazon-tamar (which was En-gedi; see 2 Chronicles 20:2), and then they advanced to the Valley of Siddim, which was likely the dry southern basin of the Dead Sea. There the forces of Sodom, Gomorrah, Bela, Admah, and Zeboiim met them in battle but were routed. As some of the men of the five cities fled across the valley, they fell into tar pits (or perhaps slime pits), while others escaped into the mountains. The four allied kings then looted Sodom and Gomorrah and captured Lot before returning to Mesopotamia by way of Dan in the far north. One of Lot’s men escaped and reported this news to Abram at Mamre, near the town of Hebron, and Abram quickly mustered 318 trained men from his household to pursue the four kings. He and his allies caught up with them at Dan and attacked, chasing them beyond Damascus and recovering Lot and his possessions along with the other captives. After Abram returned, the priest-king Melchizedek of Salem (probably Jerusalem) pronounced a blessing over Abram and gave his allies a portion of the recovered goods.

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