Now Abram was a very rich man who owned many animals as well as silver and gold. He moved north to a place near the town of Bethel and built an altar there to worship God. His nephew Lot also had many animals and servants. Together they had so many animals that there was not enough pasture land for the two of them to stay together. So there were arguments between the men who took care of Abram's animals and the men who took care of Lot's animals.
Then Abram said to Lot, "There should not be arguments between you and me, or between your men and my men, for we are relatives. The whole land is before us, let us separate. If you choose the land to the left, I will go to the right. If you choose the land to the right, I will go to the left." So Lot looked around and saw that the valley around the Jordan River had plenty of water. Then Lot chose the whole Jordan Valley for himself and moved away to the east. Abram stayed in the land of Canaan and Lot set up his tents outside the city of Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were very bad and were always sinning against God.
After Lot left, God said to Abram, "Look around to the north, south, east, and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your children forever. I will give you so many children that they cannot all be counted. Get up and walk all over the land that I am going to give you." So Abram moved around and finally set up his tents at Mamre's oak trees near the city of Hebron. There he built another altar to God.
Later Lot moved into the city of Sodom. Sodom and the cities near it were all controlled by a king in the country of Babylonia. While Lot was living there, these cities rebelled against the king in Babylonia. So that king came with his army and three other kings to conquer the land again. The five kings of those cities took their armies and fought the Babylonian kings near the Dead Sea. The Babylonian army won and attacked the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and took away everything in them. They also took Lot and all his belongings.
Someone came to tell Abram about it. When Abram heard that his nephew had been captured, he took 318 of his servants and, together with three friends-Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner, went after the Babylonian army. They caught up with them in the north part of the land of Canaan, near the city that was later called Dan. There they attacked the Babylonians at night and defeated them. They chased the Babylonians north of Damascus and got back all the things and people that had been captured. And that is how Lot was rescued by Abram.
When Abram came back from the victory, the king of Sodom came out to meet him. Melchizedek, the king of Salem (an old name for the city of Jerusalem) also came out to meet him. Melchizedek, who was also a priest of God, brought Abram bread and wine and blessed him and praised God. Then as a gift to God Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything that he had gotten back. The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people, but keep the things you have gotten back for yourself." But Abram answered, "I will not keep your things, or you might say, 'I made Abram rich.' I will take except the food that my servants have eaten. But let my friends, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, take their share."