Based on the knowledge God revealed after Lot departed, Abram could make some reasonable conclusions. One day, he would live in the city God is building on foundations of justice and equality. He would rule by his son’s side on the land God showed him. The citizens of this city would produce blessings upon all nations instead of violence.
Abram pitched his tent at Hebron where he built another altar to call on the name of the Lord and explore what God is giving to him and to his seed.
Five years later, he heard rumors of war.
Matthew 24:6-8 NAS95 (6) “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.
(7) “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. (8) “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
The times we live in are like the times Abram lived. We still hear of wars and rumors of wars just like Abram. The quarrel producing the rumor of war had begun six years before Abram arrived in Canaan. King Chedorlaomer and three of his allies had forced five Canaanite cities—Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim and Zoar—into servitude. After a decade of oppression, Sodom and Gomorrah led the Canaanite cities to rebel, bringing the wrath of Chedorlaomer upon them.
Proverbs 26:17 AMP (17) Like one who grabs a dog by the ears [and is likely to be bitten] is he who, passing by, stops to meddle with a dispute that is none of his business.
Abram wisely remained aloof from the quarrel between the Canaanites and their oppressors. Trying to talk sense to people who live like dogs and have been quarreling long before you arrived, only puts you in jeopardy of having them turn against you before they continue the fight you interrupted. The people of Sodom and their allies were no better than the people who oppressed them.
Ezekiel 16:49-50 NAS95 (49) “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. (50) “Thus, they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.
Sodomites were arrogant, idol worshippers that had plenty of food and felt they were secure, but did not care about the poor, and sexually assaulted visitors who dared seek refuge in their city.
Romans 12:18 NAS95
(18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Abram had no intention of getting involved in their quarrels until the king of Sodom, and his allies lost the battle against King Chedorlaomer and abandoned their city. Chedorlaomer promptly raided their cities, taking everything—including Lot and his possessions.
Abram’s peaceful intentions changed when he received news that a fellow believer was taken captive. This turn of events gave Abram a righteous reason to enter the fray. Then, and only then did Abram, a man of peace, become Abram, a man of war.
He called upon Mamre, Eshcol and Aner, the three brothers with whom he had an alliance, for help. These four men with a righteous cause did what five wicked kings failed to do. They routed the enemy, who fled and left the spoils of war for the righteous. By the end of the battle, Abram and his allies had liberated more than one righteous man.
Genesis 14:16 NAS95 (16) He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.
Abram pursued Chedorlaomer to rescue one man, a brother in Christ, who through no fault of his own needed help. They ended up rescuing everyone and recovering everything Chedorlaomer took.
King Bera of Sodom and the King/priest Melchizedek of Salem heard Abram was returning in victory and went out to meet him. Melchizedek blessed Abram and the Most High God who had given him victory. Then Abram gave Melchizedek ten percent of the Sodomites property he had recovered. King Bera of Sodom told Abram to keep the property. All he wanted was the people.
Apparently, the citizens of Sodom had no say in what happened to their possessions.
Genesis 14:22-24 NAS95 (22) Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, (23) that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ (24) “I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.”
He could have kept his share of everything he recovered, but he swore an oath to God that even though a portion was rightfully his, no one will make him rich except God. Abram refused to increase his wealth off the misfortunes of others. He purposed to look to God alone for his wealth.
Abram freed Lot and his possessions but he could not free Lot’s heart from its covetous practices. Lot thanked God and Abram by returning to the well-watered plains near Sodom to live dependent on a wicked king whose unlawful deeds tormented his righteous soul. Lot was a nomad living in a tent. It would have been easy for him to relocate.