Sodom and Gomorrah are renowned for their depravity.
They were absolutely annihilated for their wickedness in Genesis 19, and talked about as a metaphor throughout the rest of the Bible for what not to do.
It may come as a surprise then to learn that they might not, possibly not, could have not always been that bad.
I know, that’s a crazy statement. After all, it’s much easier to think they were just always wicked and terrible people.
But there was a time in which they seemed to have semblance of holiness, even if it was just for a moment.
Abraham Meets Melchizedek
Genesis 14 tells the story of Lot’s capture by four kings after the battle of Siddim Valley. Abraham goes to rescue him — in the process, he and his men defeat some of those kings and their armies (Genesis 14:17).
On the other side of this battle is the King of Sodom, who promptly meets Melchizedek in the nearby Shaveh Valley. He is joined by Melchizedek, King of Salem — the famous Melchizedek who is later used as a “type” of Christ (Hebrews 7).
Both of these kings make Abraham offers.
Melchizedek blesses Abraham, who repays him by giving Melchizedek some of the spoils of war.
The King of Sodom only asks for the people that were rescued but tells Abraham to keep all the spoils for himself. Abraham refuses, saying that he has already made an oath to Jehovah that he would not take anything, though he asks for allowances for his men.
Abraham and the King of Sodom
Some have seen in this exchange a type of duality: Melchizedek was spiritual, whereas the king of Sodom was more secular minded.
I don’t necessarily see that. In fact, I’m willing to give the King of Sodom the benefit of the doubt here because (a) he seems to be aligned with Melchizedek, who is a priest and king, and (b) because he accepts Abraham’s grounds for refusal.
Now, does the town of Sodom reflect their king’s humility? Not forever; in fact, it would only be a few more chapters from now when they are completely annihilated by God.
But in this moment, at this time, it seems like the King of Sodom at least has his mind oriented towards God and his people.
Am I wrong? Possibly. If you think so, feel free to let me know!