Genesis 14:14, Three hundred and eighteen trained servants. This was a venerable fighting force for a nomadic chieftain to possess. If each of these soldier-servants had a wife and two children, this would have represented more than 1200 people associated with Abram’s army alone. No doubt Abram’s entourage could have been much larger considering those soldiers who had larger families as well as elderly people.
The size of Abram’s personal community along with his wealth is likely why the sons of Heth referred to Abram as “mighty prince [Heb. nasiy meaning “one lifted up, chief, captain or leader”]” (Gen 23:6). This would have been true especially in consideration of the fact that Abram’s personal army probably marched about four hundred miles round trip to defeat the six Babylonian kings in his rescue of Lot (Gen 14:14–16). This was a tremendous feat for a local chieftain-warlord to accomplish. This accomplishment likely made Abram into a legend among the local Canaanites who would have greatly feared and respected him.
Abram’s rescue of Lot and the residents Sodom from the six Babylonian kings brings to remembrance YHVH’s later promise to Israel that he would put the fear of YHVH into the hearts of their enemies and that one Israelite would put a thousand of their enemies to flight and two would put ten thousand to flight (Deut 32:30 cp. Lev 26:8).
This promise is exemplified in the story of Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites by his band of three hundred men—a similar number to that Abram’s army. May YHVH’s servants in our day be walking in such righteousness and holiness before YHVH as to warrant this kind of favor from the Almighty to receive the same blessing when they go up against their enemies!
Not only was the freeing of Lot and the other Sodomites a specular and miraculous feat—a testimony of the power of the Elohim of Abraham, but it was a testimony to these people of Elohim’s grace and mercy in that he rescued the Sodomites despite their wickedness. In spite Elohim’s warnings and grace, they still refused to turn from the wicked ways necessitating Elohim’s later judgment and destruction of that wicked city. The lesson is this. Elohim as a just and righteous judge warns people first by bringing upon them judgments onto repentance before imposing upon them his severe and ultimate judgments unto death. The problem is that most sinners are willingly oblivious to the initial warning signs, which if heeded, would bring them to repentance, thus sparing them Elohim’s ultimate and most severe judgments.
YHVH’s methodologies don’t change; he is the same yesterday, today and forever. He warns people, gives them space to repent before judging them; he is not an unjust judge. Be assured, those wicked rebels who at the end of the millennial age will pass before Elohim’s white throne of judgment and who he will deem worthy to be cast into the lake of fire will have had plenty of warning and time for repentance (Rev 20:11–15). The fiery destruction of Sodom in the Dead Sea Valley, the lowest place on earth, is a prophetic picture of the final lake of fire judgment and should be a lesson to all humanity of what is to come if they fail to submit to Almighty YHVH.