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Abraham

The founder of the Hebrew nation. The patriarch Abraham is personated in the Degree or Order of High Priesthood, which refers in some of its ceremonies to an interesting incident in his life, After the friendly separation of Lot and Abraham, when the former was dwelling in the plain in which Sodom and its neighboring towns were situated, and the latter in the valley of Mamre near Hebron, a king from beyond the Euphrates, whose name was Chedorlaomer, invaded lower Palestine. and brought several of the smaller states into a tributary condition.

Among these were the five cities of the plain, to which Lot had retired. As the yoke was borne with impatience by these cities Chedorlaomer, accompanied by four other kings, who were probably his tributaries, attacked and defeated the kings of the plain, plundered their towns, and carried their people away as slaves.

Among those who suffered on this occasion was Lot. As soon as Abraham heard of these events, he armed three hundred and eighteen of his slaves, and, with the assistance of Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, three Amoritish chiefs, he pursued the retiring invaders, and having attacked them near the Jordan, put them to flight, and then returned with all the men and goods that had been recovered from the enemy. On his way back he was met by the King of Sodom, and also by Melchizedek, King of Salem, who was, like Abraham, a worshiper of the true God. Melchizedek refreshed Abraham and his people with bread and wine, and blessed him. The King of Sodom wished Abraham to give up the persons, but retain the goods that he had recovered; however, Abraham positively refused to retain any of the spoils, although, by the customs of the age, he was entitled to them, and declared that he had sworn that he would not take "from a thread even to a shoelatchet" (Genesis XIV). Although the conduct of Abraham in this whole transaction was of the most honorable and conscientious character, the incidents do not appear to have been introduced into the ritual of the High Priesthood for any other reason except that of their connection with Melchizedek, who was the founder of an Order of Priesthood.

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