Bera (Bible)

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Bera (Hebrew: בֶּ֫רַעBera‘) is the king of Sodom in Genesis, chapter 14. There is no mention of this monarch outside this biblical passage, and no trace of the city of Sodom has ever been found.

In the story, Bera joins other Canaanite city kings in rebelling against Chedorlaomer, an Elamite king and his allies who rule a vast area. In the Battle of the Vale of Siddim, the combined imperial forces plunder Sodom and nearby cities, taking many people captive and also much plunder. Bera and the king of Gomorrah, Birsha, flee the battle and fall into one of Siddim's many slimepits while other survivors escape into the mountains (v. 10). Abram (Abraham) then mobilizes his 318 retainers and defeats Chedorlaomer and the kings with him, rescuing the captives and plunder of the cities including Sodom. Bera tells Abram he can keep all the material wealth if only he'll give him back his people. Abram refuses, saying he will not take as much as a shoelace from Sodom "lest thou should say, I have made Abram rich" (v. 23).