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According to the Bible, Bera (Hebrew: בֶּ֫רַע Beraʿ ) (possibly meaning "gift") was the king of the wicked city of Sodom, spoken of in Genesis,14:2, "… that they made war with Bera king of Sodom."
Scholars are divided on Genesis 14. According to Frances Anderson, "Opinions range from identifying Genesis 14 as a piece of late fiction" to scholars who believe there may be "some historical foundation" behind the narrative it relates.
In the narrative, Bera joins four 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 tarpits while other survivors escape into the mountains (14:10).
The Genesis account is written in narrative form and alluded to by several other Old Testament writers.[who?] Jesus Himself obviously believed it (Matthew 10:15). A mountain with fossil salt at the present day is called Hagv Usdum; and Galen also knew of a Sodom mountain. Extra-biblical writings (including tablets unearthed at Ebla) mention Sodom and even give specific references to its location along the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea.
- "Bera," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915).
- Francis I Anderson (1995). David Pearson Wright; David Noel Freedman; Avi Hurvitz, eds. Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish, and Near Eastern Ritual, Law, and Literature in Honor of Jacob Milgrom. Eisenbrauns. pp. 497–. ISBN 978-0-931464-87-4.