Just because a story is obscure, that doesn't make it irrelevant.
In this chapter there are many kings of great insignificance who are listed. Don't get bogged down with them. They are mere backdrops.
However, toward the end of this chapter there are two kings listed who are of enormous consequence. Take notice of them: the King of Salem (Melchizedek) and the King of Sodom (Bera); the King of peace and the son of evil. Both men will leave their legacy indelibly stamped on history and eternity.
The most significant thing to take notice of here is how Abram responded to each of these two kings. After fighting bravely to rescues his backslidden nephew (Lot), Abram had some very distinctly contrasting interaction with both of these unique characters.
Compare these two encounters:
1. Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he (or He?) was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, "Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he (Abe) gave him (Melchizedek) tithes of all (verses 18-20).
2. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, "Give me the persons, and take the goods to yourself.” And Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich"‘(verses 21-23).
The financial exchanges (and lack thereof) recorded in those verses speaks infinite volumes about Abraham's character and faith. Abraham was deeply interested in the glory of God above all else! In worshipful submission Abraham received and gave freely to the honorable King of Peace. With firm piety Abraham refused to enter into any sort of obligatory relationship with the son of evil.
1. Bera's days and the days of Bera's city were numbered. Ezekiel 16:49 records that "the iniquity of... Sodom, [was] pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness... neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." As a result, God's vengeful and eternal fire wiped them out.
2. Melchizedek's days and the days of his spiritual city (Jerusalem) are numberless. He and his city exist for the high and holy purpose of glorifying the worthy God of heaven! God's blessed presence will cause both to endure forever.
The ways of Sodom and the ways of Salem are still before us today. Choose wisely. The plight of each king and of each city will be shared by each devotee.