The Blessing of Victory for God’s People, 1-24

14:1 At that time Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations 14:2 went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 14:3 These last five kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 14:4 For twelve years they had served Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 14:5 In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings who were his allies came and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 14:6 and the Horites in their hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is near the desert. 14:7 Then they attacked En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh) again, and they conquered all the territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazazon Tamar.
14:8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and prepared for battle. In the Valley of Siddim they met 14:9 Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar. Four kings fought against five. 14:10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits. When the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into them, but some survivors fled to the hills. 14:11 The four victorious kings took all the possessions and food of Sodom and Gomorrah and left. 14:12 They also took Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions when they left, for Lot was living in Sodom.
14:13 A fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and Aner. (All these were allied by treaty with Abram.) 14:14 When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he mobilized his 318 trained men who had been born in his household, and he pursued the invaders as far as Dan. 14:15 Then, during the night, Abram divided his forces against them and defeated them. He chased them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 14:16 He retrieved all the stolen property. He also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, as well as the women and the rest of the people.

Abram the Hebrew – This designation, first mentioned here in the Bible, is usually found on the lips of non-Israelites.  Some scholars have linked the Hebrews with the Hapiru (also known as Habiru, Hapiri or Apirim), a group of landless people who hired themselves out as mercenaries, and are mentioned frequently in the Mari tablets and the Tell el-Armrna letters.

Dan – How can the writer mention this city, when, according to Josh 19:47, the place was not given that name until the conquest of Canaan?  Kidner suggests that, as in Gen 36:31ff this ‘could indicate the period either of the author or of a scribe who substituted a current name for an archaic one.’

Matthews: ‘The former name of Dan was “Laish,” which is mentioned in eighteenth-century texts from Egypt and Mari; the Danites re-named the site after they dispossessed it (Josh 19:47; Judg 18:29). The appearance of the later name “Dan” is a post-Mosaic updating of the place name for later readers.’

Heiser: ‘Many Bible critics would call this an error, but it isn’t. Much later, in the days of Israel’s judges, Laish was renamed as Dan: “And they named the city Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but the name of the city was Laish at the first” (Judg 18:29). Evidently, an unnamed editor updated the text of Genesis 14:14 after the name change took place. The editor likely did this to make sure readers of his own day would understand the geography.’ (I Dare You Not To Bore Me With The Bible, p12)

14:17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram in the Valley of Shaveh (known as the King’s Valley). 14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (Now he was the priest of the Most High God.) 14:19 He blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by the Most High God,
Creator of heaven and earth.
14:20 Worthy of praise is the Most High God,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything.
14:21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and take the possessions for yourself.” 14:22 But Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I raise my hand to the LORD, the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth, and vow 14:23 that I will take nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal. That way you can never say, ‘It is I who made Abram rich.’ 14:24 I will take nothing except compensation for what the young men have eaten. As for the share of the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre—let them take their share.”

v20 ‘Through Abram God was to provide a way of redemption…, and yet, mysteriously, Melchizedek represented an order of priesthood that far surpassed the levitical priesthood that descended from Abram.  It was an eternal priesthood, foreshadowing that of the Son of God himself, Psa 110:1,4; Heb 7:15-17; and “we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven’, Heb 8:1.  Thus Melchizedek is part of the Bible’s rich and intricate tapestry, a recurring theme that leads to the principal priest-king, the Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Baldwin, BST).

‘The meanness of the king of Sodom stands in stark contrast to Melchizedek’s warm generosity. Sodom brought nothing, whereas Melchizedek brought out bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram. Sodom makes a short, almost rude demand of just six words: “Give me people; take property yourself.” There is none of the customary courtesy here. The word order (note how he mentions “giving” before “taking”) reflects Sodom’s ungracious self-centeredness. As their rescuer, Abram presumably had a right to both the people and the property that he had recovered.’ (Wenham)

‘What is wrong with the king of Sodom’s proposal is his audacity and attitude. The victor, not a defeated king, has the right to stipulate the disposition of the spoils of war. Moreover, the king’s attitude is deceitful and begrudging. He does not greet Abraham with joy and gladness. Abraham anticipates that, were he to accept the offer, the king of Sodom would claim that he disadvantaged himself in order for Abraham to be advantaged.’ (Waltke & Fredriks)