Abram rescues Lot, 1-24

Gen 14:1 At this time Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim

Gen 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).

Gen 14:3 All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea).

Gen 14:4 For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

Gen 14:5 In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim

Gen 14:6 and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert.

Gen 14:7 Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.

Gen 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) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim

Gen 14:9 against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five.

Gen 14:10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills.

Gen 14:11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away.

Gen 14:12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.

Gen 14:13 One who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshcol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram.

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.

Gen 14:14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

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.’

Gen 14:15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.

Gen 14:16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.

Gen 14:17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

Gen 14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,

Gen 14:19 and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.

Gen 14:20 And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

‘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).

Gen 14:21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”

‘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)

Gen 14:22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath

Gen 14:23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’

Gen 14:24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”