Genesis 14 - Outline of Genesis (Book Notes menu page)
14:1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar,
Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
14:2 [That these] made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah,
Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
14:3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
14:5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that [were] with him,
and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham,
and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
14:6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which [is] by the wilderness.
14:7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which [is] Kadesh,
and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar.
14:8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah,
and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same [is] Zoar;)
and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
14:9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations,
and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
14:10 And the vale of Siddim [was full of] slimepits;
and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there;
and they that remained fled to the mountain.
14:11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals
{ie., food},
and went their way.
14:12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
The historical existence of these kings has been proven by archaeology.
Perhaps the best known is Amraphel, who is the Hammurabi of secular history.
Lot is beginning to suffer the consequences of his love of the world. cp. 1Joh 2:15-17
14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew;
for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner:
and these [were] confederate with Abram.
14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive,
he armed his trained [servants], born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen,
and pursued [them] unto Dan.
14:15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night,
and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which [is] on the left hand of Damascus.
14:16 And he brought back all the goods,
and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
Lot dwelt in Sodom (v.12; cp. 13:12,13) - he had joined himself to the wicked world.
Abram dwelt {at} Mamre (v.13; 13:18) - he lived separate from the world, in fellowship with God.
Abram, unlike Lot, was spiritually prepared for this crisis. cp. 2Tim 2:20,21
''Lot could neither deliver Sodom nor himself. Abram could deliver both.'' [GWms]
He would act because the love of God, with whom he communed, constrained him to reach out to the perishing. Abram faced considerable expense and risk to pursue these kings. But if he had done nothing, Lot and his family would have been sold into slavery.
Abram defeats the enemy & rescues Lot, with -
  1. the help of a few neighbors (v.13).
  2. a comparatively small group of his own men (v.14).
    Note that Abram's ability to arm 318 of his own servants shows that his wealth was substantial. Even so, his force would have seemed hopelessly small compared to the armies of the kings he pursued. cp. 1Sam 14:6
  3. a careful strategy (v.15).
14:17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him
after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer,
and of the kings that [were] with him,
at the valley of Shaveh, which [is] the king's dale.
14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine:
and he [was] the priest of the most high God.
14:19 And he blessed him, and said,
Blessed [be] Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
14:20 And blessed be the most high God,
which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.
And he gave him tithes of all.
14:21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram,
Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
14:22 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,
14:23 That I will not [take] from a thread even to a shoelatchet,
and that I will not take any thing that [is] thine,
lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
14:24 Save only that which the young men have eaten,
and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre;
let them take their portion.
Abram was about to meet a subtle temptation of compromise with the world.
True, the King of Sodom was indebted to Abram for routing his enemies & rescuing his people, but by accepting this reward, Abram would have entered into an alliance with this wicked city.
But God prepared him by sending Melchizedek at the right time. cp. 1Cor 10:13
(Re: the dangers of such a misplaced alliance, see the example in 2Chron 16:7-9.)
Melchizedek priest of the ''most high God'' -
- - blessed Abram in the name of the ''most high God.''
- - assigned credit for Abram's victory to the ''most high God.''
the Most High God - HB= ''El Elyon''
  • Derivation: The basic word for god, 'El,' means 'strength.' 'Elyon' is 'El' in the superlative.
    Therefore, the Most High God is the 'strongest of the strong ones.'
    He is stronger than the gods ('strong ones') of the nations, as shown by Abram's victory.
    In contrast to the local deities of the heathen, El Elyon knows no boundaries, for He is the ''possessor of heaven and earth.''
  • This name expresses God's authority over all other authorities, in earth or in heaven, human or demonic. cp. Deu 32:8; Dan 4:24-25,34-35; Isa 14:12-15; Mark 5:1-8; Acts 16:16-18
Abram's reaction -
  1. worship of the Most High God, in thanksgiving for deliverance in battle,
    expressed in the form of tithes of the spoils of that battle (v.20b).
  2. rejection of reward from an earthly king (v.22,23) -
    Abram placed his full confidence in the Most High God alone.
    He would not compromise God's glory by accepting anything from man.
    If Abram was to be blessed (v.19; 12:2) everyone would know it was the Most High God who had blessed him.
Melchizedek's name appears in the OT only here (v.18) and in Psa 110:4.
Considering the powerful influence which he had on Abram, it is remarkable that, in this book full of genealogies, there in no record of Melchizedek's ancestry, birth or death. Some have speculated that Melchizedek may have been Shem. (As noted in ch.11, Abram was born about 110 years before the death of Shem.) However, the inspired record is strangely silent. When we come to the book of Hebrews in the NT, we see that, in God's wisdom, the brevity of this account is profound with His purpose.
Melchizedek is a type of Christ in His continual post-resurrection priestly ministry.
(cp. v.18-20; Psa 110:4; Heb 5:5,6; 6:20; 7:1-10,23-25)
Points of similarity include -
  1. Melchizedek means 'King of Righteousness' - cp. Rom 3:21,22
  2. King of Salem (Peace). cp. Rom 5:1; Isa 11:4-9; 32:17; Heb 7:2
  3. priest of the Most High God -
    God appointed Christ to His position as Priest. cp. Heb 5:5,6
    As a priest, Melchizedek offered no {recorded} sacrifice. Rather he brought forth:
  4. Bread & wine - which are the memorials of Christ's sacrifice. Mat 26:26-29
    Following the pattern of the Aaronic priesthood, Christ offered one sacrifice for sin (Heb 10:11,12).
    But unlike the Aaronic priests, His priesthood was not terminated by death. Instead, He serves as High Priest continually, following the picture of Melchizedek's priesthood, since...
  5. Melchizedek appeared, on the pages of Scripture, without beginning or end (having no genealogy).-
    Christ is also without beginning or end, for He is the eternal Son of God. cp. Joh 1:1-4; Heb 7:3,23-25
    (As Son of man, Jesus' earthly lineage, led to his birth as a man. However, as God the Son, His ''goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.'' Mic 5:2).
  6. Christ, like Melchizedek, is greater than Abram. Heb 7:4,6,7
For more detailed discussion of this 'type' of Christ, see the Book Notes on Hebrews, at Heb 5:5,6 and Heb 7:1-28.

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