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Genesis 14

14
The Four Kings. 1#Abraham plays a role with other world leaders. He defeats a coalition of five kings from the east (where, later, Israel’s enemies lived) and is recognized by a Canaanite king as blessed by God Most High. The historicity of the events is controverted; apart from Shinar (Babylon), Tidal (Hittite Tudhaliya), and Elam, the names and places cannot be identified with certainty. The five cities were apparently at the southern end of the Dead Sea, and all but Bela (i.e., Zoar) were destined for destruction (19:20–24; Hos 11:8). The passage belongs to none of the traditional Genesis sources; it has some resemblance to reports of military campaigns in Babylonian and Assyrian royal annals. When Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim 2made war on Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar), 3all the latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea#The Salt Sea: the Dead Sea.). 4For twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings allied with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El-paran, close by the wilderness.#Dt 2:12. 7They then turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they subdued the whole country of both the Amalekites and the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar. 8Thereupon 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 in the Valley of Siddim they went into battle against them: 9against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits; and as the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah fled, they fell into these, while the rest fled to the mountains. 11The victors seized all the possessions and food supplies of Sodom and Gomorrah and then went their way. 12They took with them Abram’s nephew Lot, who had been living in Sodom, as well as his possessions, and departed.#Gn 13:10–12.
13A survivor came and brought the news to Abram the Hebrew,#Abram the Hebrew: “Hebrew” was used by biblical writers for the pre-Israelite ancestors. Linguistically, it is an ethnic term; it may be built on the root Eber, who is the eponymous ancestor of the Israelites, that is, the one to whom they traced their name (10:21, 24–25; 11:14–17), or it may reflect the tradition that the ancestors came from beyond (eber) the Euphrates. It is used only by non-Israelites, or by Israelites speaking to foreigners. who was camping at the oak of Mamre the Amorite, a kinsman of Eshcol and Aner; these were allies of Abram. 14When Abram heard that his kinsman had been captured, he mustered three hundred and eighteen of his retainers,#Retainers: the Hebrew word hanik is used only here in the Old Testament. Cognate words appear in Egyptian and Akkadian texts, signifying armed soldiers belonging to the household of a local leader. born in his house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15He and his servants deployed against them at night, defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16He recovered all the possessions. He also recovered his kinsman Lot and his possessions, along with the women and the other people.
17When Abram returned from his defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were allied with him, the king of Sodom went out to greet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
18Melchizedek, king of Salem,#Melchizedek, king of Salem (Jerusalem, cf. Ps 76:3), appears with majestic suddenness to recognize Abraham’s great victory, which the five local kings were unable to achieve. He prepares a feast in his honor and declares him blessed or made powerful by God Most High, evidently the highest God in the Canaanite pantheon. Abraham acknowledges the blessing by giving a tenth of the recaptured spoils as a tithe to Melchizedek. The episode is one of several allusions to David, king at Jerusalem, who also exercised priestly functions (2 Sm 6:17). Heb 7 interprets Melchizedek as a prefiguration of Christ. God Most High: in Heb. El Elyon, one of several “El names” for God in Genesis, others being El Olam (21:33), El the God of Israel (33:20), El Roi (16:13), El Bethel (35:7), and El Shaddai (the usual P designation for God in Genesis). All the sources except the Yahwist use El as the proper name for God used by the ancestors. The god El was well-known across the ancient Near East and in comparable religious literature. The ancestors recognized this God as their own when they encountered him in their journeys and in the shrines they found in Canaan. brought out bread and wine. He was a priest of God Most High. 19He blessed Abram with these words:#Ps 110:4; Heb 5:6, 10; 7:1.
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
the creator of heaven and earth;
20And blessed be God Most High,
who delivered your foes into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
21The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the captives; the goods you may keep.” 22But Abram replied to the king of Sodom: “I have sworn to the Lord, God Most High,#In vv. 22–24, Abraham refuses to let anyone but God enrich him. Portrayed with the traits of a later Israelite judge or tribal hero, Abraham acknowledges that his victory is from God alone. the creator of heaven and earth, 23that I would not take so much as a thread or a sandal strap from anything that is yours, so that you cannot say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ 24Nothing for me except what my servants have consumed and the share that is due to the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol and Mamre; let them take their share.”

Genesis 14

14
1At that time Amraphel was king of Shinar,#14:1. “Shinar”: an old name for Babylonia. and he allied himself with Arioch, king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Tidal, king of Goiim. 2They attacked Bera, king of Sodom, Birsha, king of Gomorrah, Shinab, king of Admah, Shemeber, king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (otherwise known as Zoar).
3All these in the second group#14:3. “In the second group” supplied for clarity. joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Dead Sea valley). 4They had been under the rule of Chedorlaomer for twelve years, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled against him. 5In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer invaded, along with the kings in his alliance. They defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6and the Horites in their hill country of Seir, all the way to El-paran, near the desert. 7Then they swung back through and attacked En-mishpat (otherwise known as Kadesh) and conquered the whole country belonging to the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar.
8Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (otherwise known as Zoar) marched out and prepared for battle in the Valley of Siddim. 9They fought Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, Tidal, king of Goiim, Amraphel, king of Shinar, and Arioch, king of Ellasar—four kings on one side against five on the other.
10There were many tar pits in the Valley of Siddim, and as the defeated kings of Sodom and Gomorrah ran away, some of their men#14:10. “Some of their men”: while the text seems to suggest that the kings fell into the tar pits, verse 17 makes it clear that at least the king of Sodom had not died. fell into them while the rest ran to the hills. 11The invaders took from Sodom and Gomorrah all their possessions and food and left. 12They also captured Lot, Abram's nephew, and his possessions, because he was living in Sodom. 13But one of those captured escaped and went and told Abram the Hebrew#14:13. “Abram the Hebrew”: this is the first time Abram is called a Hebrew, and may be the way he was identified by the people of the time. what had happened. Abram was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, whose brothers were Eshcol and Aner. All of them were Abram's allies.
14When Abram found out that his nephew had been captured, he called together 318 fighting men who had been born in his household and chased after them all the way to Dan. 15There he divided his men into groups and attacked at night, defeating the enemy and chasing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16Abram recovered all that had been taken, including Lot and his possessions, and also brought back the women and others who had been captured.
17When Abram returned after defeating Chedorlaomer and his allies, the king of Sodom came out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (or Valley of the King). 18Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was a priest of the Most High God. 19He blessed Abram, telling him, “May Abram be blessed by the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth. 20May the Most High God be praised, who handed your enemies over to you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek one tenth of everything.
21The king of Sodom told Abram, “Let me have the people back, and you can keep everything else for yourself.”
22But Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I raise my hand, making a solemn promise to the Lord, the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth, 23that I refuse to take anything belonging to you, not a single thread or a sandal strap. Otherwise you might claim, ‘It was me who made Abram rich!’ 24I won't take anything except what my men have eaten, and the share for those who accompanied me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them have their share.”