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Genesis: Chapter 14

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1In the days of King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim, 2these kings made war with King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3All these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea). c Heb Salt Sea 4Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and subdued 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 on the edge of the wilderness; 7then they turned back and came to En‐mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and subdued all the country of the Amalekites, and also 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 (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim 9with King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar, four kings against five. 10Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits; and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country. 11So the enemy took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way; 12they also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, who lived in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

13Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks b Or terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner; these were allies of Abram. 14When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and routed them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot with his goods, and the women and the people.

17After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). 18And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. a Heb El Elyon 19He blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, a Heb El Elyon maker of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, a Heb El Elyon who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

And Abram gave him one‐tenth of everything. 21Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” 22But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD, God Most High, a Heb El Elyon maker of heaven and earth, 23that I would not take a thread or a sandal‐thong or anything that is yours, so that you might not say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their share.”


b Or terebinths

c Heb Salt Sea

a Heb El Elyon

Text Commentary view alone

14.1–24 : Abraham's rescue of Lot from the eastern kings.

This and ch 15 relate closely to each other and link in multiple ways with late layers of the primeval history (see 9.18–27n.; 10.16–18a n. ).

1–12 :

Here an alliance of four eastern kings conquers five Canaanite kings associated with the Dead Sea region where Lot is said to have settled. In a fulfillment of the curse of Noah predicting the enslavement of Canaan by Shem ( 9.25–26 ), these Canaanite kings had been subject for twelve years to an eastern alliance of kings headed by the Shemite king, Chedorlaomer (cf. 10.22 ). When the Canaanite kings rebel, the eastern kings crush the revolt and seize Lot and his household and take them back toward their home. Neither the battle nor any of the kings can be identified in nonbiblical sources.

13–16 :

Abraham's ability to pursue and overcome the Shemite conquerors testifies to his status as heir of Shem and recipient of Shem's blessing ( 9.25–27 ). Moreover, this demonstrates the fulfillment of the divine promise to protect Abraham and his household ( 12.3 ).

13 :

Hebrew, probably meaning an outsider, as often in the Hebrew Bible (see 39.14; Ex 1.15; 1 Sam 29.3; Jon 1.9 ).

17–20 :

This is the only section of Genesis associating a patriarch with Jerusalem; indeed, it is the only place in the entire Torah where Jerusalem is referred to by name. As heir of Shem, Abraham now receives the blessing of the priest in what will become Israel's royal and religious center. Salem is a name for Jerusalem (Ps 76.2 ), where the ancient high god of the Canaanite pantheon, El (God Most High), was worshiped in pre‐and early Israelite times. The King's Valley is near Jerusalem (2 Sam 18.18 ), and the priest Melchizedek appears as the founder of a royal priesthood in an ancient Jerusalemite Psalm (110.4). This mysterious Melchizedek was later interpreted eschatologically at Qumran and typologically by the early church (Heb 7.1–17 ).

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