Genesis Chapter 14 Verse 1-12




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Genesis Chapter 14 Verse 1-12 – בְּרֵאשִׁית [NEXT SLIDE]

יב  וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת-לוֹט וְאֶת-רְכֻשׁוֹ בֶּן-אֲחִי אַבְרָם, וַיֵּלֵכוּ; וְהוּא יֹשֵׁב, בִּסְדֹם.

12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

יג  וַיָּבֹא, הַפָּלִיט, וַיַּגֵּד, לְאַבְרָם הָעִבְרִי; וְהוּא שֹׁכֵן בְּאֵלֹנֵי מַמְרֵא הָאֱמֹרִי, אֲחִי אֶשְׁכֹּל וַאֲחִי עָנֵר, וְהֵם, בַּעֲלֵי בְרִית-אַבְרָם.

13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew--now he dwelt by the terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abram.

יד  וַיִּשְׁמַע אַבְרָם, כִּי נִשְׁבָּה אָחִיו; וַיָּרֶק אֶת-חֲנִיכָיו יְלִידֵי בֵיתוֹ, שְׁמֹנָה עָשָׂר וּשְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת, וַיִּרְדֹּף, עַד-דָּן.

14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.

טו  וַיֵּחָלֵק עֲלֵיהֶם לַיְלָה הוּא וַעֲבָדָיו, וַיַּכֵּם; וַיִּרְדְּפֵם, עַד-חוֹבָה, אֲשֶׁר מִשְּׂמֹאל, לְדַמָּשֶׂק.

15 And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.

טז  וַיָּשֶׁב, אֵת כָּל-הָרְכֻשׁ; וְגַם אֶת-לוֹט אָחִיו וּרְכֻשׁוֹ הֵשִׁיב, וְגַם אֶת-הַנָּשִׁים וְאֶת-הָעָם.

16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

יז  וַיֵּצֵא מֶלֶךְ-סְדֹם, לִקְרָאתוֹ, אַחֲרֵי שׁוּבוֹ מֵהַכּוֹת אֶת-כְּדָרְלָעֹמֶר, וְאֶת-הַמְּלָכִים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ--אֶל-עֵמֶק שָׁוֵה, הוּא עֵמֶק הַמֶּלֶךְ.

17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh--the same is the King's Vale.

יח  וּמַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק מֶלֶךְ שָׁלֵם, הוֹצִיא לֶחֶם וָיָיִן; וְהוּא כֹהֵן, לְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן.

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was priest of God the Most High.

יט  וַיְבָרְכֵהוּ, וַיֹּאמַר:  בָּרוּךְ אַבְרָם לְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן, קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ.

19 And he blessed him, and said: 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth;

כ  וּבָרוּךְ אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, אֲשֶׁר-מִגֵּן צָרֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ; וַיִּתֶּן-לוֹ מַעֲשֵׂר, מִכֹּל.

20 and blessed be God the Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.' And he gave him a tenth of all.

כא  וַיֹּאמֶר מֶלֶךְ-סְדֹם, אֶל-אַבְרָם:  תֶּן-לִי הַנֶּפֶשׁ, וְהָרְכֻשׁ קַח-לָךְ.

21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram: 'Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.'

כב  וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָם, אֶל-מֶלֶךְ סְדֹם:  הֲרִמֹתִי יָדִי אֶל-יְהוָה אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ.

22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom: 'I have lifted up my hand unto the LORD, God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth,

כג  אִם-מִחוּט וְעַד שְׂרוֹךְ-נַעַל, וְאִם-אֶקַּח מִכָּל-אֲשֶׁר-לָךְ; וְלֹא תֹאמַר, אֲנִי הֶעֱשַׁרְתִּי אֶת-אַבְרָם.

23 that I will not take a thread nor a shoe-latchet nor aught that is thine, lest thou shouldest say: I have made Abram rich;

כד  בִּלְעָדַי, רַק אֲשֶׁר אָכְלוּ הַנְּעָרִים, וְחֵלֶק הָאֲנָשִׁים, אֲשֶׁר הָלְכוּ אִתִּי:  עָנֵר אֶשְׁכֹּל וּמַמְרֵא, הֵם יִקְחוּ חֶלְקָם.  {ס}

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.' {S}

12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Last week, we discussed the 4 kings, and how they suppressed 5 kings and a surrounding area. The area rebelled, and all went to war. Then, the 5 kings tucked tails and ran, leaving the gang of 4 kings to loot the land. To this end, they took people as captive, as well as their material possessions. Among these people carried away in captivity was Lot. Lot was a righteous man, and this situation is an example of bad things happen to good people. It rains on the righteous and the wicked alike.

And sometimes, when it rains, it pours. Still, we can also look at this situation in another way: even if you are a righteous man, you are not exempt from the troubles that are all around you. You may be holy and righteous, serving God, humble, meek, and virtuous, steeped in scripture and covered with prayer, and still, you could be carried off by a gang of four blood thirty thugs. What can I say, life happens. But, lastly, we can look at Lot’s lot as so: Although, Lot was a righteous man, he was still sharing in this common calamity simply because of where he was. As my mom always says, “you can’t get into a bar fight, if you are not at a bar.” Lot made a self serving choice to live where he is, and this is just one of the costs associated with that choice, a fore-shadow, really, of what is to come. Thus, the very goods and livestock and servants with which Lot was blessed, and of which caused Lot to seek the more lush pasture land, has now been confiscated. The years of easy living has been wiped out in a single afternoon.

13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew--now he dwelt by the terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abram.

Does anyone remember from where the word Hebrew comes? If you recall, Abram’s great grandfather’s name was Heber. So, at this point in time, to be called a Hebrew meant you were someone who followed in the ways and character of Heber. This is important, considering the degenerate age in which Abram lived.

And who is this one that escaped? Someone from Sodom? One of Lot’s household? In either case, you have someone who has just escaped with their life, running, desperate. And the seek justice and refuge with Abram. What does that tell you about Abram? He was a man of character and notoriety, as well as someone who is capable. And while we agree that Sodom was not as vile as the day the Lord wiped Sodom and Gomorrah from the face of the earth, we also know they were not righteous. We simply shows that even someone who is worldly and unsaved and even rebellious to God has the good sense to seek someone who is righteous and Godly. It is as if this person realized that not only was it important to inform Abram about his nephew, but Abram would be the only person capable of doing anything about it, and that only because Abram was a Hebrew in his name and actions and deeds.

14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.

I cannot help but point out that Abram, the man of righteousness, the man of Faith, had a well trained army of over three-hundred in his household. We know that the Lord detests those who wrap themselves in violence. It says in Psalms 11:5, “5 The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” So, we know that Abram is not a violent man – that is not his nature, for God would not have chosen him.

In fact, we know Abram is not a violent man because, despite the fact that he has an armed and well trained militia of 318 strong in his house, because he has never had cause to use them (at least, the Bible has not recorded it). A violent man looks as an unused weapon as a useless weapon. A Godly man looks at a weapon as an ideal deterrent, but only if it remains unused. But, Abram, who is not a violent man, but a Godly man, has obtained peace and security by being more than capable and entirely willing to take on anyone who would mess with himself or his household. And because of that, he has never had to. If it is apparent that you are willing and able to protect what is yours, from those who would intend you and your family harm, then those kinds of people will leave you alone to seek an easier victim. For how many years, then, has Abram never needed to go into battle? And yet it’s only now that Abram does anything militarily, and that only to save his nephew. That is a testament to how peace and security is genuinely obtained.

Also notice that Abram did not send his men out to go fetch Lot and bring him back, rather Abram led the charge. Abram was not afraid to get his hands dirty. He was not afraid to protect his family at the risk of his own life. It is no small sign of Love to be willing to risk your life and comfort for the sake of someone else. All the things we admire, like courage and love and virtue and honor and character – these are the things that God also admires in us as well.

15 And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Innocent as Doves and Shrewd as a Serpent, Abram puts together a night-ops strategy that routes the remaining military strength of the gang of 4 kings. Sure, their armies were already weakened by the war with the 5 kings. Yet, I am sure they were still thousands strong. This is not too unlike Gideon, where Gidean takes an army of 300 and God delivers the Midianites to him. Thus, God gets the glory, and Abram is more willing to give it to Him. This shows us that Abram is also humble (but more on that in a second).

For now, Matthew Henry probably says it best: “A wise man for, though he is a man of peace, yet he disciplines his servants for war, not knowing what occasion he might have, some time or other, so to employ them. Though our holy religion teaches us to be for peace, yet it does not forbid us to provide for war.” So, Abram’s small army routes their enemy all the way to Damascus, with the divine help from God. And they brought back not only Lot, but all the stuff that had gotten stolen as well. Lot has been given a second chance. Still, Lot does not take the hint to get out of Dodge, or Sodom, as it were, for the safety of himself and his family. This just proves that righteous people are sometimes thick-skinned. But, more on that later.

17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh--the same is the King's Vale.

Again, it is reaffirmed that Abram not only defeat the army that had taken Lot, but Abram’s men, through God’s strength, defeated the remaining forces in their entirety of the gang of 4 kings, led by Chedorlaomer.

Again, Henry points out that: “Abram’s courage and conduct were very remarkable. There was a great deal of bravery in the enterprise itself, considering the disadvantages at hand. For one, Abram only had husbandmen and shepherds against the armies of four princes, who now came fresh from victory? It was not a vanquished army, but a victorious army, that Abram was to pursue. Secondly, Abram was constrained by necessity to this daring attempt, but was moved to it by his generosity. Thus, all things considered, it was, for all I know, as great an instance of true courage as ever, for which Alexander the Great or Caesar was ever celebrated. Note, Religion tends to make men, not cowardly, but truly valiant. The righteous is bold as a lion. The true Christian is the true hero.” As we go through life, God willing, we will never have to pick up a weapon and protect ourselves, like Abram. But, there are more battles we will have to fight today. These are, however, not physical in nature, but Spiritual. And our faith in God will provide the courage and gallantry needed to defeat the powers of darkness and the principalities of this world.

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was priest of God the Most High. 19 And he blessed him, and said: 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God the Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.' And he gave him a tenth of all.

The word “Salem” in Hebew shares the root for “Shalom” and means peaceful. This city, from which Melchizedek comes, will eventually be called the City of Peace, or “Yarusalem.” Thus, the King of “Salem” comes out to great Abram and bless him on behalf of the Lord God, and to have communion with Abram, through sharing bread and wine. Melchizedek is a priest of God Most High, and a type of Christ, who also makes it possible for us to have communion with God through bread and wine.

Also notice how Melchizedek glorifies God through the blessing bestowed on Abram, calling Him the Most High, the Maker of heaven and Earth, and the Deliverer. As we pray and study scripture, it would do us good to not only recognize God as a friend, but also as the definition of Perfection, the Essence of Power, the Father of Mercy, and Author of Grace. He is above us, and we should fear Him – for He is everything, and we are nothing, and especially nothing without Him. But, what that means, is that He is not only above us, but above our enemies and our circumstances and our pain. And , only He can lift us up, out of the messes we have made in our own lives.

A good deal of mystery surrounds King Melchizedek. In Hebrews 5-7, as well as Psalms 110, Christ is called a priest, according to the order of Melchizedek. What order? Was there a following? A secret society of Melchizedek? I doubt it. If anything, we are simply meant to understand that Jesus Christ is our great high priest, the Mediator both of our prayers and praises. He not only offers up ours prayers, but His own for us as well, just as Melchizedek did for Abram.

And just one more thing, you notice the last sentence? “And he gave him a tenth of all.” Who? Abram. What? A tenth of all. Of what? The spoils he brought back from battle. To whom? To King Melchizedek. Why? As a tribute to God, and as an honored gift to King Mechizedek, in return for the respect that was shown Abram. When God delivers us, when he blesses us, when he changes our circumstances, it should be in our nature to be grateful. This is not a bribe to keep God giving us stuff. It is not a seed to be sown to be reaped. It is an acknowledgement of our weakness and dependence on God, to show that God’s blessings on us are over and beyond abundant. We give back to show we are not selfish. We give back to show that we have but one God. We sacrifice just some of what has been given to us, out of respect for Jesus, who sacrificed all that was given to him.

21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram: 'Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.' 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom: 'I have lifted up my hand unto the LORD, God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread nor a shoe-latchet nor aught that is thine, lest thou shouldest say: I have made Abram rich; 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.' {S}

So, Sodom, recently humbled in battle, now humbly comes before Abram, requesting only the people. This just proves the value of human life over the value of stuff. Originally, the people and the goods belonged to the King of Sodom, but the King would be content with just the people being returned safely. Apparently, the King of Sodom felt that the rights to the goods now belonged to Abram, or the King of Sodom did not want any trouble with Abram. However, Abram, a man of peace, wishing no more conflict, and a man of wealth, being content in what God has provided, and a man of God, knowing the source and provision of his wealth, did not want anyone to misunderstand that it was God alone who has blessed him, and not the King of Sodom. It would be to God who gets the glory for Abram’s victory, as well as his legacy.

Thus, Abram declines the offer of the King of Sodom and returns all of the people along with the goods, minus what had been used for food and what belong to some men that fought with Abram. According to the text, Abram did not go to battle entirely alone, but he took three additional men with him.

These men were, no doubt, neighbors and allies, who probably went to help liberate their own possessions from the gang of 4 kings that had just been taken. At any rate, Abram would see to it, that these men got their own possessions back, as they fought alongside him. Other than that, the rest went back to the King of Sodom with no strings attached.

And lastly, notice the oath that Abram swore before he went into battle. It is true that to act morally takes preparation. Before you get into a situation you know might occur, that you will not be able to avoid, find a way to decide what you are going to do. Under the pressure of the moment, you might be given to temptation. However, before you get to that situation, have your mind made up, and stand by your decision. Thus, you will prevail.

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