The lesson continues from the separated journey between Abram and Lot. Here, the passage is interrupted with a large scale battle among kings and countries, involving the capture of Lot, Abram’s nephew. From how Abram reacts and responds through various events, we will learn more about self-sacrifice, tithe and God’s deliverance.
Did You Know...?
- Chedorlaomer (14:1) means “a handful of sheaves” if the word was Phoenicia-Shemitic. Archeologists detected the name as “Kudur-mapula,” the Ravager of the West, and as “Kudurnanhundi,” the Elamite who worship the great gods and who did not fear—the conqueror of Chaldea in 2280 BC. In Babylonian, the name Chedorlaomer would be “Kudur-lagamer.” [ref]
- Valley of Siddim (14:3) is a plain filled with rocky hollows. [ref]
- Ashteroth Karnaim (14:5) is a city in Gilead. Later was shortened to Karnaim (Amos 6:13), which implied that the city was captured by Jeroboam II of Israel. [ref]
- Shaveh Kiriathaim (14:5): Literally in Hebrew means “the plain of Kiriathaim” which was located in the district afterwards given to Reuben (Num 32:37). Now, it is identified with the modern Koerriath or Kereyat, ten miles west of Medebah. [ref]
- En Mishpat (14:7) in Hebrew, the name literally means “the spring of judgment.”
- Hazezon Tamar (14:7) afterwards was named Engedi (Josh 15:62;
1 Sam 24:1) which was situated midway up the western shore of the Dead Sea, and now called Ainjidy. [ref]
- Hobah (14:15) is probably the ruins of which are located 96 km (60 mi) northwest of Damascus. Some scholars associate it with the territory of Ube, a region whose capital was Tell el-Salihiye, 16 km (10 mi) east of Damascus. [ref]
- Damascus (14:15) is the most ancient of Middle-Eastern cities and the capital of Syria (Isa 7:8, 17:3). The city is located 133 miles north of Jerusalem. Its modern name is Esh-Sham, that is “the East. [ref]
- The King’s Valley (14:17) is perhaps near the point where the valley meets the Hinnom valley south of David’s city. The Jewish historian Josephus designates that it was 370 meters (400 yards) from Jerusalem. It was here that Absalom erected a monument in his own honor (2 Sam 18:18). [ref]
- Melchizedek (14:18): In Hebrew, the name literally means “the king of righteousness.”
- Salem (14:18) can mean several things in Hebrew, from “completely,” “safe,” “friendly,” “accurate,” “whole” to “fully devoted.” [ref]
Who were the allies of Chedorlaomer?Hide Answer
The allies of Chedorlaomer were Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar and Tidal king of nations (Gen 14:1).
Who were the joined forces that fought against Chedorlaomer?Hide Answer
The joined forces who fought against Chedorlaomer were Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (Gen 14:2).
What was the reason of the war?Hide Answer
The kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela served Chedorlaomer for twelve years. In the thirteenth year, they decided to rebel against him (Gen 14:4).
Who were defeated by Chedorlaomer in the fourteenth year?Hide Answer
In the fourteenth year, Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, the Horites in their mountain of Seir, all the country of the Amalekites, and the Amorites who dwelt in Hazezon Tamar (Gen 14:5-7).
What were the connection between the defeated people and countries in Genesis 14:5-7 with the five kings who rebelled against Chedorlaomer?Hide Answer
The locations mentioned in Genesis 14:5-7 were larger areas surrounding Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela. The attack and defeat to much larger territories not only demonstrated Chedorlaomer and his allies’ great power but also showed their strategy to corner and encircle the five kings.
Who and what was taken by Chedorlaomer after the defeat of the five kings?Hide Answer
When Chedorlaomer and his allies defeated the five kings, they took all the goods and the provisions of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot—Abram’s brother’s son, his goods and the women and the people of Lot (Gen 14:11-12, 16).
How did Abram receive the news about Lot?Hide Answer
Abram received the news about Lot’s capture from one of Lot’s people who had escaped from Chedorlaomer’s attack (Gen 14:13).
Who were the allies of Abram?Hide Answer
The allies of Abram were Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner (Gen 14:13).
What was Abram’s reaction after receiving the news of his nephew?Hide Answer
When Abram received the news that Lot was taken captive, he armed his 318 trained servants and went in pursuit as far as Dan. Later, he divided his forces against them by night, attacked the enemies and pursued them as far as Hobah. Abram also brought back Lot, his goods, and all the women and the people whom were with Lot (Gen 14:14-16).
What can we learn from Abram’s character, based on his actions in saving Lot?Hide Answer
We can learn several things from Abram’s actions in saving Lot. Though Lot had chosen a much more fertile area for himself and his livestock, leaving Abram a less fertile area when they were in between Bethel and Ai, Abram accepted Lot’s decision without any quarrel. Then, when Abram heard Lot had been taken captive, he promptly armed his 318 trained servants to pursue the captors (Gen 14:14). To attack Chedorlaomer, his armies and his allies, Abram could have just sent his trained men and his allies to do the work. But he chose to lead the attack.
Abram’s unconditional love for his nephew was evident. Leading his trained servants and allies to attack Chedorlaomer and to save Lot could have cost Abram his own life during the battle. Yet, Abram was willing to risk it. Abram gave all his effort in saving Lot, not only in defeating Chedorlaomer but also in bringing back Lot’s goods as well as the women and the people (Gen 14:15-16).
Who was Melchizedek the king of Salem? See also Hebrews 7:2-3.Hide Answer
Genesis 14:18 says that Melchizedek was the king of Salem and he was the priest of God Most High. According to Hebrews, Melchizedek was “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but he is made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually” (Heb 7:2-3).
List the contrasting deeds between the two kings who interacted with Abram: King of Sodom;Hide Answer
The king of Sodom went out to meet Abram in the Valley of Shaveh with the intention of wanting the trained servants of Abram (Gen 14:24). He also offered Abram goods and riches of the king of Sodom (Gen 14:17, 21, 23).
King of Salem;Hide Answer
The king of Salem brought out bread and wine to Abram. Then he blessed Abram and blessed God who had delivered the enemies into Abram’s hand (Gen 14:19-20).
What were Abram’s different reactions toward the two kings? To the king of Salem;Hide Answer
To the king of Salem, Abram gave him a tithe of all (Gen 14:20).
To the king of Sodom;Hide Answer
To the king of Sodom, Abram refused to take anything from the king of Sodom (Gen 14:22). With the refusal, Abram would have most likely turned down the king of Sodom’s command to give him the trained servants.
How did the two kings view Chedorlaomer’s defeat? King of Sodom;Hide Answer
King of Sodom considered that Chedorlaomer’s and his allies’ defeat was due to the skill of Abram’s trained servants and allies and Abram’s excellent war strategies (Gen 14:14, 15, 21).
King of Salem;Hide Answer
King of Salem viewed Chedorlaomer’s and his allies’ defeat as a blessing from the LORD. It was God Most High who delivered the enemies into Abram’s hand (Gen 14:19-20).
What was the purpose of king Sodom’s commands to Abram?Hide Answer
King of Sodom commanded Abram to give him the persons, the trained servants, because he saw how Abram and the trained men successfully defeated Chedorlaomer and his allies (Gen 14:17). For the king of Sodom, Abram’s trained servants were more valuable compare to his and his allies’ armies who failed to defeat Chedorlaomer.
What would the command and offer of the king of Sodom mean for Abram?Hide Answer
King of Sodom commanded Abram to give him the trained servants and offered Abram the goods to himself (Gen 14:21). Doing and accepting king of Sodom’s command and offer would mean Abram’s fame as warriors, war advisors, the one who defeat powerful armies and kings would spread and Abram’s material wealth from war spoils would increase even more.
What is a tithe and how does one give a tithe?Hide Answer
In Hebrew, the word “tithe” literally means “the tenth part of.” According to the book of Leviticus, the tenth of the land, “whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree,” and the tenth of whatever passes under the rod, of the herd or of the flock, belongs to the LORD and shall be holy to the LORD (Lev 27:30, 32). But if one is not able to carry the tithe, then it can be exchanged for money (Deut 14:25). In addition, the tenth part or the tithe itself should be brought to the house of the Lord (Neh 10:38).
Why did Abram refuse the king of Sodom’s offer?Hide Answer
Abram’s refusal to take the goods of the king of Sodom was to show him that he defeated Chedorlaomer and his allies only to save Lot, his goods, the women and the people that were with Lot. He did not defeat Chedorlaomer because he wanted the goods and riches from the king of Sodom as payment for his service.
Furthermore, Abram’s refusal of king of Sodom’s riches showed Abram’s admittance that it was God Most High who had delivered Chedorlaomer and his allies into Abram’s hand. For Abraham to have accepted the king of Sodom’s rewards of goods and riches would have suggested that it was truly by Abram’s might and intelligence and his skilled men that Chedorlaomer had been defeated.
What can we learn from Abram’s refusal of the king of Sodom’s offer?Hide Answer
While the people of the world think that their success and abudance are due to their hard work and intelligence alone, we ought to remind ourselves that whatever achievement we have gained is a blessing from the Lord. Without God’s guidance or deliverance, we would not have achieved anything.