Gen. 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;
Gen. 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.
Gen. 14:3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
Gen. 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
Gen. 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,
Gen. 14:6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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;
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 14:11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
Gen. 14:12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
Gen. 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.
This chapter starts with a description of war among the neighboring kingdoms in the area. This is in the area of the salt sea (the Dead Sea). The invading army was no small force as Stedman informs us: “…Chedorlaomer is the chief of the invading kings. Historically, he is identified as the Elamite dictator, from the land east of Persia, which is now known as West Pakistan. He came with his satellite kings against the confederacy of five kings from the cities of the plain….Rephaim and Zuzim were families of giants. It is from this group, later in Israel's history, that Goliath came, whom David decapitated with his own sword. These were men eight to ten feet tall, a mighty race who were greatly feared by the people around them. Yet the invading kings swept even these giants before them. The territory mentioned here is quite extensive, covering from the north and west of the Sea of Galilee, down the Jordan Valley, all the way south to the Red Sea. Here, then, was an enemy, seemingly invincible, relentless, unstoppable, striking fear into every heart as they carried all before them.”
The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were among those conquered, and a great quantity of food and possessions were taken as part of the spoils of victory by the conquering kings, including Lot and his possessions.
When Abram heard about it, he took 318 trained men born to his household servants and pursued them. Under cover of night he divided his men and attacked and defeated them, chasing them all the way to Hobah near Damascus. He recovered Lot and ALL his possessions as well as the other people who had been captured with him. Considering the facts referenced by Stedman, this was no small accomplishment.
After Abram returned victorious, the king of Sodom came out to meet him.
While listening to Chuck Missler one night, he mentioned that Amraphel, king of Shinar, was identified with Hammurabi. I decided to do some research and found this in the Catholic Encyclopedia at www.newadvent.org.
“The great Babylonian King, Hammurabi…reigned about 2250 BC. This ruler’s famous Code of Laws, the oldest code of laws in the world, was discovered in 1901-2, in Susa, the ancient capital of Elam….The identity of Amraphel and Hammurabi is now unanimously accepted by Assyriologists and Biblical critics.”
I think note should also be made that Shinar, the land over which Amraphel was king, is the land that later became known as Babylon. Isn’t it interesting that the “Code of Laws” came from the place where man blatantly rejected God’s law after the flood under the leadership of Nimrod.
Genesis 10:8–10 “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth….And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”
Fruchtenbaum re the “king’s vale” - “Today this is known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat in the Valley of Kidron….which parallels the Old City of Jerusalem on the west and the Mount of Olives on the east.…”
Gen. 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Gen. 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
Gen. 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Melchizedek = King of Righteousness
Salem = peace……so King of Peace
Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High and king of Salem (Jerusalem) came and blessed Abram. He made it clear that Abram was blessed of God Most High, Possessor/Owner/Creator (all from Hebrew) of heaven and earth. He also made it clear that God had delivered the enemy into Abram’s hand. It appears to me that both Melchizedek and Abram already knew about each other.
Again, I don’t remember reading anything yet regarding the establishment of a priesthood. This first priest we read of is in Jerusalem.
Abram gave Melchizedek a tithe (tenth) of everything (affirmed in Hebrews). This is the first time we have mention of a tithe.
Hebrews 7:1–2 “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace….”
The identity of this priest Melchizedek is the subject of much speculation. Personally, I don’t think that matters. It is his position as king and priest that is significant. His priesthood pictures the priesthood of Jesus as recorded in Psalms and Hebrews.
Psalm 110:1–4 “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies….The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews 7:14–17 “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
As I researched, I encountered a couple of newer ideas that posited Lot as the type of Israel. Abram rescued him through God’s enablement and was met by Melchizedek who blessed him. So the Lord will come to overthrow the beast and his armies to usher in the millennium, and Israel will recognize Him with honor as Abram did Melchizedek as the priest of God Most High. Also, it will happen in this same geographic area. Details are so important in God’s plan!
Gen. 14:21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
Gen. 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,
Gen. 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:
Gen. 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.
The king of Sodom wanted Abram to keep all material spoils as a reward. Abram makes it clear that he wants nothing from the king. Not only is his answer according to a vow he made to the LORD, He wants there to be no doubt about the fact that his blessings and wealth are from God, not from any earthly king. He does, however, agree to let him reward the men who helped him.
Note from Courson: Melchizedek is a type of Christ. The King of Sodom is a type of Satan—Give me the persons; keep the goods.