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Genesis 14:20

Genesis 14:20

And blessed be the most high God
Let his name be praised, and thanks be given to him for all mercies temporal and spiritual, since all flow from him, and particularly for the mercies Abram and others through him were now made partakers of; for whoever were the instruments, God was the efficient cause, and to him all the glory was to be given: which hath delivered thine enemies into thine hand;
the four kings, who are called Abram's enemies, because the enemies of God and of true religion, and because they had been injurious to a relation of his; and especially they may be so called, if their intention was, as, say the Jewish writers F17 to slay him, beginning first with Lot: and those four kings, according to them, signify the four monarchies, the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman F18 who in their turns distressed his posterity, but in the latter day shall fall into their hands, as those did into Abram's, and fall by them: and he gave him tithes of all;
not Melchizedek to Abram, but Abram to Melchizedek, as appears from ( Hebrews 7:4 ) ; and these tithes were given not out of the goods that were recovered, for they were restored to the proprietors of them, but out of the spoils that were taken from the enemy, as is evident from the same place referred to; and these were given both as a return for the respect shown him by Melchizedek, and by way of thankfulness to God for the victory, whose priest he was; otherwise, as a king, he stood in no need of such a present; nor was it for his maintenance as a priest, or what Abram was obliged unto, but was a voluntary action, and not out of his own substance, but out of the spoils of the enemy, and to testify his gratitude to God: this was imitated by the Heathens in later times; so the Tarentines, having got a victory over the Peucetians, sent the tenth (of the spoil) to Delphos {s}: the Jews F20 say Abraham was the first in the world that began to offer tithes; but they are mistaken, when they say in the same place, that he took all the tithes of Sodom and Gomorrah, and of Lot his brother's son, and gave them to Shem the son of Noah. Eupolemus F21 makes mention of this interview between Abram and Melchizedek by name; he says, Abram was hospitably entertained in the holy city Argarizin, which is by interpretation the mountain of the most High (but seems to be the Mount Gerizzim) and that he received gifts from Melchizedek, the priest of God, who reigned there.


FOOTNOTES:

F17 Pirke Eliezer, c. 27.
F18 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 42. fol. 37. 1.
F19 Pausan. Phocica, sive l. 10. p. 633.
F20 Pirke Eliezer, c. 27.
F21 Apud Euseb. Evang. Praepar. l. 9. c. 17. p. 419.
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