Genesis 14

War of the Kings

1 And it came about in the days of Amraphel king of 1Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of 2Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim,
2 that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of 3Admah, and Shemeber king of 4Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, 5Zoar ).
3 All these came as allies to 6the valley of Siddim (that is, 7the Salt Sea ).
4 Twelve * years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth * year they rebelled.
5 In the fourteenth * year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, came and defeated the 8Rephaim in 9Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in 10Shaveh-kiriathaim,
6 and the 11Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as 12El-paran, which is by the wilderness.
7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, 13Kadesh ), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in 14Hazazon-tamar.
8 And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar ) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in 15the valley of Siddim,
9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar -four kings against five.
10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and 16the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the 17hill country.
11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed.
12 They also took Lot, 18Abram's nephew *, and his possessions and departed, 19for he was living in Sodom.
13 Then a fugitive came and told Abram the 20Hebrew. Now he was living by the 21oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were 22allies * with Abram.
14 When Abram heard that 23his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, 24born in his house, three hundred and eighteen *, and went in pursuit as far as 25Dan.
15 26He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of 27Damascus.
16 He 28brought back all the goods, and also brought back 29his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.

God's Promise to Abram

17 Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, 30the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, 31the King's Valley ).
18 And 32Melchizedek king of Salem brought out 33bread and wine; now he was a 34priest of God Most High.
19 He blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, 35Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." 36He gave him a tenth of all.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself."
22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have sworn * to the LORD 37God Most High, 38possessor of heaven and earth,
23 that 39I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, 'I have made Abram rich.'
24 "I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, 40Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share."

Genesis 14 Commentary

Chapter 14

The battle of the kings, Lot is taken prisoner. (1-12) Abram rescues Lot. (13-16) Melchizedek blesses Abram. (17-20) Abram restores the spoil. (21-24)

Verses 1-12 The wars of nations make great figure in history, but we should not have had the record of this war if Abram and Lot had not been concerned. Out of covetousness, Lot had settled in fruitful, but wicked Sodom. Its inhabitants were the most ripe for vengeance of all the descendants of Canaan. The invaders were from Chaldea and Persia, then only small kingdoms. They took Lot among the rest, and his goods. Though he was righteous, and Abram's brother's son, yet he was with the rest in this trouble. Neither our own piety, nor our relation to the favourites of Heaven, will be our security when God's judgments are abroad. Many an honest man fares the worse for his wicked neighbours: it is our wisdom to separate, or at least to ( 2 Corinthians. 6:17 ) of Abram should have been a companion and a disciple of Abram. If he chose to dwell in Sodom, he must thank himself if he share in Sodom's losses. When we go out of the way of our duty, we put ourselves from under God's protection, and cannot expect that the choice made by our lusts, should end to our comfort. They took Lot's goods; it is just with God to deprive us of enjoyments, by which we suffer ourselves to be deprived of the enjoyment of him.

Verses 13-16 Abram takes this opportunity to give a real proof of his being truly friendly to Lot. We ought to be ready to succour those in distress, especially relations and friends. And though others may have been wanting in their duty to us, yet we must not neglect our duty to them. Abram rescued the captives. As we have opportunity, we must do good to all.

Verses 17-20 Melchizedek is spoken of as a king of Salem, supposed to be the place afterwards called Jerusalem, and it is generally thought that he was only a man. The words of the apostle, Heb. 7:3 , state only, that the sacred history has said nothing of his ancestors. The silence of the Scriptures on this, is to raise our thoughts to Him, whose generation cannot be declared. Bread and wine were suitable refreshment for the weary followers of Abram; and it is remarkable that Christ appointed the same as the memorials of his body and blood, which are meat and drink indeed to the soul. Melchizedek blessed Abram from God. He blessed God from Abram. We ought to give thanks for other's mercies as for our own. Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, is the Mediator both of our prayers and praises, and not only offers up ours, but his own for us. Abram gave him the tenth of the spoils, ( Hebrews 7:4 ) . When we have received some great mercy from God, it is very fit we should express our thankfulness by some special act of pious charity. Jesus Christ, our great Melchisedek, is to have homage done him, and to be humbly acknowledged as our King and Priest; not only the tithe of all, but all we have, must be given up to him.

Verses 21-24 Observe the king of Sodom's grateful offer to Abram, Give me the souls, and take thou the substance. Gratitude teaches us to recompense to the utmost of our power, those that have undergone fatigues, run hazards, and been at expense for our service and benefit. Abram generously refused this offer. He accompanies his refusal with a good reason, Lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: which would reflect upon the promise promise and covenant of God, as if He would not have enriched Abraham without the spoils of Sodom. The people of God must, for their credit's sake, take heed of doing any thing that looks mean or mercenary, or that savors of covetousness and self-seeking. Abraham can trust the Possessor of Heaven and earth to provide for him.

Cross References 40

  • 1. Genesis 10:10; Genesis 11:2
  • 2. Genesis 10:22; Isaiah 11:11; Daniel 8:2
  • 3. Genesis 10:19
  • 4. Deuteronomy 29:23
  • 5. Genesis 13:10; Genesis 19:22
  • 6. Genesis 14:8, 10
  • 7. Numbers 34:12; Deuteronomy 3:17; Joshua 3:16
  • 8. Deuteronomy 3:11, 13
  • 9. Deuteronomy 1:4; Joshua 9:10
  • 10. Numbers 32:37
  • 11. Genesis 36:20; Deuteronomy 2:12, 22
  • 12. Genesis 21:21; Numbers 10:12
  • 13. Numbers 13:26
  • 14. 2 Chronicles 20:2
  • 15. Genesis 14:3
  • 16. Gen 14:17, 21, 22
  • 17. Genesis 19:17
  • 18. Genesis 11:27
  • 19. Genesis 13:12
  • 20. Genesis 40:15; Exodus 3:18
  • 21. Genesis 13:18; Genesis 14:24
  • 22. Genesis 21:27, 32
  • 23. Genesis 14:12
  • 24. Genesis 12:5; Genesis 15:3; Genesis 17:27; Ecclesiastes 2:7
  • 25. Deuteronomy 34:1; Judges 18:29; 1 Kings 15:20
  • 26. Judges 7:16
  • 27. Genesis 15:2
  • 28. 1 Sam 30:8, 18, 19
  • 29. Genesis 14:12, 14
  • 30. Genesis 14:10
  • 31. 2 Samuel 18:18
  • 32. Hebrews 7:1-10
  • 33. Psalms 104:15
  • 34. Psalms 110:4; Hebrews 5:6, 10
  • 35. Genesis 14:22
  • 36. Hebrews 7:4
  • 37. Genesis 14:19
  • 38. Psalms 24:1
  • 39. 2 Kings 5:16
  • 40. Genesis 14:13

Footnotes 27

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 14

This chapter gives an account of a war that was waged, and a battle fought between four kings on one side, and five on the other, and of the occasion and issue of it, who were the first kings, and this the first battle the Scriptures speak of, Ge 14:1-11; Lot and his goods being taken and carried off, with those of Sodom, by the conquerors, Abram hearing of it armed his men, and pursued after them, and overtook and overcame them, and rescued Lot and his goods, with others, and returned, Ge 14:12-16; when he was met by the kings of Sodom and Salem, who congratulated him on his victory, Ge 14:17-19; and what passed between him, and those great personages, is related, Ge 14:20-24.

Genesis 14 Commentaries