Genesis | Chapter 14

Genesis 14:1-24

“War of the world’s”

  1. Intro.
  2. Vs. 1-16 Lot’s liberation army
  3. Vs. 17-24 More blessed to give


In the 12th through the 14th chapters of Genesis we are given four distractions:

  1. 12:10 Adverse circumstances
  2. 13:6-7 Personal relationships
  3. 14:2 World dilemmas
  4. 14:21-13 Success

Though Abram did not do so well in “adverse circumstances” he does much better in the distraction of “personal relationships” as we saw last week in verse 20 he ends living in the place of vision and fellowship. In fact in verse 13 he is still living in the same location. This is not the case with Lot, these two men’s reaction to these distractions reveal a pattern that we can use to examine our own lives.

  1. Lot: Compromise with the world will lead to further compromise, which will lead to captivity.
  2. Abram: Consistent communion with the Lord will prepare him for any new distraction he may face daily.

Vs. 1-16 Lot’s liberation army

Vs. 1-4 Abram, who no doubt wrote this section with Moses adding editorial notes, took great care in listing the combatants and where they were from. Using our league of nations that was recorded for us in chapter 10 reveals some interesting things about these kings and their kingdoms.

  1. Vs. 1 These kings all come from the region that was settled by the first world leader, Nimrod. They were all from the descendants of Ham, Shem and Japheth forming a powerful four-nation confederation led by Chedorlaomer (verse 4). The context appears to suggest that the five kings of verse 2 had some sort of agreement that left them subject to the four kings of verse 1 and after 12 years they want out of their agreement and decide to rebel.
  2. Vs. 2 These five kings all settled in modern day Israel from the Dead Sea to Mount Hermon. It is interesting to note what the names of the King of Sodom and Gomorrah meant in Hebrew (Beh-rah’ means wickedness and Beer-shah’ means iniquity). Geographically it appears that perhaps the reason for the conflict was trade related as it would of been necessary for Chedorlaomer and his four nation confederation to pass through the five nations to trade with Egypt.

Vs. 3 The initial battle takes place in the valley of Sid-deem’ which means, “cultivated fields”. Evidently it was extremely fruitful as it was this area that Lot lifted up his eyes and saw as being well watered like the garden of the Lord (13:10). It appears that most of these kings with their kingdoms were supported by the fruitfulness of this area. Moses adds the editorial note concerning the change of this region by saying “that is the Salt Sea”. Those that study such things have determined that the Southern end of the Dead Sea is where these cites most likely were at.

Vs. 4-7 It took one year for the four kingdoms to come down and squelch the rebellion of the five kings according to these two verses. The start of the war was when Chedorlaomer lead his army against Raw-faw’-eem in the area of Ash-ter-oth’ Kar-nah’-yim. Geographically this would be the first areas that Chedorlaomer and his army would go through but what is of interest here is that the word Raw-faw’-eem is the word “giants” of which we saw prior to the flood in 6:1-4 and Zoo-zeem means “powerful ones”. Both of these tribes were from the central coastal regions of Israel. So it again appears as though these tribes were genetically altered through drug related demon possession all were related to what later on would be called the sons of Anak. The area of Ash-ter-oth’ Kar-nah’-yim where they were located is also of significance as it literally means “the place of two horns” which was associated with the moon goddess Astarte. The tribe of Ay-meem, which means “terrors”, is associated with the plain east of Jordan.

From there they attacked the Kho-rites “cave dwellers or troglodytes” and they were known as a leading tribe of the ancient Middle East. They then turn back and come against Mish-pawt’ which means the “fountain of judgment” later called Kaw-dashe; again Moses edits what the area is now known as. This area was between the Dead Sea and Mount Hor, which lie on the boarder of the Southern tip of Judah and Edom. There Chedorlaomer and his army attacked the people of this are which again Moses inserts would be later inhabited by the Am-aw-lay-kites’ and the Em-o-rites’.

Vs. 8-11The five Kings mentioned here which all dwelt in and around the Dead Sea waited to the last minute to join the battle even though it was their rebellion that brought on the attack. Perhaps they had hoped that other would do there fighting for them? When the five kingdoms finally join the fight they are quickly over taken and some choose to jump into the asphalt pits while others fled to the mountains. This area prior to the judgment of God was called the Asphalt Sea. The rout was on and to the victor goes the spoils.

Vs. 12-16 So far the conflict does not seem to effect Abram and Lot in fact it seems as though the world has rid it’s self of the immoral Sodom and Gomorrah. We see three separate characters in this story:

  • The world
  • The carnal believer, Lot
  • The person of faith, Abram

The world will war against its self continually and it will often drag into its fight the carnal believer who will become a captive. Yet the person of faith must battle both even while they fight each other. Abram doesn’t join the fight until Lot is held captive. Even though his captivity to the world happened long before he is taken as spoil, Abram is no obligated to join the fight but not for either side but only for the Lord’s side.

Lot chooses to live as close to the prosperity of the world as he could and his lust for more has caused him to become its captive laterally. There you have the main difference between the carnal believer and the person of faith:

  • Abram chooses to be dwell separate from the world and separated to the Lord
  • Lot chooses to dwell separate from the Lord and separated unto the world

Vs. 13-16 None of the world’s battles seems to find its way into the life of Abram until he hears of the news of the captivity of Lot. Yet Abram shows himself as no pacifist but rather a man of bravery. Several things to note:

  1. Vs. 13 No matter what was going on in the world around him Abram stayed in consistent fellowship and vision with the Lord. He was actively waiting on the Lord for directions from Him and not moving out on emotions.
  2. Vs. 14 The Lord had prepared him by blessing him with 318 men that were armed and ready.
  3. Vs. 14 He was ready to go any distance (120 miles) he needed to help his captive brother.
  4. Vs. 15 He had planned for the attack dividing his forces as to attack from in front as well as from behind. Abram is relentless in this as he chases them all the way to Damascus.
  5. Vs. 16 Abram’s goal was that of restoration of his captive brother.

There is no mention of Lot thanking the Lord or of any repentance. Amazingly Lot seems to just go back to life in Sodom as it had always been. Here is what we see; the best place to prepare for battle is at the altar of the Lord as it is only there that you will have the fellowship and vision necessary to be victorious.

Vs. 17-24 More blessed to give

Vs. 17 Some object saying that the King of Sodom Beh-rah’ died in the asphalt pits in verse 10 but it does not say that he died specifically but rather that some died generally. At any rate the King of Sodom goes out to meet Abram in the area where the Ay-meem  of verse 5 had dwelt describe for us a plane east of the Jordan called the kings valley. This becomes the toughest test of the character of Abram, “how will he handle the success and praise of men?

Vs. 18-20 We come now to one of the most mysterious individuals in the Bible “Mal-kee-tsch’-dek”, in fact it is better to list what we don’t know about him:

  • We don’t know his ancestry
  • We don’t know how he came to be in the land of promise
  • We don’t know how he became a true worshiper of God in a land that worshipped Idols

He first enters the scene in the book of “beginnings” where all the above is always brought up. Thus his identity is somewhat hard to pin down. Usually when the text does not give you the information necessary to determine an interpretation you would go outside the immediate text to search other scriptures that may give us insight. This is one of the only cases I know of where in so doing the picture actually becomes cloudier.

  1. Psalm 110:4 “The LORD has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” This is an obvious reference by King David about Jesus.
  2. Heb 5:6, 10, 6:20, 7:1-21
    • Heb 5:6 “As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek”.
    • Heb 5:10 “called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek
    • Heb 6:20 “where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

In these three references the author calls our attention to Psalm 110: 4 where David calls the Lord a priest forever after the priestly order of Melchizedek.

  1. Heb 7:1-21 Gives us several clues concerning this mystery man:
    • Heb 7:2 “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning, “king of peace”: So namely this man was a King of “righteousness” and the king of “peace”.
    • Heb 7:3 “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.” Two interesting points about this verse:

FIRST: In the Levitical priesthood, selection was based entirely upon heredity and not personal qualifications. Simply put you had to be able to show that your ancestry went all the way back to Aaron. The priest was often more concerned with his ancestry then he was with personal holiness. So here when we are told that Melchizedek was “without genealogy” thus it speaks to that of parentage and origin as being irrelevant for the priesthood. The only clue given as too his identity is perhaps the reference to the fact that he was made like the Son of God in regards to his priesthood.

Second: 7:1 says that Melchizedek was “priest of the Most High God” then in verse 3 we were told that he “remained a priest continually”. Yet in 7:2 we were told that he was a “king of righteousness and the king of peace”. This was forbidden by the Jews for a man to be both King and priest. In fact there are only two people that fit this template, Melchizedek and Jesus! In 1 Peter 2:9 based upon Jesus’ work believers “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”.

The ancestry of the priest meant that the priesthood could not last it was temporal (based upon ancestry) further more because it was based upon heredity it was an obligation not a calling! So Melchizedek and Jesus’ kingdom and priesthood, according to Hebrews, is everlasting and based upon the character of the individual. The fact that Jesus’ kingdom and priesthood is likened to Melchizedek’s reveals something else; that it is universal and not just national because it proceed the Levitical priesthood. This is illustrated by two facts seen in Gen. 14:

  1. The fact that Melchizedek blessed Abram (the greater always blesses the lessor).
  2. The father of the Hebrews willingly offers a tenth of all he had to Melchizedek. Only the priesthood was allowed to receive an offering.

This leaves only two possibilities as to his identity:

  1. He is a type of Jesus; that is to say he is an example placed in scripture show the Jew’s what Messiah would be like at His first coming.
  2. He is theophany (pre-incarnate appearance) of Jesus to Abram.

The evidence could suggest either or both! All we know from this passage is that he was a priest of the “Most High God” “El Elyon” or Supreme Being. In other words not a “higher power” but rather the “Highest Power”.

Melchizedek offers Abram the two elements of communion, perhaps he offered them in a way that looked forward to Jesus sacrifice.

  • BREAD: According to John 6:50 is the symbol of life which immediately reminds us that Jesus is the king of righteousness. Life is always the fruit of righteousness.
  • WINE: According to Psalm 104:15 is the symbol of joy, which reminds us of the fact that Jesus is also the king of peace. Joy is the fruit of peace.

Communion with the Lord is because of His giving us His Holy body, (bread) and the pouring out of His blood, (the wine) through which we now live in fullness of joy in Him.

Vs. 19-20 Melchizedek does two things here that are always associated with the priesthood:

  1. Vs. 19 “Blessed be Abram”: Access to God for man. This is what we are told in 1 Peter 2:5b “a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
  2. Vs. 20 “Blessed be God Most High”: Proclaim the Praises of God to man. Again we are told that is what we are to do in 1 Peter 2:9 “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Abram is told that his blessings come from “Possessor of heaven and earth”, the blessings from God are far greater than anything that could ever come from the world. Based upon the Lord’s blessing Abram he now tithes back to the Lord. So we see three principals in giving:

  1. Worship not work ship! Our giving is in recognition of the fact that God first given us everything. Our giving is an act of worship!
  2. A privilege not an obligation! Our giving is based upon grace and not the law. Abram’s tenth is prior to the law, in other words the concept of giving was formed in grace before it was ever seen in the law. Abram gave because he wanted too and not because he was supposed to!
  3. Assets not abundance! Abram gave out of “all he had” thus his giving was sacrificial and universal in nature. That would include the three “T’s” TIME, TALENTS and TREASURES!

Vs. 21-24 There is an ancient document that was written called the code of Hammurabi that even the movies (The Mummy) has mentioned. In it mentions that the spoil becomes the right of the victor after the war, which includes people as well as goods. Thus old Bera King of Sodom tries to trick Abram wanting his subjects back so he could still be King. In the worlds eyes all that he had gained was his and Bera is trying to make some sort of allegiance with the world. Yet we see that based upon Abrams words he understood four things:

  1. Vs. 22 Position: “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High.” Abram had made a covenant with the Lord thus he was not his own and what he had was not his. Instead he and all he had were possessed by the Possessor of heaven and earth. Martyred missionary Jim Eliot put it this way; “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he can never lose!
  2. Vs. 23a Provocation: “I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap.” Abram realized that the testing came in laying down what the world said was rightfully his. Success is often the avenue to our greatest temptation but Paul would say in 2 Cor. 6:10 that we ought to live as “having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
  3. Vs. 23b Principals: “I will not take anything that is yours.” Abram understood what compromise with the world would get him. He wanted the entire world to see that the blessings he had were because of the Lord and not the King of Sodom. Abram sought and received only approval from the Lord and not that, which comes from the world.
  4. Vs. 23c Prize: “Lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.” Abram did not take this bounty from the King of Sodom yet clearly he saw himself as rich. As far as Abram saw himself he was rich not based upon what he had but rather on Whom he knew. As James 2:23 tells us that he was “called the friend of God.” I mean Abram was a friend of the “Possessor of heaven and earth” what could any mere king give him that his friend did not already possess?

Vs. 24 The only exception Abram made was for the 318 men who were with him, he left the decision for the spoil up to them. Interesting how Abram acknowledged dependence upon the King of peace and independence from the King of the world. We see humility with the King of peace but dignity with the King of the world.