by Robert Brow    (

Brow Publications, Kingston, Ontario (e-mail: 2004

Introduction | Genesis 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11| 12| 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30

31 | 32 | 33| 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41| 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50| PostScript


Table Of Contents:

Genesis 14:1-2 Genesis 14:17
Genesis 14:3 Genesis 14:18
Genesis 14:4 Genesis 14:19
Genesis 14:5-7 Genesis 14:20
Genesis 14:8-11 Genesis 14:21-23
Genesis 14:12 Genesis 14:24
Genesis 14:13-16  


GENESIS 14:1-12    (Battle by the Dead Sea)

14:1-2   Shinar was the area of central Mesopotamia taken over from the Sumerians by Nimrod, the Hamitic general from South Arabia (10:8-10).   Ellasar was probably located to the north of that.  Elam was a Shemitic nation related to the Sumerians to the east (10:22).   Goim means peoples, and Tidal may have been King of the Hittite peoples on the western border.  They joined together to attack the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies 400 miles to the south by the Dead Sea.

14:3   The Valley of Siddim is probably where the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were located before their destruction (19:24-25).  The area now seems covered by the southern part of the Dead Sea where bitumen (14:10) is still reported to come the surface.

14:4   The reason for the war was that the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah with their allies had revolted against the fourteen year domination of the Elamite King Chedorlaomer.

14:5-7     To recover his authority over the area Chedorlaomer enlisted an army from neighboring kings (promising them a share of the booty), and led them south subdue the tribes east of the Jordan.   The Rephaim and Zuzim (Zanzummin) lived in the area later called Bashan east of the Sea of Galilee (Deuteronomy 2:20; 3:13).  The Emim lived  further south, and the Horites even further south in the hill country of Seir (later occupied by the Edomites, 36:9).    From there Chedorlaomer circled round the southern end of the Dead Sea to Kadesh Barnea in the Negeb (50 miles, 80 km south of Beersheba).

14:8-11   Faced with this encircling pincer movement, the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies came out to counter-attack,  but they were defeated and fled into the hills leaving their cities open to be plundered. 

 14:12    Lot had remained behind, perhaps hoping to escape by claiming he came from Mesopotamia (11:31).  We can imagine Chedorlaomer saying “If that’s where you came from, come back north with us, and bring all your family and your possessions.”


GENESIS 14:13-16   (Abraham saves Lot and his Family)

 14:13-16   Abraham was living near Hebron (13:18), and when he heard the news of Lot’s capture he immediately gathered 318 of his men and neighbors (14:24) for a five day march  (120 miles, 200 km) up the west of the Jordan.  He was able to catch up with the army of Chedorlaomer and his allies  by the town of Laish later occupied by the tribe of Dan in the foothills of Mount Hermon (Joshua 19:47, Judges 18:27-28).  By attacking from two directions at night he was able to surprise and rout the huge army.    As they fled, he pursued them another 50 miles to the north of Damascus.  From there he was able to recover all the loot taken from the area of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as the family and property of his nephew Lot.

14:17   Lot and his family moved back to Sodom and gave the news of Abraham’s astonishing victory.  Abraham and his men went up the Jericho Road on their way back to Hebron, and the King of Sodom, who had escaped to the hills (14:10) hurried to catch up with him in the Kidron Valley to the east of Jerusalem.

14:18   They were joined by the Jebusite Priest-King of Salem (later called Jerusalem), who brought the bread and wine for a sacrificial meal (compare 26:30).    His name Melchizedek in Hebrew (Canaanite) means “My King is Righteousness”(compare one of his successors named Adonizedek meaning “My Lord is Righteousness,” Joshua 10:1).  This  name could express the Priest-King’s  faith in God as the righteous Judge (14:20), or this could be the way his subjects addressed him.

The New Testament explains  “His name, in the first place, means ‘king of Righteousness’; next he is also ‘king of Salem’, that is, ‘king of peace.’  Without father, without mother, without genealogy” (Hebrews 7:1-3).    This is not to suggest that he was an incarnation.   The point is that, unlike all the other important people mentioned in Genesis, this Priest-King had no recorded parents, or genealogy, or historical information about his life or origin.  

14:19   Melchizedek gave Abraham his priestly blessing, and the New Testament explains that “It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior” (Hebrews 7:7).   This indicates that Abraham recognized his spiritual authority.

Nine hundred years later, after David had become King and made Jerusalem his capital, he sang “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm110:4).  There is no evidence that King David ever viewed himself as a priest, so this seems to refer to the Messiah Son of God.  And this is the conclusion of the New Testament.  “Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered (heaven), having become a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrew 6:20). 

14:20   Having been blessed by the Priest-King Melchizedek, Abraham gave him a tenth of all the spoil he had taken in the battle against Chedorlaomer and his allies (14:17).  This is the first reference in the Bible to a tithe (see Jacob’s promise in 28:22).   The tithe was later used to support the Levites (Numbers 18:21-24), who in turn gave a tenth to support the Aaronic priests (Number 18:25-29).  And the last of the Old Testament prophets promised a blessing for tithing (Malachi 3:10).

14:21-23  The King of Sodom asked for his own citizens to be freed to go home, but he suggested that Abraham keep all the remaining booty.  But Abraham said he had sworn to the LORD that he would not take anything for himself to prevent anyone from saying that it was the property of Sodom that had made him rich.  

14:24   Abraham did allow neighbors from Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre (place names or local tribes),  who had joined him for the battle, to keep their share.   That meant that the King of Sodom received back the major part of what the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorah had lost (14:11).

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