This chapter begins with Abram avoiding conflict and ends with him leading an army on a rescue mission.
- In obedience to God’s command to travel around and see the promised land, Abram headed southward, until he reached the city of Kiryath Arba, later called Hebron. There he was welcomed by Aner, Eshkol and Mamre, the resident lords of the Amorites. They formed an alliance, and Abram settled down in the oak-groves of Mamre.
- Abram was the first Biblical character to be called a “Hebrew,” and it had usually had a negative connotation. It insinuated that Hebrews were property-less, dependent, no-good immigrants—a foreign low-class socially rather than a specific ethnic group. ~Archeological Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2005, pg 25
- Who was Melchizedek, this Canaanite king-priest? A leader with his heart tuned to God, an encourager to other believers, and the ruler of Salem (the site of future Jerusalem).
About this time war broke out in the region. King Amraphel of Babylonia, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Kedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim 2 fought against King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (also called Zoar). 3 This second group of kings joined forces in Siddim Valley (that is, the valley of the Dead Sea). 4 For twelve years they had been subject to King Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled against him. 5 One year later Kedorlaomer and his allies arrived and defeated the Rephaites at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzites at Ham, the Emites at Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites at Mount Seir, as far as El-paran at the edge of the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (now called Kadesh) and conquered all the territory of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites living in Hazazon-tamar. 8 Then the rebel kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (also called Zoar) prepared for battle in the valley of the Dead Sea. 9 They fought against King Kedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 As it happened, the valley of the Dead Sea was filled with tar pits. And as the army of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into the tar pits, while the rest escaped into the mountains. 11 The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies. 12 They also captured Lot—Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom—and carried off everything he owned. 13 But one of Lot’s men escaped and reported everything to Abram the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram’s allies. 14 When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. 15 There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives. 17 After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High,[d] brought Abram some bread and wine. 19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered. 21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.” 22 Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.” Genesis 14, NLT
RETELL THE STORY
With so many unpronounceable names and countries that we don’t know, I took pity on you and charted the first 7 verses for you:
- To ease our confusion, I started by giving names to the warring parties.
- King Kedorlaomer and his allies – Top Dogs (vs 1-2)
- Those living between the armies – The Unfortunates (vs 5-7).
- Kings of the 5 cities in the plains – Plain Guys (vs 2-3).
- After 12 years of subjugation, the Plain Guys rebelled (vs 4), and the Top Dogs massed to teach the rebels a lesson. On the way, they conquered The Unfortunates in their path (vs 5-7).
Now, it’s your turn to finish the story in your own words.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: GOD AND ABRAM
- Where did Mechizedek come from? And why do you think God brought the two believers in the Almighty God together?
- Abram made alliances with the kings of the tribes in the area of Hebron where he settled his family (vs 13 & 24). Is this in character with what we have learned about Abram already?
- The escapee from Lot’s household made his way to Abram to ask for help. Why do you think he went to Abram (vs 13)?
- Abram didn’t hesitate to go to the rescue (vs 14). What does this tell us about Abram’s character?
- Abram’s fighting men, servants, and allies all joined in the rescue, under the leadership of Abram (vs 15-16). What does this tell us about the relationship between them?
- Why do you think Abram gave a tithe from the plunder to Melchizedek? Why did he refuse The King of Sodom’s offer on behalf of his own household, and only for his allies?
Father God, help us to be prepared for battle as Abram was. Help us to keep my Ephesians 6 armor close by and to be well-trained in Your word. Give us courage because we know that You supply the strength and power necessary for the battle against evil. Send your messengers to use, and help us to actively engage in the battles You lay before us. Amen
Come back again tomorrow as we see God as the bringer of victory. As always, I’d love to hear from you. There is space for your comments below or email me at KSEvenhouseWWV@gmail.com