The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 14

Gen 14:1

Gen 14: Typ Abraham and the saints who defeat the armies of the nations at "Armageddon", to free Lot (ie natural Israel), and then return to Jerusalem to be blessed by Melchizedek (ie Christ).

AT THIS TIME: In AV, "it came to pass". Always prefaces a time of trouble which ends in blessing: Rth 1:1; Isa 7:1; Jer 1:3; Est 1:1; 2Sa 21:1.

AMRAPHAEL OF SHINAR: "Hammurabi" of Babylon, writer of code of laws (WHB, Arch Expl 14). Sig "powerful people" of the "enemies' tooth".

ARIOCH: "Servant of moon goddess".

ELLASAR: Larsa, town in southern Babylonia.

KEDORLAOMER: "Servant of the god Laomar".

TIDAL: "Formidable", "venerable". Prob head of the barbarian tribes of Kurdish mountains.

GOIIM: Lit "nations", or "Gentiles".

Gen 14:2

BERA: "Evil".

SODOM: "Lime pits", impl burning!

BIRSHA: "Wickedness".

GOMORRAH: "Heap", by impl "to chastise", by piling on blows.

SHINAB: "A father has turned".

ADMAH: "Earthy" or "red earth" -- as "Adam".

SHEMEBER: "Passover to shame".

ZEBOIIM: "Beautiful" (as a gazelle).

BELA: "Make away", or "devour".

Gen 14:3

Lot finds the peaceful-looking valley embroiled in war.

SIDDIM: "Fields", suggesting a prosperous area on shores of what was a fresh-water lake at this time (cp Gen 13:10), but which was soon to become the "Salt Sea"!

Gen 14:4

12: Number of orderly government.

13: Number of disruption, rebellion.

Gen 14:5

14: 7 x 2; the covenant reinforced.

REPHAITES: "Giants"; also translated "dead ones": cp Deu 3:11,13.

ASHTEROTH KARNAIM: "The Ashtarte of two horns" (or two mountain peaks), a city of Bashan (Deu 4:1). Venus often appears as a crescent shape.

EMITES: "Terrible ones".

SHAVEH KIRIATHAIM: In AV mg, "the plain of Kiriathaim -- or two cities".

Gen 14:6

HORITES: "Cave dwellers".

EL PARAN: "The oak of the place of caverns".

DESERT: That is, Sinai.

Gen 14:7

EN MISHPAT: "Spring of Judgment".

KADESH: "Holy".

THE WHOLE TERRITORY OF THE AMALEKITES: Only the Amalekites' country, for the tribe did not exist yet (see Gen 36:12,16).

AMORITES: "Men of the mountains".

HAZAZON TAMAR: "Row of palms": En-gedi?

Gen 14:10

TAR PITS (SLIME PITS): "Springs of bitumen". From rt "to ferment" or "to glow". Builders of Babel used tar for mortar (Gen 11:2). "Asphalt" (Strong). Today, petroleum deposits are still to be found in area.

SOME... FELL INTO THEM: Entrapped in their own tar pits (Psa 9:15). But the king of Sodom apparently escaped (v 17).

Gen 14:12

If we pursue the path of simple faith (as Abraham) we will generally be thrown outside the world's circumstances. But if we abandon our separate position to seek a name, a place, and a portion in this world (as did Lot), we must expect to participate in its vicissitudes and convulsions (CHM 153).

LIVING: Not just "sojourning", but now a permanent resident.

Gen 14:13

THE HEBREW: A descendant of Heber (Gen 10:21), poss ref to his right of inheritance. A "crosser-over" to a new way of life.

THE GREAT TREES: "Elon". Rt "strength" or "oak". The Heb is consistently translated "tree(s)" in NIV, but "plain" in Gen 12:6; 13:18; 14:13; 18:1; Deu 11:30. Cp also Jdg 4:11; 9:6,37; 1Sa 10:3.

ESHCOL: "Grape cluster".

ANER: "Waterfall".

ALLIED (CONFEDERATE): "Baalim berith" = "lords (or possessors) of the covenant". They were believers in God of Abr. Typ future: House of Abraham (comprising Hebrew and Gentile in covenant relationship with each other), with help of Yahweh, overthrow invading confederacy from north, rescuing their kinsman (Israel after the flesh), and at last receiving blessing from the "Melchizedek" king of righteousness at Salem.

Gen 14:14

RELATIVE: Lit "brother": "A bro is born for adversity" (Pro 17:17). Abraham felt a closer kinship with Lot than family relationship: "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently" (Gal 6:1). Redeem a kinsman out of difficulty (Lev 25:47-55).

TRAINED: Or "instructed". Heb "chaniyk". Disciplined and trained, ie in way of life (Pro 22:6). May sig "consecrated", as in Deu 20:5; 1Ki 8:63.

BORN IN HIS HOUSEHOLD: Typ born into household of faith: blessed with faithful Abraham (Gal 3:26-28).

DAN: Sig "judgment".

Gen 14:15

Note the temptation Abraham must have had: conquer land now, by several similar forays, for had not God conquered for him? And had not God promised him the Land? This single battle, a foretaste of future glory, similar to Christ's transfiguration. "The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion" (Pro 28:1).

HOBAH: "Hiding", about 50 miles n of Damascus.

Gen 14:16

The Sodomites, delivered from one enemy, but destined to suffer a worse fate when they remain unrepentant.

Gen 14:17

VALLEY OF SHAVEH: "Valley of plains", in Kedron Valley, ne of Jerusalem, called "Valley of Jehoshaphat" (Joel 3).

THE KING'S VALLEY (DALE): Where Absalom erected a pillar: 2Sa 18:18.

Gen 14:18

Melch was king of Salem (ie king of peace): Heb 7:2; Gen 14:18, as is Jesus. See also Isa 9:7. Bread and wine (cp Last Supper). A priest of God who came forth to bless Abr. The Heb author says lesser is always blessed by greater. So if Melch typ Jesus, then Jesus is greater than even Abraham (see Joh 8:56-58). Also, Abraham gave tithes to Melch; and Levi was still in the loins of Abraham; thus Levi pd tithes to Melch. Also, the recipient of tithes is greater than the one who gives. Thus Christ > Levi and the Levitical priests, and therefore > the Law of Moses, which gave responsibility to the Levitical priests.

"Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other" (Psa 85:10).

"The passing of the torch" (Candlish 142,143).

SALEM: Jerusalem (Psa 76:2: "His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion"). "Salem" = "peace": Christ will be king of peace (Isa 9:6; Zec 6:13).

BREAD AND WINE: Tokens of the covenant (Luk 22:17,18). Bread of strength and life; wine of joy and fellowship: Mat 26:26-29.

PRIEST: Order superior to Levitical (Heb 7:4-11). Christ is high priest of the order (Heb 6:20; 7:11; Psa 110). Glorified saints will be immortal associates (Rev 5:9,10)."Without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever" (Heb 7:3). Incorporating the 3-fold privilege of ancient firstborn: authority, inheritance, priesthood.

GOD MOST HIGH (THE MOST HIGH GOD): "El Elyon". "El": first time in Bible as name of God. "El" = "strength". "Elyon" = "elevation". See Gen 11:11; WAbr 42,43.

Gen 14:19

Summary of work of an intercessor: for both God and man.

CREATOR: Attested reading in Ugaritic (NIV, Making 99); cp Pro 8:22n. Also in v 22 here; cp Gen 4:1n.

Gen 14:20

The benediction of Melch prepares Abraham to meet the subtle attack of the king of Sodom. A man blessed of his God can take nothing from his enemies.

Gen 14:22

Vv 22-24: Such austere separation might make Abraham the enemy of the king of Sodom: cp Gen 15:1. Abraham here is showing a stubborn independence of the world (the king of Sodom). He wants as little to do with Sodom as poss. He also shows a jealousy for the honor of the God who blessed him. In v 20, he is willing to deal with Melch. Other examples of righteous men acting in this way are: Peter (Act 3); Elisha (2Ki 5); and Daniel (Dan 5:17). Cp Gen 23, where Abraham is not willing to take the land for free from Ephron to bury Sarah.

I HAVE RAISED MY HAND: Abraham had prayed, and had decided already how to answer the king's proposal. Lifting up hand = a ceremonial act of oath-taking.

CREATOR: As in v 19, attested reading in Ugaritic (NIV, Making 99); cp Pro 8:22n.

Gen 14:23

Renouncing worldly advantage. God had made Abram rich (Gen 12:16; 13:2). God was his reward (Gen 15:1).

THREAD: "Chut", fillet, hair-ribbon worn by young women.

OR THE THONG OF A SANDAL: Cp sandal thongs in Deu 25:9; Joh 1:25-27. "In the eyes of the king of Sodom, Abraham was his redeemer, having saved him from the hand of the enemy, but Abraham was unwilling to accept that recognition to the point of being unwilling to unloose even his shoelatchet Abraham conceded that the work of redemption was God's and His alone" (Xd 138:409)

Gen 14:24

WHAT MY MEN HAVE EATEN: "Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel" (1Co 9:13,14; Rom 13:7,8). "For the Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages' " (1Ti 5:18).

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