1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emins in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar.
8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
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Genesis 14 is a pivotal chapter in the book of Genesis, as it marks the first time that Abram (later known as Abraham) is mentioned after his initial call from God in chapter 12. This chapter also introduces the character of Melchizedek, who is a mysterious figure that has been the subject of much debate and speculation throughout history. The main themes of this chapter include the concept of kingship, the importance of faith and obedience, and the foreshadowing of Christ's role as the ultimate high priest. Through the events and characters in this chapter, we can gain a deeper understanding of God's plan for humanity and the role that faith plays in our relationship with Him.
The chapter begins by describing a war between four kings from the east and five kings from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. These five cities had been under the rule of King Chedorlaomer for twelve years, but they rebelled against him in the thirteenth year. As a result, Chedorlaomer and his allies came to wage war against them. This sets the stage for the main events of the chapter, as Abram's nephew Lot is caught up in the conflict.
Abram, who had been living in the land of Canaan, receives news that Lot has been taken captive by the invading kings. Despite the fact that Lot had chosen to settle in the wicked city of Sodom, Abram still cares for his family and sets out to rescue him. This shows Abram's character of compassion and loyalty, as well as his willingness to take action in difficult situations.
As Abram and his men pursue the enemy kings, they are able to defeat them and rescue Lot and the other captives. On their way back, they are met by Melchizedek, who is described as the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High. He brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram, who in turn gives him a tenth of all the spoils from the battle.
This encounter is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it shows that there were other kings and rulers in the land besides Abram. This highlights the importance of kingship and the role of rulers in God's plan. Secondly, it introduces the character of Melchizedek, who is a mysterious figure that has been the subject of much speculation and debate. Some believe that he was a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, while others see him as a type or foreshadowing of Christ. Regardless of the interpretation, it is clear that Melchizedek is a significant figure in the biblical narrative.
After the encounter with Melchizedek, the king of Sodom comes to meet Abram and offers him all the spoils from the battle. However, Abram refuses to take anything, stating that he does not want to be indebted to the king of Sodom. This shows Abram's integrity and his trust in God to provide for him. It also serves as a contrast to the character of Lot, who had chosen to live in Sodom and had become entangled in its sinful ways.
After these events, God appears to Abram in a vision and reassures him of His protection and blessing. He tells Abram that He is his shield and his reward, and that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. This reaffirms God's promise to Abram in chapter 12, and serves as a reminder of the importance of faith and obedience in God's plan.
At its core, Genesis 14 is a chapter about faith and obedience. Through the actions of Abram, we see the importance of trusting in God and following His will, even in the face of difficult circumstances. Abram's willingness to rescue Lot and his refusal of the spoils from the king of Sodom demonstrate his faith in God's provision and protection.
The encounter with Melchizedek also serves as a foreshadowing of Christ's role as the ultimate high priest. Melchizedek, who is described as a priest of God Most High, brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram. This is reminiscent of Jesus' actions at the Last Supper, where He broke bread and shared wine with His disciples. Additionally, the fact that Abram gives a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek foreshadows the concept of tithing, which is later established as a practice in the Mosaic law.
Furthermore, the war between the kings and the rescue of Lot can be seen as a symbol of the ongoing spiritual battle between good and evil. Lot's decision to live in Sodom and his subsequent capture by the enemy kings serves as a warning against the dangers of being enticed by the ways of the world. However, Abram's actions show that even in the midst of this battle, God is faithful to protect and bless those who remain faithful to Him.
Overall, Genesis 14 serves as a reminder of the importance of faith and obedience in our relationship with God. It also highlights the concept of kingship and the role of rulers in God's plan. The encounter with Melchizedek foreshadows Christ's role as the ultimate high priest, and the war between the kings symbolizes the ongoing spiritual battle between good and evil. Through the events and characters in this chapter, we can gain a deeper understanding of God's plan for humanity and the role that faith plays in our relationship with Him.