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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Genesis

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FRAMEWORKS: Genesis 14: Saving Lot


v.1-7 Conflict of Local Kings in the Land

v.8-12 Lot gets taken in the ongoing conflict

v.13-17 Abram saves Lot

v.17-24 Abram meets Melchizedek



v.1-7 Conflict of Local Kings in the Land


v.1,2 Four kings war against another five kings

v.1,2 At the time when

Amraphel was king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goyim, [four kings]

- these kings went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboyim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). [another five kings]


v.3,4 The latter group eventually rebel against the leader of the former group

v.3 All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea Valley).

v.4 For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer , but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.


v.5-7 This king & his associates triumph over all others

v.5,6 In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert.

v.7 Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.


[Notes: These are all small tribal kingdoms of no great might but that didn't stop them fighting each other and forming associations to build strength. Kedorlaomer is the strongest and leads a confederation of four and triumphs over the confederation of five [which, we should note for later, includes the king of Sodom.]



v.8-12 Lot gets taken in the ongoing conflict


v.8,9 The latter confederation go to fight the others

v.8,9 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim  against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five.


v.10-12 They lose and Lot is carried off

v.10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills.

v.11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away.

v.12 They also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.


[Notes: The ongoing conflict has one group against another and the end result is that Lot, who lived near Sodom, was taken by the stronger force.]



v.13-17 Abram saves Lot


v.13 A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram.

v.14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

v.15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.

v.16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.


[Notes: For the first time Abram is referred to as a Hebrew [v.13] which means ‘one passing through'. Abram is living near Hebron and pursues the marauders who have taken Lot, to Dan [an unidentified city], with a relatively small force which suggests that these kings were only small groupings. He defeats them and gets Lot back.]



v.17-24 Abram meets Melchizedek


v.17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley).

v.18,19 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.

v.20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

v.21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”

v.22,23 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.'

v.24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”


[Notes: Two figures not to be confused here. First there was the king of Sodom, the city that benefitted from Abram's victory over the other confederation, and then the king of Salem (Jerusalem) named as Melchizedek.

1. King of Salem: Melchizedek is identified as not only a king but also a priest, “of God Most High” (v.18) who also identifies God as “Creator of heaven and earth” [v.19]. Apart from the activity of Gen 1 & 2 this is the first time that God is described this way. Melchizedek also blessed Abram [v.18.19] bringing him bread and wine, and attributed Abram's victory to God [v.20]. Abram gave him a tenth of the spoil. We know nothing more of him and this point is drawn out by the writer to the Hebrews [Heb 7] who links Jesus to him.

2. King of Sodom: A more earthly king who greets him after Abram's victory and offers Abram the spoil from the battle but Abram refuses to take it.

By the end of this chapter we have thus see that a) Abram has become very prosperous and b) a figure of stature in Canaan having defeated four kings.]


Lessons or Challenges to Ponder from Genesis Chapter 14


1. Here we've seen Abram rescuing his nephew, putting his own life at risk to save him. It's what families do for each other. Isn't it?

2. Abram is now dealing with kings and in so doing righteously, earns a blessing from the mysterious Melchizedek. Are all our dealings equally righteous?



Continue to Chapter 15