Chapter 3, Genesis 14:1-24, when kings go to war
Genesis 14 described the battle between the four kings of Mesopotamia, headed by King Chedorlaomer of Elam, against the five kings of Canaan, headed by the King of Sodom. The battle was fought in the valley of Siddim, also known as the valley of the Salt Sea, or the Dead Sea. The soldiers captured Lot and his family in the crossfire and Abram rescued him. This battle was also known as the battle of Siddim (Genesis 14:10) and the slaughter of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:17).
Verses 1-3, 1 In the days of Amraphel, king of Shinar; Arioch, king of Ellasar; Chedorlaomer, king of Elam; and Tidal, king of Goiim, 2 they made war with Bera, king of Sodom; Birsha, king of Gomorrah; Shinab, king of Admah; Shemeber, king of Zeboiim; and the king of Bela (also called Zoar). 3 All these joined together in the valley of Siddim (also called the Salt Sea).
A coalition of four kings of Mesopotamia under the leadership of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam waged war against a coalition of five kings of Canaan under the leadership of Bera, king of Sodom. Shinar is ancient Mesopotamia, modern-day Irag. Elam is modern-day Iran. Sodom and Gomorrah were extinct cities in Cannan near the Dead Sea. They converged for battle at the valley of Siddim, also known as the Salt Sea, or the Dead Sea.
Verse 4-7, 4 They served Chedorlaomer for twelve years, and in the thirteenth year, they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and struck the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, to El Paran, which is by the wilderness. 7 They returned, and came to En Mishpat (also called Kadesh), and struck all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that lived in Hazazon Tamar.
After serving served Chedorlaomer for twelve years, the five kings of Canaan
rebelled against him in the thirteenth year. Chedorlaomer and his allies attacked the Rephaim, the Zuzim, the Emim, the Horites, El Paran, the Amalekites, and the Amorites In the fourteenth year.
Verses 8-9, 8 The king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (also called Zoar) went out; and they set the battle in array against them in the valley of Siddim 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings against the five.
The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies fought against the Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and his allies in the valley of Siddim.
Verses 10-12, 10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and some fell there. Those who remained fled to the hills. 11 They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their food, and went their way. 12 They took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who lived in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
In those days, the valley of Siddim, (Salt Sea or Dead Sea) was full of tar pits. Chedorlaomer and his allies came out victorious and defeated the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies. They plundered the goods and took away the people of Sodom and Gomorrah as hostages, including Lot and his family.
Verses 13-17, 13 One who had escaped came and told Abram, the Hebrew. At that time, he lived by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner. They were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative was taken captive, he led out his three hundred eighteen trained men, born in his house, and pursued as far as Dan. 15 He divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and struck them, and pursued them to Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot and his goods, and the women also, and the other people. 17 The king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
When Abram heard that Lot was captured, he and his allies plus three hundred and eighteen of his men went on a rescue mission and chased after the enemies as far north as Dan. We can see that Abram was very rich because he had three hundred and eighteen men born in his house! He divided the rescue team into groups and pursued the enemies at night as far as north as Damascus. Abram rescued Lot, other hostages, their families, and their possessions. In the wake of this successful campaign, the king of Sodom came to meet Abram.
Verses 18-20, 18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was the priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him, and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth. 20 Blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” Abram gave him a tenth of all.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Melchizedek, the king of Salem, appeared to Abram. Some scholars believed that Melchizedek was a Christophany, the pre-incarnate Christ who appeared to Abram in a human form. Hebrews for Melchizedek means king of righteousness. Salem was Jerusalem. Hebrews for Salem is shalom or peace. Melchizedek was the king of Jerusalem, king of peace, a priest of the Most Hogh God or El Elyon. God revealed another name to Abram, El Elyon, the Most High God. Melchizedek was a foreshadow or type of Christ. Melchizedek blessed Abram and gave him bread and wine to Abram, a foreshadow of the Holy Communion. Abram gave to Melchizedek a tenth of all his possessions. Melchizedek is also mentioned two more times in the Bible, Psalm 110:4, and Hebrews 7: 1-3. Melchizedek is like the Son of God, eternal, with no genealogy, no beginning, and no end.
Psalm 110:4, “Yahweh has sworn, and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews 7: 1-3, For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, by interpretation, “king of righteousness”, and then also “king of Salem”, which means “king of peace”, without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God), remains a priest continually.
Verses 21-24, 21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people, and take the goods for yourself.” 22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted up my hand to Yahweh, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread nor a sandal strap nor anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept nothing from you except that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their portion.”
The king of Sodom offered Abram all the booty in exchange for the hostage, but Abram refused to take anything from him. His allegiance was to the LORD and no one else. Abram’s faith had strengthened and matured. The LORD who owned the whole universe and the cattle on a thousand hills had given him victory, Psalm 50:10, NIV.
Psalm 50:10, NIV, “for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”
Abraham’s rescue of Lot and the hostages from Chedorlaomer is a foreshadowing of Christ rescuing us from the captivity of satan.
Abraham paid a tenth of all his possessions to Melchizedek. Since all that you have comes from God, you need to pay back a portion of what you earned to further the ministries of the kingdom of God. This is the basis for paying tithes and offerings.
Heavenly Father, thank You for redeeming us from the bondage of sin. Thank You for setting us free from the captivity of satan. Thank You for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to secure our salvation. Thank You for all that You have done for us in our lives, in Jesus’ name, Amen.