Abram's rescue of Lot
by Don Costello 5/18/2008 / Bible Studies
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;
1. "And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar,"
a. Amraphel (Unger's Bible Dictionary) "a king of Shinar, the alluvial lowland of southern Babylonia, and ally of Chrdorlaomer in the invasion of the west in the time of Abrahamformerly identified with Hammurabi the Great of the First Dynasty of Babylonbut is now disproved chronologically."
b. Shinar (Unger's Bible Dictionary) "roughly spoken of as southern Babylonia." [See map.]
c. Ellasar (Harper Collins Bible Dictionary) The identification of Ellasar is uncertain Larsa, a city in southern Babylonia seems likely if Shinar, the home of Amraphel (Genesis 14:1) derives from the Sinjar Mountains of middle Mesopotamia.
d. Elam was located just northeast of the Persian Gulf in present day Iran.
That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
1. These are the five kings of the cities of the plain; four are named and one is not.
a. Bera (1298 * Bera') (Strong's: Uncertain derivative.) (Gesenius: "gift".)
b. Birsha (1306 * Birsha') (Strong's: "with wickedness".) (Unger's: "with wickedness".) (Gesenius: "son of wickedness.")
c. Shinab (8134 * Shin'ab) (Strong's: "a father has turned".) (Gesenius: "fathers tooth".)
1). Could this refer to a father turning to homosexuality? Admah, the city this man was King of, was one of the cities destroyed because of same sex lust.
d. Shem 'eber (8038 * Shem' eber) (Strong's: apparently from Shem 8034 [which means] position, appellation, honour, authority, character" or "name", [Strong's also says it is the same as the name for Shem, Noah's son, which is 8035, and means "shame"], 'eber, a pinion, [hence] "name of pinion i. e., illustrious". (Gesenius: "soaring on high".)
1). Interesting name similarities.
All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
1. The earliest descriptions that we see in Scripture do not mention a sea in the area.
a. Genesis 13:10-12 "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom."
b. Genesis 14:10 "And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits;"
1). slimepits (2564 * chemar) Gesenius: bitumen. (Thorndike-Barnhart Dictionary: any one of a number of minerals that will burn, such as asphalt, petroleum, and naphtha.)
2. "in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea."
a. This is a geographical reference inserted by Moses [Moses of course because he wrote Genesis], to point out the location of the battle. At the time all this occurred it was still just a "vale".
b. Siddim, vale of (Unger's Bible Dictionary) (sidim; the valley of the fields; perhaps so called from the high cultivation in which it was kept before the destruction of Sodom and the other cities), the scene of the battle between Chedorlaomer, and his allies, and the five confederate kings (Genesis 14:2). However, it is possible that Siddim may designate "salt flats" from Hittite siyanta, "salt".
3. Before the Dead Sea was there, the area was called the vale of Siddim, and during that time, the whole plain of Jordan "was well watered everywhere," in fact Genesis 13:10 compares the area to "the garden of the LORD", presumably the Garden of Eden. There are no descriptions that I know of that mention the area, pre-destruction, as having a sea or lake there. Looking at the little bit of information that we have, I speculate that the Jordan River flowed south through the whole "plain of Jordan", with tributaries branching off southwest and southeast and at its southern most end was the "vale of Siddim".
4. I personally believe that the Dead Sea formed as a result of the judgment/destruction, i.e., it was not there previously.
Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
1. "Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer,
a. served (5647 * abad) Strongs: to serve, till, cause to enslave, be or keep in bondage, cause to or make to serve.
b. This term may take any number of forms, military, or political, or spiritual. It could be good or evil. Many times it involves tribute or taxation of a sort.
c. Judges 2:11 "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
d. Judges 3:14 "So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.
e. Judges 10:16 "And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
d. In our everyday lives we are yielding service to either God or the devil, whom ever we are giving our obedience to.
1). Romans 6:16 "Know ye not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness."
2. "and in the thirteenth year they rebelled."
a. What ever from this service was, these kings refused to render it any longer.
And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims, in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
1. "And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him,"
a. It took a year for Chedorlaomer to get his army together.
2. "and smote the Rephaims, in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zusims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim."
a. While on their way to punish their subjects they made war upon many of the nation/cities on their way.
b. Rephaims (Ungers: spirits of the deceased, giant aborigines).
c. Ashteroth (Harper Collins Bible Dictionary) "The capital city of Og, king of Bashan, whom the Israelites under Moses defeated in battle (Deuteronomy 1:4; Joshua 9:10; 12:4). It later mentioned as a city of refuge given to the Gershomites, a Levitical group, from the territory of the half-tribe of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 6:71). It was located east of the Sea of Galilee."
d. Zuzims were giants. Deuteronomy 2:20, 21 "(That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims; A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:"
1). The margin reads "Zuzims".
e. Emims were giants. Deuteronomy 2:10,11 "The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims."
f. Shaveh-Kiriathaim (Unger's) A plain near the city of Kirjathaim of Moab.
3. Instead of coming from the direct east, these four kings came down from the north. Why? I don't know.
And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness.
1. "And the Horites in their mount Seir,"
a. Mount Seir (Unger's Bible Dictionary) "Mount Seir is the range of mountains running southward from the Dead Sea, east of the valley of Arabah, to the Elanitic Gulf. The earliest mention of Mount Seir is in the Bible account of Chedorlaomer's campaign, in the days of Abraham. This was long before the birth of Esau; and it is said that the Horites were then its inhabitants."
2. "unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness."
a. El-paran (Unger's Bible Dictionary) Ishmael dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, after he and his mother were expelled through the influence of Sarah, Genesis 21:21.
b. The wilderness of Paran is located south west of the vale of Siddim (the Dead Sea), in the Sinai Peninsula. [See map.]
And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalakites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon tamar.
1. "And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalakites"
a. Kadesh is directly north of Paran.
b. Amalakites (Unger's) In Abraham's time we find the Amalakites S.W. of the Dead Sea [before the Dead Sea was there, and it was called the vale of Siddim, see map.]
2. "and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazemon tamar".
a. Amorites (Unger's) A tribe descended from Canaan (Genesis 10:16), and one of the seven whose lands were given to Israel (Genesis 15:16). In Abraham's day they dwelt W. of the Dead Sea, in Hazezon tamar which is En-gedi (2 Chronicles 20:2). [See map.]
b. According to the map, the Amorites that lived in Hazemon tamer, and the Amorites that were Abrams neighbors in Mamre lived only about 15 miles from each other. They quite probably were related, which means they're joining Abram in this rescue was personal.
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;
1. Knowing the inevitable was war, the five kings went out to battle in the vale of Siddim.
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.
And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
1. "And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits;"
a. See notes on Genesis 14:3.
2. "and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there;"
a. fell (5307 * naphal) to fall.
b. fled (5127 * nuwc) to flit, to vanish away.
c. Considering that on Abram's return from the rescue that Bera, the king of Sodom met Abram in the valley of Shaveh (Genesis 14:17), which is south of Bethel, it is probable that the mountain that Bera fled to was to the west.
And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
a. goods (7399 * rekush) property, good, riches substance.
b. victuals (400 * okel) food, eating, meal, prey.
1. Though it doesn't mention them by name they probably took all the goods of the other cities as well.
And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
1. Because Lot is the focus of the narrative no one else is named, but all the people of the cities were taken captive.
And there came one that 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.
1. "And there came one that escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew;"
a. Possible one of Lot's servants.
b. First use of the word "Hebrew" in the Bible.
2. "for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite,"
a. Abram lived on a plain owed by an individual named "Mamre". He was an Amorite
b. Amorites (Harper Collins Bible Dictionary) According to biblical tradition one of the primary peoples in the land of Canaan before the rise of Israel. [They were one of the nations Israel was going to replace, Genesis 15:16, 21].
3. "brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner:"
a. The three Amorite brothers, Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner.
4. "and these were confederate with Abram."
a. confederate [Two Hebrew words] (1167 * ba'al) master, husband, confederate, have to do, they of
(1285 * beriyth) a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh):- confederacy, covenant, league.
b. As I previously stated, it is very probable that the Amorites who were Abram's neighbors in Mamre and the Amorites in Hazemon tamer were related which made this rescue personal to them as well as Abram. The fact that Abram and his neighbors entered into covenant before this rescue effort speaks volumes. The closest word in our culture that approaches the meaning of the word covenant is perhaps marriage. The use of the word for covenant surely explains Abrams response to the king of Sodom in Genesis 14:22-24. I have wondered for a long time why Abram said those words to the king of Sodom, because it strongly implies he made a vow or covenant to God concerning this rescue. More on this in the notes on Genesis 14:22.
And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
1. "And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen,"
a. These 318 were just the men from Abram's group. It is possible that the three Amorite brothers, Mamre, Eschol, and Aner also brought men with them also.
2. "and pursued them unto Dan."
a. Dan is about 120 miles north of Mamre. It probably took about 6-8 days to catch up to this army.
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.
1. "And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them,
a. smote (5221 * nakah) to strike, kill, make slaughter
b. The same Hebrew word translated "smote" in verse 15 is translated "slaughter" in verse 17.
And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the kings dale.
1. "And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him,"
a. slaughter (5221 * nakah) to strike, kill, make slaughter[same word translated "smote in verse 15.
2. "at the vally of Shaveh, which is the kings dale."
a. The valley of Shaveh is located just south of Bethel. [See map.]
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
1. "Melchizedek king of Salem"
a. Melchizedek (4442 * Malkiy-Tsedeq; melek-king; tsedeq-right) [king of righteousness: Hebrews 7:2. His name literally means "king of righteousness".]
b. Salem (8004 * Shalem) Strongs: an early name of Jerusalem. [He was the king of Salem].
1). Hebrews 7:2 says that "by interpretation", Melchizedek was, "King of righteousness", King of Salem", and King of Peace".
c. The only other mention of Melchizedek in the Old Testament is in Psalm 110:4.
1). "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
d. In the New Testament Melchizedek is only mentioned in Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1, 10, 11, 15, 17, 21.
e. In all of those references there is no mention of where he really came from, some have speculated that this unknown person could be Shem, the son of Noah or perhaps even a pre-incarnation appearance of Christ. Who ever this person is, the types and foreshadows in this event that all point to Jesus are sufficient to say this was a very spiritually special event.
2. "brought forth bread and wine"
a. This points to the atonement in Christ, Mark 14:22-25.
b. It also points to intimate relationship, Revelation 3:20.
3. "and he was the priest of the most high God."
a. most high (5945 * elyown) Supreme, most.
b. God (410 * el) God.
c. This order of priesthood was a foreshadow of thepriesthood of Jesus, Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7:14-17.
And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
1. "And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God"
a. The writer of Hebrews says that Melchizedek was greater than Abram.
1). Hebrews 7:7 "And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better."
2. After giving all of Melchizedek's titles and qualifications he tells us, "Now consider how great this man was," Hebrews 7:4.
2. "possessor of heaven and earth."
a. possessor (7069 * qanah) To erect, to create, to procure, especially by purchase, to own.
b. The LORD is the owner of the earth.
1). Psalm 50:10-12 "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof."
2). Haggai 2:8 "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts."
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
1. "And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand."
a. This is the third time the phrase, "most high God" is used in this passage.
b. This is also confirmation that before Abram left to go on this mission, there was a covenant cut with "the most high God" to ensure victory and success.
God "delivered" the four kings into Abram's hands.
c. The foreshadow is also of our authority in Christ, Ephesians 1:19-23.
2. "And he gave him tithes of all."
a. This is the first time the word "tithes" is mentioned in Scripture.
b. The occasion has all the earmarks of a worship service, the bread and wine of communion and intimate relationship, the blessing and the giving of tithe.
And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
1. "And the king of Sodom said unto Abram,"
a. This king's name was Bera, Genesis 14:2. He is mentioned first in the list of the kings of the cities of the plain, which points to his preeminence, and perhaps why he is doing the speaking. At any rate we don't know how many of the other kings if any survived this catastrophe or how many of the ordinary citizens survived.
2. "Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself."
a. It almost seems like the king is bargaining with Abram, in the sense that Abram vanquished the person that vanquished this king.
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,
1. "I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD"
a. Here is further confirmation of the covenant that was cut before Abram attempted to rescue Lot. When a covenant is cut, the parties involved declare with words their responsibility in the covenant, what part of the covenant they will fulfill.
1). This much is revealed in Jeremiah 34:18 where God says he will punish those who have not performed their part of a covenant.
b. Another aspect of the covenant is revealed in Ezekiel 47:14, where God declares that He himself lifted up his hand swearing to give the land to Israel.
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:
1. "That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and I will not take any thing that is thine,"
a. I can't help but see a contempt that Abram has for this king. It has already been reported in Genesis 13:13 that "the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."
b. Abram is also declaring what he had covenanted with God, and his responsibility in the covenant. When Abram had made the covenant before they ever left to rescue Lot, Abram had declared to the most high God, he would not take any of the goods to himself, if only he would give him victory over his enemies.
3. "lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:"
a. It seems apparent that the goods that Abram brought back would significantly increase his worth, and by all rights Abram was entitled to it because of his victory. The obvious contempt that Abram had for this king inspired him to add the statement that he in no way would give opportunity for this person to say I helped Abram get his wealth.
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.
My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.