And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
This great foray is only incidentally introduced into our narrative, on account of the capture of Lot. It was not the first visit probably of these marauders to the same lands. It is interesting to the historian, as a sample of the mode in which conquest was made. It opens up to the view one of the ancient scenes of human activity. It teaches us that the wave of war often flowed over the lands of the ancient world, and left more or less lasting marks of its disturbing power. Tribes were not unfrequently moved from place to place, intermingled with one another, and enslaved by other tribes. The actual state of things in the land of Abram's pilgrimage is suddenly presented to us under a new light. The Rephaim, including the Zuzim and the Emim, occupy the east of the Jordan, and had once a place on the west. The Perizzites also dwell side by side with the Kenaanites in the western district. The Horites are found in Mount Seir. As none of these were Kenaan's descendants, we have the undeniable traces of a Shemitic population before and along with the Kenaanites. The language of Heber, therefore, was in the country before the latter arrived.
Ge 14:1-24. War.
1. And it came to pass—This chapter presents Abram in the unexpected character of a warrior. The occasion was this: The king of Sodom and the kings of the adjoining cities, after having been tributaries for twelve years to the king of Elam, combined to throw off his yoke. To chastise their rebellion, as he deemed it, Chedorlaomer, with the aid of three allies, invaded the territories of the refractory princes, defeated them in a pitched battle where the nature of the ground favored his army (Ge 14:10), and hastened in triumph on his homeward march, with a large amount of captives and booty, though merely a stranger.And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. they took] The subject is abruptly transferred to the victorious army. The account of the fall of the towns is omitted.
Sodom and Gomorrah] Mentioned perhaps as the chief towns; the three others are passed over in silence. The victorious troops did not wait; but after inflicting punishment hurried off, like a predatory horde, with their booty.Verse 11. - And they (the conquering kings) took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way, ascending up the valley of the Jordan en route for Damascus. Deuteronomy 2:20; Deuteronomy 3:11, Deuteronomy 3:13; Joshua 12:4; Joshua 13:12). Beside this, there were Rephaim on this side of the Jordan among the Canaanitish tribes (Genesis 15:20), some to the west of Jerusalem, in the valley which was called after them the valley of the Rephaim (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; 2 Samuel 5:18, etc.), others on the mountains of Ephraim (Joshua 17:15); while the last remains of them were also to be found among the Philistines (2 Samuel 21:16.; 1 Chronicles 20:4.). The current explanation of the name, viz., "the long-stretched," or giants (Ewald), does not prevent our regarding רפא as the personal name of their forefather, though no intimation is given of their origin. That they were not Canaanites may be inferred from the fact, that on the eastern side of the Jordan they were subjugated and exterminated by the Canaanitish branch of the Amorites. Notwithstanding this, they may have been descendants of Ham, though the fact that the Canaanites spoke a Semitic tongue rather favours the conclusion that the oldest population of Canaan, and therefore the Rephaim, were of Semitic descent. At any rate, the opinion of J. G. Mller, that they belonged to the aborigines, who were not related to Shem, Ham, and Japhet, is perfectly arbitrary. - Ashteroth Karnaim, or briefly Ashtaroth, the capital afterwards of Og of Bashan, was situated in Hauran; and ruins of it are said to be still seen in Tell Ashtereh, two hours and a half from Nowah, and one and three-quarters from the ancient Edrei, somewhere between Nowah and Mezareib (see Ritter, Erdkunde).
(Note: J. G. Wetztein, however, has lately denied the identity of Ashteroth Karnaim, which he interprets as meaning Ashtaroth near Karnaim, with Ashtaroth the capital of Og (see Reiseber. b. Hauran, etc. 1860, p. 107). But he does so without sufficient reason. He disputes most strongly the fact that Ashtaroth was situated on the hill Ashtere, because the Arabs now in Hauran assured him, that the ruins of this Tell (or hill) suggested rather a monastery or watch-tower than a large city, and associates it with the Bostra of the Greeks and Romans, the modern Bozra, partly on account of the central situation of this town, and its consequent importance to Hauran and Peraea generally, and partly also on account of the similarity in the name, as Bostra is the latinized form of Beeshterah, which we find in Joshua 21:27 in the place of the Ashtaroth of 1 Chronicles 6:56; and that form is composed of Beth Ashtaroth, to which there are as many analogies as there are instances of the omission of Beth before the names of towns, which is a sufficient explanation of Ashtaroth (cf. Ges. thes., p. 175 and 193).)
"The Zuzims in Ham" were probably the people whom the Ammonites called Zam zummim, and who were also reckoned among the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 2:20). Ham was possibly the ancient name of Rabba of the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 3:11), the remains being still preserved in the ruins of Ammn. - "The Emim in the plain of Kiryathaim:" the אימים or אמים (i.e., fearful, terrible), were the earlier inhabitants of the country of the Moabites, who gave them the name; and, like the Anakim, they were also reckoned among the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 2:11). Kiryathaim is certainly not to be found where Eusebius and Jerome supposed, viz., in Καριάδα, Coraiatha, the modern Koerriath or Kereyat, ten miles to the west of Medabah; for this is not situated in the plain, and corresponds to Kerioth (Jeremiah 48:24), with which Eusebius and Jerome have confounded Kiryathaim. It is probably still to be seen in the ruins of el Teym or et Tueme, about a mile to the west of Medabah. "The Horites (from חרי, dwellers in caves), in the mountains of Seir," were the earlier inhabitants of the land between the Dead Sea and the Elanitic Gulf, who were conquered and exterminated by the Edomites (Genesis 36:20.). - "To El-paran, which is by the wilderness:" i.e., on the eastern side of the desert of Paran (see Genesis 21:21), probably the same as Elath (Deuteronomy 2:8) or Eloth (1 Kings 9:26), the important harbour of Aila on the northern extremity of the so-called Elanitic Gulf, near the modern fortress of Akaba, where extensive heaps of rubbish show the site of the former town, which received its name El or Elath (terebinth, or rather wood) probably from the palm-groves in the vicinity.
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