Genesis 14:5
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 Emins in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
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(5) The Rephaims.—Described as an Amorite tribe (Amos 2:9) of great stature, settled in Bashan, where Moses conquered them (Joshua 13:12). We find them also on the other side of Jordan, in Mount Ephraim ( Joshua 17:15), on the western side of Jerusalem (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; 2Samuel 5:18; 2Samuel 5:22), and even among the Philistines (2Samuel 21:16; 2Samuel 21:18). In many of these places the word is wrongly translated giants. From this wide dispersion of them we may safely conclude that they belonged to the earlier settlers in the land and that only their rulers, like Og (Joshua 9:10), were Amorites.

Ashteroth Karnaim.The two-horned Astarte, the Phœnician Venus, identified by the Rephaim with the moon. Her worship had, no doubt, been introduced by the Amorites. This city was the capital of Og (Deuteronomy 1:4), and is called Be-Eshtera, “the house of Astarte,” in Joshua 21:27. Its remains have been found at Tell-Ashtereh, in the Hauran, about two leagues from the ancient Edrei.

The Zuzim.—Called in Deuteronomy 2:20 Zamzummim, where they are identified with the Rephaim, of which stock they were an inferior branch. Their capital, Ham, has been identified with Hameitât, about six miles to the east of the lower part of the Dead Sea (Tristram, Land of Moab, p. 117).

The Emims.—Of these also we read in Deuteronomy 2:10-11 : “The Emim . . . also were accounted Rephaim, as the Anakim.”

In Shaveh Kiriathaim.—More probably, in the plain of Kiriathaim. This city, given to the tribe of Reuben (Numbers 32:37), was, upon the decay of the Israelites upon the east of Jordan, re-occupied by the Moabites (Jeremiah 48:1), who had taken it from the Emim.

Genesis 14:5. In the fourteenth year — After some pause and preparation, Chedorlaomer, in conjunction with his allies, set himself to reduce the revolters. The four kings laid the neighbouring countries waste, and enriched themselves with the spoil of them, Genesis 14:5-7. Upon the alarm of which, the king of Sodom and his allies went out and were routed.14:1-12 The wars of nations make great figure in history, but we should not have had the record of this war if Abram and Lot had not been concerned. Out of covetousness, Lot had settled in fruitful, but wicked Sodom. Its inhabitants were the most ripe for vengeance of all the descendants of Canaan. The invaders were from Chaldea and Persia, then only small kingdoms. They took Lot among the rest, and his goods. Though he was righteous, and Abram's brother's son, yet he was with the rest in this trouble. Neither our own piety, nor our relation to the favourites of Heaven, will be our security when God's judgments are abroad. Many an honest man fares the worse for his wicked neighbours: it is our wisdom to separate, or at least to distinguish ourselves from them, 2Co 6:17. So near a relation of Abram should have been a companion and a disciple of Abram. If he chose to dwell in Sodom, he must thank himself if he share in Sodom's losses. When we go out of the way of our duty, we put ourselves from under God's protection, and cannot expect that the choice made by our lusts, should end to our comfort. They took Lot's goods; it is just with God to deprive us of enjoyments, by which we suffer ourselves to be deprived of the enjoyment of him.The narrative here reverts to the previous circumstances which gave occasion to the present raid. "Twelve years had they served Kedorlaomer." These years date probably from the commencement of his reign. They may have been previously dependent on the dominant power in Shinar, and connected with it by national descent. If Kedorlaomer had wrested the supremacy from the king of Shinar, and so was regarded as an alien by the princes of Siddim, their coolness might gradually ripen into disaffection. In the thirteenth year they rebelled, and in the fourteenth Kedorlaomer came to quell the revolt. This military expedition embraced far loftier objects than the mere subjugation of the Pentapolis in the dale of Siddim. In passing from Shinar the invaders must have marched in a northwesterly direction along the Frat, touching upon Tadmor and Damascus. We are not informed whether they held any sway or made any conquest in these intervening regions. But they overran the country that stretches along the whole cast side of the Jordan, and the parts south and west of the Salt Sea.

The Rephaim lay in Peraea. Some of them also were once found on the west side of the Jordan Genesis 15:20, where they gave name to the valley of Rephaim (Wady el-Werd), southwest of Jerusalem, on the way to Bethlehem Joshua 15:8, occupied part of Mount Ephraim Joshua 17:15, and lingered for a long time among the Philistines (2 Samuel 21:16, ff.). They were a tall or gigantic race. They were not Kenaanites, but seem to have entered the country before them. They were conquered in Peraea by the Amorites, a branch of the Kenaanite family; and by the descendants of Lot, the Ammonites and Moabites. A remnant of them only lingered in the country when the Israelites arrived Deuteronomy 2:20; Deuteronomy 3:11, Deuteronomy 3:13. They may have been Shemites or Japhethites. The site of Ashteroth Carnaim has not been ascertained. Ritter finds it in Tell Ash'areh. Porter suggests 'Afineh, eight miles from Busrah, as the Samaritan version has 'Aphinit for 'Ashtaroth.

The Zuzim dwelt between the Jabbok and the Arnon. They are supposed to be the same as the Zamzummin, who were dispossessed by the Ammonites. If so, they were a branch of the Rephaim Deuteronomy 2:20. Their town, Ham, is of unknown site.

The Emim were also accounted Rephaim. They lay on the east of the Salt Sea, and were afterward conquered by the Moabites, who gave them this name Deuteronomy 2:10-11. Of Shaveh Kiriathaim, the plain of the two cities, the name probably remains in el-Kureiyat, a site near Jebel Attarus in Moab.

The Horites were perhaps a Shemite tribe, the aboriginal inhabitants of Mount Seir, where they dwelt in caves; such as are still to be seen in Petra and other places around. They were afterward absorbed into the Edomites. Mount Seir stretches between the Salt Sea and the Elanitic Gulf. El-Paran, terebinth of Paran, is perhaps the same as Elath, at the head of the gulf of Aelana or Akaba. Paran lay west of Mount Seir and south of Palestine, and stretched into the peninsula of Sinai, where the name may yet be preserved in Wady Feiran. El-Paran would thus be by the wilderness of that name, now et-Tih.


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.

The kings that were with him, i.e. confederate with him for the recovery of his right, expecting the same assistance from him upon the like occasion. 1913

The Rephaims, a fierce and warlike people of Canaan. See Genesis 15:20. Or the giants, as this word is taken Deu 2:11.

Ashteroth Karnaim, a place in Basan called Ashteroth, Deu 1:4 Joshua 9:10 13:31. It is surnamed Carnaim, q.d.

Two-horned, like a half moon, either from the situation and form of the place, or from the goddess Diana, or the moon, which usually was painted with two horns, whom they worshipped.

The Emims, a people in Canaan of giant-like stature, Deu 2:10,11.

Shaveh Kiriathaim; Kiriathaim is a noted city in Gilead, and Shaveh may be either the ancient name of that city, or the present name of the country adjoining and belonging to it. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer,.... Not in the fourteenth year of their rebellion against him, as Jarchi, but from their becoming vassals to him:

and the kings that were with him; those kings before mentioned:

and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim; which were in their way to Sodom, &c. and very probably were confederates with the five kings; the Targum, and so the Septuagint, render the word "giants", as it is in Deuteronomy 2:11; but they were one of the nations or tribes of the Canaanites, Genesis 15:20; and had their name either from the Hebrew word which signifies to be healthful and robust, as those people might be, or from Rephas, the Remphan of Stephen, Acts 7:43; called Chiun, Amos 5:26; and with Cronus or Ham the father of Canaan, as Bishop Cumberland (c) observes; and these dwelt in Ashteroth Karnaim, which was a place in Bashan, Deuteronomy 1:4; it is about six miles, as Eusebius (d) says, from Adraa or Edrei, and in the Apocrypha:"Then Maccabeus marched forth to Carnion, and to the temple of Atargatis, and there he slew five and twenty thousand persons.'' (2 Maccabees 12:26)mention is made of a place called Carnion, where was a temple of Atergates, a Phoenician deity, as Ashteroth or Astarte, was; and this city here had its first name from Astarte the wife of Cronus or Ham, and whose name may be preserved in Carnaim, as Bishop Cumberland thinks; though as Astarte is said by Sanchoniatho (e) to put on her head the mark of her sovereignty, a bull's head, that is, with its horns, this might be another of her names retained in this city; and it is certain that she was a Phoenician goddess, called the goddess of the Zidonians, 1 Kings 11:5; and Sanchoniatho relates (f), that the Phoenicians say, that Astarte is she, who among the Greeks is called Aphrodite or Venus; and Astarte is called by Lucian (g) the Phoenician Venus, and by Cicero (h) the Syrian Venus; and if she was the same with Diana or the moon, as some think, she might have the name of Carnaim from its two horns, as the word signifies: our English poet (i) seems to have this in his thoughts, when he speaks of Astoreth as the goddess of the Phoenicians: however the in habitants of this place who belonged to the Canaanites were first attacked by the four kings and routed, though not utterly destroyed, because we hear of them afterwards, as well as they that follow:

and the Zuzims in Ham; or Hemtha, as Onkelos and Jonathan render it, a place so called from Ham the father of Canaan, and was somewhere in the land of Canaan or near it, and near the former place; for it can hardly be thought the land of Egypt, sometimes called the land of Ham, is meant; these Zuzim are supposed by Jarchi to the same with the Zamzummim in Deuteronomy 2:20; the word is by Onkelos and Jonathan rendered strong and mighty ones, as also by the Septuagint, mighty nations:

and the Enims in Shaveh Kiriathaim: a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakim, and were accounted giants as they, and who in later times were by the Moabites called Emim, Deuteronomy 2:10; and therefore Moses gives them the same name here, which they had from the dread and terror they injected into men, and so the word in all the three Targums is rendered terrible ones; and these dwelt in Kiriathaim, a city in the tribe of Reuben, taken from Sihon, king of the Amorites, and which seems to be situated in a plain, see Joshua 13:19.

(c) Sanchoniatho's Phoenician History, p. 220, 221. (d) Apud Reland. Palest. illustrata, tom. 2. p. 5. 98. (e) Sanchoniatho's Phoenician History, p. 35. (f) Ibid. p. 36. (g) De Dea Syria. (h) De Natura Deorum, l. 3.((i) ------------with these in troop Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians call'd Astarte queen of heav'n, with crescent horns. --Milton's Paradise Lost, B. 1. l. 437, 438, 439.

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,
5. came Chedorlaomer] The king of Elam was strong enough to deal vigorously with the rebellion in his western dependencies. This and the two following verses describe the punitive expedition, with which Chedorlaomer and his vassal kings crushed the rebellion. Whether the kings led their forces in person, we are not able to say for certain. The description leaves it to be inferred. The Oriental style of chronicle identified successful generals with the name of the king who sent them on their campaign.

The march of the punitive expedition must have been across the Euphrates at Carchemish, and then southward past Damascus. It overthrew the Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim, and Horites who, apparently, were peoples on the east side of Jordan, involved in the rebellion. The southernmost point of the march was reached at the head of the Gulf of Akabah. As it commanded an important trade route, it may have formed the chief objective of the march. Returning from that point, the expedition struck at the Amalekites in the wilderness to the south of Palestine, and then attacked the joint forces of the five cities of the Plain and overthrew them in the valley of Siddim.

the Rephaim] or “sons of the Rapha.” The name given to the aborigines of Canaan, giant survivors of whom are mentioned in 2 Samuel 21:16-22. The name is specially applied, in Deuteronomy 3:11, to Og, the king of Bashan, whose territory corresponded with the country spoken of in this verse.

Ashteroth-karnaim] Generally identified with Tell-‘Ashtara, in the plateau of Bashan, about 20 miles east of the sea of Galilee. Karnaim means “the two horns”; and the full name will therefore probably mean “the two-horned Astarte,” who, as the Goddess of the Moon, was represented with two horns. “Astarte of horns was that immemorial fortress and sanctuary which lay out upon the great plateau of Bashan towards Damascus; so obvious and cardinal a site that it appears in the sacred history both in the earliest recorded campaign in Abraham’s time and in one of the latest under the Maccabees. Genesis 14:5; 1Ma 5:26; 1Ma 5:43” (G. Adam Smith, The Twelve Prophets, vol. i. p. 176.)

the Zuzim] Possibly the same as “the Zamzummim,” mentioned in Deuteronomy 2:20 as the aborigines who were dispossessed by the Ammonites.

in Ham] Ham has been conjecturally identified with the old name of the Ammonite capital, mentioned in 2 Samuel 12:26, Rabbath Ammon.

the Emim] Mentioned in Deuteronomy 2:10 as the name of the aborigines, “a people great and many and tall, as the Anakim,” dispossessed by the Moabites. The name means probably “the terrible ones.”

in Shaveh-kiriathaim] or the plain of Kiriathaim. In Numbers 32:37 and Joshua 13:19 Kiriathaim is a town in Reuben: in Jeremiah 48:23 in Moab. It is generally identified with Kureyat, about 10 miles east of the Dead Sea and north of the river Arnon.Verse 5. - And in (or during) the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote (because of actual or probable rebellion) the Rephaims. Γίγαντας (LXX.), a tribe of gigantic stature (from an Arabic root, to be high), the iron bed of whose last king, Og, measured nine yards in length and four in breadth (Deuteronomy 3:11); forming a portion of the aboriginal inhabitants of Palestine prior to the invasion of the Canaanites, though existing as a remnant as late as the conquest (Genesis 2:20; Genesis 3:11, 13). In Ashteroth Karnaim. Literally, Ashteroth of the Two Horns; so called either from its situation between two horn-shaped hills (Jewish interpreters), or because of the horned cattle with which it abounded (Hillery), or in honor of the goddess Ashtaroth, Astarte, or Venus, whose image was such as to suggest the idea of a horned figure (A Lapide, Gesenius, Kalisch); identified by some with the capital of Og (Keil), but by others distinguished from it (Wetstein); of uncertain site, though claimed to sin-rive in the ruins of Tell Ashtereh, near the ancient Edrei (Ritter); in those of Afineh, eight miles from Buzrah (Porter); in the modern village Mesarib (Burckhardt); or in El Kurnem or Ophein in Ledsha (Robinson). And the Zuzims. Probably the Zamzummims between the Arnon and the Jabbok (Deuteronomy 2:20). In Ham. "Possibly the ancient name of Rabba of the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 3:11), the remains being still preserved in the ruins of Amman" (Keil). And the Emims. Fearful and terrible men, the primitive inhabitants of Moab (Deuteronomy 2:10, 11); called also Rephaims, as being of colossal stature. In Shaveh Kiriathaim. Literally, the plain of Kiriatkaim, or the plain of the two cities, situated in the district afterwards assigned to Reuben (Numbers 32:37); identified with Coraiatha, the modern Koerriath or Kereyat, ten miles west of Medebah (Eusebias, Jerome, Kalisch), which, however, rather corresponds with Kerioth, in Jeremiah 48:24 (Keil). After Lot's departure, Jehovah repeated to Abram (by a mental, inward assurance, as we may infer from the fact that אמר "said" is not accompanied by ויּרא "he appeared") His promise that He would give the land to him and to his seed in its whole extent, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, and would make his seed innumerable like the dust of the earth. From this we may see that the separation of Lot was in accordance with the will of God, as Lot had no share in the promise of God; though God afterwards saved him from destruction for Abram's sake. The possession of the land is promised עולם עד "for ever." The promise of God is unchangeable. As the seed of Abraham was to exist before God for ever, so Canaan was to be its everlasting possession. But this applied not to the lineal posterity of Abram, to his seed according to the flesh, but to the true spiritual seed, which embraced the promise in faith, and held it in a pure believing heart. The promise, therefore, neither precluded the expulsion of the unbelieving seed from the land of Canaan, nor guarantees to existing Jews a return to the earthly Palestine after their conversion to Christ. For as Calvin justly says, "quam terra in saeculum promittitur, non simpliciter notatur perpetuitas; sed quae finem accepit in Christo." Through Christ the promise has been exalted from its temporal form to its true essence; through Him the whole earth becomes Canaan (vid., Genesis 17:8). That Abram might appropriate this renewed and now more fully expanded promise, Jehovah directed him to walk through the land in the length of it and the breadth of it. In doing this he came in his "tenting," i.e., his wandering through the land, to Hebron, where he settled by the terebinth of the Amorite Mamre (Genesis 14:13), and built an altar to Jehovah. The term ישׁב (set himself, settled down, sat, dwelt) denotes that Abram made this place the central point of his subsequent stay in Canaan (cf. Genesis 14:13; Genesis 18:1, and Genesis 23). On Hebron, see Genesis 23:2.
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