Genesis 14:7
And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelled in Hazezontamar.
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(7) They returned.—More correctly, they turned, as they did not go back by the same route, but wheeled towards the north-west.

Enmishpat.The fountain of justice, because at this spring the ancient inhabitants of the country used to meet to settle their disputes. It was also called Kadesh, probably the ’Ain Qadis described by Professor Palmer. It was a great stronghold, and both a sanctuary and a seat of government. It has been visited lately by Mr. Trumbull, for whose account see Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statement, July, 1881, pp. 208-212.

The Amalekites.—Saul had to pursue these wandering hordes into the recesses of Paran (1Samuel 15:7), but they were evidently now in possession of the Negeb of Judea.

Hazezon – tamar, the felling of the palm, is certainly the same as Engedi (2Chronicles 20:2). For descriptions of this wonderful spot, so dear to Solomon (Song of Solomon 1:14), see Conder, Tent-work, ii. 135; Tristram, Land of Israel, 281; and for its strategical importance, Tristram, Land of Moab, 25.

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.This was the extreme point of their march southward. They now turned back by another route. Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, lay between Mount Hor and the Salt Sea, at a site now called Ain el-Welbch. "The field of the Amalekite" was some part of the country lying between Palestine and Egypt, which was afterward occupied by the Amalekites. Instead of "field," the Septuagint has ἄρχοντας archontas, "rulers" of Amalek; but this reading is not supported. The tribe is descended from Amalek, thc son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau Genesis 36:12. Traces of them are found as far north as Ephraim Judges 5:14; Judges 12:15. Balaam calls Amalek the beginning of the nations Numbers 24:20; but this cannot be understood absolutely, as the name does not even occur in the table of nations. It is therefore well explained to mean that Amalek was the first that attacked Israel on coming out of Egypt. The invading host advance still further, to Hazazon-tamar, cutting of the palm, which is En-gedi (well of the kid, 2 Chronicles 20:2), situated on the western shore of the Salt Sea, and now called Ain Jidy. This was a settlement of the Amorites.CHAPTER 14

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.

Which is Kadesh, i.e. which after that time was called Kadesh, of which see Numbers 20:1,14, &c.

The country of the Amalekites, i.e. which afterwards was possessed by the Amalekites, Genesis 36:12. A known figure called prolepsis. And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh,.... Pursuing their victories as far as Elparan by the wilderness, they had passed by the country of the Amalekites; wherefore they "returned", or came back to fall upon them, and they came to a place called Enmishpat, or the "fountain of judgment"; which was not its future name, as Jarchi thinks, because there Moses and Aaron were to be judged concerning the business of that fountain, even the waters of Meribah, with which agrees the Targum of Jonathan;"and they returned and came to the place where the judgment of Moses the prophet was determined by the fountain of the waters of contention:''but it seems to have been the ancient name of the place, and by which it was called at this time, as Kadesh was the name of it at the time of Moses writing this; and therefore he adds:

which is Kadesh; that is, which is now called Kadesh, because there the Lord was sanctified, when the rock at that place was smitten, and waters gushed out: it was a city on the uttermost border of the land of Edom, Numbers 20:1, and seems formerly to have been a place where causes were heard and judgment passed; and so Onkelos paraphrases it,"to the plain of the division or decision of judgment;''which, as Jarchi himself interprets it,"is a place where the men of the province gathered together for all judgment;''or for hearing all causes and determining them:

and smote all the country of the Amalekites; which, according to Josephus (k), reached from Pelusium in Egypt to the Red sea; they inhabited Arabia Petraea, for he (l) says, the inhabitants of Gobolitis and Petra are called Amalekites; which name is generally supposed to have been given them here by way of anticipation, since the commonly received opinion is, that they were the descendants of Amalek, a grandson of Esau, who was not born when this war was waged, see Genesis 36:12; but the Mahometan writers derive the pedigree of Amalek, from whom these people had their name, from Noah in the line of Ham, and make him to be some generations older than Abram, which with them stands thus, Noah, Ham, Aram, Uz, Ad, Amalek (m); and they speak of the Amalekites as dwelling in the country about Mecca, from whence they were driven by the Jorhamites (n): and indeed it seems more probable that the Amalekites were of the posterity of Ham, since Chedorlaomer, a descendant of Shem, falls upon them, and smites them; and they being confederates with the Canaanites, and are with the Amorites, Philistines, and other Canaanitish nations, always mentioned, seem to be a more ancient nation than what could proceed from Amalek the son of Eliphaz, since Amalek is said to be the first of the nations, Numbers 24:20; nor does there ever appear to be any harmony and friendship between them and the Edomites, as it might be thought there would, if they were a branch of Esau's family; nor did they give them any assistance, when destroyed by Saul, so that they seem rather to be a tribe of the Canaanitish nations; and they are, by Philo (o) the Jew, expressly called Phoenicians:

and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar; the same with the Emorites, see Genesis 10:16; another tribe or nation of the Canaanites descended from Amor or Emor, a son of Canaan: the place of their habitation has its name of Hazezontamar from the multitude of palm trees which grew there: for Tamar signifies a palm tree, and Hazezon is from "to cut"; and this part of the name seems to be taken from the cutting of the top, crown, or head of the palm tree, for the sake of a liquor which has a more luscious sweetness than honey; and is of the consistence of a thin syrup, as Dr. Shaw (p) relates; the head of the palm tree being cut off, the top of the trunk is scooped into the shape of a basin, as he says, where the sap in ascending lodges itself at the rate of three or four quarts a day during the first week or fortnight, after which the quantity daily diminishes; and at the end of six weeks or two months the juices are entirely consumed, and the tree becomes dry, and serves only for timber or, firewood. This place is the same with Engedi, 2 Chronicles 20:2; and so the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan here translate it, "in Engedi"; and which place Pliny (q) says was famous for groves of palm trees; it was a city near the Dead sea, see Ezekiel 47:8; and Josephus says (r) it was situated by the lake Asphaltites, that is, the place where Sodom and Gomorrah stood; and he adds, that it was three hundred furlongs distant from Jerusalem, where were the best palm trees and balsam: so that now the four kings had got pretty near Sodom; wherefore it follows,

(k) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 7. sect. 3.((l) lbid. l. 3. c. 2. sect. 1.((m) Taarich, M. S. apud Reland. Palestina illustrata, tom. 1. p. 81. (n) Alkodaius, apud Pocock. Specimen Arab. Hist. p. 173. (o) De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 636. (p) Travels, tom. 1. p. 143. Ed. 2.((q) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 17. (r) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 1. sect. 2.

And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar.
7. En-mishpat] i.e. “the Spring of Judgement.” A spring of water at which there would be a sanctuary, whose priest gave oracles and decided disputes; known in the Israelite history as “Kadesh-barnea,” or, as here, “Kadesh.” It has been identified in" modern times with a spring and oasis, called Ain-Kadish, in the desert to the south of Beer-sheba. This was the spot at which the Israelite tribes concentrated after quitting the neighbourhood of Sinai: cf. Numbers 21:16; Deuteronomy 1:46.

the country] Heb. field; LXX and Syr. “princes of” (reading sârê for s’dêh).

the Amalekites] The nomad peoples of the desert who opposed the Israelite march (Exodus 17); and were overthrown by Saul (1 Samuel 15) in the wilderness south of Canaan.

the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazazon-tamar] The Canaanite people dwelling at Engedi (see 2 Chronicles 20:2) among the rocks on the west shore of the Dead Sea. It has also been conjecturally identified with the Tamar of Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 48:28, a town on the S.W. of the Dead Sea. The name Hazazon-tamar has been explained to mean “the cutting of palms.” The name has been thought to be preserved in the Wady Hasasa, not far from Ain-gidi.Verse 7. - And they returned - from the oak of Paran, the southernmost point reached by the invaders - and came to En-mishpat - the Well of Judgment, regarded as a prolepsis by those who derive the name from the judgment pronounced on Moses and Aaron (A Lapide); but more probably the ancient designation of the town, which was so styled because the townsmen and villagers settled their disputes at the well in its neighborhood (Kalisch) - which is Kadesh, of which (Numbers 20:14) the exact site cannot now be ascertained, though the spring Ain Kades, on the heights of Jebel Hals, twelve miles east-south-east of Moyle, the halting-place of caravans (Rowland, Keil, Kalisch), and Petra (Josephus, Stanley), have been suggested as marking the locality. And smote all the country of the Amalekites. i.e. afterwards possessed by them, to the west of Edom. Amalek was a grandson of Esau (vide Genesis 36:12). And also the Amorites. The mountaineers, as distinguished from the Canaanites or lowlanders (cf. Genesis 10:16). That dwelt in Huezon-tamar. "The pruning of the palm;" afterwards Engedi, "the fountain of the wild goat," situated midway up the western shore of the Dead Sea, and now called Ain-jidy (cf. Joshua 15:62; 1 Samuel 24:1, 2; 2 Chronicles 20:2; Ezekiel 47:10). In Genesis 14:1-3 the account is introduced by a list of the parties engaged in war. The kings named here are not mentioned again. On Shinar, see Genesis 10:10; and on Elam, Genesis 10:22. It cannot be determined with certainty where Ellasar was. Knobel supposes it to be Artemita, which was also called Χαλάσαρ, in southern Assyria, to the north of Babylon. Goyim is not used here for nations generally, but is the name of one particular nation or country. In Delitzsch's opinion it is an older name for Galilee, though probably with different boundaries (cf. Joshua 12:23; Judges 4:2; and Isaiah 9:1). - The verb עשׂוּ (made), in Genesis 14:2, is governed by the kings mentioned in Genesis 14:1. To Bela, whose king is not mentioned by name, the later name Zoar (vid., Genesis 19:22) is added as being better known.
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