Genesis 14
Pulpit Commentary
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;
Verse 1. - And it came to pass. After the separation of Abram and Lot, the latter of whom now appears as a citizen of Sodom, and not merely a settler in the Jordan circle; perhaps about the eighty-fourth year of Abram's life (Hughes). The present chapter, "the oldest extant record respecting Abraham" (Ewald), but introduced into the Mosaic narrative by the Jehovistic editor (Knobel, Tuch, Bleek, Davidson), possesses traces of authenticity, of which not the least is the chronological definition with which it commences (Havernick). In the days of Amraphel. Sanscrit, Amrapala, keeper of the gods (Gesenius); Arphaxad (Furst); powerful people (Young, 'Analytical Concordance'); root unknown (Murphy, Kalisch). King of Skinar. Babel (Onkelos); Bagdad (Arabic version of Erpenius); Pontus (Jonathan); the successor of Nimrod (vide Genesis 10:10). Arioch. Sanscrit, Arjaka, venerated (Bohlen, Gesenius, Furst); probably from the root אֲרִי, a lion, hence leonine (Gesenius, Murphy). The name, which re. appears in Daniel 2:14, has been compared, though doubtfully, with the Urukh of the inscriptions (vide 'Records of the Past,' vol. 3. p. 9). King of Ellasar. Pontus (Symmachus, Vulgate); the region between Babylon and Elymais (Gesenius); identified with Larsa or Laranka, the Λάρισσα or λαράχων of the Greeks, now Senkereh, a town of Lower Babylonia, between Mugheir (Ur) and Wrarka (Erech), on the left bank of the Euphrates (Rawlinson). Chedorlaomer. A "handful of sheaves," if the word be Phoenicio-Shemitie, though probably its true etymology should be sought in ancient Persian (Gesenius, Furst). The name has been detected by archaeologists in Kudur-mapula, the Ravager of the West, whom monumental evidence declares to have reigned over Babylon in the twentieth century B.C.; and "Kudurnanhundi the Elamite, the worship of the great gods who did not fear," and the conqueror of Chaldaea, B.C. 2280; but in both instances the identifications are problematical. The name Chedorlaomer in Babylonian would be Kudur-lagamer; but as yet this name has not been found on the inscriptions (vide 'Records of the Past,' vol. 3 pp. 7, 19). King of Elam. East of Babylonia, on the north of the Persian Gulf (cf. Genesis 10:22). And Tidal. "Fear, veneration" (Gesenius); terror (Murphy); "splendor, renown" (Furst); though the name may not be Shemitic. King of nations. The Scythians (Symmachus); the Galilean heathen (Clericus, Rosenmüller, Delitzsch), which are inappropriate in this connection nomadic races (Rawlinson); probably some smaller tribes so gradually subjugated by Tidal as to render it "impossible to describe him briefly with any degree of accuracy" (Kalisch).
That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
Verse 2. - That these made war. The LXX. connect the present with the preceding verse by reading "that Arioch," &c. Ewald interpolates "of Abram," before "that Amraphel." With Bera. "Gift - בֶּש־רַע (Gesenius). King of Sodom. "Burning, conflagration," as being built on bituminous soil, and therefore subject to volcanic eruptions; from סָדַם, conjectured to mean to burn (Gesenius). "Lime place," or "enclosed place;' from סָדָה, to surround (Furst). A mountain with fossil salt at the present day is called Hagv Usdum; and Galen also knew of a Sodom mountain. And with Birsha = בֶּן־רֶשַׁע "son of wickedness" (Gesenius); "long and thick" (Murphy); "strong, thick" (Furst). King of Gomorrah. ΓομάῥῬα (LXX.); perhaps "culture, habitation" (Gesenius); "rent, fissure" (Furst). Shinab. "Father's tooth" (Gesenius); "splendor of Ab" (Furst); "coolness" (Murphy). King of Admah. Fruit region, farm city (Furst). And Shemeber. "Soaring aloft" (Gesenius). King of Zeboiim. Place of hyenas (Gesenius); gazelles (Murphy); a wild place (Furst). And the king of Bela. "Devoured," or "devouring" (Gesenius). Which is Zoar. "The small," a name afterwards given to the city (Genesis 19:22), and here introduced as being better known than the more ancient one.
All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
Verse 3. - All these - the last-named princes - were joined together - i.e. as confederates (so. and came with their forces) - in (literally, to) the vale of Siddim. The salt valley (LXX.); a wooded vale (Vulgate); a plain filled with rocky hollows (Gesenius), with which Ver. 10 agrees; the valley of plains or fields (Onkelos, Raschi, Keil, Murphy). Which is the salt sea. i.e. where the salt sea afterwards arose, on the destruction of the cities of the plain - Genesis 19:24, 25 (Keil, Havernick; cf. Josephus, ' Bell. Jud.,' 4:08, 4); but the text scarcely implies that the cities were submerged-only the valley (cf. Quarry, p. 207). The extreme depression of the Dead Sea, being 1300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean ("the most depressed sheet of water in the world:" Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' Genesis 7.), conjoined with its excessive saltness (containing 26.25 per cent of saline particles), renders it one of the most remarkable of inland lakes. Its shores are clothed with loom and desolation. Within a mile from northern embouchure the verdure of the rich Jordan valley dies away. Strewn along its desolate margin lie broken canes and willow branches, with trunks of palms, poplars, and other trees, half embedded in slimy mud, and all covered with incrustations of salt. At its south-western corner stands the mountain of rock salt, with its columnar fragments, which Josephus says, in his day was regarded as the pillar of Lot s wife.
Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
Verse 4. - Twelve years - dating from the commencement of his reign (Murphy) - they served - and paid tribute (cf. 2 Kings 18:7) - Chedorlaomer. If the king of Elam was a Shemite prince, this was m accordance with the Noachic prophecy (Genesis 9:26); but according to the monuments the Elamits dynasty was Turanian. And in the thirteenth year - during the whole of the thirteenth year (vide Ewald's 'Hebrews Synt.,' § 300, a; cf. Ver. 5) - they rebelled, or had rebelled.
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,
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).
And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
Verse 6. - And the Horites. Literally, dwelling in caves; from char, a cave. In their mount Seir. Literally, wooded (Gesenius); hairy (Furst); rugged (Lange); probably with reference to the thick brushwood and forests that grew upon its sides. The cave men of Seir were the earlier inhabitants of the region lying between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Elam, afterwards taken possession of by the Edomites (Deuteronomy 2:12; Jeremiah 49:16; Obadiah 1:3, 4). Unto El-paran I.e. the oak or terebinth of Paran. Which is by the wilderness. Between the land of Edom and the fertile country of Egypt, and to the southward of Palestine, identified as the plateau of the Tih, across which the Israel-itish march lay from Sinai (Stanley, 'Sinai and Palestine,' p. 92).
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.
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).
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;
Verses 8, 9. - And there went out (to resist the onslaught of the victorious Asiatics) 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); (i.e. the five revolted monarchs of the Pentapolis) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim (vide Ver. 3); 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.
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.
Verse 10. - And the vale of Siddim was full of slime-pits. Literally, was pits, pits (cf. 2 Kings 3:16; Ezekiel 42:12 for examples of repeated nouns) of slime, bitumen or asphalte, and therefore unfavorable for flight. "Some of the wells near the Dead Sea are 116 feet deep, with a stratum of bitumen fifteen feet in depth, and as black as jet" (Inglis). And the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled and fell there. Stumbled into the pits and perished (Keil, Lange, Murphy), though if the king of Sodom escaped (Ver. 17), the language may only mean that they were overthrown there (Knobel, Rosenmüller, Bush, 'Speaker's Commentary'). And they that remained fled to the mountain, of Moab, with its numerous defiles.
And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
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.
And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
Verse 12. - And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom. The last view of Lot saw him driving off his flocks and herds from Bethel. It betokens a considerable declension in spiritual life to behold him a citizen of Sodom. And his goods (all the property he had acquired through his selfish choice of the Jordan circle), and departed.

CHAPTER 14:13-16
And there came one that had 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.
Verse 13. - And there came one that had escaped. Literally, the fugitive party, the article denoting the genus, as in "the Canaanite," Genesis 12:6 (vide Ewald's ' Hebrew Syntax,' § 277, a.). And told Abram the Hebrew. "The immigrant" trans fluvialis, ὁ περάτης, from beyond the Euphrates, if applied to the patriarch by the inhabitants of Palestine (LXX., Aquila, Origen, Vulgate, Keil, Lange, Kalisch); but more probably, if simply inserted by the historian to distinguish Abram from Mature the Amorite, "the descendant of Eber" (Lyra, Drusius, Calvin, Bush, Candlish, Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary;' vide on Genesis 10:21). For he dwelt - literally, and (sc. at that time) he was dwelling - in the plain - rather "oak groves" (vide Genesis 13:18) - of Mature the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol, and brother of Anor, concerning whom nothing is certainly known beyond the fact that they were Canaanitish chieftains (probably possessing some remnant of the true faith, like Melchisedeck) with whom the patriarch entered into an offensive and defensive alliance. And these were confederate - literally, lords of covenant, i.e. masters or possessors of a treaty (cf. "lord or possessor of dreams," Genesis 37:19; "lords or masters of arrows," 2 Kings 1:8); rendered συνωμόται (LXX.) - lords of the oath, as in Nehemiah 6:18, ἔνορκοι (LXX.) - wit Abram.
And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
Verse 14. - And when Abram heard that his brother - so called as his brother's son, or simply as his relative (Genesis 42:8) - was taken captive, he - literally, and he - armed - literally, caused to pour forth, i.e. drew out in a body, from a toot signifying "to pour out" (Gesenius, Furst); from a root meaning to unsheath or draw out anything as from a scabbard, and hence equivalent to expedivit, he got ready (Onkelos, Saadias, Rosenmüller, Bush, 'Speaker's Commentary'). Kalisch connects both senses with the root. The LXX., Vulgate, and others translate "numbered," reading later יָּדֵּק for יָּרֵק his trained - literally, initiated, instructed, but not necessarily practiced in arms (Keil); perhaps only familiar with' domestic duties (Kalisch), since it is the intention of the writer to show that Abram conquered not by arms, but by faith - servants, born in his own house - i.e. the children of his own patriarchal family, and neither purchased nor taken in war - three hundred and eighteen - which implied a household of probably more than a thousand souls - and - along with these and his allies (vide Ver. 24) - pursued them - the victorious Asiatics - unto Dan - which is here substituted for its older name Laish, for which vide Joshua 19:47 (Ewald), though regarded by some as not the Laish Dan conquered by the Danites, but probably Dan-jaan, mentioned in 2 Samuel 24:6 (Havernick, Keil, Kalisch); against which, however, is the statement of Jose. phus ('Ant.,' 1:10), that this Dan was one of the sources of the Jordan. Murphy regards Dan as the original designation of the town, which was changed under the Sidonians to Laish (lion), and restored at the conquest. Clericus suggests that the Jordan fountain may have been styled Dan, "Judge," and the neighboring town Laish, and that the Danites, observing the coincidence of the former with the name of their own tribe, gave it to the city they had conquered. Alford is doubtful whether Dan-juan was really different from Laish.
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.
Verse 15. - And he divided himself (i.e. his forces) against them, he and his servants (along with the troops of his allies), by night, and (falling on them unexpectedly from different quarters) smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah. A place Choba is mentioned in Judith 15:5 as that to which the Assyrians were pursued by the victorious Israelites. A village of the same name existed near Damascus in the time of Eusebius, and is "probably preserved in the village Hoba, mentioned by Troilo, a quarter of a mile to the north of Damascus" (Keil); or in that of Hobah, two miles outside the walls (Stanley, ' Syria and Palestine,' 414, k.), or in Burzeh, where there is a Moslem wady, or saint's tomb, called the sanctuary of Abraham (Porter's 'Handbook,' p. 492). Which is to the left of (i.e. to the north of, the spectator being supposed to look eastward) Damascus. The metropolis of Syria, on the river Chrysorrhoas, in a large and fertile plain at the foot of Antilibanus, the oldest existing city in the world, being possessed at the present day of 150,000 inhabitants.
And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
Verse 16. - And he brought back all the goods. Col-harecush The LXX. translate τὴν ἵππον, as if they read רֶכֶשׁ for רְכֻשׁ. And also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods. Καὶ πάντα τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ (LXX.). And the women also, and the people.

CHAPTER 14:17-24
And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
Verse 17. - And the king of Sodom - Bera, or his successor (vide Ver. 10) - went out to meet him (i.e. Abram) after his return from the slaughter (perhaps too forcible an expression for mere defeat) of Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him (the entire clause from "after" is parenthetical), at the valley of Shaveh. A valley about two stadia north of Jerusalem (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 8:10), supposed to be the valley of the Upper Kedron, where Absalom s pillar was after. wards erected (2 Samuel 18:10); which may be correct if the Salem afterwards mentioned was Jerusalem (vide infra); but if it was not, then the exact site of Shaveh must be left undetermined. Which is the king's dale. Or valley (emek); so styled because suitable for kingly sports or military exercises (Onkelos); because of its beauty (Poole); because Melchisedeck had his camp and palace there (Malvenda); or most likely because of the interview between him and Abram which there occurred (Keil, Lange), with which agrees the rendering τὸ πεδίον τῶν βασιλέων, (LXX.).
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Verse 18. - And Melchisedeck. "King of righteousness" (Hebrews 7:2); an indication that the Canaanitish language was Shemitie, having been probably 'adopted from the original Shemite inhabitants of the country. Not a titular designation, like Augustus, Pharaoh, or Malek-ol-adel (rexjustus) of the Mohammedan kings (Cajetan), but the name of a person; neither an angel (Origen), nor the Holy Ghost (Hieracas), nor some great Divine power (the Melchisedecians), all of which interpretations are baseless conjectures; nor Christ (Ambrose), which is contrary to Hebrews 6:20; Norghem (Targums, Lyre, Willet, Luther, Ainsworth), which Hebrews 7:3 sufficiently negatives; but most probably a Canaanitish prince by whom the true faith was retained amid the gloom of surrounding heathenism (Josephus, Irenaeus, Eusebius, Calvin, A Lapide, Delitzsch, Keil, Rosenmüller, Candlish, Bush), though it has been suggested that "the enlightenment of the king of Salem was but a ray of the sun of Abram's faith" (Kalisch), an opinion difficult to harmonize with Hebrews 7:4. King of Salem = "king of peace (Hebrews 7:1). The capital of Melchisedeck was either Jerusalem, of which the ancient name was Salem, as in Psalm 76:2 (Josephus, Onkelos, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Knobel, Delitzsch, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy, Bush); or a city on the other side Jordan en route from Damascus to Sodom (Ewald); or, though less likely, as being too remote from Sodom and the king's dale, Salem in the tribe of Ephraim, a city near Scythopolis, where the ruins of Melchisedeck's palace were said to exist (Jerome), and near to which John baptized (Bochart). Brought forth bread and wine. As a refreshment to the patriarch and his soldiers (Josephus, Calvin, Clarke, Rosenmüller), which, however, was the less necessary since the spoils of the conquered foe were in possession of Abram and his men (Kalisch); hence mainly as a symbol, not of his transference of the soil of Canaan to the patriarch, bread and wine being the chief productions of the ground (Lightfoot), or of his gratitude to Abram, who had recovered for the land peace, freedom, and prosperity (Delitzsch), or of the institution of the Supper by the Lord Jesus Christ (Bush); but of the priestly benediction which followed and of the spiritual refreshment which it conferred upon the soul of Abram (Kalisch, Murphy). The Romish idea, that the act of Melchisedeck was sacrificial, is precluded by the statement that he brought forth the bread and wine before the people, and not before God. And he was the priest. Cohen; one who undertakes another's cause, hence one who acts as mediator between God and man, though the primary signification of the root is doubtful and disputed. The necessity for this office has its ground in the sinfulness of man, which disqualifies him for direct intercourse with a holy Being (cf. Kurtz, 'Sacrificial Worship,' ch. 1. b.). The occurrence of this term, here mentioned for the flint time, implies the existence of a regularly-constituted form of worship by means of priests and sacrifice. Hence the Mosaic cultus afterwards instituted may only have been a resuscitation and further development of what had existed from the beginning. Of the most high God. Literally, El-Ellen, a proper name for the Supreme Deity (occurring only here, in the narrative of Abram's interview with the kings); of which the first term, El, from the same root as Elohim (Genesis 1:1, q.v.), signifies the Strong One, and is seldom applied to God without some qualifying attribute or cognomen, as El-Shaddai, or El, the God of Israel; and the second, 'Elion (occurring frequently afterwards, as in Numbers 24:16; Deuteronomy 32:8; Psalm 7:18 [Psalm 7:17]; Psalms 9:2), describes God as the High, the Highest, the Exalted, the Supreme, and is sometimes used in conjunction with Jehovah (Psalm. 7:18 [Psalm 7:17]), and with Elohim (Psalm 57:3 [Psalm 57:2]), while sometimes it stands alone (Psalm 21:8 [Psalm 21:7]). Most probably the designation here describes the name under which the Supreme Deity was worshipped by Melchisedeck and the king of Sodom, whom Abram recognizes as followers of the true God by identifying, as in Ver. 22, El-Elion with Jehovah (cf. Quarry, p. 426).
And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
Verse 19. - And he blessed him (in which act appears his distinctively sacerdotal character), and said (the form of the benediction is poetical, consisting of two parallel stanzas), Blessed be Abram - so Isaac blessed Jacob (Genesis 27:27), and Jacob Joseph (Genesis 48:15), conveying in each case a Divine bone-diction - of the most high God - לְ after a passive verb indicating the efficient cause (vide Gesenius, § 143, 2, and cf. Genesis 31:15; Proverbs 14:50) - possessor - so Onkelos and Calvin; but koneh, from kanah, to erect, set up, hence found or create, means founder and creator (Gesenius), combines the meanings of κτίζειν and κτᾶσθαι (Keil), contains no indistinct allusion to the doctrine of Genesis 1:1 (Murphy), and is rendered ο{ς ἔκτισε (LXX.) and qui creavit (Vulgate) - of heaven and earth.
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Verse 20. - And blessed be the most high God (cf. Genesis 9:56), who hath delivered - miggen, a word peculiar to poetry - nathan (cf. Proverbs 4:9; Hosea 11:8) - thine enemies - tsarecha, also a poetical expression - oyeb (cf. Deuteronomy 32:27; Job 16:9; Psalm 81:15) - into thy hand. And he - not Melchisedeck (Jewish interpreters), but Abram (Josephus, LXX., Jonathan, Hebrews 7:6) - gave him (not Abram, but Melchisedeck) tithes "tenths." These, being the customary offering to the Deity, were an acknowledgment of the Divine priesthood of Melchisedeck. The practice of paying tithes, primarily a voluntary tax for the servants of the sanctuary, appears to have obtained among different nations from the remotest antiquity (vide Dr. Ginsburg in 'Kitto's Cyclopedia,' art. Tithes). The tithal law was afterwards incorporated among the Mosaic statutes (Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:31-32) - of all - the spoils which he had taken (Hebrews 7:4.)
And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
Verse 21. - And the king of Sodom (who, though first coming, appears to have retired in favor of the greater personage, Melchisedeck, and to have witnessed the interview between him and Abram, but who now, on its termination, advances - said unto Abram, - perhaps anticipating that like donations from the spoils might be made to him as to Melchisedeck, in which case he evinced a remarkable degree of generosity - Give me the persons - literally, the souls, i.e. those of my people whom you have recovered (cf. Genesis 12:5, in which the term is employed to describe domestic slaves) - and take the goods to thyself (which, Michaelis observes, he was justly entitled to do by right of conquest).
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,
Verse 22. - And Abram said unto the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand - a common form of swearing (Deuteronomy 32:40; Ezekiel 20:5, 6; Daniel 12:7; Revelation 10:5, 6; cf. Virg., 'AEn.,' 12:195) - unto the Lord (Jehovah; which, occurring in the present document, proves the antiquity of its use as a designation of the Deity), the most high God, - El-Elion; thus identifying Jehovah with the God of Melchisedeck, and perhaps of the king of Sodom (vide supra) - the possessor of heaven and earth.
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:
Verse 23. - That I will not take - literally, if (sc. I shall take); an abbreviation for "May God do so to me, if...!" (cf. 1 Samuel 3:17; 2 Samuel 3:35). The particle אִם has the force of a negative in adjuration - from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take any thing (literally, and if I shall take anything) that is thine, - literally, of all that (sc. belongs) to thee - lest thou shouldest say (literally, and thou shalt not say), I have made Abram rich. Though not averse to accept presents from heathen monarchs (Genesis 12:16), the patriarch could not consent to share in the wealth of the impious Sodomites; in this a striking contrast to Lot.
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.
Verse 24. - Save - בִּלְעָדַי, compounded of בַּל, not, and עַד, unto - not unto; a particle of deprecation, meaning, "nothing shall come unto me" (cf. Genesis 41:16) - only that which the young men - נַעַר, a primitive word (cf. Sanscrit, nara, man; nari, nari, woman; Zend., naere; Greek, ἀνήρ), applied to a new-born child (Exodus 2:26; 1 Samuel 4:21), a youth of about twenty (Genesis 34:19; Genesis 41:15), a servant, like παῖς (Genesis 37:2; 2 Kings 5:50), a common soldier (1 Kings 20:15, 17, 19; 2 Kings 19:6) - have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mature; let them take their portion.

The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010 by BibleSoft, inc., Used by permission

Bible Hub
Genesis 13
Top of Page
Top of Page