Genesis Chapter 14: Abraham Rescues Lot, Melchizedek King of Salem

Nov 25th, 2009 | By | Category: Genesis, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Genesis Chapter 14: Abraham Rescues Lot, Melchizedek King of Salem

Gen. 14:1 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;

Gen. 14:2 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.

Four kings to the north warred with five kings in the Sodom-Gomorrah area, the plain of Jordan, the vale of Siddim. “Shinar” was Babylon, and Amraphel may be Hammurabi. Greater priority was given to Chedorlaomer as the leader. When a rebellion occurred in the thirteenth year, he gathered forces and came down to quell it (Gen. 14:4). Zoar was formerly called Bela. We will recall that Lot asked to flee to Zoar when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.

Gen. 14:3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.

The Valley of Siddim became the site of the Dead Sea later.

Gen. 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

Gen. 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 Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,

The four kings ruled over the five kings for 12 years. In the thirteenth year, the five kings rebelled. Elsewhere the land of Egypt is called the land of Ham, but this Ham was in Canaan.

Ham was an abbreviation of Ammon. (The city known as Adam was a little farther north in Transjordan.) The Flood had occurred only 400 to 500 years earlier, so this was an early period of history when migration from Mount Ararat was still beginning. In other words, one of Ham’s children came down and founded the city called by his name.

Gen. 14:6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness.

Mount Seir was south of the Dead Sea, and Seir was the capital of Edom. El-paran was near Kadesh-Barnea and also in the vicinity of Petra, or Sela. From Petra, which was anciently a part of Edom, one can see Mount Hor, where Aaron died.

Gen. 14:7 And they returned, and came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon-tamar.

The account is telling us that these incidents took place before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. On the way down to fight the five kings at Sodom, the four kings destroyed and pillaged villages and towns. The five kings and towns were in the Valley of Sodom, where Lot was. The “valley” was a relatively level plain.

Gen. 14:8 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;

Gen. 14:9 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.

The battle between the five kings and the four kings took place.

Gen. 14:10 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.

The “slimepits” were composed of bitumen but in a soft, runny state more like quicksand.

Bitumen is also like pitch or tar—gooey, sticky, and strong. A by-product of bitumen is sulfur.

In addition, bitumen is medicinal. The Valley of Sodom was “well watered” with pockets of, basically, fresh water (Gen. 13:10). It is interesting that the Dead Sea, which existed subsequently, has a very high concentration of bitumen, and at one time, the bitumen even floated on the water. As a result of a study of the land, it is conjectural but reasonable to conclude that Noah’s Ark was built in this area. The natural slime, which was plentiful, would have been used to pitch the Ark.

Some fled to “the mountain,” which was actually a long mountain range. On both sides of the Dead Sea, there is a mountain range for a hundred miles or so. The Israeli or western side is high (Masada, etc.) but not as high as the range to the east, on the Transjordan side. This area is isolated. Mount Nebo and Madeba are at the north end of the Dead Sea, but the southern area is still desolate. The term “the mountain” referred to any part of the Transjordan mountain range. Jesus told the Israelites to flee to this mountain range when the Roman siege was relaxed (Luke 21:20,21). It is also where Sela, or Petra, is to the far south. In addition, Lot was told to flee to “the mountain” at the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but he asked to go to Zoar instead (Gen. 19:17-22).

Gen. 14:11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.

Without lingering, the four kings looted and plundered and then went on their way north.

Gen. 14:12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

The four kings took Lot, Haran’s son.

Gen. 14:13 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.

Here Abram was called a “Hebrew” for the first time. In fact, this verse is the first use of the term “Hebrew,” which comes from Eber (Gen. 11:15-17). Abram was a descendant of Eber.

Gen. 14:14 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.

Abram took his trained armed servants “born in his own house.” Wherever Abram sojourned, the 318 servants went with him. It is interesting that they were trained not only as shepherds but also for battle. (As a foreigner in Canaan, Abram feared that others would have hostile intentions regarding his traveling up and down in “their” land.) Abram pursued the enemy to Dan, which was in northern Israel but not the extreme north at this time.

Gen. 14:15 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.

Abram continued to pursue the enemy up to the Damascus area in the far north.

Gen. 14:16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Abram was victorious. He brought back Lot and all of the goods, women, and people taken captive by the four kings.

The 318 servants of Abram were able to defeat the four “kings” and their armies. However, these kings ruled over towns or villages, not kingdoms. It was too soon after the Flood (only 400+ years) for there to be hundreds of thousands to defeat.

Gen. 14:17 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.

The Valley of Shaveh, the king’s dale, was just outside Jerusalem (near Absalom’s Tomb). The king of Sodom came out from there to meet Abram. Chedorlaomer was the leader of the enemy host. Abram was on his way south, coming back from the victory in the north.

Gen. 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

Melchizedek had bread and wine ready; hence he was anticipating Abram’s victorious return.

He also knew that after the battle, Abram and his servants would need food for strength. How startling that Melchizedek was called “the priest of the most high God,” a title that indicated he was more important than Abram. Melchizedek was in “Salem,” that is, Jerusalem.

Hebrews 7:1,2 brings out an important principle: Melchizedek was, first, the King of righteousness and, second, the King of peace. As Christians, we are to be first pure, then peaceable. “Melchizedek” signifies “king of righteousness”; “Salem” means “peace.”

Gen. 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

Melchizedek blessed Abram.

Gen. 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Melchizedek blessed Abram, and Abram gave tithes to Melchizedek of all the goods taken.

The mysterious personage Melchizedek was Shem, a patriarch. This identity was suggested by the Edgar brothers, John Taylor, and Piazzi Smyth.

In Hebrews 7:1-22, the Apostle Paul showed that the Church is not under the Law or the Levitical priesthood because a priesthood existed in the person of Melchizedek before Aaron lived, that is, before the Levitical priesthood.

Jesus was of the tribe of Judah and thus was not a son of Aaron. It was a hard truth for Jews to accept that Jesus could be a priest when he was not of the tribe of Levi. They failed to see that that which was literal was a type. Paul said that the fact a new Law Covenant will be made shows the Levitical priesthood will expire and be replaced by a different priesthood and a ”new covenant” (Jer. 31:31-34). Paul went back before the existence of the Levitical priesthood to the existence of the mysterious personage Melchizedek, whose name means primarily “King of righteousness” and secondarily “King of peace.” And Melchizedek was “the priest of the most high God.”

Even though Levi was not yet born, he paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abram, for Levi was in Abram’s seed. The lineage, in sequence, is as follows: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Levi, Kohath, Amram, Moses.

Many Bible chapters discuss the Levitical priesthood, but the Melchizedek priesthood is more important, for Melchizedek represents Jesus. Melchizedek was “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3). Two objections might be raised: (1) Jesus had a Father, and (2) Melchizedek could not be superior to Jesus. We reply, “Without father or mother” means “without descent.” Since only God has no beginning of days, these terms regarding Melchizedek are used from a different perspective.

Only God is without beginning and ending, whereas Jesus died (had an ending) and had a beginning. So that Melchizedek can be a type, the Bible purposely does not tell who his parents were, when he was born, and when he died. He did have a beginning, but the Bible does not say so. Of course these facts are stated regarding Shem, but the connection between Shem and Melchizedek is intentionally omitted in the Book of Genesis in order to make him a type of a new priesthood. Lesson: We should not overdraw types but are to consider only the facts given.

In his Epistle to the Hebrews, Paul elaborated on the Melchizedek priesthood, showing that it is an unending priesthood. Both the Old and the New Testaments say that Jesus is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Psa. 110:4; Heb. 7:17). Aaron and his sons, the sons’ sons, etc., died; and this priesthood ends. The Melchizedek priesthood will supplant the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood. The Bible gives details on the Levitical priesthood because it pertains to the present life—it is a temporary priesthood—whereas the Melchizedek priesthood is Jesus and the Church in glory. Aaron was only a priest, but Melchizedek was both king (melchi) and priest (zadok). When glorified, the Church will be both kings and priests.

Gen. 14:21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.

Gen. 14:22 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,

Gen. 14:23 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:

Gen. 14:24 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.

Abram declined the goods (the spoils) offered by the king of Sodom. Abram lived in Mamre, and now these three men (Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre) wanted to accompany him.

The Apostle Paul accepted of the brethren, but he did not live off them. It is wrong for ministers and priests of Christendom to live off their congregations.


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