Summary: Abraham rescues Lot proving that the Possessor of heaven and earth has delivered our enemies into our hands and is worthy of worship!
In our last study we saw the conflict that caused Abraham and Lot to separate. Lot went down to Sodom and that sets us up for chapter 14:
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;
We’ll call them the four kings of the north.
2That 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. 3All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. 4Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
We’ll call these the Sodomites or the kings of the south. They came together as allies because they had been reduced to slavery for 12 years and they wanted out. I suppose a person from the north would probably have called them insurgents, but they very likely saw themselves as patriots defending their liberty.
5And 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, 6And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. 7And 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.
If you’ll notice, none of the kings of the south have yet been attacked. These are all nations the northern kings meet along the way to the fight, so I guess we’d call this a “preventive war.” The northern kings don’t want to wade into their enemies and get surrounded, so instead they just destroy everyone as they go. It’s not really all that surprising since the Greeks translated the Hebrew word for Rephaim as γίγαντας (gigantas) or “giants,” and the Hebrew word for Emims is “terrors.”
So they begin just northeast of the Sea of Galilee and work their way south of the Dead Sea.
8And 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; 9With 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. 10And 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.
So the southern kings lost and liberty will have to wait another day. Some of the soldiers died in battle, others fell into tar pits. These might have been covered with sand and leaves and hard to see for someone running full-speed from battle. Some are better off and make it to the mountain. The kings of the north are satisfied and begin to plunder:
11And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 12And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
As a benefit for themselves and punishment for their enemies, the conquerors take anything and everything. They took horses, livestock, people, and even food supplies back to their own lands.
13And 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. 14And 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. 15And 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. 16And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
Abraham and his three allies join forces, make a surprise attack at night from different directions, and overwhelm the enemy. They bring back everything that was stolen and the southern kings welcome them home:
17And 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.
This is all expected, but then we get something that’s not:
18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
If you’ll remember from our study in Hebrews this man is a type of Christ. He is a king and a priest. His name means “king of righteousness” and he rules the place named “peace.” He is a priest of God before there was a priesthood through Aaron! This is all used later in Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 7:17 to show that Christ is the true High Priest of God who was promised and revealed long before Moses and Aaron were born.