Summary: Abram rescues Lot
November 21, 2010
We’ve been studying through the book of Genesis together, and today we’re in chapter 14. God has called Abram from his hometown in Ur to go to Canaan. Last week we saw that there was a skirmish between the herdsman of Abram and his nephew, Lot, so Abram told Lot to pick where he wanted to go and Abram would go in the other direction.
Lot chose to go down to Sodom because he could see that he’d be prosperous there. Judging by human logic and standards, Sodom was the best choice, but they were known for being exceedingly wicked. Lot compromised spiritual purity for worldly gain, and today we’re going to see that it costs him more than he thought.
There are lots of details and names in the first part of this passage, so to help you get started, I want you to take your pen and circle these first four names:
And it came about in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim,
From now on, to keep things simple, I’ll just refer to these four as the Elamites or the kings of the north. They’re led by this man named Chedorlaomer who is the king of Elam.
Now take your pen and draw boxes around these next five names: It came about in the days of the Elamites…
2that they 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 (that is, Zoar).
We’ll call these the Sodomites or the kings of the south. Before you start to feel too sorry for them over what happens, I want to remind you that these are the same cities which are destroyed by the Lord later on (Gen. 19; Dt. 29:23). They’re not innocent bystanders.
3All these came as allies to the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea).
Why did they come together as allies?
4Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled.
So, these men had been reduced to vassals. They were puppet kings who were subservient to the Elamite king, and after 12 years of paying tributes and doing his bidding, they said, “Enough!” So they all got together and rebelled in protest.
5In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6and the Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness. 7Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar.
Now, if you’ll notice, none of the kings of the south have yet been attacked. These five kings rebel, and all these other nations are attacked, but it’s not without reason.
I’ve put this map in the PowerPoint for you to see the route of the Elamite conquest. They started in the north on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee and worked their way south along the Jordan River. Once they got below the Dead Sea, they turned west and worked their way to Kadesh and on up to the kings of the south who were on the west side of the Dead Sea.
Why would they take this longer route instead of just heading straight for the rebel cities?
I think there are two main reasons: first, this route is known as “the king’s highway” and it was the trade route between them and Egypt. This war was as much about controlling the economy as it was anything else.
Second, I think they attacked all these other nations first to prevent from being surrounded by potential enemies and to keep anyone from coming to the aid of the southern kings.
Well, they finally come to the valley of Siddim:
8And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim, 9against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar--four kings against five. 10Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the hill country.
So, we’re not really given any details on what happened in the battle, but we can say that the southern kings lost. The men fled the battle field, but as they were running away many of them fell into tar pits.