The families set off in pursuit as far as Dan, one of the northernmost cities of Israel. I would think it a good possibility all of these kings each had more than Abram had. Some scholars respond to these concerns by arguing that it was added to the story very late, or that it came down as a separate tradition about Abraham. It is a familiar story of oppression by a coalition of stronger powers. God has promised Abraham innumerable descendants. — 1 Kings 5:10 Abraham/Sarah and Brahma/Saraswati are not the only overlapping figures between Hindu and Hebrew traditions. They also took Lot and all his goods and possessions, because he was living in Sodom at the time. In his account of Abraham’s life, the first-century thinker Philo of Alexandria skillfully interprets the bewildering details in the story of the war between the four and five kings. She was barren, bearing no children. He saw to it that his allies and suppliers were reimbursed. Under God's command, the first step in conquering Canaan was to divide the land by defeating the central cities of Jericho and Ai. With just 318 men, Abram defeats the four kings and frees the prisoners. Abraham's statement is both a testament of allegiance to God and an affirmation that God will provide all of his needs. Now, for twelve years, these local kings had been diligently paying tribute to the foreign entities. In Egypt it was a quite different situation because the pharao was the one that was wrong.And he begged to leave the country. * All rights reserved. Obviously, the foreign kings were not about to allow such a rebellion to go unchecked. Ahuva you may need to add more insight here, thank you. In this case, they were four foreign kings from the East, from the Mesopotamia region, from places that Abraham had left behind. This is no longer just an international incident; it is personal. God is establishing a good reputation and a good name for Abraham who will be respected and feared in the land. The four invading kings defeat the five local city-states in battle, and take their people and kings as captives. This is the first war that is recorded in the Scriptures. (Gen. 11:30) Earlier with Pharoah, this related to his wife Sarai who was also his half sister —- comment in the KJV Bible —- she was his sister in another manner—– the custom of ‘adopting’ one’s wife as sister in order to confer privileges—- however Abimelech was angry and terrified when he realised what Abram had done and gave gifts in order to gain favour with Abram and his God. Then, He does what any father would do, rescue us from our trouble. Abraham the father of nations. Let’s not confuse stories, however; the incident with Pharaoh and with Abimelech are two different stories. Abraham asks Sarah to say that she is his sister in Gen 12:13 because a sister travelling with her brother would be perceived as sexually available. The numbers were simply insignificant. He is a king of Salem, which is suggestive of the Hebrew word "shalom" or peace. After the first eleven chapters of Genesis, it appears that this “Creation” idea was a failure, but God doesn’t see it this way. Verse 17. Abraham received blessings from the Lord God Most High —v20 who has delivered your enemies into your hand— when Melchizedek king of Salem greets him with bread and wine and sustains him. Thare had three sons, Abram, Nachor, and Aran. A. Avram was already rich and didn't need anymore, especially from a wicked king. I. Abraham the Watcher. Abraham’s Early Life. It's a technique in which contrasting items are used to express a totality. Hebrews 11:10 is a wonderful verse to contemplate as Abraham is described as one who looked for “a city with foundations whose builder and architect is God.” The name is also associated with Ibal-pi-el II of Esnunna. Abram refused the spoil from the king of Sodom as he did not want any form of alliance with this pagan king which could affect his family. He was able to muster up 318 of his own men to fight for him. Abraham is no longer a pastoral nomad, moving from watering hole to watering hole. They marched against the five local kings of the Jordanian region. There they waited until nightfall, split their forces in two, and routed the unsuspecting army. When Abram hears the fate of his nephew, he springs into action. But before this king ever gets a chance to speak, Melchizedek jumps into the story. The war came about because the five kings of the city-states in the plain of Jordan rebelled against the four kings of the eastern city-states. When I think of these possible odds, I think of Gideon who went up against several thousand with just 300 men, and destroyed them all "without firing a shot". Abram made a stand and worshipped the one true God with great faith. 4. A famine breaking out in Chanaan, Abram journeyed southward to Egypt, and when h… We, however, are less interested in the historical nature of the tale as to what it's doing there in the first place. Genesis 4: Cain and Abel and the Generations that Followed, Genesis 6: The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men, Genesis 10: The Table of Nations – Japheth, Genesis 10: The Table of Nations – Ham (6-20), Genesis 11: The Descendants of Shem and Terah (10-32), Genesis 21: The Birth of Isaac and Expulsion of Ishmael, Genesis 25: Jacob’s Birth and Stolen Birthright, Genesis 28: Jacob Leaves and Encounters God at Bethel, Genesis 29: Jacob Marries Rachel and Leah, Genesis 30-31: Jacob’s Dealings with Laban, Genesis 32-33: Jacob Wrestles at Peniel and Reunites with Esau, Genesis 34: Jacob’s Response to Dinah’s Rape, Genesis 37: Joseph is Sold by His Brothers, Genesis 40: Joseph, the Baker, and the Cupbearer, Genesis 42: Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt, Genesis 42: Joseph’s Brothers Return Home, Genesis 43: Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt, Genesis 46: Jacob and Family Move to Egypt, Genesis 47: Pharaoh Meets Joseph’s Family, Genesis 49: Jacob's Final Words to His Sons, Genesis 50: Jacob’s Death and Its Aftermath, Exodus 1: The Oppression of the Israelites, Exodus 2: The Birth and Early Life of Moses, Exodus 11: Announcing the Death of the Firstborn, Exodus 12: Introduction of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, Exodus 12: The Tenth Plague and the Exodus. Because of that, he was captured. Sodom was a pagan, sinful place destined for destruction, Egypt would shelter the children of Israel for a time because of famine. * But he is undaunted by custom and hopes to cut a deal with him. Genesis 14 tells an unusual tale of a battle between four kings from outside the Levant and five city-states situated on the south-eastern side of the Dead Sea. It is almost monotonous in its detail of names and places, none of which can be verified by outside Biblical sources. In the seventh, the local kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, and nearby Amorite towns revolt. They were not expecting another attack, especially once they set up camp for the night. I agree with most of your sentiments. At the end of this chapter, Abraham has made a clear choice between worldly benefits and divine blessings. They take the local population prisoner, Lot among them. It is an international incident, which ultimately will have very personal consequences for Abraham and his family. It is possible that since there was still no other apparent heir, Abraham was still holding out hope that his promised descendants would come through Lot. Abraham had just recaptured everything. Abram married Sarai. YHVH got His due glory. Abraham’s story is … That makes scholars nervous. * King David in 2Sam 11:14-17 arranges to have Uriah killed in the front line of the battle so that he can hide his adulterous act with Uriah's wife Bathsheba. You make some great observations here. Instead, he has become a charismatic tribal chieftain, ready to engage in deadly warfare on behalf of his kinsman. 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. The next point in the story we need to take a deeper look at is when God called Abraham. On one hand, I think Abram knew the spiritual nature of Sodom from the moment he and Lot arrived in the area. * The Bible is relatively silent on the first few decades of Abraham’s life, telling us that he was the son of Terach and husband of Sarah, but not much else.But many crucial details are filled in by the Midrash and Talmud.Here is how it is summed up by Maimonides:. But during the 13th year, the five kings rebel, and during the 14th year, the great Battle of the Kings occurs. Melchizedek was the King of Salem. On their way there, they pillaged and destroyed all the tribes they encountered. King – Kingdoms. . Designed for both Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike, The Israel Bible offers a unique commentary that seeks to explain God’s focus on the Land of Israel alongside the original Hebrew text, transliteration of select Hebrew verses, and the New Jewish Publication Society translation. Include in your discussion his interactions with the various kings mentioned in his life-story. When Abram hears the fate of his nephew, he springs into action. Melchizadek was a priest from heaven-not born on this earth-read about his description and he was not Jesus. Moreover, Abraham and his elite force of 318 were non-aligned with any of the five kings. With just 318 men, Abram defeats the four kings and frees the prisoners. It is after the slaughter of the kings (which Abraham takes part in) during which the evil king and his allies are defeated and killed, that Abraham is met and blessed by the priest-king Melchizedek. Read More, Copyright © 2021 The Israel Bible All Rights Reserved. He's the one that gave the victory. 1. The five cities named in thi… Historically speaking, the story’s setting is problematic. Ishmael the son of Hagar and Abraham. Terah was also father to Haran, father of Lot. His expression — not a thread or a sandal thong, which would be a thick strap — is called a merism. God had a destiny of the salvation of His people to begin there. From a practical standpoint, however, it makes sense that the large armies had just finished a long and exhausting campaign. In addition, the story clarifies the difference in an undisputable lie and what we may call a “half-truth”. Up until now, Abraham had had no involvement in the campaign. After this mighty man [Abraham] was weaned, he began to explore and think . Following the conflict, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brings forth bread and wine, blessing the God of Abram for strengthening his hand. Only after this exchange does the King of Sodom speak. I also think the more of Elohim he had in his heart and thinking, the less he wanted anything to do with evil entanglements. God also promised the gift of land, and here come four conquering kings wanting land, placing God's promise in jeopardy. But he did not hold others to this same standard. It would also have included military obligations to help each other. Avram and his men got their expenses back, and the king of Sodom got his freedom. He prepares a feast in his honor and declares him blessed or made powerful by God Most High, evidently the highest God in the Canaanite pantheon. The invasion occurred the next year. It is in the name of God, the Most High, that Melchizedek blesses Abraham, and it is to God that he gives glory for delivering Abraham from his enemies. Answer: Chedorlaomer (also spelled Kedorlaomer) was a king who was a contemporary of Abraham and Lot. Sarah was the wife of Abraham. . Yes, of “Abrahamic religion”. I also think it a good possibility Abram would not have intervened if not for Lot being among the captives. In light of that, isn't it interesting that it comes right after God has reaffirmed His promises to Abraham? I would add that it goes down to the intention of the giver, Pharoah's intention was simply to bless Abram, while for the King of Sodom, it was for a pagan alliance, like someone above here mentioned. For some reason, they chose to withhold that tribute in the thirteenth year. In leaning upon HaShem, and learning a lot by trial and error, he had become spiritually stronger. The words for this alliance inherently point to a presumption of parity among equals. Abraham's immediate response is to give a tenth of everything to Melchizedek. In that case, it would be absolutely essential to keep Lot safe. There is also new information about Abraham. The armies of any of the nine kings were experienced and well organized. Add to that the wickedness of the Sodomite king with his own agenda and Abram has the wisdom not to enter into any kind of relationship with an idolater. As he see’s Elohim’s hand directing his life and the provision that has been made for him along the way, he starts to understand just how involved in his life Elohim actually is and gains confidence in that. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that there are many gaps in our knowledge of life 4,000 years ago. Since so many details are provided, scholars should be able to place Abraham in a precise historical moment. Presumably, he returned to Hebron, while Lot stayed in Sodom. I think both Kara and SueJean have made great comments. He has established some sort of an alliance with three other families in the area. Copyright © 2021 BibleWise.com. This never works out for anyone in the Scriptures or today either. By Ahuva Balofsky (Moderator). Abraham (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Most commentators argue that it appears to be a tale that is just stuck in the story and really adds nothing to it. I believe this story reflects Abram’s growth and spiritual maturity. Understanding the tale on a literal and allegorical level, he offers intriguing suggestions about what motivates both powerful rulers and forces within the soul. There is no difference. This chapter presents the most scholarly difficulty thus far in our story. Obviously, some time had elapsed, and Lot had progressed from living in tents near the city to living within the city itself. Lot is still considered part of Abraham's family. The title "Five Kings in a Cave" comes from Joshua 10. When I read this commentary, I think of tremendous odds. It was a good military plan aimed at preventing any attacks from the rear. So, Abram was uncle to Lot. He is also a priest of God, the Most High. The Torah now provides some political background to Abram’s life. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of the children of the East. When God gave Abraham his great victory over the King of Elam, he was met on his return by an enigmatic figure, a priest, by the name of Melchizedek. This whole campaign would have taken several weeks to conclude. In chapter 14 Abraham had an opportunity to become suddenly very wealthy through his own works by keeping the riches of Sodom and the five kings of the southern Dead Sea. However, Abraham disdainfully rejects the whole offer. [ Abraham Tested] Some time later God tested Abraham. Unlike Melchizedek who brought an offering of bread and wine, this king arrived empty-handed and shouted, "Give me the people..." Now, in fact, this demand is quite outrageous. Living in Hebron, he was outside the territories in question and would have had no need to intervene. With just 318 men, Abram defeats the four kings and frees the prisoners. Abram then defeats the invading army, and the people from the five city-states are set free. Now, of course, the situation had become different. 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And possessions, because he was outside the territories in question and would had...