He is also a priest of God, the Most High. They also took Lot and all his goods and possessions, because he was living in Sodom at the time. All these came as allies unto the vale of Siddim―the same is the Salt Sea. Because of that, he was captured. The name is also associated with Ibal-pi-el II of Esnunna. I think both Kara and SueJean have made great comments. Hagar, an Egyptian slave given to Abraham by the Pharaoh of … * * But he did not hold others to this same standard. Amraphel has been thought by some scholars such as the writers of the Catholic Encyclopedia (1907) and the Jewish Encyclopaedia (1906) to be an alternate name of the famed Hammurabi. Though Avram was entitled to have all the spoils of war (he was the victor) he declined. Following the conflict, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brings forth bread and wine, blessing the God of Abram for strengthening his hand. The invasion occurred the next year. And when they can't, it raises many unnerving questions about the historicity of the whole chapter. She was barren, bearing no children. What can we learn from Abraham’s dealings with other people. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that there are many gaps in our knowledge of life 4,000 years ago. Presumably, he returned to Hebron, while Lot stayed in Sodom. It would also have included military obligations to help each other. The four invading kings defeat the five local city-states in battle, and take their people and kings as captives. I believe this story reflects Abram’s growth and spiritual maturity. Most are satisfied that these possibilities exonerate the inaccuracies of the story. Mesopotamia was one of the earliest regions to be inhabited after the greatFlood, and it was here that Abraham lived his early life. Lot is rescued by Abraham. But he is undaunted by custom and hopes to cut a deal with him. 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―the same is Zoar. 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 raises Abraham's thought from cultivating a kingdom based on conquests to a kingdom of peace. The foreign kings' goal was to conquer the five southern cities around the Dead Sea. This king had just lost everything — his wealth and his people. Thare took Abram and his wife, Sarai, and Lot, the son of Aran, who was dead, and leaving Ur of the Chaldees, came to Haran and dwelt there till he died. 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:. God is making Abraham’s name great. The five cities named in thi… 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. Abraham's troops were fresh; they attacked under cover of darkness and by dividing his strike force to simultaneously attack from two sides, he was able to completely surprise the army. He was able to muster up 318 of his own men to fight for him. 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.” Even though he is no longer part of Abraham's tribe, Abraham obviously felt some responsibility for him. However, Abraham disdainfully rejects the whole offer. We make stupid mistakes and get into trouble. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of the children of the East. It is a familiar story of oppression by a coalition of stronger powers. An easy answer would be to say that God was with them. Yes, that Lot; but that story comes later. Somewhere beyond Damascus, a city even farther to the north, Abraham recovered the booty, Lot, and all his possessions. On one hand, I think Abram knew the spiritual nature of Sodom from the moment he and Lot arrived in the area. With just 318 men, Abram defeats the four kings and frees the prisoners. He is king of the peace that Abraham has now brought to the community. Up until now, Abraham had had no involvement in the campaign. I also think it a good possibility Abram would not have intervened if not for Lot being among the captives. Abraham’s Early Life. * There is no mention of the battle itself, only that the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, as did many of their men. The L-rd, HaShem fought the battle, He made Abram rich not man. That makes scholars nervous. He saw to it that his allies and suppliers were reimbursed. Thare had three sons, Abram, Nachor, and Aran. The four kings … The Israel Bible is the world’s first Tanakh (Bible) centered around the Land of Israel, the People of Israel, and the dynamic relationship between them. Since so many details are provided, scholars should be able to place Abraham in a precise historical moment. Copyright © 2021 BibleWise.com. For some reason, they chose to withhold that tribute in the thirteenth year. Abraham's nephew Lot is kidnapped when Mesopotamian kings attack Sodom and other settlements. 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. 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. 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. Yet Abraham, refusing to acquire wealth in such manner, returned ALL of it, not just ten percent! The Israel Bible cites the Sages, who identify Melchizedek as Shem, son of Noah, and Salem as the future site of Jerusalem. This whole campaign would have taken several weeks to conclude. In addition, the story clarifies the difference in an undisputable lie and what we may call a “half-truth”. Melchizedek was the King of Salem. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Verse 17. 18 Melchizedek, king of Salem, # Melchizedek, king of Salem (Jerusalem, cf. It was also very successful. The Torah now provides some political background to Abram’s life. One can almost imagine his unmitigated joy. Melchizadek was a priest from heaven-not born on this earth-read about his description and he was not Jesus. He is a king of Salem, which is suggestive of the Hebrew word "shalom" or peace. 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. In that case, it would be absolutely essential to keep Lot safe. Instead, he has become a charismatic tribal chieftain, ready to engage in deadly warfare on behalf of his kinsman. After the first eleven chapters of Genesis, it appears that this “Creation” idea was a failure, but God doesn’t see it this way. Moreover, Abraham and his elite force of 318 were non-aligned with any of the five kings. This chapter presents the most scholarly difficulty thus far in our story. Abraham's immediate response is to give a tenth of everything to Melchizedek. Abraham (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. God is establishing a good reputation and a good name for Abraham who will be respected and feared in the land. The War between the four kings and the five kings according to the Medrash Tanchuma was the first real war ever fought by mankind. The five kings fought back, briefly gaining the upper hand, but by the time Abram — or more precisely, his nephew, Lot — arrives on the scene, the four have beaten down the five again. They were not expecting another attack, especially once they set up camp for the night. 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. Yes, of “Abrahamic religion”. Kicked Out – Came Back God Gets the Ball Rolling. The victory is complete; the invaders seized all the wealth from Sodom and Gomorrah, all needed provisions, and went on their way. It is an international incident, which ultimately will have very personal consequences for Abraham and his family. Soon Abraham received the tragic news that his nephew was taken prisoner together with the king of Sodom. The text says, "He defeated them." Abram then defeats the invading army, and the people from the five city-states are set free. God has promised Abraham innumerable descendants. It's like Elohim does for us sometimes. Ultimately, this king was at Abraham's mercy. — 1 Kings 5:10 Abraham/Sarah and Brahma/Saraswati are not the only overlapping figures between Hindu and Hebrew traditions. A reimbursement in this situation was the most equitable agreement for all. Perhaps he was dreaming about an alliance with Abraham. They take the local population prisoner, Lot among them. Abraham may have justified the lie in his mind classifying it as a “half-truth” (since Sarah was his half-sister) out of fear for his life. 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. Avram was already rich and didn't need anymore, especially from a wicked king. 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. Now, of course, the situation had become different. Ishmael the son of Hagar and Abraham. Even before knowledge of God was widespread in the Land, the concept of divine justice was present in Jerusalem. In light of that, isn't it interesting that it comes right after God has reaffirmed His promises to Abraham? This is no longer just an international incident; it is personal. (Gen. 11:30) His expression — not a thread or a sandal thong, which would be a thick strap — is called a merism. It was a good military plan aimed at preventing any attacks from the rear. I also think the more of Elohim he had in his heart and thinking, the less he wanted anything to do with evil entanglements. Abraham's statement is both a testament of allegiance to God and an affirmation that God will provide all of his needs. 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. There they waited until nightfall, split their forces in two, and routed the unsuspecting army. An alliance of four kings waged war against five kings, oppressing them. Under God's command, the first step in conquering Canaan was to divide the land by defeating the central cities of Jericho and Ai. Lot is still considered part of Abraham's family. "When Abram hears the fate of his nephew, he springs into action. Losing no time, Abraham gathered the 318 members of his household and pursued the victorious Chedarlaomer and his mighty army. Let’s not confuse stories, however; the incident with Pharaoh and with Abimelech are two different stories. In Egypt it was a quite different situation because the pharao was the one that was wrong.And he begged to leave the country. 1. Sarah was the wife of Abraham. The outcome should make clear that even mild dishone… This promise was placed in jeopardy by Lot's exodus out of the Promised Land. You make some great observations here. After eliminating all neighboring people who might stand in their way, the four foreign kings turned their full attention to the rebellious five and decisively defeated them in the Valley of Siddim. 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. Obviously, some time had elapsed, and Lot had progressed from living in tents near the city to living within the city itself. In leaning upon HaShem, and learning a lot by trial and error, he had become spiritually stronger. Historically speaking, the story’s setting is problematic. 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. The southern kings lost the battle, and their citizens were captured. The words for this alliance inherently point to a presumption of parity among equals. Abraham raises his own personal army, rescues Lot and other captives during a night attack, and presents part of the plunder to Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God, as a tithe. The birth of Isaac Abraham’s son. Ancient armies did not usually fight after dark. Abram’s faith had become stronger also. In this chapter Joshua and the armies of Israel literally sealed five kings inside a cave as part of the overall strategy for conquering the land of Canaan. When he first set out on his journey, he probably didn’t know a lot about what it meant to live by faith on a day to day basis – most people don’t. Terah was father to Abram, whom we now know as Abraham (but that name comes to him later). I agree with most of your sentiments. The families set off in pursuit as far as Dan, one of the northernmost cities of Israel. 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. In the seventh, the local kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, and nearby Amorite towns revolt. The newly-rescued king of Sodom offers Abram a reward, but Abram refuses to give the king the chance to say he made Abram rich. Avram and his men got their expenses back, and the king of Sodom got his freedom. Like, maybe it really isn't true, after all. In exchange for the people, the king offers to allow Abraham to keep all the spoils of war, spoils that already belong to Abraham by virtue of his conquest. Chazal say Amraphel was Abraham… But during the 13th year, the five kings rebel, and during the 14th year, the great Battle of the Kings occurs. 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. Abraham had just recaptured everything. 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". Abraham the father of nations. Abraham is no longer a pastoral nomad, moving from watering hole to watering hole. 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. Well put all of you. Ps 76:3), appears with majestic suddenness to recognize Abraham’s great victory, which the five local kings were unable to achieve. I. Abraham the Watcher. Abraham’s story is … He used his faith: His force was heavily outnumbered 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. Abraham distinguished his small force from the opposing regular fighting men in both opposing forces. That would make the odds at least greater than 5 to 1. The five kings fought back, briefly gaining the upper hand, but by the time Abram — or more precisely, his nephew, Lot — arrives on the scene, the four have beaten down the five again. Obviously, someone felt it was important enough to include in Abraham's story, which is ultimately a story of God's promises. Interestingly, as we will see this coming week, whereas Pharaoh gave Abraham gifts BEFORE he knew Sarah’s true identity, Abimelech gives Abraham gifts AFTER finding out Sarah is actually Abraham’s wife, not (just) sister. Are the Wife-Sister Stories "Doublets"? After this mighty man [Abraham] was weaned, he began to explore and think . Yet someone escaped and fled to Abraham with the bad news. Moreover people would say of the wealth of Avram he has gained it through those wars and they wouldn't see it was HaShem that blessed him. This provides further details as to the faithfulness of God to Abraham. We, however, are less interested in the historical nature of the tale as to what it's doing there in the first place. This never works out for anyone in the Scriptures or today either. It's a technique in which contrasting items are used to express a totality. It seems clear to me that Abram has a clear understanding of Who his help and his provider truly is and no longer needs to look to the hands of men for anything. 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. It is almost monotonous in its detail of names and places, none of which can be verified by outside Biblical sources. But before this king ever gets a chance to speak, Melchizedek jumps into the story. Ajit Vadakayil points out that there is also Adam/Eve and Adhama/ Havyavati, along with Noah and Nyuha or Manu (Blogspot.com). On the other hand, Abram had grown a lot since the beginning of his journey. They marched against the five local kings of the Jordanian region. One might well wonder how Abraham could do what the five kings could not. These were men that had been born into his house, most likely as slaves, and were considered trustworthy. * The title "Five Kings in a Cave" comes from Joshua 10. He's the one that gave the victory. Sodom was a pagan, sinful place destined for destruction, Egypt would shelter the children of Israel for a time because of famine. All rights reserved. There is also new information about Abraham. 10) - went out to meet him (i.e. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. The armies of any of the nine kings were experienced and well organized. Avram didnt want anything because not he was the victor but he thanked his G-d for the victory. 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N'T, it raises many unnerving questions about the historicity of the East verified outside... 10 ) - went out to meet him ( i.e and pursued the victorious Chedarlaomer and his got. Most equitable agreement for all now know as Abraham ( Genesis 14 Abraham! Avram was entitled to have all the tribes they encountered personal consequences for Abraham and his men got their Back!