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ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

The summary of the entire Torah is as simple as this:
Love what HaShem loves; hate what HaShem hates. All else is commentary.

Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

WARNING: The text used for my commentary is my own paraphrase and must not be
considered “a translation” or authorative in any way. It is, in fact, simply my commentary.

Maps, when used, are from BibleAtlas.org. Created using BibleMapper 3.0.
Additional data from OpenBible.info.
Source of Dates Used

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית • B'resheet
(“In Beginning” or “At First”)
The First Book of Moses,
Commonly Called

Genesis


~ 14 ~

Parashah 3: Lech Lecha (continued)
(“Get Yourself Out,” Gen. 12:1-17:27)
(Small Roman numerals in the text indicate each 'aliyah.)

[The War of the Kings, ca 1898-1885 BCE]

D. War of the Kings (14:1-24)

1. War Among the Easterm Kings (14:1-3) [East of the Jordan River]

R'vi'i [4th] 1In those days king Amrafel of Shin'ar'country of two rivers [MAP]; king Aryokh of Elasar [MAP]; king K’dorla‘omer of 'Elam'eternity' or 'everythihg' [MAP]; and Tid'al 'great son' of Goyim'nations',[1] 2went to war against king Bera'son of evil' of S'dom'burning' - Sodom [MAP]; king Birsha'with iniquity' of 'Amora'submersion' - Gomorrah [MAP]; king Shin’av of Admah'red earth' [MAP]; king Shem’ever'lofty flight' - Shemeber of TzvoyimZeboi'im = 'gazelles' [MAP]; and the king of Bela'destruction' [MAP] (also called Tzo'arZoar = 'insignificance'). 3The latter five came as allies to the Siddim'field' or 'plain' Valley [MAP] (also called the Salt Sea).

2. History of the Conflict (14:4-7)

 4They had been subject to K’dorla‘omer for twelve years, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5In the fourteenth year K’dorla‘omer and the kings who were allied with him went out and defeated the Refa’imRephaim or Rephaites, an old tribe of giants in ‘Asht’rot-KarnayimAshteroth Karnaim, 'Ashtoreth of the two horns or peaks', [MAP] the Zuzim'roving creatures' - Zuzites in Ham 'hot' or 'sunburnt', [MAP] the Eimim'terrors' - Emites in Shaveh-KiryatayimShaveh = 'plain' or 'level plain'; Kiriathaim = 'two cities' , [MAP] 6and the HoriHorites - 'cave dwellers' in the hill country of Se'irSeir = 'hairy' or 'shaggy', [MAP] as far as Eil-Pa’ranEl Paran - 'palm of Paran', [MAP] which is near the wilderness. 7Then they turned back to invade ‘Ein-Mishpat'spring of judgment' - En Mishpat (also called Kadesh'holy'- same as 'Kedesh' and 'Kadesh-barnea), [MAP] and conquered the whole territory of the ‘Amalekidescendants of Amalek - Amalekites, as well as the EmoriAmorites - 'sayers' who lived in Hatzatzon-Tamar 'dividing the date-palm' - Hazazon Tamar [MAP].

3. Defeat of the Dead Sea Kings (14:8-10) [Valley of Siddim [MAP]]

8Then the king of S'dom [MAP], the king of 'Amora [MAP], the king of Admah [MAP], the king of Tzvoyim [MAP], and the king of Bela [MAP] (also called Tzo'ar) marched out and arrayed for battle in the Siddim Valley 9against king K’dorla‘omer of 'Elam, king Tidal of Goyim, king Amrafel of Shin'ar, and king Arioch of Ellasar; four kings against five. 10Now the Siddim Valley was full of tar pits, and as the kings of S'dom and 'Amora fled, some men fell into the pits, but the survivors fled to the hill country.

4. Lot Taken Captive (4:11-12) [Sodom [MAP] ca 1884 BCE (R), 1878 (K)]

11The four kings seized all the propety of S'dom and 'Amora, and all their food, and went on their way. 12They also carried off Avram’s nephew Lot and all his possessions, since he was living in S'dom.

5. Avram Rescues Lot (14:13-16) [At Dan [MAP]]

13One who had escaped came and reported this to Avram, the Hebrew.[13] At that time Avram was living near the oaks of Mamre [MAP] the EmoriAmorite, a brother of Eshkol'cluster' - Eshcol and brother of 'Aner'boy', all of whom were bound by treaty to Avram. 14When Avram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he assembled the 318 trained men[14] born in his household, and they set out in pursuit as far as Dan. [MAP] 15During the night Avram divided his forces and routed K’dorla‘omer’s army,[15a] pursuing them as far as Hobah'hiding place' - a city north of Damascus, which is north[15b] of Dammesek'silent is the sackcloth weaver' - Damascus. [MAP] 16He recovered all the goods, as well as his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the rest of the people.

17As Avram was returning from defeating K’dorla‘omer and the kings who were allied with him, the king of S'dom went out to meet him in the Shaveh Valley[17] (that is, the King’s Valley) [MAP].

6. Melchizedek Blesses Avram (14:18-20) [Near Jerusalem, ca 1883 BCE]

18Then Malki-tsedeqMelchizedek, king of Salemשָׁלֵ֔ם, shalom, peace, security[18a] [MAP] brought out bread and wine. Since he was a priest of El 'ElyonGod Most High,[18b] 19he blessed Avram saying, “Blessed be Avram by El 'Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth,[19] 20and blessed be El 'Elyon, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Avram gave him a tithetenth of everything.[20]

[TO PARASHAH TOP] 

7. Avram Refuses Reward (14:21-24) [Valley of Shaveh]

Chamishi [5th] 21The king of S'dom said to Avram, “Give me the people, but take the goods for yourself.”

22But Avram replied to the king of S'dom, “I have raised up my hand[22] to Yehovah El 'Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth, 23that I will not accept even a thread, or a sandal strap, or anything that belongs to you, lest you should say, ‘I have made Avram rich.’[23] 24I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share for the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their portion.”

Chapter 15


  1. From Wikipedia: Battle of Siddim:

When cuneiform was first deciphered in the 19th century Theophilus Pinches translated some Babylonian tablets which were part of the Spartoli collection in the British Museum and believed he had found in the "Chedorlaomer Tablets" the names of three of the "Kings of the East" named in Genesis 14. As this is the only part of Genesis which seems to set Abraham in wider political history, it seemed to many 19th and early 20th century exegetes and Assyriologists to offer an opening to date Abraham, if the kings in question could only be identified.

In 1887, Schrader was the first to propose that Amraphel could be an alternate spelling for Hammurabi. The terminal -bi on the end of Hammurabi's name was seen to parallel Amraphel since the cuneiform symbol for -bi can also be pronounced -pi. Tablets were known in which the initial symbol for Hammurabi, pronounced as kh to yield Khammurabi, had been dropped, so that Ammurapi was a viable pronunciation. If Hammurabi were deified in his lifetime or soon after (adding -il to his name to signify his divinity), this would produce something close to the Bible's Amraphel. A little later Jean-Vincent Scheil found a tablet in the Imperial Ottoman Museum in Istanbul from Hammurabi to a king named Kuder-Lagomer of Elam, which he identified with the same name in Pinches' tablet. Thus by the early 20th century many scholars had become convinced that the kings of Gen. 14:1 had been identified, resulting in the following correspondences:

Name from Gen. 14:1 Name from Archaeology
Amraphel king of Shinar Hammurabi (="Ammurapi") king of Babylonia
Arioch king of Ellasar Eri-aku king of Larsa
Chedorlaomer king of Elam (= Chodollogomor in the LXX) Kudur-Lagamar king of Elam
Tidal, king of nations (i.e. goyim, lit. 'nations') Tudhulu, son of Gazza

[BACK]

13. Hebrew, הָעִבְרִ֑י (hā·‘iḇ·rî) means “one who crosses over” or “one from beyond,” and is an ethnic designation for the patriarchs and the Israelites. [BACK]

14. Perhaps the “security deartment” of his caravan company? See the note on Gen 13:2. [BACK]

15a. Avram’s 318 “trained men” defeated the army of king K’dorla‘omer, who had ruled over five kings for thirteen years and who had just defeated the armies of four other kings. Teachers of military tactics will not teach the tactics of Israel, because they simply will not work. It has always been HaShem who fights Israel’s wars. [BACK]

15b. North, literally “on the left hand,” or north as one is facing east. Damascus is 130 miles (205 km) northeast of Jerusalem. [BACK]

17. “Valley of Shaveh: a plain or valley subsequently termed “the king’s vale,” near to Salem. There the king of Sodom met Abraham after the defeat of Chedorlaomer (Gen 14:17,18). Here too, Absalom raised a memorial pillar (2 Sam 18:18). According to Josephus this stood about a quarter of a mile from Jerusalem, that is, prob. the broad upper sector of the valley of Hinnon, [MAP] which then narrows into a ravine in its lower sector. However, with only slight consonantal change the word may not mean a plain or vale, but “king,” rendering the topographical location obscure.” (Encyclopedia of the Bible at biblegateway.com) [BACK]

18a. Identification and Meaning: To all appearance it lay near "the Vale of Shaveh," described as "the King's Vale." The general opinion among the Jews was that Salem was the same as Jerusalem, as stated by Josephus (Ant., I, x, 2), who adds (VII, iii, 2) that it was known as Solyma (Saluma, variants, according to Whiston, Salem and Hierosolyma) in the time of Abraham. It was also reported that the city and its temple were called Solyma by Homer, and he adds that the name in Hebrew means "security." This identification with Jerusalem was accepted by Onkelos and all the Targums, as well as by the early Christians. The Samaritans have always identified Salem with Salim, East of Nablus, but Jewish and Christian tradition is more likely to be correct, supported, as it is, by Psalm 76:2. [BACK]

18b. Malki-tsedeq (צֶ֙דֶק֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ, “my king is righteous” or “King of Righteousness”), the king of Salem (שָׁלֵ֔ם, shalom, peace, an early name for Jerusalem)  brought out food and wine to feed Avram and his brave warriors. Because “King of Righteousness” is one of Yeshua’s titles, many think that Malki-tsedeq (Melchizedek) was a theophany (a physical manifestation of HaShem), or more technically a Christophany, a pre-incarnation manifestation of Yeshua. (I am personally convinced that all physical manifestations of HaShem in any form are manifestations of God the Son.) [BACK]

19. It is believed by many that this is the source of the Jewish tradition of Kiddush, that Yeshua celebrated with his disciples on the night he was betrayed. See also the notes on Matthew 26:26-27. [BACK]

20. Whether or not Avram recognized Malki-tsedeq (Melchizedek) as his ancestor Shem, he did recognize him as a priest of the same God that Avram served, and made an offering to him accordingly. [BACK]

22. That is, taken an oath. [BACK]

23. Avram was already rich beyond the comprehension of most people of his day. He certainly didn’t want anyone besides HaShem being able to take credit for his wealth. [BACK]


Other commentaries on Genesis 14
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Pulpit Commentary
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Originally posted on Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Added map references and additional notes and comments on Tuesday, 13, July 2021

Page last updated on Monday, 02 October 2023 12:52 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

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