The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapter 14

Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapter fourteen
  Chapter 14- Abram rescues Lot
  Gen. 14:1 - 11 Abram goes to battle
 
A name study
  A hidden number four and six
  Gen. 14:12 - 16 Lot, the millionaire slave
  Abram the warrior
  Gen. 14:17 - 20 Who was Melchizedek?
  God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth
  The Melchizedek Priesthood
  What is a tithe?
  Gen. 14:21 - 24 Abram keeps his word to God
  Abram's friends
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I mostly quote scriptures from the Old King James Translation of the Bible (the authorized 1611 version)
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The words of God are in red that symbolize His shed blood.
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A devotional commentary is different from an exegetical commentary. In a devotional commentary like this one I can give the application of a verse rather than just the interpretation of a verse.






Genesis Chapter 14
Abram rescues Lot

Abram goes to battle to rescue Lot:
"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; that 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. All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And 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 Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. And 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. And 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; with 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. And 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. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way"
(Genesis 14:1-11).

This is the first recorded war in the bible. The Kings of the East had a more powerful war machine than the Kings of the Cities of the Plain. Therefore, four Kings fought five kings in the Jordan Valley area and the Kings of the East won. The Babylonians were good fighters even in those early days. They were probably on swift camels, well armed, and had good communication skills. I am sure they had an exit strategy.

What did those kings want? Why the invasion?
It appears that this was a similar situation to the old "protection for money" racket scheme. The Kings of the Cities of the Plain paid a yearly tribute for their protection. They paid for 12 years but on the 13th year they did not pay. That was considered an act of rebellion and one of independence. The Kings of the East probably thought, "military muscle must be employed to keep them in check so the money from them will keep rolling in", so they invaded the land of Canaan. There were rich copper mines in Edom and Median and they may have wanted to take back as many copper items as possible to sell. They probably traveled light and fast like a modern day commando raid. They would sweep in fast, fight, and then take all of the plunder that they could easily haul off from the losing side (as well as livestock and slaves). To the victor belong the spoils.

The names of the 4 Kings of the East are listed in alphabetic order in the English language:
Amraphel was the king of the territory of West Babylonia (Shinar),
Arioch was the king of the territory of East Babylonia (Ellasar),
Chedorlaomer was the king of the territory of Persia (Elam),
Tidal appeared to be the king of what was left- that is of the nomadic tribes in that region.
Chedorlaomer, his proper name, appeared to be the leader of these kings. His title name appeared to be Khudur-Lagamer that has been found carved on several ancient monuments that help prove the historical accuracy of the bible.

Those 4 kings made a regional war against the 5 kings of the Cities of the Plain:
Bera was the king of Sodom,
Birsha was the king of Gomorrah,
Shinab was the king of Admah,
Shemeber was the king of Zeboiim, and there was the king of
Bela (also called Zoar) (Genesis 14:1-2).

The 5 kings of the Cities of the Plain lost in battle, so the Babylonians helped themselves to the spoils of war.

How can that be relevant? A person might make the statement: "I cannot believe in a God of love Who allows war, suffering, pain, tragedies, terror activities, starvation, natural disasters, disease, et cettera." Satan and sin get the blame for these, not God. The answer to this is God's love does not stop sin.

Today, some combat veterans feel that God cannot forgive them since they killed a person, who was an enemy soldier, while in combat. They wonder if God's commandment "do not kill" applies to them
(Exodus 20:13). The word for kill in that passage means murder in the original Hebrew language, therefore, it is a civil law and not a military law. It refers to the premeditated murder of someone in civilian life. Therefore, if you are such a veteran, you can ask God to forgive you and He will.


If you are doing a name study in the bible book of Genesis you might find this interesting:

These kings:
Amraphel means "one that speaks of secrets" or "sayer of darkness",
Arioch means "long; great; tall" or "lion-like",
Chedorlaomer means "roundness of a sheaf" or "handful of sheaves",
Tidal means "that breaks the yoke; knowledge of elevation" or "great son".

Fought these kings:
Bera means "a well; declaring" or "son of evil",
Birsha means "an evil; a son who beholds" or "with iniquity",
Shinab means "father of changing" or "splendour of the father",
Shemeber means "name of force; name of the strong" or "lofty flight",
Zoar means "little; small" or "insignificance".

For the fun of it, when I put these names together I can get:
"Great secrets of elevation" versus "the small name of a son declaring evil".
When I read this I think of God who is greatly elevated and Who is sometimes secretive versus Satan, a small name declaring evil. And God is the One who is victorious.


A hidden number four and six:
Where are those numbers? There were four kings of the east making a hidden number four. There were five kings of the plain plus Abram making a hidden number six. Those numbers are hidden as they are not readily apparent. The number four stands for the world. Those four kings ruled over mighty kingdoms in the east. The number six stands for mankind. The number six conquered the number four meaning mankind had dominion over the world. Earlier, God told mankind he was to have dominion over the world
(Genesis 1:26). What does it mean? It means that mankind has free will to do in this world as he wills. Mankind can cause peace to prevail in the world or plunge the world into war. God is a God of peace- His will was for mankind to replenish the world and repopulate it in those days, not for mankind to kill itself in war. Satan instigated this war to thwart God's purpose(s). But God took control of this war and helped mankind get dominion over the world for the good with help from Abram, so peace was restored to the area. What is the relevance? War is in Satan's camp as he is the instigator of it. Let us always choose peace over war and prove to all that mankind still has dominion over the world for good and not evil. Spiritually, each overcomer is in a spiritual battle against Satan. With God's help, each of us can have dominion over the world, the flesh, and the devil. As Abram was a literal victor, so each of us can be a spiritual victor in Christ. The victory will be ours. We win in the end
(Revelation chapter 22). Hallelujah!


Lot, a millionaire, was taken as a slave and lost all of his possessions.
"And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. And 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. And 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. And 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. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people"
(Genesis 14:12-16).

I imagine Lot was kidnapped to be held for ransom at a later date. Wealth and privilege will not buy peace in one's heart- only Jesus can give permanent peace in one's heart. Lot was a righteous man and probably used some of his money to help spread faith in God. He was undergoing a horrible trial. He was worth saving for more than one reason and that is why Abram did it. Lot was literally invaded, however, sin will invade our life if we let it. As Lot was a slave, so you and I can become a slave to sin. Sin splits and destroys. We become a slave to sin and it may cause us to lose everything of importance to us including our self-respect, our reputation, our belongings, our family, our health, and possibly our life itself. Or, a Job's trial can hit us hard. You and I can have everything materially that we want, and, then in a moment, lose it all. The righteous patriarch, Job, had it all one minute and lost it all the next. I believe an important lesson here is that the invisible riches are the most important. What are the invisible riches? I believe they form a picture of the cross of Christ- the vertical part of the cross is God's ownership of us and our positive relationship with God and our worship to Him while the horizontal part of the cross is our positive relationship with others, our integrity and righteous moral character, and much, much more.

Deuteronomy chapter twentynine lists our positive moral actions and the fruits of the spirit are listed in
Galatians chapter five. The invisible riches are the best riches:
Proverbs 13:7.

By this time in history, so soon after the Great Flood, we see, once again, the degeneration of mankind with polygamy, idol worship, warfare, slavery, and more.


Abram the warrior:
Abram had to fight to keep his loved one (his nephew, Lot). Sometimes an outsider may come into our midst and take away one or more of our loved ones by force. We may have to physically fight to get that person back. When I was in the military I learned that one has to meet force with force. This is what Abram did. Jesus said:

"No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house"
(Mark 3:27).

Abram was victorious in his battle against evil forces. In like manner, you and I can also be victorious over any forces of evil that come against us. Spiritually speaking, Satan, the thief, had stolen much property. It appeared that all was lost. The enemy had taken it all because Satan is a taker. But God intervened and the enemy was defeated. So, to speak, Satan was ordered to return it- every single thing that he had taken. The patriarch, Job, lost it all but, later, God returned it to him with extra. So, if you are in a spiritual battle and lose it all materially, take courage- just because you lose a battle does not mean that you are going to lose the war. You may eventually get back all that you have lost with extra.

It might be a local football game, the olympics, or a war of freedom- everyone loves a winner. You and I can be a spiritual winner if we endure to the end:
"And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches"
(Revelation 2:26-29).

Abram was the first recorded person to be called a Hebrew (Habiru) meaning "wanderer" or "immigrant."


"And 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. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said: blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all"
(Genesis 14:17-20).

Who was Melchizedek?
Melchizedek means "King of Righteousness"- he was a type of Christ
(Psalm 76:2, 110:4; Hebrews 5:6 & 10, 7:1-21). He was a spiritually saved person of some importance as he was a priest and a king. He ruled the city of "Salem" whose name was later changed to Jerusalem. I think it is interesting that God chose this city in the Promised Land to be His special city- even before King David made it his royal city, as well. And Christ chose this city to be the place where He would die and resurrect from the grave in order to purchase human redemption. As Abram and his men passed by ancient Jerusalem, Melchizedek gave them food and drink to refresh them. In a similar way, Christ nourishes us spiritually to help us on our long journey home. Christ has a continually abiding priesthood.

Many years after Melchizedek, the Jebusites conquered Jerusalem
(Judges 19:10-11) and many years after that, King David took it away from them
(2 Samuel 5:7).

Melchizedek may have been an older person. It is oriental tradition- even to this day- to honor older living family members and to render respect and to help them. Other than what is written in the Bible, we know very little about this person. However, he is described in the bible as a type of Christ. Why? Because Melchizedek and Jesus have a lot in common. Jerusalem in his city- Jerusalem is Christ's city. He was a priest and a king in the Old Testament church- Christ is our High Priest and ever ruling King. He offered bread and wine to Abraham. These are the symbols of Holy Communion commemorating Christ's shed blood and broken body:
"...for as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come"
(1 Corinthians 11:26).

Some commentators think that Melchizedek might have been Noah's son, Shem. However, this is not possible due to the statements in
Hebrews 7:3.

It could be that God revealed to Abraham that this visit by Melchizedek was a messianic revelation and that the priesthood of Christ was after the order of Melchizedek (grace), and not after the order of Aaron (the law of God). Why? Because this is based on Who Christ is. However, some folks believe that the works of Christ follow the order of Aaron (the Aaronic priesthood). Why? Because this is based on what Christ did. He sacrificed Himself and entered the Holy of Holies place in Heaven to make blood atonement for the sins of mankind.

Melchizedek was a high priest- because our knowledge of him is limited, we can say that he had no beginning or ending. In this respect, in comparison, Christ is eternally existent as God the Son and has no beginning or ending because He is eternal:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth"
(John 1:1 & 1:14).

Melchizedek was a representative of God- Christ represented God the Father. Abraham paid him tithes- Christ receives our tithes today and that is one way that we worship Him. And there are other similarities between the two. It is possible that this person was Christ in human form (pre-incarnate before the time of the cross).

This is what God had to say:
"The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou (Christ) art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek"
(Psalm 110:4).


"...he (Melchizedek) was the priest of the most high God"
(Genesis 14:18).

The word for God here in the Hebrew language is El Elyon meaning "The Mighty God." The word can also be spelled El Elohey, El-Elohi or El-Elohe. It can also be translated as "God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth." This is one of God's title names.


What was the Melchizedek Priesthood?
A New Testament writer explained it this way:

"For this Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of Righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: but he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth: Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec"
(Hebrews 7:1-17).

Folks were saved in Old Testament times, before the cross of Christ, just as we are saved in New Testament times, after the cross. Folks were sanctified in Old Testament times and lived a righteous lifestyle like Job, Abraham, and Moses did. Old Testament saints had the light of the gospel passed down to them by their ancestors. Those old timers knew a lot about God, His will, and His righteousness. God has always had a witness of Himself. He had evangelists, priests, prophets, and preachers in days before the cross of Christ as He does today. The patriarch, Job, is a good example of this, as many folks in those days were claiming to speak about God, as Job and his friends did. Many folks consider the bible book of Job to the the oldest book in the bible. There was no Jew or gentile separation of the people of the world before the patriarch Abraham- there was the saved and the unsaved- the saved mostly from the godly lineage from Shem but there were others from the other family lines as well (Ham and Japheth).

The Hebrews during the days of Jesus on this earth believed that they would be personally saved if they kept the Law of God as was given by God to Moses. In other words, the way to Heaven for an individual was by keeping the Law. This is what they believed and taught in those days and it is what many of them believe and teach today. What is wrong with this teaching? It places salvation as the means of something a person can do (works). But nothing a person does or does not do will wash away sin. What God intended, when the Law was given, was that the Jews keep the Law of God because of their faith, rather than in spite of their faith. In other words, faith and a born again experience came first- a heart change and a new nature was needed first. Then they would obey the Law of God out of their love for God. To prove this God commanded them to love the Lord their God first. God through Moses mentions this many times and He wanted to make sure that they understood it clearly:
(Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:1 & 13 & 22, 13:3, 19:9, 30:6 & 16 & 20). One does not come to love the Lord by keeping the Law of God. Loving the Lord only comes about by a person having an intimate relationship with the Lord through faith, like Abram did.

Will you teach us a little more on this? OK, let me put it this way: the Law of God from Aaron (the Aaronic priesthood) was and is a standard of righteousness- a measure of sanctification. Could the Law (the 10 commandments and other ordinances) save a person? No. Then how was a person spiritually saved in Old Testament days? Each individual had to invite God into his or her own heart. Do I have scripture on that? Yes. Jesus said to one of Israel's spiritual leaders, "...verily, verily, I say unto thee: except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"
(John 3:3).
This is the same way that we are saved in New Testament times. The Law of God could not save a person then and cannot save a person today. We are saved by grace through faith. How was Abraham saved? His faith was counted as righteousness by God. In other words, he had a spiritual change of heart and loved God.

Aaron was a type of the Law of God, but Melchizedek was a type of Christ. A person can obey the Law of God and be totally lost. Why? Because the Law of God deals with the external of a man and not his spiritual heart. There has to be a spiritual heart change in an individual by God or else that individual remains unchanged on the inside. Those who are spiritually saved follow the Melchizedek priesthood of Christ. The Melchizedek Priesthood trumps (supersedes) the Aaronic Priesthood. God claims ownership of all who are spiritually saved while Satan claims ownership of all who are spiritually lost.

But what about the blood sacrifices for the atonement of sin in the Aaronic priesthood? Nationally, the sins of the nation were placed under the blood (of the sacrifice) as the nation of Israel was set aside for God. The blood of animals was sprinkled on the mercy seat that covered the Ark of the Covenant. The blood of animals could not take away sin
(Hebrews 10:4). That animal blood would cover the sins of the nation until Christ came and replaced animal blood with His own blood
(Hebrews 10:19). His blood of redemption is the only thing that can take away sin. The national sins of the nation of Israel were then forgiven at the cross of Christ.
Personally, the sins of each individual, Jew or gentile, had to be forgiven by God through the "new birth" experience (the spiritual change of heart that takes place as God enters your body and possesses you when you ask Him to). This has been the case for mankind since the fall of mankind into sin in the Garden of Eden
(John 3:17-21).


What is a tithe?
A tithe is the 10th part of what one obtains. It is paid or given to a person or organization that represents God and His work on this earth. It is also one form of the worship of God.

"And he (Abram) gave him (Melchizedek) tithes of all"
(Genesis 14:20).

I think that Abram was thankful that God had given him the victory and wanted to give God a thank you offering. God instituted the tithe as ten percent of one's income. This money, property, or produce was to go to the support of God's work on this earth. God did not start the nation of Israel or the church unless He had a way to financially support it. God promises to give you back more than what you initially give to Him
(Luke 6:38). Abraham's grandson, Jacob, also paid tithes
(Genesis 28:22). If you love the Lord, try tithing. I don't think that you will be disappointed.


"And the king of Sodom said unto Abram: Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom: I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion"
(Genesis 14:21-24).

Abram keeps his word to God:
Abram lifted up his hand. This was something done to ratify an oath. Sometimes, today, in a court of law, a person will be asked to raise his hand to swear an oath to tell the truth.

Abraham, evidentally, made a promise to God that he would only take Lot by force if God helped him win the victory. And Abram would give God the glory. Also, that Abram would not touch any of the gold, silver, precious stones, etc. Did God help him? Yes. God helped him win the victory and God will help you and I win our victory over sin if we put Him first in our life. It is not good to go against your own word of honor that you give to God or to another person. A person of integrity will not do that. If you give your word, be sure to keep it. A person's commitment to God and integrity in dealing with others is one of great importance.

One time a lady owner of a mobile home trailer park asked me if I would manage her trailer park for her. I agreed and she asked me if I needed a contract to seal the bargain and I said no. A hand shake and one's word of honor was sufficient for me. I did a good job for her and, sometime later, I heard that she was going to replace me with one of her friends who she owed a favor to. I asked her about it and she admitted that that was so. I was disappointed that she had broken her word to me and thought that I would never trust her again for having no sense of honor. Her friend did a lousy job and she decided to get rid of him. Then she asked me if I would become her manager again. I told her no because I felt that she had no integrity in business management. It was a good test for her by me and she failed. Many such individuals will put money ahead of people when people of integrity should be placed first. Good, honest, and trustworthy people will be good for any business and also good in working for any government in the world.

It appears that Satan tempted Abram to break his vow and commitment to God. Satan may have used the King of Sodom to tempt Abram to keep those riches. Also, the King of Sodom may have been a prideful and boastful person who always wanted to take credit for everything at another's expense. In other words, any glory that was due to another he got the credit for. Did the devil try to take the credit to rob God of His glory? You and I should always give God the glory that belongs to Him.

So this was a temptation and a test for Abram. Abram recognized this trap of the enemy immediately and did the right thing. He did not keep any of the riches and He gave God the glory and no one else. But Satan will always try to de-rail us because he wants the glory that belongs to God:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it"
(1 Corinthians 10:13).

God gets the glory. He will not share His glory with another because He says in His word:
"I AM the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images (idols)"
(Isaiah 42:8).


Abram's friends:
The ancient Amorites lived in the Land of Canaan and were very powerful there. The name "Amorite(s)" has several meanings including "dwellers on the summits", "mountaineers", "bitter, a rebel, or a babbler." The allies of Abram were ancient Amorites and there were many of them in the Land of Canaan.

Abram's ancient Amorite friends were named Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. These were 3 brothers. Aner means "boy", Eshcol means "cluster of grapes", and Mamre means "strength or fatness." If you put these names together you get "a fat boy who likes to eat clusters of grapes." Abram would sit in the shade of Mamre's oak grove when he was between his residences at Bethel and Beersheba. It is good to have close friends. God says in His word:
"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend (Christ) that sticketh closer than a brother"
(Proverbs 18:24).

Abram turned down any reward for himself but he wanted his Amorite friends and fellow fighters to get their reward.

Many years later, the Israelites as a nation, invading the Promised Land on God's orders, destroyed many morally corrupt Amorites in warfare.



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