Gen. 14:1-7 – Kingdom expansion

             Gen. 14:1 "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; 2 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. 3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. 4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 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, 6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. 7 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." 

            There was a time when Chedorlaomer, king of Elam had nine kingdoms or nations under his control.  There came a time when five of those kings rebelled against the control and authority of Chedorlaomer.  This set up a war between the four who remained with Chedorlaomer and the five who rebelled against him.  Chedorlaomer was like Nimrod and Asshur before him a kingdom builder.  He desired to have control of other people and to be considered a great king upon earth.  Ultimately, people like him are really after world-wide dominance.  This pattern carries throughout man's history. 

            A kingdom builder who has dominance does not easily give up that dominance against those who rebel against him.  We are not told why the five kings rebelled, but there had to be something that they and their people did not like or agree with.  This does not matter with a kingdom builder.  Their desire is for world-wide conquest and they will stop at almost nothing including ruthless destruction of those who would oppose them. 

            The next thing we see about Kingdom builders, they use occasion of conflict or trouble to expand their kingdom.  They justify this by saying such things as we need those lands to protect our borders against our enemies.  Or these lands are strategic to the well being of the kingdom.  Chedorlaomer used the conflict to expand his kingdom by moving against some of the kings and nations of people in the land of Canaan: "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, 6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. 7 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."  As you will notice the Rephaims, the Zuzims, the Emims, the Horites, the Amalekites, and the Amorites really had nothing to do with the conflict between the nine nations, but were just in the way of Chedorlaomer.  He used the occasion of the conflict against the five nations who rebelled to smite their armies and enslave those people.


Gen. 14:8-12 – War between the Kings

             Gen. 14:8 "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; 9 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. 10 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. 11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed." 

            The war between Chedorlaomer and those who were with him and the king of Sodom and those that were with him was fought in the vale of Siddim.  In verse three we were told that the vale of Siddim is the salt sea.  Also, the slimepits to which the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled are believed to be tar pits.  The salt sea would later form a part of the boundary of the nation of Israel. 

            As Chedorlaomer and those with him were victorious, they did as conquering armies often do, they gathered from the losers a bounty.  They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals. 

            Next, they did something that would result in their destruction: they took Lot, Abram's brother's son and his goods and departed. 


Gen. 14:13-16 – The Amazing Victory  

            Gen. 14:13 "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. 14 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. 15 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. 16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people."

            No number is given of the size of Chedorlaomer's army, but reason would suggest that since it was composed of the soldiers of four kingdoms that it would have number in the thousands at least.  This goes to show that the victory is not always to the largest or best trained army, or to the best armed army.  When God is on your side, the other army has no chance.  Abram had 318 trained servants, but they had no reason to have been trained in natural warfare.  He had the confederacy of three men but far greater than that he had the arm of the Lord who delivered his enemies into his hand.  This truly was an amazing victory. 

            Now all this teaches us that we have enemies in this life.  We have many battles to fight.  Oftentimes, our enemies in life are far greater than we can handle ourselves.  Just as Abram loved his nephew Lot, so the Lord far more exceedingly loved Abram and delivered him.  Likewise, the Lord loves us and has the power to deliver us in our battles and warfare.  The victory is not to an arm of flesh, but the victory comes in our trust in the power and love of an Almighty God. 

            We see from the above the completeness of the victory.  Abram brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.  He brought back everything that was taken.  Our God is truly an amazing God and can give us amazing victories in the battles of life.


Gen. 14:17-24 – Abram met by two kings

             Gen. 14:17 "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. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. 21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 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, 23 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: 24 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."

            Two kings went out to meet Abram.  One offered a natural kings reward from the spoils of victory.  The other gave Abram bread and wine. 

            The far greater of the two kings was Melchizedek, king of Salem.  According to the New Testament the word, Melchizedek, literally means king of righteousness.  The word Salem means peace.  So Melchizedek was both king of righteousness and king of peace.  Melchizedek who met Abram is either the Lord Jesus Christ or the strongest type in the Old Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is not my intention to debate that issue in this writing.  Melchizedek brought forth bread and wine to Abram.  As emblems, bread and wine are used extensively in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Unleavened bread and wine were offered daily with the morning sacrifice and with the evening sacrifice.  They were also a part of several other feasts in the Old Testament.  The communion service of the New Testament worship also includes unleavened bread and wine.  Jesus, in establishing the communion service equated bread to his broken body and wine to his blood.  Thus, bread represents the pure, perfect, complete, sinless, and holy body of Christ.  Wine represents the blood of Christ which he gave to redeem his people from their sins.       

            Like Melchizedek, Christ is a king.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is the king of peace and the king of righteousness.  He reigns over those he has made righteous.  Moreover, he has brought peace to the same ones.  

            Melchizedek blessed Abram: "And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth."  In the New Testament, we read where the less is blessed of the greater.  As great a man as Abraham was and as faithful a man as Abraham was, yet Melchizedek is greater than Abraham.  No matter what deeds God may bless us to perform or what sacrifices we may be blessed to make, Christ will always be far greater than us.  We should recognize his far superiority and give him the praise and glory that he deserves. 

            "And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."  Lest anyone doubt how Abram was victorious over the host of Chedorlaomer and his army, Melchizedek tells us that it was God who delivered Abram's enemies into his hand.  Abram could not have had the victory he had unless God had blessed him with deliverance.  The true glory goes to God.  Abram recognized this and gave tithes unto Melchizedek.  A tithe is literally a tenth.  Abram gave a tenth of all that he possessed unto Melchizedek.  From all indications this was a free-will offering.  Abram was not commanded to give a tenth, but he willingly gave it to Melchizedek. 

            "And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself."  Abram was not impressed with the offer of the king of Sodom.  He had no intention of being materially enriched by a victory that God had given him.  How different this is from many servants today, who think they should be materially enriched for the service they render unto God.  Abram's response to the king of Sodom was: "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, 23 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: 24 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."

            The Lord said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…"  Abram had his priorities right.  He knew where his strength came from and who had blessed him.  If we are to give the praise and glory to God, then we cannot seek the praise and glory for ourselves.  Certainly, Abram could have had the worldly goods that the king of Sodom was offering.  However, he would have been prospering from something that God had done for him.  Abram knew he could not have had such a deliverance without the providential intervention of God.  While Abram refused to be enriched by the king of Sodom, yet he did not force this belief on the men that were with him, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.  He did not begrudge them taking their portion of the goods if they so pleased.  Worship of God is on an individual basis.  We worship not because we are forced or coerced into it, but because we are willing to do it.