War of the Kings
1 In the days of the [Eastern] kings Amraphel of Shinar, Arioch of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer of Elam, and Tidal of Goiim, 2 they [invaded the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea, and] made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (a)(that is, Zoar). 3 All of these [kings] joined together [as allies] in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Sea of Salt). 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer [the most powerful king in the invading confederacy], but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the [three] kings who were with him attacked and subdued the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their mountainous country of Seir, as far as El-paran, which is on the border of the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and subdued all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar. 8 Then the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they joined together for battle with the invading kings in the Valley of Siddim, 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar (bitumen) pits; and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into them. But the remainder [of the kings] who survived fled to the hill country. 11 Then the victors took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply and provisions and left. 12 And they also took [captive] Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and left, for he was living in Sodom.
13 Then a survivor who had escaped [from the invading forces on the other side of the Jordan] came and told Abram the (b)Hebrew. Now he was living by the terebinths (oaks) of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner—they were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his nephew [Lot] had been captured, he armed and led out his trained men, born in his own house, [numbering] three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far [north] as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and attacked and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, and also the women, and the people.
Abram and Melchizedek
17 Then after Abram’s return from the defeat (slaughter) of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 (c)Melchizedek king of Salem (ancient Jerusalem) brought out bread and wine [for them]; he was the priest of (d)God Most High. 19 And Melchizedek blessed Abram and said,20
“Blessed (joyful, favored) be Abram by God Most High,
Creator and Possessor of heaven and earth;
Creator and Possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed, praised, and glorified be God Most High,
Who has given your enemies into your hand.”
And Abram gave him a tenth of all [the treasure he had taken in battle].(A) 21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods (spoils of battle) for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand and sworn an oath to the Lord God Most High, the Creator and Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take anything that is yours, from a thread to a sandal strap, so you could not say, ‘I [the King of Sodom] have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing except what my young men have eaten, and the share of the spoils belonging to the men [my allies] who went with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share of the spoils.”
a. Genesis 14:2: One of the many facts supporting the antiquity of Genesis is that many of the original names of places mentioned were so old that Moses had to add an explanation in order to identify these ancient names, so that the Israelites returning from Egypt could recognize them. Chapter 14 alone contains six such explanatory notes (Gen 14:2, 3, 7, 8, 15, 17).
b. Genesis 14:13: This ethnic designation means “descended from Eber” or, more probably, “one who crosses (a border).”
c. Genesis 14:18: Heb king of righteousness.
d. Genesis 14:18: Heb El Elyon and so throughout the chapter. The supreme Ruler of all the universe; His dominion is all encompassing and everlasting.