Today we start Genesis Chapter 14.
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For the King James Bible, click here.
Chapter 14 of Genesis represents a radical departure from the smoothly flowing tone and rhythm of the Torah presented thus far.
Our protagonist Abram, who up until now has been portrayed as a humble nomadic wanderer, suddenly appears on the scene as a fierce warrior.
In order to get our bearings, let me present a brief snapshot summary of what is going on here.
If you recall from the last chapter, Abram and Lot had a parting of ways.
Soon after, Lot ended up living in a district controlled by a king named Chedorlaomer.
This was in the Jordan valley, stretching all the way to the Dead Sea, and included the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Chedorlaomer was the top dog and he had established a mutual peace treaty with all of the nations and kings mentioned in verses one and two.
However, after 12 years, a district containing five kings became disenchanted with the existing “peace” arrangement and decided to rebel.
They had gotten fed up with paying tribute for their protection and decided they didn’t need the bodyguard services of Chedorlaomer and his allies (the other three kings).
A carefully reading of the text shows that there was quite a geographical distance between where Chedorlaomer and his Mesopotamian allies resided and the district where the five kings who rebelled resided.
In order to teach the rebellious five kings a lesson, Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him had to head down south.
We are told that along the way they subdued “the Rephaim at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim at Ham, the Emim at Shaveh-kiriatham, and the Horites in the hill country of Seir”.
This situation was actually similar to the colonial United States and Great Britain.
The United States was paying tribute to Great Britain but got sick and tired of the “taxation without representation” being enforced upon them and rebelled. (However, unlike the outcome of the five rebellious kings listed here, the United States won the war.).
The five rebellious kings went out to fight King Chedorlaomer in the Valley of Siddim and got their butts whipped.
As was normal protocol, the district the rebellious kings ruled over was raided.
Food supplies, valuable possessions and people were taken as slaves.
What is pivotal to this story is that Abram’s nephew Lot and his family were part of those who were taken hostage.
When a fugitive brought the news to Abram, he quickly gathered a small army of 318 individuals and set out on a rescue mission that was thoroughly successful.
He rescued Lot, his family, and retrieved all the possessions as well.
So this ends my brief summary of what transpired in a nutshell. (Maybe not as brief as I wanted it to be.)