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Genesis 14:7-9

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Genesis 14:7
  • Genesis 14:8
  • Genesis 14:9

Genesis is a book about many beginnings. The beginnings of the world, the human race, sin and redemption, and the nation of Israel to name a few. In fact, the word Genesis from the Greek means “origin,” and in Hebrew it means “beginning.” The book of Genesis contains the events of the flood, tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the lives of the Patriarchs.

In the beginning, God created everything by simply speaking, “God said…and it was so” (Genesis 1:6-7, 9, 11, 14-15). This is not a scientific technical account of creation, but it shows a loving God creating a universe and mankind to rule it and fellowship with God. Man was formed especially from the ground and given the breath of life from God. The woman was made from the man’s rib (Genesis 2:7).

After man fell into sin, things began to spin out of control quickly. Cain murdered his brother Abel and the human race became so violent that God decided to destroy them all with a flood. God saved one righteous man (Noah) and his family in an ark filled with animals to deliver the human race from extinction. God chose Abraham and blessed a special group of people named “Israel.” God began to unfold a plan of salvation from a coming famine by sending Joseph to rule in Egypt. The failure of man in every circumstance is met by the salvation of God. We fail, but the good news is God saves us.


Chapter fourteen opens with a conflict between two warring coalitions of kings. The outcome of this war is the defeat of Sodom involving the capture of Lot. Abram rescues Lot and defeats a four-king alliance. With only 318 men of his own and a midnight surprise attack, Abram defeats the Kings, demonstrating courage and leadership. Then, he is blessed by the Priest-king Melchizedek when he returns. Melchizedek is presented in the New Testament as a type of Jesus, who is also a Priest and King that is superior to Abraham and his descendants. Abram refuses to compromise with the King of Sodom.


After conquering four cities, King Chedorlaomer and his three allies defeated two more  in route to the Jordan plains. Then they engaged the five allied kings of the Jordan Valley.

The Kings from the east followed the entire length of the “Kings Highway” (Numbers 20:17, 21:22) that ran in a straight line through the hill country east of the Jordan from north to south. They traveled behind the mountains emerging south of the Jordan Valley  at El-paran (e.g., Elath on the Gulf of Aqabah, the northern tip of the Red Sea). At this time, the invaders are about 100 miles south of the Dead Sea. Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat.  The invaders were heading to the northwest, so they can attack from the west, which would be an unexpected direction for an invading army. En-mishpat is another name for Kadesh. It means “spring of judgment or justice.” Kadesh is located west of Elath in the southwest Negev (e.g., north Sinai/southern Israel) and was later called “Kadesh Barnea” (Numbers 13:26, 20:16, 32:8).

Continuing their practice, they marched along defeating cities along the way. In the sixth and final battle, Chedorlaomer defeated the Amalekites. The Amalekites were desert people and a notorious enemy of Israel (Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17; 1 Samuel 15:2). The origin of the Amalekites is traced to Amalek, son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:11-12; 1 Chronicles 1:36).

The Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar were the sixth and last people conquered by the Eastern Kings in route to the plains of Sodom. Hazazon-tamar is midway on the western shore of the dead sea, an oasis in the wilderness of Judah (Joshua 15:62).

 

Although there is not an account of the fight itself, the five Kings of the Jordan Valley fail to repel the alliance of the eastern four Kings – Four kings against five. Consequently, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are plundered. The four-member confederation of eastern kings were willing to endure this extreme effort requiring the Jordan Valley cities to resume paying their tribute. This is likely due to the lushness of the area, meaning they had substantial wealth to be taxed. This material wealth was also observed by Lot.

Biblical Text

7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar. 8 And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them 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.

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