Genesis 14 – War of Kings, Lot’s rescue & Questions galore

In a jump from a cultural collection of stories into a history of war and kings, we find 4 kings of cities/nations involved in a war with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. We previously find out that Sodom was wicked and sinned against Jehovah. Surely they would suffer Jehovah’s wrath in war against their enemies?

The 5 kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zeboiim and Bela versus the 4 kings of Elam (named Chedorlaomer), Goiim (named Tidal), Shinar (named Amraphel), and Ellasar (named Arioch).

Two interesting points:

  1. We are not given the names of the 5 kings
  2. The second group smote a list of people not represented by the 5 kings above:
    1. Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim
    2. Zuzim in Ham (descendants of Ham?)
    3. Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim
    4. Amalekites (location not specified)
    5. Amorites in Hazazon-tamar

The 4 kings under Chedorlaomer defeat the 5 kings, sending the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fleeing into slime pits, whereupon the 4 kings take their spoil of Sodom and Gomorrah, which included taking Abram’s nephew, Lot, captive.

Abram is informed about Lot’s captivity.

Genesis 14:13 – And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew: now he dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abram.

Here is the first mention of the first ethnicity mentioned in the Bible: Hebrew, of which Abram was considered. Remember Abram came from Ur of Chaldea, so does Hebrew point to Chaldea?

The logistics of such a war in 16 verses tells a gigantic story, imagine all the details left out. Does our historical record find evidence of a war of such a large scale? I honestly do not know, and it would be worth investigating. Just investigating Google: “rescue of lot” someone had already done the work of theorizing the paths and locations of this war:

rescue of lot
Note the scale of this map, this war was HUGE and surely there would be record of it historically and materially. This would be like a World War where just about every king in this part of the land would be involved. This map, if historically correct, would be good to have referenced while reading the 16 verses of Genesis 14.

Abram had an army of 318 soldiers and was able to push the 4 armies of Chedorlaomer all the way up to #8, as far as Dan and eventually into Hobah.

A couple of minor observations:

  1. Abram’s nephew Lot is now called his “brother”
  2. The “left hand of Damascus” which is Hobah is west of Damascus
    1. Why not just say “west”? The direction “east” is mentioned multiple times

There is a lot of new information in this Book 14 which begs a lot of questions:

  • Aren’t all these groups kin if Adam and Eve were the first on earth? Now they are at war? What happened to the “good” Creation of Genesis Book 1?
    • Is it the devil’s fault these wars exist?
    • FACT = the devil has not even been mentioned up to this point
  • Previous books in Genesis focus on small groups of families and peoples, now we are dealing with Kings and Armies. Where is the explanation of the development and evolution of societies to this level? Is it found in other texts?
  • This is the first time I’ve seen Salem and Jerusalem correlated. Jeru-salem.  Is this map historically correct to assume they are one in the same? More research is needed for this question so I will not come to a certain conclusion.

Genesis 14 is a heavyweight in the Genesis collection, and it’s not even complete to this point, as I will address the remainder of Genesis 14 in Part 2.

Also, note that in this case, the wicked Sodom was victorious, thanks to Abram.

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