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Genesis Chapter Fourteen


I. Content of the Chapter


The Battle between the Four Kings and the Five Kings

A.  The alliance of the four kings such as Chedorlaomer came to subjugate the five kings who rebelled against them (v.1-8);

B.  The five kings such as the kings of Sodom were defeated and escaped. Lot and his possessions were taken by the four kings (v.9-12);


Abram Saved Lot

A.  Abram led his trained servants to pursue the four kings immediately when he heard the message, and then retook Lot and his possessions (v.13-16);

B.  Abram was met by the king of Sodom when he returned (v.17);

C.  Abram was blessed by Melchizedek and he gave tithe to God (v.18-20);

D.  Abram refused the possession of Sodom (v.21-24);


II. Verse by Verse Commentary


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,”

YLT: “And it cometh to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goyim,”

Meaning of Words: Amraphel”: he who guards false gods; “Shinar”: the land of roaring loin; “Arioch”: like loin; “Ellasar”: god is a punisher; “Chedorlaomer”: the servant of laomer (a false god in Elam), be full of grains in hands; “Elam”: ages, hidden; “Tidal”: great leader, be full of fear;

Spiritual Meaning: Chedorlaomer”, it typifies the power of darkness (the territories of the four kings are around Babylon, and Babylon typifies the world of idolatry).


Gen. 14:2 “that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).”

YLT: “they have made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela, which Zoar.”

Meaning of Words: Sodom”: burn, put on the fetters; “Bera”: present, destruction; “Gomorrah”: cover, bound, a waste of ruins; “Birsha”: son of sins; “Admah”: stronghold, earthy; “Shinab”: teeth of the father; “Shemeber”: gazelle; “Zeboiim”: fly higher, wing; “Zoar”: tininess;

Spiritual Meaning: king of Sodom” typifies the power of darkness (note: the territories of the five kings were around the Dead Sea and the areas of the plain of Jordan. In the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah were famous for sins, and were afterwards destroyed by God; see Gen. 18:20; 19:24-25).


Gen. 14:3 “All these joined together in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea).”

YLT: “All these have been joined together unto the valley of Siddim, which the Salt Sea;”

Meaning of Words: “Siddim”: the valley of trap;

The Background: “the Salt Sea”, it was a deep valley originally and then became a lake because of absorbing the water of Jordan. Its horizontal surface is lower than that of the Mediterranean Sea about more than one thousand and three hundred feet. Since there is no exit of the lake, minerals in the lake have been accumulated for many years and twenty-five percent of the water therein is composed of both salt chlorinate and bromate. Thus the water of the Salt Sea turns out to be in highest concentration in the world, and living things cannot survive therein.

Literal Meaning: the Valley of Siddim, that is, the Salt Sea”, it indicates that the valley later became a part of the Salt Sea.


Gen. 14:4 “Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.”

YLT: “twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and the thirteenth year they rebelled.”

Spiritual Meaning: served Chedorlaomer”, it showed that the sinful world was under the power of darkness.

  “Rebelled”, it indicates that not everyone of the principalities and powers under Satan (Eph. 6:12) is submissive ---- they are not only disobedient to God but also rebellious against one another.


Gen. 14:5 “In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him came and attacked the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim,”

YLT: “And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings who with him, and they smite the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim,”

Meaning of Words: Ashteroth Karnaim”: double-horn goddess Phoenicia; “Rephaim”: giant, strong, dead one; “Ham”: hot, crowds; “Zuzim”: conspicuous, drifting things; “Shaveh Kiriathaim”: plain of a double cities; “Emim”: terrors, dreadful man;

Spiritual Meaning: these who were killed by Chedorlaomer from verse five to seven typify those who are of the flesh. The whole world lies under the wicked one (1John 5:19) and the flesh cannot resist against the power of darkness.


Gen. 14:6 “and the Horites in their mountain of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is by the wilderness.”

YLT: “and the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-Paran, which by the wilderness;”

Meaning of Words: Horites”: cave-dweller, my white, my nobler; “Seir”: shaggy, rough; “El Paran”: the god of Paran;


Gen. 14:7 “Then they turned back and came to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and attacked all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazezon Tamar.”

YLT: “and they turn back and come in unto En-Mishpat, which Kadesh, and smite the whole field of the Amalekite, and also the Amorite who is dwelling in Hazezon-Tamar.”

Meaning of Words: En Mishpat”: spring of judgment, spring of righteousness; “Kadesh”: holy, separated; “Amalekites”: dwellers in the valley, militant men; “Hazezon Tamar”: prune the palm-tree; “Amorites”: dwellers in the mountain, remarkable;

Spiritual Meaning: these who were attacked by Chedorlaomer from verse five to seven were represented by the Amalekites in the Bible. The people of Israel will have war with Amalek from generation to generation (Ex. 17:16), which symbolizes that the flesh lusts against the Spirit (Gal. 5:17).


Gen. 14:8 “And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim”

YLT: “And the king of Sodom goeth out, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela, which Zoar; and they set the battle in array with them in the valley of Siddim,”


Gen. 14:9 “against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar--four kings against five.”

YLT: “with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goyim, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with the five.”


Gen. 14:10 “Now the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled; some fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains.”

YLT: “And the valley of Siddim full of bitumen-pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah flee, and fall there, and those left have fled to the mountain.”

Literal Meaning: the five kings “joined together in the Valley of Siddim” (v.8), for it was “full of asphalt pits there”. They schemed to defend them by taking advantage of the natural geographical features, but they themselves “fall into the pits”.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) What man relies upon turns out to be his trap.

  2) No matter people or things in the world, nothing is trustworthy. Only God is the best protector of men.


Gen. 14:11 “Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way.”

YLT: “And they take the whole substance of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the whole of their food, and go away;”

Literal Meaning: besides possessions and food, the four kings also took “souls” (see v.21).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The glory of all the nations is of Satan (Matt. 4:8-9).

  2) Many souls in the world are taken by the devil presumptuously (2Tim. 2:26).


Gen. 14:12 “They also took Lot, Abram's brother's son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.”

YLT: “and they take Lot, Abram's brother's son (seeing he is dwelling in Sodom), and his substance, and go away.”

Spiritual Meaning: Lot” typifies believers who fail; the devil takes not only unbelievers who are in the world but also believers who have failed.

  Lot, Abram's brother's son who dwelt in Sodom”, it reveals that if believers associate them with the sinful world, they will be taken by the devil and wallow in the evil tide.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) We believers shall not walk with or abide with the wicked ones (Ps. 1:1), or else we will suffer with them together.

  2) Lot thought he had found the best dwelling-place (see Gen. 13:10-12), but suffered the worst consequence.

  3) If we believers are enticed to seek the earthy reputation and position and wealth, we must expect to participate in earth’s convulsions and vicissitudes sooner or later.

  4) Lot was separate from Abram for the sake of “possessions”, but then all his “possessions” were taken away. Unfortunately, Lot did not later learn the lesson, so his suffered the miserable consequence (see Gen. 19:23-38).


Gen. 14:13 “Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram.”

YLT: “And one who is escaping cometh and declareth to Abram the Hebrew, and he is dwelling among the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner, and they Abram's allies.”

Meaning of Words: Hebrew”: across the river, on the opposite side, of Eber; “Amorite”: inhabitants of the mountain, excellence; “Mamre”: power, strong, fertile; “Eshcol”: a bunch of grapes; “Aner”: young, bud, waterfall;

The Background: Abram was inhabited in the east of the river Euphrates originally, and then was called by God to go across the river and transplanted in the land of Canaan. Therefore, he was called the “Hebrew”. This is the first time that this name appears. And then this name is also used in the Israelites (Gen. 39:14, 17).

Spiritual Meaning: God looks upon him who is of him (Lot) and arranges things or men (one who had escaped) to let others believers (Abram) know the message of brother’s captivity.

  “Hebrew” typifies “those who have really been across the river”, namely, those who have been dead and have risen with Christ (Rom. 6:3-11) ---- put the old man to death and live to God by faith. Abram at that time was abiding in “Hebrew” (Gen. 13:18), which revealed that his spiritual condition, due to the sound fellowship with God (Hebrew), was strong and rich (“Mamre”) and his strength was renewed in rest (terebinth) (Is. 30:15). Only such men are able to stand firm in spiritual battles.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Without the rest in God through fellowship, believers cannot stand firm in spiritual battles.

  2) We who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak (Rom. 15:1).


Gen. 14:14 “Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.”

YLT: “And Abram heareth that his brother hath been taken captive, and he draweth out his trained domestics, three hundred and eighteen, and pursueth unto Dan.”

Meaning of Words: “Dan”: judge;

Literal Meaning: Abram took hundreds of trained servants to pursue the alliance of the four kings, which proved his love to man and faith in God, knowing that God would fight for him (Ex. 14:14).

Spiritual Meaning: three hundred and eighteen”, some Bible expositors have related this number to the steward, Eliezer of Damascus (see v.15; 15:2). The sum of the letters of the name “Eliezer” in the original language is exactly three hundred and eighteen, and the name literally means “God is my help”, revealing that Abram went to pursue the enemies by the help of God. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Abram dared to attack a stronger force with a weak one, which was a manifest token that there was no fear in love (1John 4:18). 

  2) A brother is born for adversity (Pro. 17:17). A believer who has true love will be in no wise indifferent to another one who is in adversity (1John 3:17-18).

  3) Though the achievements of a believer in terms of faith are individual, his feeling towards other members is not indifferent (1Cor. 12:26). It is not the right attitude for a normal Christian of enjoy spiritual glory alone.

  4) Though Lot had wronged Abram, Abram still cared for his safety. Even though a brother had wronged us, when he was in tribulations, we have still readily to help him.

  5) Do not constantly remember the fault of others. A fretful heart cannot pray for or battle for others.

  6) Let believers appropriate the power of God by faith to be strong through His mighty strength (Eph. 6:10).

  7) Let believers often equip themselves and their family members with the word of God (“trained servants who were born in his own house”) so that they will combat the good combat if necessary.


Gen. 14:15 “He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus.”

YLT: “And he divideth himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smiteth them, and pursueth them unto Hobah, which at the left of Damascus;”

Meaning of Words: Damascus”: judge, he who knits up the mourning apparel, silent; “Hobah”: hidden place, beloved;

Literal Meaning: by night”, it showed that he was so wise that he knew how to give a sudden attach under the covering of night.

  “He…”, it indicated Abram was so bold and courageous that he confronted the enemies himself.

“Divided his forces”, it revealed that he had order and strategy. .

“And pursued”, it unveiled that he was persistent and strong that he did not stop until the goal was achieved.


Gen. 14:16 “So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people.”

YLT: “and he bringeth back the whole of the substance, and also Lot his brother and his substance hath he brought back, and also the women and the people.”

Literal Meaning: this verse told us that his combat had purpose and result.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) In the spiritual battle, we shall not run, as uncertainly, nor combat, as beating the air (1Cor. 9:26).

  2) If a believer can separate himself, he will be enabled to help the weak brothers to escape from difficulty.


Gen. 14:17 “And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.”

YLT: “And the king of Sodom goeth out to meet him (after his turning back from the smiting of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings who with him), unto the valley of Shaveh, which the king's valley.”

Meaning of Words: defeat”: smite; “Shaveh”: valley, plain;

Spiritual Meaning: both “Chedorlaomer” and “king of Sodom” are of the power of darkness (see v.1-2). The former is like the roaring loin (1Pet. 5:8), and the latter is like the guile serpent (Gen. 3:1).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Many believers can overcome the conspicuous works of the devil, but cannot discern the treacherous trap of the devil.

  2) Let believers resist the wicked one by keeping steadfast in faith, and he will flee from us (1Pet. 5:9; James 4:7).

  3) If Satan cannot defeat us by threat, he will deceive men as a serpent, transforming himself into an angel of light and a minister of righteousness (2Cor. 11:3, 13-15).

  4) When we get spiritual victory (after his return from the defeat of …), let us watch, for the devil may scheme to stir up our pride of this life (meet him at the Valley of Shaveh).


Gen. 14:18 “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.”

YLT: “And Melchizedek king of Salem hath brought out bread and wine, and he priest of God Most High;”

Meaning of Words: Salem”: peace, harmony, perfect; “Melchizedek”: the king of righteousness (Heb. 7:2);

Literal Meaning: brought out bread and wine”, he brought gifts to the one who returned in victory.

  “He was the priest of God Most High”, he served the only true God.

Spiritual Meaning: Melchizedek” typifies Jesus Christ, who has passed through the heavens and is our everlasting and perfect and righteous and “honorable High Priest” (Heb. 4:14; 7:11; Ps. 110:4).

  “Bread and wine”, both of them typify spiritual provision of life. The latter nourishes and feeds and strengthens us and the latter refreshes and revives and encourages us.

  Note: Melchizedek did not come forth when Abram was in pursuit of Chedorlaomer, but when the king of Sodom met Abram, which showed that:

1) The Lord’s service of intercession has both hidden and open aspects.

2) The real spiritual crisis of believers does not lie in the sharp confrontation with the devil, but in the alluring deception of the devil.

3) Believers may become slack in spirit after the victory of combat. If they are not seasonably restored, they may be taken advantage of by the devil.

Enlightenment in the Word: it is a good chance of being renewed in strength for believers to participate in the bread-breaking gathering in remembrance of the Lord.


Gen. 14:19 “And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;”

YLT: “and he blesseth him, and saith, `Blessed Abram to God Most High, possessing heaven and earth;”

Spiritual Meaning: Melchizedek blessed Abram, which brought Abram into deeper knowledge of God: 1) “Possessor of heaven and earth”, it particularly means that he governs all possessions; 2) “God Most High”, it unveils that God is higher above all.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The “Possessor of heaven and earth” is the source of all blessings of heaven and earth.

  2) If believers focus their eyes upon the “Possessor of heaven and earth”, the gift of the king of Sodom (v.21) ---- the devil’s temptation ---- will definitely lose its charm.

  3) Many believers only honor God who is the Lord of “heaven”, but they have not lived for God “on the earth”. Therefore, the will of God has not been done as in heaven as upon the earth (Matt. 6:10).

  4) If believers can really stand firm for God, not only the heaven but also the earth will be theirs.


Gen. 14:20 “And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.”

YLT: “and blessed God Most High, who hath delivered thine adversaries into thy hand;' and he giveth to him a tenth of all.”

Literal Meaning: God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand”, it indicated that Abram did not conquer through himself, but God.

  “All” refers to all the spoils of the war.

Spiritual Meaning: Abram offered the tithe to the priest of God Most High, showing that he confessed that he ascribed his victory to the intercession of the High Priest and the reward of God.

Enlightenment in the Word: believers shall also, by offering, express their gratitude to the Lord’s love and God’s graciousness (2Cor. 5:14-15; 8:1-2)


Gen. 14:21 “Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself."”

YLT: “And the king of Sodom saith unto Abram, `Give to me the persons, and the substance take to thyself,'”

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The devil often uses wealth as bait to gain man’s soul. However, for what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul (Matt. 16:26).

  2) The love of money is root of every evil. Many times, the superfluous money is the source of believers’ temptation and failure (1Tim. 6:10).

  3) Wealth often entices believers to trust in the uncertain riches instead of God who gives us all things richly to enjoy (1Tim. 6:17).


Gen. 14:22 “But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth,”

YLT: “and Abram saith unto the king of Sodom, `I have lifted up my hand unto Jehovah, God Most High, possessing heaven and earth --”

Literal Meaning: Abram here mentioned “the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth” in the light of the word of Melchizedek when he blessed him (see v.19), which showed that the word of Melchizedek was efficacious in him.

  “Raised my hand”, it unveiled that his was faithful and loyal to God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life (John. 6:63). The word of the Lord can enable us to overcome the temptations of the enemy (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10).

  2) If believers can really know He is “the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth” and turn their eyes upon Him, the glory of this age will lose its charm.

  3) Let believers “life up their” holy “hands” and pray everywhere (1Tim. 2:8).


Gen. 14:23 “that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, "I have made Abram rich'--”

YLT: “from a thread even unto a shoe-latchet I take not of anything which thou hast, that thou say not, I -- I have made Abram rich;”

Literal Meaning: “from a thread to a sandal strap”, here it refers to worthless and trivial things. Abram refused to receive any material wealth from the sinful power, which showed not only his trust in God but also his principle of the acceptance or rejection of earthly riches.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Let believers not expect to receive anything from the world except for what is given by God.

  2) He who has real faith in God will be assured that God Himself is his own possession.

  3) There is no limit to man’s pursuit towards wealth. He who is rich is eager to be richer. It is a real manifest token of a man’s fear of God of knowing “how to reject what should be rejected and accept what should be accepted”.

  4) The men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against God (see 13:13). In regard to the possessions relating to sins, let believers keep an attitude of “not receiving” for fear of humiliating the testimony of the Lord.

  5) “Satan” is the one who accuses brothers day and night (Rev. 12:10). Therefore, let us not leave him any thing to accuse (“lest you should say”).


Gen. 14:24 “except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion."”

YLT: “save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who have gone with me -- Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre -- they take their portion.'”

Literal Meaning: this verse showed that Abram dealt with things in a decent way without meddling in the personal choices of others.

Spiritual Meaning: each believer receives his own measure of faith and grace from God (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 4:7). Therefore, as the Lord has divided to each, as God had called each, so let him walk (1Cor. 7:17). Do not inflict one’s own principle of conduct upon others (Rom. 14:1-6).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Let believers not impose difficult tasks on others, nor force others to be like them.

  2) Devotion of everyone to the Lord is the affair between each believer himself and the Lord. Every believer shall only care for his own devotion to the Lord rather than meddle in that of others to the Lord.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Spiritual Battle

A.  Lot’s captive (v.1-12);

1.  If believers live in the sinful environment (Sodom), they are probably captivated by Satan (Chedorlaomer).

2.  If believers cannot overcome trivial sins, they will be captivated severe sins sooner or later.

B.  Abram saved Lot (v.13-16);

1.  We who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak (Rom. 15:1).

2.  He overcame the conspicuous enemies (the four kings).

C.  Melchizedek blessed Abram (v.18-20):

1.  The victory in the combat is ascribed to the intercession and provision of the High Priest (Christ).

2.  Give the glory of victory to God (give tithe).

D.  Abram refused the possessions of Sodom (v.17, 21-24):

1.  He overcame the pretended enemies (the earthly possessions).

2.  He overcame the pride of heart (do not make any decision for others).


Examples of Abram

A.  Who fought for the brother by love (v.13-14);

B.  Who overcame the king of this world by faith (v.15-16);

C.  Who gave tithe to God by a grateful heart (v.18-20);

D.  Who refused to be defiled by the worldly corruption in the fear of God (v.21-23);

E.  Who honored the right of others by a sensible heart (v.24);


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

Translated by Mary Zhou