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Genesis 14:12-14

Context
14:12 They also took Abram’s nephew 1  Lot and his possessions when 2  they left, for Lot 3  was living in Sodom. 4 

14:13 A fugitive 5  came and told Abram the Hebrew. 6  Now Abram was living by the oaks 7  of Mamre the Amorite, the brother 8  of Eshcol and Aner. (All these were allied by treaty 9  with Abram.) 10  14:14 When Abram heard that his nephew 11  had been taken captive, he mobilized 12  his 318 trained men who had been born in his household, and he pursued the invaders 13  as far as Dan. 14 

1 tn Heb “Lot the son of his brother.”

2 tn Heb “and.”

3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Lot) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn This disjunctive clause is circumstantial/causal, explaining that Lot was captured because he was living in Sodom at the time.

5 tn Heb “the fugitive.” The article carries a generic force or indicates that this fugitive is definite in the mind of the speaker.

6 sn E. A. Speiser (Genesis [AB], 103) suggests that part of this chapter came from an outside source since it refers to Abram the Hebrew. That is not impossible, given that the narrator likely utilized traditions and genealogies that had been collected and transmitted over the years. The meaning of the word “Hebrew” has proved elusive. It may be related to the verb “to cross over,” perhaps meaning “immigrant.” Or it might be derived from the name of Abram’s ancestor Eber (see Gen 11:14-16).

7 tn Or “terebinths.”

8 tn Or “a brother”; or “a relative”; or perhaps “an ally.”

9 tn Heb “possessors of a treaty with.” Since it is likely that the qualifying statement refers to all three (Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner) the words “all these” have been supplied in the translation to make this clear.

10 tn This parenthetical disjunctive clause explains how Abram came to be living in their territory, but it also explains why they must go to war with Abram.

11 tn Heb “his brother,” by extension, “relative.” Here and in v. 16 the more specific term “nephew” has been used in the translation for clarity. Lot was the son of Haran, Abram’s brother (Gen 11:27).

12 tn The verb וַיָּרֶק (vayyareq) is a rare form, probably related to the word רֵיק (req, “to be empty”). If so, it would be a very figurative use: “he emptied out” (or perhaps “unsheathed”) his men. The LXX has “mustered” (cf. NEB). E. A. Speiser (Genesis [AB], 103-4) suggests reading with the Samaritan Pentateuch a verb diq, cognate with Akkadian deku, “to mobilize” troops. If this view is accepted, one must assume that a confusion of the Hebrew letters ד (dalet) and ר (resh) led to the error in the traditional Hebrew text. These two letters are easily confused in all phases of ancient Hebrew script development. The present translation is based on this view.

13 tn The words “the invaders” have been supplied in the translation for clarification.

14 sn The use of the name Dan reflects a later perspective. The Danites did not migrate to this northern territory until centuries later (see Judg 18:29). Furthermore Dan was not even born until much later. By inserting this name a scribe has clarified the location of the region.



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