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Genesis 13:10

Context

13:10 Lot looked up and saw 1  the whole region 2  of the Jordan. He noticed 3  that all of it was well-watered (before the Lord obliterated 4  Sodom and Gomorrah) 5  like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, 6  all the way to Zoar.

Genesis 14:1-16

Context
The Blessing of Victory for God’s People

14:1 At that time 7  Amraphel king of Shinar, 8  Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations 9  14:2 went to war 10  against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 11  14:3 These last five kings 12  joined forces 13  in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 14  14:4 For twelve years 15  they had served Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year 16  they rebelled. 17  14:5 In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings who were his allies came and defeated 18  the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 14:6 and the Horites in their hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is near the desert. 19  14:7 Then they attacked En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh) again, 20  and they conquered all the territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazazon Tamar.

14:8 Then 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 prepared for battle. In the Valley of Siddim they met 21  14:9 Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, 22  Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar. Four kings fought against 23  five. 14:10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits. 24  When the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into them, 25  but some survivors 26  fled to the hills. 27  14:11 The four victorious kings 28  took all the possessions and food of Sodom and Gomorrah and left. 14:12 They also took Abram’s nephew 29  Lot and his possessions when 30  they left, for Lot 31  was living in Sodom. 32 

14:13 A fugitive 33  came and told Abram the Hebrew. 34  Now Abram was living by the oaks 35  of Mamre the Amorite, the brother 36  of Eshcol and Aner. (All these were allied by treaty 37  with Abram.) 38  14:14 When Abram heard that his nephew 39  had been taken captive, he mobilized 40  his 318 trained men who had been born in his household, and he pursued the invaders 41  as far as Dan. 42  14:15 Then, during the night, 43  Abram 44  divided his forces 45  against them and defeated them. He chased them as far as Hobah, which is north 46  of Damascus. 14:16 He retrieved all the stolen property. 47  He also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, as well as the women and the rest of 48  the people.

1 tn Heb “lifted up his eyes and saw.” The expression draws attention to the act of looking, indicating that Lot took a good look. It also calls attention to the importance of what was seen.

2 tn Or “plain”; Heb “circle.”

3 tn The words “he noticed” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

4 sn Obliterated. The use of the term “destroy” (שַׁחֵת, shakhet) is reminiscent of the Noahic flood (Gen 6:13). Both at the flood and in Sodom the place was obliterated by catastrophe and only one family survived (see C. Westermann, Genesis, 2:178).

5 tn This short temporal clause (preposition + Piel infinitive construct + subjective genitive + direct object) is strategically placed in the middle of the lavish descriptions to sound an ominous note. The entire clause is parenthetical in nature. Most English translations place the clause at the end of v. 10 for stylistic reasons.

6 sn The narrative places emphasis on what Lot saw so that the reader can appreciate how it aroused his desire for the best land. It makes allusion to the garden of the Lord and to the land of Egypt for comparison. Just as the tree in the garden of Eden had awakened Eve’s desire, so the fertile valley attracted Lot. And just as certain memories of Egypt would cause the Israelites to want to turn back and abandon the trek to the promised land, so Lot headed for the good life.

7 tn The sentence begins with the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi) followed by “in the days of.”

8 sn Shinar (also in v. 9) is the region of Babylonia.

9 tn Or “king of Goyim.” The Hebrew term גּוֹיִם (goyim) means “nations,” but a number of modern translations merely transliterate the Hebrew (cf. NEB “Goyim”; NIV, NRSV “Goiim”).

10 tn Heb “made war.”

sn Went to war. The conflict here reflects international warfare in the Early and Middle Bronze periods. The countries operated with overlords and vassals. Kings ruled over city states, or sometimes a number of city states (i.e., nations). Due to their treaties, when one went to war, those confederate with him joined him in battle. It appears here that it is Kedorlaomer’s war, because the western city states have rebelled against him (meaning they did not send products as tribute to keep him from invading them).

11 sn On the geographical background of vv. 1-2 see J. P. Harland, “Sodom and Gomorrah,” The Biblical Archaeologist Reader, 1:41-75; and D. N. Freedman, “The Real Story of the Ebla Tablets, Ebla and the Cities of the Plain,” BA 41 (1978): 143-64.

12 tn Heb “all these,” referring only to the last five kings named. The referent has been specified as “these last five kings” in the translation for clarity.

13 tn The Hebrew verb used here means “to join together; to unite; to be allied.” It stresses close associations, especially of friendships, marriages, or treaties.

14 sn The Salt Sea is the older name for the Dead Sea.

15 tn The sentence simply begins with “twelve years”; it serves as an adverbial accusative giving the duration of their bondage.

16 tn This is another adverbial accusative of time.

17 sn The story serves as a foreshadowing of the plight of the kingdom of Israel later. Eastern powers came and forced the western kingdoms into submission. Each year, then, they would send tribute east – to keep them away. Here, in the thirteenth year, they refused to send the tribute (just as later Hezekiah rebelled against Assyria). And so in the fourteenth year the eastern powers came to put them down again. This account from Abram’s life taught future generations that God can give victory over such threats – that people did not have to live in servitude to tyrants from the east.

18 tn The Hebrew verb נָכָה (nakhah) means “to attack, to strike, to smite.” In this context it appears that the strike was successful, and so a translation of “defeated” is preferable.

19 sn The line of attack ran down the eastern side of the Jordan Valley into the desert, and then turned and came up the valley to the cities of the plain.

20 tn Heb “they returned and came to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh).” The two verbs together form a verbal hendiadys, the first serving as the adverb: “they returned and came” means “they came again.” Most English translations do not treat this as a hendiadys, but translate “they turned back” or something similar. Since in the context, however, “came again to” does not simply refer to travel but an assault against the place, the present translation expresses this as “attacked…again.”

21 tn Heb “against.”

22 tn Or “Goyim.” See the note on the word “nations” in 14:1.

23 tn The Hebrew text has simply “against.” The word “fought” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

24 tn Heb “Now the Valley of Siddim [was] pits, pits of tar.” This parenthetical disjunctive clause emphasizes the abundance of tar pits in the area through repetition of the noun “pits.”

sn The word for “tar” (or “bitumen”) occurs earlier in the story of the building of the tower in Babylon (see Gen 11:3).

25 tn Or “they were defeated there.” After a verb of motion the Hebrew particle שָׁם (sham) with the directional heh (שָׁמָּה, shammah) can mean “into it, therein” (BDB 1027 s.v. שָׁם).

26 tn Heb “the rest.”

27 sn The reference to the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah must mean the kings along with their armies. Most of them were defeated in the valley, but some of them escaped to the hills.

28 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the four victorious kings, see v. 9) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

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

30 tn Heb “and.”

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

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

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

34 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).

35 tn Or “terebinths.”

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

37 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.

38 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.

39 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).

40 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.

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

42 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.

43 tn The Hebrew text simply has “night” as an adverbial accusative.

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

45 tn Heb “he divided himself…he and his servants.”

46 tn Heb “left.” Directions in ancient Israel were given in relation to the east rather than the north.

47 tn The word “stolen” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

48 tn The phrase “the rest of “ has been supplied in the translation for clarification.



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