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Genesis 14:13-24

Context

14:13 A fugitive 1  came and told Abram the Hebrew. 2  Now Abram was living by the oaks 3  of Mamre the Amorite, the brother 4  of Eshcol and Aner. (All these were allied by treaty 5  with Abram.) 6  14:14 When Abram heard that his nephew 7  had been taken captive, he mobilized 8  his 318 trained men who had been born in his household, and he pursued the invaders 9  as far as Dan. 10  14:15 Then, during the night, 11  Abram 12  divided his forces 13  against them and defeated them. He chased them as far as Hobah, which is north 14  of Damascus. 14:16 He retrieved all the stolen property. 15  He also brought back his nephew Lot and his possessions, as well as the women and the rest of 16  the people.

14:17 After Abram 17  returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram 18  in the Valley of Shaveh (known as the King’s Valley). 19  14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem 20  brought out bread and wine. (Now he was the priest of the Most High God.) 21  14:19 He blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by 22  the Most High God,

Creator 23  of heaven and earth. 24 

14:20 Worthy of praise is 25  the Most High God,

who delivered 26  your enemies into your hand.”

Abram gave Melchizedek 27  a tenth of everything.

14:21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and take the possessions for yourself.” 14:22 But Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I raise my hand 28  to the Lord, the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth, and vow 29  14:23 that I will take nothing 30  belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal. That way you can never say, ‘It is I 31  who made Abram rich.’ 14:24 I will take nothing 32  except compensation for what the young men have eaten. 33  As for the share of the men who went with me – Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre – let them take their share.”

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

2 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).

3 tn Or “terebinths.”

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

5 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.

6 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.

7 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).

8 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.

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

10 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 sn The King’s Valley is possibly a reference to what came to be known later as the Kidron Valley.

20 sn Salem is traditionally identified as the Jebusite stronghold of old Jerusalem. Accordingly, there has been much speculation about its king. Though some have identified him with the preincarnate Christ or with Noah’s son Shem, it is far more likely that Melchizedek was a Canaanite royal priest whom God used to renew the promise of the blessing to Abram, perhaps because Abram considered Melchizedek his spiritual superior. But Melchizedek remains an enigma. In a book filled with genealogical records he appears on the scene without a genealogy and then disappears from the narrative. In Psalm 110 the Lord declares that the Davidic king is a royal priest after the pattern of Melchizedek.

21 tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause significantly identifies Melchizedek as a priest as well as a king.

sn It is his royal priestly status that makes Melchizedek a type of Christ: He was identified with Jerusalem, superior to the ancestor of Israel, and both a king and a priest. Unlike the normal Canaanites, this man served “God Most High” (אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, ’elelyon) – one sovereign God, who was the creator of all the universe. Abram had in him a spiritual brother.

22 tn The preposition לְ (lamed) introduces the agent after the passive participle.

23 tn Some translate “possessor of heaven and earth” (cf. NASB). But cognate evidence from Ugaritic indicates that there were two homonymic roots ָקנָה (qanah), one meaning “to create” (as in Gen 4:1) and the other “to obtain, to acquire, to possess.” While “possessor” would fit here, “creator” is the more likely due to the collocation with “heaven and earth.”

24 tn The terms translated “heaven” and “earth” are both objective genitives after the participle in construct.

25 tn Heb “blessed be.” For God to be “blessed” means that is praised. His reputation is enriched in the world as his name is praised.

26 sn Who delivered. The Hebrew verb מִגֵּן (miggen, “delivered”) foreshadows the statement by God to Abram in Gen 15:1, “I am your shield” (מָגֵן, magen). Melchizedek provided a theological interpretation of Abram’s military victory.

27 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Melchizedek) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

28 tn Abram takes an oath, raising his hand as a solemn gesture. The translation understands the perfect tense as having an instantaneous nuance: “Here and now I raise my hand.”

29 tn The words “and vow” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarification.

30 tn The oath formula is elliptical, reading simply: “…if I take.” It is as if Abram says, “[May the Lord deal with me] if I take,” meaning, “I will surely not take.” The positive oath would add the negative adverb and be the reverse: “[God will deal with me] if I do not take,” meaning, “I certainly will.”

31 tn The Hebrew text adds the independent pronoun (“I”) to the verb form for emphasis.

32 tn The words “I will take nothing” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

33 tn Heb “except only what the young men have eaten.”



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