Eternity Daily Bible Study

The Life Of Abraham

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Number:552

Verses: Genesis 14:1-16

Topic: A Formidable Foe

Date: December 7th 2005

 

Genesis 14:1-16 HCSB In those days Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim (2) waged war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, as well as the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).  (3)  All of these came as allies to the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea).  (4)  They were subject to Chedorlaomer for 12 years, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.  (5)  In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, (6) and the Horites in the mountains of Seir, as far as El-paran by the wilderness.  (7)  Then they came back to invade En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they defeated all the territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar.  (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 lined up for battle in the Valley of Siddim (9) against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar--four kings against five.  (10)  Now the Valley of Siddim contained many asphalt pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, but the rest fled to the mountains.  (11)  The four kings took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food and went on.  (12)  They also took Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, for he was living in Sodom, and they went on.  (13)  One of the survivors came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was at the oaks belonging to Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and the brother of Aner. They were bound by a treaty with Abram.  (14)  When Abram heard that his relative had been taken prisoner, he assembled his 318 trained men, born in his household, and they went in pursuit as far as Dan.  (15)  And he and his servants deployed against them by night, attacked them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus.  (16)  He brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the other people.

 

 

Chedorlaomer king of Elam (Persia)was an extremely powerful warrior and empire builder. He had defeated everything in his path including the Rephaim, Zuzim and Emim – races of giants like Goliath and known major aggressive nations such as the Horites, Amalekites and Amorites. He was allied with Amraphel king of Shinar (Babylon) probably the grandson on Nimrod and had gone on an extensive campaign of pillaging throughout the Middle-East. Moses (the author of Genesis) summarizes this campaign very briefly and focuses it on his encounter with Abram (who would defeat Chedorlaomer with just 318 men).

 

Now Chedorlaomer did not come all that way just to invade Sodom and Gomorrah and the five cities of the plain – these were just five ripe plums that he shook off the tree and unknown to this mighty king, in Sodom was Lot, the nephew of Abraham. By capturing Lot he was making Abram his enemy, and by making Abram his enemy he was making God his enemy and invoking the curse portion of Genesis 12:3:

 

Genesis 12:3 HCSB I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

 

As mighty as Chedorlaomer was, he was bound to lose, because he was not fighting against man, but against God.

 

(14)  When Abram heard that his relative had been taken prisoner, he assembled his 318 trained men, born in his household, and they went in pursuit as far as Dan.  (15)  And he and his servants deployed against them by night, attacked them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus.

 

This was no small battle, the initial conflict is in the very south of Israel, near the tar-pits at the top of the Dead Sea around Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram then pursues Chedorlaomer as far as Dan in the very north of Israel and finally up north of Damascus in Syria! Abram had his own army “318 trained men” - apparently highly trained warriors of some sort. So the battle involved both human skill and the mighty power of God. Abraham's trained farm hands against the mightiest, giant-killing imperial armies of ancient Babylon, Persia and Syria! And Abram routed them! This was at least 200 miles of fighting and probably took at least a couple of months. By the end of it the empire of mighty Chedorlaomer is broken and Israel is entirely freed from his grip.

 

Chedorlaomer comes from the north, invaded as far south as Kadesh-Barnea and the Amalekite territory (verse 7), he then wanders across to Sodom where Lot is captured and Abram gives chase. So Chedorlaomer was in control of all the territory that Joshua would later conquer. By defeating Chedorlaomer Abram is spiritually claiming all this land – from Kadesh-Barnea to north of Damascus as Abrahamic land.  In today’s terms Abram has conquered Jordan, Israel, the Golan heights and Syria as far as “Hobah to the north of Damascus”. So with this battle Abram went from being an old wandering prophet to being the military liberator of the Ancient Middle East.

 

The grip of Shinar (Babylon) and the descendants of wicked and predatory Nimrod and his political allies is destroyed. Apparently up until this point the whole post-Flood world was in terror on Nimrod, his Tower, his occult powers and his imperial reach. His allies rode all over the ancient world exacting tax and tribute. Now Abram liberates a huge swath of fertile territory from this hundreds of years old tyranny. The dark occultic influence of ancient Babylon is rolled back and a new world of faith emerges briefly in Canaan. This was not unlike the moment in The Lord of the Rings at the end of The Two Towers when the wicked wizard in the Tower is defeated. Evil was not completely defeated but it has been dealt a major blow.

 

Abram's victory was complete - “He brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the other people.” Both people and goods were taken from the hands of the marauding kings. There is a spiritual principle here – God's victories are victories of complete restoration. Yet a question hangs in the air – would Sodom repent and change its ways? Would liberation from oppression lead to liberation from sin? That is still a question in many countries where political liberation seems so urgent. Political liberation, without spiritual liberation - is totally worthless.

 

Blessings,

 

John Edmiston (johned@aibi.ph)

 

 

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