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;
2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
So the nations of Shinar, Ellasar, Elam and the nations ruled by Tidal are at war with Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela(Zoar)
3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
Right you are then.
4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
All of them? OK... all of these nations were subserviant to Chedorlaomer King of Elam. but rebelled.
5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emins in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
In the fourteenth year of his reign, Chedorlaomer and his allies smite a great deal of tribes. This sounds like the kind of thing the LORD would approve of, let's see.
7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar.
OK, More smiting first, I suppose a rebellion *is* justification for genocide after all.
8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
So Sodom, Gommorah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela (Zoar) go into battle...
9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
...with the nations controlled by Chedorloamer. I suppose to oppose his mass genocide of the Rephaim, the Karnaim, the Zuzims and the Emins.
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
The Good guys lost the battle? Were the slime pits involved in any way? Why are they mentioned?
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
Chedorloamer and his crew loot Sodom and Gomorrah...
12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
...which includes looting not only Lot's goods but Lot himself.
13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
An escapee from the war who was allied to Abram went and told him of Lot's predicament.
14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
Abram raises an army of indentured servants (A slave army) 318 men strong and goes after the perpetrators.
15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
On the left as thou goest where? Abram Smites them and chases them past Damascus. That is one old city!
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
...and Abram's slave army manages to retrieve the goods and also Lot who has somehow been transformed from Abram's nephew into his brother. Is someone not keeping track?
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
After Abram slaughters Chedorloamer, The king of Sodom and the kings that rode out with him to do battle with Chedorloamer come out to meet Abram. Seems reasonable.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Melchizedek is both king of Salem and the priest of 'the most high God', is this The LORD? or is this one of the other gods? Even if it is the LORD, doesn't the qualification 'most high' imply belief in other gods? More polytheism?
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
Abram is getting blessed again. Awww... isn't he a blessed little Abram?
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Melchizedek blesses the most high God too.
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
Abram makes sure everyone knows that he considers 'the most high God' to be the god he calls The LORD.
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
Abram doesn't take the Sodomite King's offering, not out of humility but out of pride, He doesn't want anyone to be able to say that they made him rich, besides we all know he got rich by misrepresenting his wife to the Pharaoh.
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
He'll take expenses though.
So what have we learned?
- The LORD doesn't seem to favour the genocide committed by Chedorloamer, He does not however do anything to stop it. The LORD does seem to favour Abram's smiting though, probably because he was the victor.
- Abram manages to defeat several nations with only 318 slave soldiers.
- Abram saves his, once nephew but now brother, Lot from Chedorloamer and in doing so saves Sodom and Gomorrah but his pride rather than humility stops him from taking any of the spoils as payment.
- Abram recognises the LORD as the most high God but does not seem concerned that there may be others.