THE CAPTURE OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH – THE BATTLE OF KINGS (G-14-HBS)

KINGS OF THE EAST CAPTURE SODOM AND GOMORRAH

In chapter 14 we find the first recorded war, one in which Abram delivers Lot; and we find the appearance of the first priest, at which time Abram is blessed by Melchizedek.

These are the two great truths that are here. In one sense, this is a most remarkable chapter. It does not seem to fit in with the story at all.

It seems that it could be left out, that there is a continuity without it. But it is one of the most important chapters in the Book of Genesis.

Genesis 14:1-12 KJV

[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.

[3] All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.

[4] Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

[5] And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,

[6] And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El–paran, which is by the wilderness.

[7] And they returned, and came to En–mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon–tamar.

[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;

[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.

[10] And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.

[11] And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.

[12] And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Genesis 14:1

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;


  • If it is to be noticed, the Spirit of God occupies Himself with the movements of “kings and their armies” only when such movements are in any wise connected with the people of God; otherwise, they are of little significance!
  • First of all, let me say that this is a historical document. In the first eleven verses, it is recorded that the kings of the east defeat the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • For quite a few years, the critical, radical scholars rejected this, saying that these men’s names do not appear in secular history at all and that this is a rather ridiculous story.

But did you know that the names of these kings have been found on monuments and tablets, showing that they did exist?

In fact, Amraphel is now known to be the Hammurabi of other secular history.

The record that we have here is tremendously significant.

Genesis 14:2

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.


  • There was war, and this is the first war that is mentioned in Scripture. Mankind began early in making war.
  • Although this is the first war recorded, I do not know that it is the first war that ever took place—I do not think that the writer intends to give that impression.
  • The reason it is recorded is because Lot, the nephew of Abram, is involved.

Genesis 14:3

All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.


  • All five are located in a small area at the southern end of the Dead Sea called the Valley of Siddim.
  • Moses calls it the Salt Sea, but we now call it the Dead Sea

Genesis 14:4

Twelve years they served chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.


  • These five kings had been ruled by Chedorlaomer for some twelve years, and now they rebel.
  • The rebellion is what brought the kings of the east against Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • These kings evidently had fought before, because the kings of the east had subjugated these cities of the plain, but the cities had reached the place of rebellion.

Genesis 14:5

And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,


  • In verses 5–11 we read the account of how the kings of the east overcame the kings who had joined together around the lower part of the Dead Sea.

Genesis 14:6

And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness.


  • In the names “Rephaims,”“Zuzims,” and “Emims,” and possibly even the “Horites,” we have, once again, the entrance of the giants, which were a product of the union of fallen angels and women [6:4]. Irrespective of their size, “Chedorlaomer” defeated them.

Genesis 14:7

And they returned, and came to En–mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon–tamar.


  • En-mishpat This apparently earlier name means “spring of judgment.” Kadesh would later become a testing time for the children of Israel as they traveled in the desert.

Genesis 14:8

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;


  • 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 they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim.

Genesis 14:9

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.


  • We have in Verse 8 the mention of Sodom, where Lot dwelt, and which causes the interest of Jehovah, and points to the reason for all this being included in these Passages.
  • It is obvious from the Text that Lot was not at all in proper relationship with the Lord; however, the Lord, despite that fact, continued to monitor his every move and, in effect, to exercise a form of security and protection for him, despite his having moved in with the Sodomites.
  • Every Believer should understand the significance of all of this. You are bought with a price; that price is the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Genesis 14:10

And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.


  • Slimepits – Asphalt. Apparently crude oil. The kings “fell” in the sense of being totally defeated not killed. Asphalt still tends to surface in the south end of the Dead Sea.
  • asphalt pits: The Hebrew term for pits is written twice (“pits pits”), meaning that bitumen pits were everywhere.

Genesis 14:11

And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.


  • They remove all the animals, food stores and subjects of the city.
  • With the intent to take them back to Babylon

Genesis 14:12

And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.


  • Lot, in his compromised position, could neither deliver Sodom nor himself. The only way to help and bless the world is to live apart from it, in fellowship with God.
  • Lot lived in Sodom and was taken captive.
  • The reason this war is significant to the record here is that it reveals what Abram is going to do in connection with his nephew.

ABRAHAM DELIVERS LOT

Lot lived in Sodom and was taken captive. The reason this war is significant to the record here is that it reveals what Abram is going to do in connection with his nephew.

Genesis 14:13-20 KJV

[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.

[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.

[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.

[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.

[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.

[18] And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

[19] And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

[20] And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Genesis 14:13

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.


  • When the kings of the east left the area of Sodom and Gomorrah with their captives, they moved north along the west bank of the Dead Sea, which was not too far from Hebron and Mamre where Abram was dwelling.
  • You can stand where Abram stood in that day and see any movement that takes place down toward the Dead Sea.
  • So that when word was brought to Abram, he immediately began to pursue the enemy as he moved north.
  • “And these were confederate with Abram.” Notice that Abram has a group of men that are with him.
  • They had to stand together in that day because of the pursuit or the approach of an enemy.
  • They either had to hang together or hang separately.

Genesis 14:14

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.


  • This is startling, and it reveals something of the extent of Abram’s possessions.
  • This gives you some conception of the number of servants Abram had.
  • In his own household, he could arm 318.

How many did he have that he could not arm?

For instance, there would also be women and children and the old folk—but he could arm 318.

To have that many hired hands indicates that Abram was carrying on quite a business of raising cattle and sheep. “And pursued them unto Dan”—Dan is up in the north.

Genesis 14:15

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.


  • Abram pursued these men all the way north to Damascus—that is quite a stretch.
  • Apparently, what Abram did was to divide his servants.
  • One group made an attack, probably from the rear as they were pursuing them.
  • The other group went around, and when the enemy turned to fight the first group, the second group came down upon them.
  • As a result, Abram was able to get a victory.
  • At least he was able to scatter them so that they fled across the desert, leaving the people and the booty they had captured.

Genesis 14:16

And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.


  • Abraham had little interest in the happenings, had it not been for Lot. He hears that Lot has been taken captive, and sets about to rescue him. Concerning this, Mackintosh says: “The claims of a brother’s trouble are answered by the affections of a brother’s heart.
  • This is Divine. Genuine Faith, while it always renders us independent, never renders us indifferent. It will never wrap itself up in its fleece while a brother shivers in the cold.”

Genesis 14:17

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.


  • As we shall see here, there is no time so dangerous to the Christian as the morrow after a great spiritual victory.

Genesis 14:18

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.


  • This man appears on the scene, who is a King and a Priest and, above all, who is a Type of Christ [Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:5-6]; some Scholars believe that Melchizedek could actually have been Shem, the son of Noah; Shem was alive at this time, and actually lived for about 60 years more; in fact, some think he died when Abraham was about 150 years of age; his name means, “King of Righteousness” and “King of Peace” [Heb. 7:2]
  • The “bread and wine” symbolize the broken Body and shed Blood of our Lord, which was necessary for the Salvation of mankind [Mat. 26:29; Mk.,Chpt. 14; Lk. 22:15; Rom. 8:21]:
  • Melchizedek, as a Priest, symbolized the coming Christ, Who is our Great High Priest [Heb. 7:15-17]. David prophesied, about a thousand years after Abraham, “The Lord has sworn, and will not repent, You [Christ] are a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” [Ps. 110:4]. Abraham is here introduced to God by a different name than he had previously known, “El Elyon,” meaning “Most High God.”

Genesis 14:19

And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:


  • Melchizedek blessing Abraham means that the standing of Melchizedek was greater than that of Abraham. The reason? Melchizedek was a Type of Christ [Heb. 7:4, 7].

Genesis 14:20

And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.


  • We find here that Melchizedek did not come forth when Abraham was in pursuit of Chedorlaomer, but when the king of Sodom was in pursuit of Abraham. This makes a great moral difference. Mackintosh says: “A deeper character of communion was needed to meet the deeper character of conflict.”
  • This is the first time that “tithes” are mentioned in Scripture. It refers to a tenth part. Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek, who was a Type of Christ; consequently, Abraham’s children, which make up the Church presently, are to continue to pay tithe to those carrying out the Work of God.

ABRAHAM REFUSES BOOTY

This is the temptation. According to the Code of Hammurabi of that day, this man Abram had a perfect right to the booty and even to the persons.

But the king of Sodom is clever; he says, “Give us the persons, and you take the booty—it’s yours.” That was a temptation to Abram.

Genesis 14:21-24 KJV

[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,

[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:

[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.

Genesis 14:21

And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to yourself.


  • Satan will now use the king of Sodom, endeavoring to draw Abraham into his web. He will use money to do so.
  • Forever after, when anybody would say, “That man Abram is certainly a wealthy man. God has blessed him,” I think that the king of Sodom would have said, “Blessed him, my foot! God didn’t bless him. I gave it to him; I’m the one who made him rich!” Abram knew that. Listen to him now.

Genesis 14:22

And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up my hand unto the LORD, the Most High God, the Possessor of heaven and Earth


  • The king of Sodom may have proposed an amalgamation of sorts with Abraham; but the Patriarch proclaims to all concerned that his allegiance is totally and completely to “the LORD, the Most High God, the Possessor of heaven and Earth”; in this, he proclaims the fact that he is beholden to no man, but yet gracious to all men.

Genesis 14:23

That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is yours, lest you should say, I have made Abram rich


  • The temptation is strong, and in more ways than one; however, the Patriarch passes the test with flying colors:

Genesis 14:24

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.


  • Abraham was held to a much higher standard than those with him. While it was no problem for them to take some of the goods, he could not take even as much as a “shoelatchet.”
  • The man of God presently should understand the lesson taught here, that while we are in the world, we are never to be of the world.

 

I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,

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