Study Guide

Book of Genesis Chapter 13 – 14

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Chapter 13 – 14

Abram and Lot Break Up

  • The land simply cannot support both Abram and Lot. They're like brothers who've gotten too old to share a room.
  • There's a family feud between Abram and Lot's herdsmen, and Abram wants to make up with Lot. Can't we just all get along?
  • He suggests that they split up. He lets Lot choose which part of the country he wants for his own. Never mind the Canaanites and Perizites (13:7).
  • Lot tells Abram that he'll take that land that looks oh-so-good, and the two go their separate ways, Abram to Canaan and Lot to the suburbs of Sodom.
  • Lot's decision seems like a good choice, but the fact is that the people of Sodom are nasty. 
  • The deity makes another promise to Abram.
  • As the leader of his own little empire, Abram now has to fend for himself in the big-time power game of international politics. After all, there are a bunch of kings, alliances, and huge wars.
  • What's important to note is that the battles take place near the Dead Sea where Lot chose to settle (13:12; 14:3).
  • Also, the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah are embroiled in the fighting (14:8) and eventually lose when their cities are plundered (14:11). 
  • Lot lives in a suburb of Sodom, so it is not surprising to learn that he was taken captive by the victorious kings. 
  • But someone escapes and informs Abram of Lot's plight. Abram summons his allies to arms and with an army of 318 fighters, he overtakes those who captured Lot far to the north past Damascus.
  • Guess what? He wins.
  • Abram brings back Lot along with Lot's stuff as well as women and other captives.
  • But the king of Sodom has regrouped and goes out to meet them. 
  • A king named Melchizedek, which in Hebrew means, "righteous king," brings Abram bread and wine. He is king over Salem as well as priest of "God Most High" (14:18 NRSV).
  • Sound familiar? Salem is the place that will later be called Jerusalem, the future capital of Israel and home to Israel's kings.
  • Melchizedek blesses Abram as well as God Most High, who's given victory to Abram over his enemies in war.
  • Abram gives him 10% of "everything" (14:20). 
  • The king of Sodom recognizes that Abram acted as his ally by chasing down and defeating the armies that destroyed his city.
  • He tries to split the booty with him, but Abram doesn't want anything, not even a sandal's strap.
  • Abram tells his allies to take their share, but as for him, he's happy only with what his chosen fighters ate along the way.
  • That's some intriguing, very measured, and exceedingly just foreign policy.

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