Chapter 14 starts out reading like a chronicle of military dealings of various factions, revolving around one king, Chedorloamer. The tl/dr version is that in the end, Sodom is sacked, and Lot is taken captive. Abram is informed of this and musters a small army to rescue Lot.
Abram engages in a night time raid and defeats the captors, recovering all that was lost in the initial sacking of Sodom, including Lot, all his possessions, and the women and other people who were taken. Everyone returns to Sodom, where the king is grateful. The king of Salem then blesses Abram, and Abram gives him a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom then says that all he wants back are the people, that the spoils of war are Abrams. Abram declines, says the other leaders who helped in his campaign can take what they deserve, but he does not want the king of Sodom to say that he made Abram rich.
The footnotes for this chapter are intriguing. They state that this passage does not come from any of the traditional Genesis sources, but does bear some resemblance to military campaigns in Babylonian and Assyrian royal annals. To what extent, it is not stated, and this would be an interesting place to really dive into some history.
God did not make himself present in this chapter, which I find odd. We have a similar case here to when Sarai was in the house of Pharaoh, and God caused plague. But here, Lot is held captive, not of his own will, and God fails to intervene. Is this tacit approval by God? Or does God just not care as much about Lot as he does for Sarai?
Abram is blessed by a priest for a god called God Most High. The footnotes discuss that there was a well known God in the area, the highest god in the Canaanite pantheon. This God, when encountered, was recognized as Abram’s God. I see this as creating a problem though. Does Abram’s God recognize this same worship when done by the Canaanites? Or only when done by Abram’s people? Is God accepting of this? At the very least, it appears that there are other people who include God in their pantheon, they acknowledge him. Is this just a result of beliefs going with people after the fall of Babel?
Lessons I learned:
- Wives are more important than brothers.
- God is the top god in other pantheons.
- If you want to be blessed by a king, the rate used to be 10% of the spoils of war.