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Genesis 14 The Voice (VOICE)

14 Back when King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim ruled the land, these four kings formed an alliance and made war on five other kings: Bera of Sodom, Birsha of Gomorrah, Shinab of Admah, Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (a city now known as Zoar). All of these joined forces in the valley of Siddim (near the area now known as the Dead Sea[a]). You see, the five latter kings had been conquered by Chedorlaomer and so they had served him for 12 years; but in the 13th year, they rebelled against him. In the 14th year, Chedorlaomer and the three kings who were allied with him squashed rebellions of the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in the hill country of Seir all the way to El-paran, which lies on the edge of the wilderness.

Then Chedorlaomer and his allies turned back and did the same in En-mishpat (a city also known as Kadesh), and they conquered all of the country of the Amalekites and also the Amorites, who lived then in Hazazon-tamar. 8-9 The five kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (that is, Zoar) all went and joined in battle in the valley of Siddim against the four kings (Chedorlaomer of Elam, Tidal of Goiim, Amraphel of Shinar, and Arioch of Ellasar). 10 The valley of Siddim held many dangers; it was full of tar pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled the battle, some of their soldiers fell into the pits and were killed. The rest managed to make it out alive to the hill country. 11 As a result, Chedorlaomer and his allies captured all of the spoils of battle from the retreating forces of Sodom and Gomorrah—their provisions, weapons, and other supplies. Then they left. 12 But before they left they took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother who lived in Sodom, prisoner along with all of his goods.

13 Then one of the men who had escaped the battle went and found Abram, the Hebrew, who at that time was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite (brother of Eshcol and of Aner—some of Abram’s allies). He told Abram what had happened. 14 As soon as Abram heard that his nephew had been taken prisoner, he gathered a company of his most reliable and best-trained men (there were 318 of them, all born in his household) and pursued the enemy as far north as Dan. 15 When he caught up with them, Abram divided up his men, surrounded the enemy, and attacked them during the night. He and his soldiers crushed the invaders and pursued any survivors all the way to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 After the battle Abram recovered all the spoils the enemy had taken and brought them back with him. He rescued his nephew Lot and brought him back, along with his goods; there were other captives, too, including some women whom he rescued.

17 After Abram and his men defeated Chedorlaomer and the other kings allied with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him on his return at the valley of Shaveh (an area also known as the King’s Valley). 18 The priest-king of Jerusalem,[b] Melchizedek, came out to meet him as well and brought out bread and wine for them. Melchizedek was a priest of the One whom he called the “the Most High God.”[c] 19 Priest-king Melchizedek offered a special blessing to Abram.

King Melchizedek: May Abram be blessed by the Most High God,
        Creator of the heavens and earth.
20     Blessing and honor to the Most High God,
        who has clearly delivered your enemies into your hands!

Abram gave the priest-king a tenth of all of the captured goods he was bringing back with him.

This unusual encounter has sparked much interest over the centuries. Melchizedek, it seems, appears out of nowhere. There is no genealogical record for him; he is described simply as the priest-king of Salem, likely a reference to the city that will one day be known as Jerusalem. The Hebrew root of the name Salem means “peace” (shalom). Melchizedek comes in peace, offering the victors a meal to sustain them on their journey home. Abram, in return, gives Melchizedek ten percent of the spoils claimed in battle. There are two other scriptural references to Melchizedek in Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7. The writer of Hebrews compares the priestly role of Jesus to the ancient priestly order of Melchizedek showing that Jesus’ role, like that of Melchizedek, is superior in every way to the later Levitical priests.

King of Sodom (to Abram): 21 Give me the people, and you can take all of the spoils for yourself.

Abram: 22 I have pledged a solemn oath to the Eternal One—the Most High God, Creator of the heavens and earth. 23 I promised that I would not keep any shred of what belongs to you—not a thread of a garment or a strap of a sandal. That way you could never take credit for any wealth of mine. 24 I will take nothing except the food my men have eaten. As for the men who fought with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre—let them take their shares, but I will take nothing more.

Footnotes:

  1. 14:3 Literally, Salt Sea
  2. 14:18 Hebrew, Salem
  3. 14:18 Hebrew, El Elyon
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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