-In chapter 14, Abram is depicted as the courageous warrior hero who pursues a valiant alliance of kings in order to save his nephew Lot, his family and his possessions. The alliance of kings that he defeats is lead by Chedorlaomer king of Elam. This alliance had defeated the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah along with three other kings that aligned themselves together in rebellion of a twelve year reign in which they had served Chedorlaomer.
-Chedorlaomer and his allies had defeated the rebellion with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah falling into tar pits, which at that time proliferated the Salt Sea (Dead Sea) area. The survivors fled to the hill country (which would be in the vicinity of present day Jerusalem). This is the connection supposedly with Melchizedek king of Salem (possibly ancient Jerusalem), who came out to Abram upon his victorious return with bread and wine and blessing.
-Abram, with the men of his household and some allies, had pursued and gained military victory over what would seem to be a superior force. He pursued them up through Dan (this is far north where important source rivers to the Sea of Galilee run through) and all the way to Damascus. This pursuit would have been well over 200 miles through fairly rugged terrain. All this was to rescue his nephew Lot and his family from their oppressors.
-Abram is finally victorious bringing everything back and is met by Melchizedek in the valley of Shaveh, or the King’s Valley. This valley is unknown, but could actually be the Kidron Valley that is just to the east of modern day Jerusalem, which sits on Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. On the other side of this valley is the Mount of Olives.
-Melchizedek is described as a priest of God Most High. He is a mysterious figure in Scripture who is mentioned again in Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 5-7. Here in Genesis he blesses Abram and says, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hands (vss. 19-20).” Abram gives him a tenth of all he had gained. The question of who this Melchizedek is becomes intriguing. Four possible solutions: 1) He was a respected king of that region. 2) Melchizedek was a standing title for all the kings of Salem. 3) He was a “type” of Christ figure (Hebrews 7:3) that was closely related to what Christ did and illustrates a lesson about Christ from the Old Testament. This is a hermeneutical (interpretation) device. 4) He was the actual appearance of Christ in preincarnation form as a temporary body on the earth. This view primarily comes from the later revelation in Hebrews of this unique individual who is the first mentioned priest in Scripture. Another interesting thought on Melchizedek is that he was not of the family of Abram. Here is a picture of God using people of faith in Him being the only qualification for holiness. This should bring some clarity into the debate on Gentile believers being accepted fully in the LORD’s plan.
-As the chapter ends, the king of Sodom wants Abram to take all the goods, not the people, which he had gained. However, Abram had sworn to the LORD God Most High that he would not do that for fear that the king of Sodom would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ He, in humility and wisdom, takes nothing except the food that his men ate, and he does give his allies from Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre their share of the spoils.
Verse to Memorize: Genesis 14:18