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Genesis 14:1-

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Intro:
Chapter 14 starts out with several nations in the land going to war… which was a common thing in this day...
But… in this battle, a guy named Chedorlaomer and his allies, defeated the kings of Sodom, Go orrah… both cities fell..
And all the possessions and provisions of these two cities were taken.
Some of the people from these cities were taken too… we don’t know how many, but significantly… we do know… that Abram’s nephew, Lot, and his people, and his possessions were taken.
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This is why this conflict is significant. The people of this time went to war all the time..
But this time, a significant person… in the Bible story, became a victim of this war.
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This is what happened.
Genesis 14:13–16 ESV
13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.
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Vs. 13 is the first mention of the word ‘Hebrew’… Most people associate the name with Abram’s great, great, great, great grandfather, whose name was Eber.
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There might be some connection… Eber may have born some responsibility in formalizing the language… and until I studied this further, I just thought the word ‘Hebrew’ was directly from the relative… Eber.
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Why? - They are essentially the same word. Eber means… ‘The region beyond’… and the title Hebrew means ‘one from beyond’
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If you search through the OT… every use of the word Hebrew, is either a name given to Israel by outsiders… or for self-identification by Israel to foreigners.
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When I lived in Arizona… I worked with a Native American tribe called the Papago. But… they really aren’t Papago. They don’t accept or claim this tribal name. They are the Tohono O’odham (ta-houney-a’tem)… which means, Desert People.
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But, there were rival tribes that gave them a derogatory nickname. The Piman tribes called them “the bean eaters” - When the Piman tribes would serve as scouts, they would point to this nation and call them bean eaters. When the Spanish speaking explorers translated this, and wrote it down… they were named ‘Papago’… which… roughly translated… mean’t ‘bean eater’. English speakers adopted this, and to everyone except the (ta-houney-a’tem)… they were the ‘Papago’… the bean eaters.
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Many Native American tribes are named this way. The Crow tribe accepts the name they’ve been given, even their true name is Absaroka..
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It’s the same for us… - The believers in Jesus did not name themselves Christians. It was first a title given by those outside the faith, to describe this new religious group. These people who were all about Christ… were the ‘little Christs’. - It started as a derogatory slang… but the church was like… ‘ We’ll take it. We are Christians.
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So… with Hebrew. It appears as if it is a name given by foreign nations, to describe these people who have crossed over from one land to another.
This reference in Genesis 14:13, may speak only in terms of definition. Maybe they didn’t see him as a descendant of Eber, or as a person defined ethnically as a Hebrew… but simply.. as the guy who crossed over, from the land of Ur… to the land of Canaan.
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So… back to our story. Someone from Lot’s group escaped and brought word to Abram.
In response, Abram gathered together 318 trained men.. - men who were born in his house… which goes to show, that Abram’s group wasn’t a mere band of people… his was like an entire city. There were also with them, his allies and their men… Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre..
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Abram’s group… pursued the army that had just defeated Sodom and Gomorrah… defeated them in their city… and as the enemy fled, they continued to pursue them… defeated them, and brought back all the possessions… and also, his nephew, with all his possessions and his people.
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All that was taken from Sodom… and maybe Gommorah… was being brought back with them from the battle…
Which brings us to vs. 17....
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Genesis 14:17–20 ESV
17 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
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Two kings came to meet Abram as he and his allies were returning from this victory.
This was before cell phones.
This meant, that the Kings of this land had an efficient method of communication… messengers responded quickly and took word to their respective kings concerning these events… and two of those kings
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This meeting would not have been difficult for Melchizedek… for this valley was just outside of Jerusalem… and it’s likely, that the King of Sodom wasn’t sitting at home licking his woulds… but that he too gathered together some fighters and eventually began to track down Chedorlaomer.
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Both kings heard, that Abram was heading towards this valley… so they went out to greet him.
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It’s likely, that Melchizedek knew Abram, or at least knew of him. He was the king of Salem… and Abram lived for a short while, just to the north of Salem… and Abram’s party was significant. If he had well over 300 fighting men who were born in his house… it’s possible, with women, children and other servants… that Abram’s group numbered between 700-900 people. That kind of group doesn’t go un-noticed.
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Melchizedek, was a king in Canaan.
Abram was living in Canaan… building his business in Canaan… and growing his wealth in Canaan.
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Abram definitely knew who the king was… and it’s likely that Melchizedek knew who Abram was, even before this great victory.
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Now… before we talk about the encounter with the King of Sodom… which essentially consisted of Abram giving his stuff back…
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We need to talk about Melchizedek.
Who was he? What was he? So much of his story is hidden, and yet, he remains known to the ancient Biblical world.
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Let’s start by looking at a couple other passages that talk about him.
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Ps. 110 is a Messianic Psalm written by David…
vs. 1.. Yahweh says to my lord… sit at my right hand and I will make your enemies your footstool.
He goes on to say in vs. 2… that Yahweh gives this lord… authority to rule.. and that… vs. 3… people will serve him freely as he leads his forces… vs. 4… this lord, that Yahweh will give authority and power to… will not only rule as a king with a scepter… but will also be a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.
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The order of Melchizedek… this could be understood to say.... in the manner that Melchizedek was a priest.
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The passage in Hebrews will explain this a bit more.
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In Hebrews… we learn about the superiority of Jesus over the Old Covenant. He is better… better than the logic, religion, or law that men seek peace and fulfillment in.
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Chapter 6 speaks of hope. Why can we be assured of this hope?
Hebrews 6:19–20 ESV
19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
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The pries would go behind that curtain once a year to offer a sacrifice for the unintentional sins… the trespasses of the nation. It was a big deal… and it only happened once a year.
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But Jesus is better, in that He entered into that holy place… as one who is in the manner of Melchizedek....
Those who were well versed in Ps. 110… would know… that this was a bold claim… that not only was Jesus a priest, and a king… but He was also the Messiah… and that He was a priest, kings, and Messiah… forever.
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Chapter 7 goes into it more deeply.
It starts by recounting the events from Genesis 14… - of how Melchizedek was the king os Salem… and a priest of the Most High God…
He met Abraham… and blessed him.
vs. 2… Abraham gave him a tithe of the spoils of the battle… and then it says of Melchizedek… “He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.
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By definition, and by location...
Melchizedek is the king of righteousness… and the king of peace.
Which… in the context of Hebrews… we are being told, that Jesus, our eternal king and priest… is ALSO… THE KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS … and the KING OF PEACE.
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The next verse is significant.
Hebrews 7:3 ESV
3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
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This is a confusing passage… for Jesus has a genealogy… and even though it’s not given to us, Melchizedek most likely has a genealogy too.
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But that’s not what this is talking about.
This is talking about birthright.
A king becomes a king, because they were born into the right family, at the right time. To be a king, you needed to be a son to a king.
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Yes, Jesus was the son of God… but in the eyes of man, he needed to be a son to Caesar if he wanted any hopes of being a king in this world…
And concerning the priesthood… he would have needed to be a son… or a descendant of Levi....
But he wasn’t. Jesus was a descendant of Judah.
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God established an order of priesthood… starting with Levi…
But Jesus was not of that lineage, and neither was Melchizedek. Mel was a Canaanite.
And the writer of Hebrews pushes this point by saying…
Hebrews 7:4–10 ESV
4 See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! 5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. 6 But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8 In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
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Here’s the point… Tithes were given to God, through the sons of Levi. But here, Levi is giving a tithe to Melchizedek. A man w/o proper genealogy… a man who was not part of the right family line.
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All of this is being said, to exalt Jesus over the system of the law.
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Hebrews 7:14–16 ESV
14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.
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Not only was Melchizedek a priest and a king… Which was not allowed under the law. Kings who tried to do priestly things ended up with leprosy.
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Melchizedek was also… not of the right family line… - He was a Canaanite… born of the wrong family, and in the wrong time.
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Back to Genesis 14… we have to admit. Melchizedek is a strange anomile.
He’s a Canaanite king… and yet, he was the priest of God Most High. - We could deduce that he was a priest of a Canaanite god that was called ‘most high’… if it wasn’t for the clarification in Hebrews.
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Yes, in a general sense, Melchizedek means… “My King is Righteousness” and this definition is the one that bears weight, because Hebrews 7 affirms it…
But, w/o Heb. 7… we could easily interpret his name to be… My King is Zedek. Zedek was a prominent Canaanite god… and if it wasn’t for the explanation in Hebrews… this would have made the most sense.
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INstead… Melchizedek doesn’t make any sense at all.
He is a priest of God Most High.
This is obviously a reference to Yahweh.
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so obviously… Yahweh is known to at least one more person.
Melchizedek.
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There are theories that Melchizedek is actually Shem. yes, Shem… he was still alive. But there is no evidence.
Some folks have tried to make him out to be Job… but again, there’s no connection.
Some have tried to make him to be a nephalim that didn’t rebel. - Again, no evidence.
He wasn’t a divine being. He was a man.
so, back to our story.
Genesis 14:21–24 ESV
21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.”
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We know… by the judgment that is going to fall on Sodom… that is is a wicked city, and that it’s likely… that this is a wicked king.
Abram is dealing with a man, who has vile character, and the only reason their terms are gracious...
… is because of Lot
… and because Abram got back for him... the things which were lost
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The King of Sodom invites Abram to keep the spoils… - In reality, Abram probably had the right to keep them, and in most cases like this, the spoils of the battle belong to the victor.
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But Abram doesn’t want them.
In fact, he determined not to keep them earlier.
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Abram answers the King of Sodom’s offer, with a confession of commitment and integrity to the LORD.
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I made a deal with God… that I would not accept even the smallest thing from you.
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And then Abram lets this king know, just what he thinks of his character. “If I kept your stuff… you would claim, that you made me rich.”
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This was probably a tense encounter.
Abram went to battle, to save his nephew… not to bring aid to, or be enriched by… a morally corrupt king.
Howevever… he was only speaking for himself…
There were other groups along… and they would be taking their spoils.
end.
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