A Daily Genesis

Genesis 14:4b-13b

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 14:4b . . and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.[/B]

El Ched wouldn't get wind of that right away of course. There was no email, no radio, no sat-com, no land line, no snail mail, no cells, nor television, nor telegraph, nor aircraft, nor motorized conveyances in that day so it would take some time for an overland caravan to return and tell him how the federation of five towns in the Valley refused to cough up their payments.

Meanwhile the local sheiks had some time to prepare themselves for attack while The Ched organized an expeditionary force.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 14:5-7 . . In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim at Ham, the Emim at Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness.

. . . On their way back they came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and subdued all the territory of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazazon-tamar.[/B]

Ched took no chances that any nearby clans would come to the aid of the Valley people. So before launching his attack against the Federation, he first subdued everyone in the region roundabout who might be sympathetic to their cause. The Ched was a very shrewd commander.

Dr[B].[/B]Nelson Glueck, a leading Palestine archaeologist, has this to say about El Ched's conquest:

"A punitive expedition developed into an orgy of annihilation. I found that every village in their path had been plundered and left in ruins, and the countryside laid waste. The population had been wiped out or led away into captivity. For hundreds of years thereafter, the entire area was like an abandoned cemetery, hideously unkempt, with all its monuments shattered and strewn in pieces on the ground."

The invasion first crushed all the sheiks north, east, and then west of the Dead Sea before it reached the communities of Siddim, against whom the invasion had been mounted in the first place. The purpose was no doubt to eliminate the possibility of an attack from the rear while Ched was occupied fighting the Federation.

Dr.Glueck identifies Ashtaroth Karnaim, where The Ched encountered the Rephaim, as two adjacent cities in southern Syria, Tell Ashtarah and Sheikh Sa'ad, which was called Carnaim in New Testament times. The name Ashtarah comes from the name of the Greek moon goddess Astarte , equivalent to the Babylonian god Ishtar and the Canaanite goddess of sensual love Ashtaroth, whose worship was one of the sources of gross immorality among the Canaanites.

After defeating the Rephaim, Ched smashed the Horites in Mount Seir-- a mountainous region somewhat to the southeast of the Dead Sea --Esau's future turf. Then he went to El-Paran, in the southern wilderness, and then returned to Kadesh, on the western side of the Dead Sea where he crushed the people in a region that would later belong to the Amelekites. He also defeated a contingent of the Amorites, who were very probably the dominant tribe in Canaan at that time.

Some identify Hazazon-tamar as En-Gedi. If this identification is correct, then Hazazon may be Wady Husasah, northwest of 'Ain Jidy.

Another suggestion, which certainly seems very likely true, is that Hazazon-tamar is the Thamara of Eusebius, Onomasticon (85:3; 210:86), the Thamaro, of Ptol. xvi. 3. The ruin Kurnub, 20 miles west-southwest of the south end of the Dead Sea-- on the road from Hebron to Elath-- is supposed to mark this site. My maps aren't too detailed in that area but Karnub seems to be in a region triangulated by Dimona, Arad, and Be'er Sheva.

Anyway, after thus neutralizing all who might stand in his way, Ched's confederated army then turned its full attention to the five communities in the Plain. And woe and behold, Abram's nephew Lot was right smack in the middle of it all.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 14:8-9 . .Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar, went forth and engaged them in battle in the Valley of Siddim: King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar-- four kings against those five.[/B]

That was probably a wise move. If each town had remained behind its own walls, defending against El Ched individually on its own, he could have conquered them very easily one at a time. By combining their forces, and meeting him in the open, they stood a much better chance. But valley dwellers were no match for a seasoned expeditionary force. The men from Babylonia were battle-honed veterans.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 14:10 . .The Valley of Siddim was full of slime pits. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled and fell into them while the rest fled to a mountain.[/B]

The Hebrew word for "slime pits" is [I]be'er[/I] (be-ayr') which is everywhere but maybe three places translated "well" as in water wells and/or cisterns. Some Bible's translate it "bitumen pit" but bitumen and slime are editorial insertions. The pits apparently were natural features in the valley; viz: random sink holes, pools, and/or quick sands by which livestock was at risk. (cf. Matt 12:11)

[B][SIZE=1]NOTE[/SIZE]:[/B] The level of the Dead Sea dropped a record five feet in 2012; and in the years between 1939 and 1999 it dropped eighty feet. The Sea's shrinkage has been a major problem for decades, with it's shoreline retreating as much as a mile in some spots. The process destabilizes the ground surrounding it, causing massive sink holes that have actually devoured whole villages.

The Hebrew word for "fell" is very ambiguous and could just as easily be translated "got down". Compare Gen 17:3 where Abraham fell on his face. In other words: the chieftains of Sodom and Gomorrah jumped down into some of those naturally-occurring pits like Army fox holes for cover and concealment.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 14:11-12 . . The invaders seized all the wealth of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, and his possessions, and departed; for he had settled in Sodom.[/B]

Talk about riches to rags! Lot went from a prosperous cattle baron to a slave in sixty minutes (so to speak).

The word for "provisions" is [I]'okel[/I] (o'-kel) which means: food. Victuals were an important spoil of war in those days when supply lines were totally nonexistent. There were no heavy-drops from cargo planes, nor helicopters to ferry in MRE's, medicine, FNG's, ammo, potable water, and things of that nature. When El Ched's army needed re-supply, they had to take it from their vanquished-- ergo: they were highly motivated; because if they wanted to eat, then they had to fight; and they had to win.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 14:13a . . A refugee brought the news to Abram[/B]

It was a trek from Sodom to Abram's camp. He was clear up in Mamre; and a goodly portion of it uphill-- very uphill. At any rate, news of Sodom's overthrow meant that Lot was captured; or maybe even dead. One way or the other, Abram had to find out if his nephew was still alive-- kind of like John Wayne looking for his two nieces in The Searchers.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 14:13b . . the Hebrew,[/B]

This is very first appearance of the word "Hebrew", which is [I]'Ibriy[/I] (ib-ree') and means: an Eberite; viz: a descendant of Eber. It can also mean "the other side" which implies that Abram may have been known as one who came from the other side of the Euphrates river-- sort of like Mexican, Central, and South American immigrants who cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas. But more likely he was called Eberite because of his family's lineage. Eber was first mentioned back in Gen 10:21.

[B][SIZE=1]NOTE[/SIZE]:[/B] Hebrews weren't Jews in Abram's day; no they were Gentiles. It was Abram's eventual progeny who became Jews-- specifically people genetically and/or religiously associated with Judah: Jacob's fourth son: patriarch of the Messianic tribe (Gen 49:8-12, Heb 7:14).

The word for "Jew" is [I]Yehuwdiy[/I] (yeh-hoo-dee') which means Judah-ite; and doesn't appear in the Bible until 2Kgs 16:6; many, many years after the Exodus.

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