Genesis 14:12
And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelled in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
14:1-12 The wars of nations make great figure in history, but we should not have had the record of this war if Abram and Lot had not been concerned. Out of covetousness, Lot had settled in fruitful, but wicked Sodom. Its inhabitants were the most ripe for vengeance of all the descendants of Canaan. The invaders were from Chaldea and Persia, then only small kingdoms. They took Lot among the rest, and his goods. Though he was righteous, and Abram's brother's son, yet he was with the rest in this trouble. Neither our own piety, nor our relation to the favourites of Heaven, will be our security when God's judgments are abroad. Many an honest man fares the worse for his wicked neighbours: it is our wisdom to separate, or at least to distinguish ourselves from them, 2Co 6:17. So near a relation of Abram should have been a companion and a disciple of Abram. If he chose to dwell in Sodom, he must thank himself if he share in Sodom's losses. When we go out of the way of our duty, we put ourselves from under God's protection, and cannot expect that the choice made by our lusts, should end to our comfort. They took Lot's goods; it is just with God to deprive us of enjoyments, by which we suffer ourselves to be deprived of the enjoyment of him.The provisions and other movable property of the vanquished are carried away from Sodom and Amorah. For רפשׁ rekush, "goods," the Septuagint has here and in the 21st verse τὴν ἵππσν tēn hippon, "the cavalry." This implies the reading רכב rekeb, which is not supported by other authorities, nor suitable to the context. Among the prisoners is Lot, the son of Abram's brother. This designation prepares us for what is to follow. It is added that he was "dwelling in Sodom," to explain why he was among the captives. "They went away." The invaders were now laden with booty. Their first concern was to transfer this to their native country, and deposit it in a place of safety. It was not prudent to delay while they were encumbered with so much valuable property. The terms on which the conquered tribes were to "serve" them could be settled by negotiation. If these terms were not accepted, they would be quite ready for another predatory incursion.

This great foray is only incidentally introduced into our narrative, on account of the capture of Lot. It was not the first visit probably of these marauders to the same lands. It is interesting to the historian, as a sample of the mode in which conquest was made. It opens up to the view one of the ancient scenes of human activity. It teaches us that the wave of war often flowed over the lands of the ancient world, and left more or less lasting marks of its disturbing power. Tribes were not unfrequently moved from place to place, intermingled with one another, and enslaved by other tribes. The actual state of things in the land of Abram's pilgrimage is suddenly presented to us under a new light. The Rephaim, including the Zuzim and the Emim, occupy the east of the Jordan, and had once a place on the west. The Perizzites also dwell side by side with the Kenaanites in the western district. The Horites are found in Mount Seir. As none of these were Kenaan's descendants, we have the undeniable traces of a Shemitic population before and along with the Kenaanites. The language of Heber, therefore, was in the country before the latter arrived.

12. they took Lot … and his goods, and departed—How would the conscience of that young man now upbraid him for his selfish folly and ingratitude in withdrawing from his kind and pious relative! Whenever we go out of the path of duty, we put ourselves away from God's protection, and cannot expect that the choice we make will be for our lasting good. Lot now suffered for his cohabitation with bad neighbours. And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son,.... The son of Haran, his elder brother, who was now, as the Jews say (x), fifty years of age:

who dwelt in Sodom, or near it, in the country adjacent to it, see Genesis 13:12; and so being a neighbour of the men of Sodom, and a sojourner among them, he partakes of their punishment; and this was a just correction of him for choosing to dwell among such a people: and they took

his goods, and departed; as him and his family, so all his substance, his cattle, wealth, and riches of every sort, and went off with it: Eupolemus (y), an Heathen writer, makes mention of this circumstance in his relation of this war, and says, that the Armenians, as he calls the four kings, baring conquered the Phoenicians, carried away captive the brother's son of Abram.

(x) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 77. 1.((y) Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 17. p. 418.

And they {f} took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

(f) The godly are plagued many times with the wicked: therefore their company is dangerous.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. Lot, Abram’s brother’s son] Notice this minute description of Lot and the mention of his residence in Sodom, as if chap. 13 had not immediately preceded. In Genesis 14:14; Genesis 14:16, Lot is spoken of as Abram’s brother.Verse 12. - And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom. The last view of Lot saw him driving off his flocks and herds from Bethel. It betokens a considerable declension in spiritual life to behold him a citizen of Sodom. And his goods (all the property he had acquired through his selfish choice of the Jordan circle), and departed.

CHAPTER 14:13-16 The occasion of the war was the revolt of the kings of the vale of Siddim from Chedorlaomer. They had been subject to him for twelve years, "and the thirteenth year they rebelled." In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer came with his allies to punish them for their rebellion, and attacked on his way several other cities to the east of the Arabah, as far as the Elanitic Gulf, no doubt because they also had withdrawn from his dominion. The army moved along the great military road from inner Asia, past Damascus, through Peraea, where they smote the Rephaims, Zuzims, Emims, and Horites. "The Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim:" all that is known with certainty of the Rephaim is, that they were a tribe of gigantic stature, and in the time of Abram had spread over the whole of Peraea, and held not only Bashan, but the country afterwards possessed by the Moabites; from which possessions they were subsequently expelled by the descendants of Lot and the Amorites, and so nearly exterminated, that Og, king of Bashan, is described as the remnant of the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 2:20; Deuteronomy 3:11, Deuteronomy 3:13; Joshua 12:4; Joshua 13:12). Beside this, there were Rephaim on this side of the Jordan among the Canaanitish tribes (Genesis 15:20), some to the west of Jerusalem, in the valley which was called after them the valley of the Rephaim (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; 2 Samuel 5:18, etc.), others on the mountains of Ephraim (Joshua 17:15); while the last remains of them were also to be found among the Philistines (2 Samuel 21:16.; 1 Chronicles 20:4.). The current explanation of the name, viz., "the long-stretched," or giants (Ewald), does not prevent our regarding רפא as the personal name of their forefather, though no intimation is given of their origin. That they were not Canaanites may be inferred from the fact, that on the eastern side of the Jordan they were subjugated and exterminated by the Canaanitish branch of the Amorites. Notwithstanding this, they may have been descendants of Ham, though the fact that the Canaanites spoke a Semitic tongue rather favours the conclusion that the oldest population of Canaan, and therefore the Rephaim, were of Semitic descent. At any rate, the opinion of J. G. Mller, that they belonged to the aborigines, who were not related to Shem, Ham, and Japhet, is perfectly arbitrary. - Ashteroth Karnaim, or briefly Ashtaroth, the capital afterwards of Og of Bashan, was situated in Hauran; and ruins of it are said to be still seen in Tell Ashtereh, two hours and a half from Nowah, and one and three-quarters from the ancient Edrei, somewhere between Nowah and Mezareib (see Ritter, Erdkunde).

(Note: J. G. Wetztein, however, has lately denied the identity of Ashteroth Karnaim, which he interprets as meaning Ashtaroth near Karnaim, with Ashtaroth the capital of Og (see Reiseber. b. Hauran, etc. 1860, p. 107). But he does so without sufficient reason. He disputes most strongly the fact that Ashtaroth was situated on the hill Ashtere, because the Arabs now in Hauran assured him, that the ruins of this Tell (or hill) suggested rather a monastery or watch-tower than a large city, and associates it with the Bostra of the Greeks and Romans, the modern Bozra, partly on account of the central situation of this town, and its consequent importance to Hauran and Peraea generally, and partly also on account of the similarity in the name, as Bostra is the latinized form of Beeshterah, which we find in Joshua 21:27 in the place of the Ashtaroth of 1 Chronicles 6:56; and that form is composed of Beth Ashtaroth, to which there are as many analogies as there are instances of the omission of Beth before the names of towns, which is a sufficient explanation of Ashtaroth (cf. Ges. thes., p. 175 and 193).)

"The Zuzims in Ham" were probably the people whom the Ammonites called Zam zummim, and who were also reckoned among the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 2:20). Ham was possibly the ancient name of Rabba of the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 3:11), the remains being still preserved in the ruins of Ammn. - "The Emim in the plain of Kiryathaim:" the אימים or אמים (i.e., fearful, terrible), were the earlier inhabitants of the country of the Moabites, who gave them the name; and, like the Anakim, they were also reckoned among the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 2:11). Kiryathaim is certainly not to be found where Eusebius and Jerome supposed, viz., in Καριάδα, Coraiatha, the modern Koerriath or Kereyat, ten miles to the west of Medabah; for this is not situated in the plain, and corresponds to Kerioth (Jeremiah 48:24), with which Eusebius and Jerome have confounded Kiryathaim. It is probably still to be seen in the ruins of el Teym or et Tueme, about a mile to the west of Medabah. "The Horites (from חרי, dwellers in caves), in the mountains of Seir," were the earlier inhabitants of the land between the Dead Sea and the Elanitic Gulf, who were conquered and exterminated by the Edomites (Genesis 36:20.). - "To El-paran, which is by the wilderness:" i.e., on the eastern side of the desert of Paran (see Genesis 21:21), probably the same as Elath (Deuteronomy 2:8) or Eloth (1 Kings 9:26), the important harbour of Aila on the northern extremity of the so-called Elanitic Gulf, near the modern fortress of Akaba, where extensive heaps of rubbish show the site of the former town, which received its name El or Elath (terebinth, or rather wood) probably from the palm-groves in the vicinity.

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