|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:21-24 Observe the king of Sodom's grateful offer to Abram, Give me the souls, and take thou the substance. Gratitude teaches us to recompense to the utmost of our power, those that have undergone fatigues, run hazards, and been at expense for our service and benefit. Abram generously refused this offer. He accompanies his refusal with a good reason, Lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: which would reflect upon the promise promise and covenant of God, as if He would not have enriched Abraham without the spoils of Sodom. The people of God must, for their credit's sake, take heed of doing any thing that looks mean or mercenary, or that savors of covetousness and self-seeking. Abraham can trust the Possessor of Heaven and earth to provide for him.
Verse 21. - And the king of Sodom (who, though first coming, appears to have retired in favor of the greater personage, Melchisedeck, and to have witnessed the interview between him and Abram, but who now, on its termination, advances - said unto Abram, - perhaps anticipating that like donations from the spoils might be made to him as to Melchisedeck, in which case he evinced a remarkable degree of generosity - Give me the persons - literally, the souls, i.e. those of my people whom you have recovered (cf. Genesis 12:5, in which the term is employed to describe domestic slaves) - and take the goods to thyself (which, Michaelis observes, he was justly entitled to do by right of conquest).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the king of Sodom said unto Abram,.... After the conversation between him and Melchizedek was over:
give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself; meaning by "persons" or "souls", as in the original, his own subjects that had been taken and carried away by the four kings, and were now brought back by Abram; and by "the goods", those of his own and his subjects, which their conquerors had spoiled them of, but were now recovered, and which he was very willing Abram should have as his right, according to the laws of war, and as a reward of his labours; and very modestly asks for the other, which he did not deny but he might claim as the fruits of his victory: and this also shows, that the king of Sodom, though a Heathen prince, and perhaps a wicked man, yet had more regard to the persons of his subjects than to his own or their goods: the word for "goods" includes all the substance and possession of a man, gold, silver, cattle, and all movables (w).
(w) R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 21. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. the king of Sodom said … Give me the persons—According to the war customs still existing among the Arab tribes, Abram might have retained the recovered goods, and his right was acknowledged by the king of Sodom. But with honest pride, and a generosity unknown in that part of the world, he replied with strong phraseology common to the East, "I have lifted up mine hand" [that is, I have sworn] unto the Lord that I will not take from a thread even to a sandal-thong, and that that I will not take any thing that [is] thine, lest thou shouldst say, I have made Abram rich" [Ge 14:22, 23].
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