Genesis 14:17
And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) The slaughter.—Heb., the smiting, that is, the defeat of Chedorlaomer.

The valley of Shaven.—That is, the valley of the plain (see on Genesis 14:5). It was the place where Absalom erected his pillar (2Samuel 18:18), and lay on the northern side of Jerusalem, probably where the Kedron valley widens out. Its other name, “the king’s dale,” may have been given it from this meeting of the kings of Salem and Sodom with the victorious Abram; but Onkelos, with far greater probability, considers that it was so called because upon this level ground the kings of Judah in subsequent times assembled and exercised their forces.

14:17-20 Melchizedek is spoken of as a king of Salem, supposed to be the place afterwards called Jerusalem, and it is generally thought that he was only a man. The words of the apostle, Heb 7:3, state only, that the sacred history has said nothing of his ancestors. The silence of the Scriptures on this, is to raise our thoughts to Him, whose generation cannot be declared. Bread and wine were suitable refreshment for the weary followers of Abram; and it is remarkable that Christ appointed the same as the memorials of his body and blood, which are meat and drink indeed to the soul. Melchizedek blessed Abram from God. He blessed God from Abram. We ought to give thanks for other's mercies as for our own. Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, is the Mediator both of our prayers and praises, and not only offers up ours, but his own for us. Abram gave him the tenth of the spoils, Heb 7:4. When we have received some great mercy from God, it is very fit we should express our thankfulness by some special act of pious charity. Jesus Christ, our great Melchisedek, is to have homage done him, and to be humbly acknowledged as our King and Priest; not only the tithe of all, but all we have, must be given up to him.Abram and his confederates found the enemy secure and at their ease, not expecting pursuit. They attack them on two quarters; Abram, probably, on the one, and his allies on the other; by night, defeat and pursue them unto Hobah. "On the left hand of Damascus." Hobah was on the north of Damascus. An Eastern, in fixing the points of the heavens, faces the rising sun, in which position the east is before him, the west behind, the south at the right hand, and the north at the left. Hobah is referred by the Jews to Jobar, a place northeast of Damascus. J. L. Porter suggests a place due north, called Burzeh, where there is a Muslim wely or saint's tomb, called Makam Ibrahim, the sanctuary of Abraham (Handbook, p. 492). This route, by the north of Damascus, illustrates the necessity of advancing far north to get round the desert intervening between Shinar and the cities of the plain.

Damascus, Dimishk, esh-Sham, is a very ancient city of Aram. The choice of the site was probably determined by the Abana (Barada) and Pharpar (Awaj), flowing, the one from Anti-Libanus, and the other from Mount Hermon, and fertilizing a circuit of thirty miles. Within this area arose a city which, amidst all the changes of dynasty that have come over it, has maintained its prosperity to the present day, when it has one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants. It was originally occupied by the descendants of Aram, and may have been built, as Josephus informs us, by Uz his son.

Abram, with his allies, succeeded in defeating the enemy and recovering the property, with the prisoners, male and female, that had been carried away, and, among the rest, Lot, the object of his generous and gallant adventure.

Verse 7-24

Abram's reception on his return. "The king of Sodom." This is either Bera, if he survived the defeat, or, if not, his successor. "The dale of Shaveh, which is the King's dale." The word עמק ‛ēmeq is rendered here uniformly by the familiar term "dale." The dale of Shaveh is here explained by the "King's dale." This phrase occurs at a period long subsequent as the name of the valley in which Absalom reared his pillar 2 Samuel 18:18. There is nothing to hinder the identity of the place, which must, according to the latter passage, have been not far from Jerusalem. Josephus makes the distance two stadia, which accords with the situation of Absalom's tomb, though the building now so-called, in the valley of Jehoshaphat, seems to be of later origin. The identity of the King's dale with the valley cast of Jerusalem, through which the Kedron flows, corresponds very well with the present passage.

15, 16. he divided himself … by night—This war between the petty princes of ancient Canaan is exactly the same as the frays and skirmishes between Arab chiefs in the present day. When a defeated party resolves to pursue the enemy, they wait till they are fast asleep; then, as they have no idea of posting sentinels, they rush upon them from different directions, strike down the tent poles—if there is any fight at all, it is the fray of a tumultuous mob—a panic commonly ensues, and the whole contest is ended with little or no loss on either side. So called either upon this occasion of the meeting of divers kings here; or because king Melchizedek either had his habitation, or was much delighted with it, and conversant in it. See 2 Samuel 18:18. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him,.... While Abram was in pursuit of the four kings, the king of Sodom came down from the mountain whither he and those that escaped with him fled, and came to Sodom: and from hence he went out, not alone, but accompanied with his retinue, to meet Abram:

after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him; to congratulate him upon the victory he had obtained over them; and this meeting was

at the valley of Shaveh; a most plain and even valley, as the word signifies, clear of trees and everything that obstructs sight or passage, as Jarchi observes, and so a proper place to have an interview in:

which is the king's dale; some say King Melchizedek's, but one should rather think it was the king of Sodom's; the Targum of Jonathan calls it the place of the king's exercise, where he had his diversions in riding, walking, &c. it can hardly be that in 2 Samuel 18:18; though some are of this opinion, being near to Jerusalem, which they suppose to be the same with Salem in Genesis 14:18.

And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. the king of Sodom] See note on Genesis 14:10. The writer evidently assumes that this is the same king who had fallen in “the slime pits”; for only the king who had lost property and wealth, but saved his life, could suggest to Abram that the latter should keep the booty.

from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer] Lit. “from the smiting of.” We need not suppose that Chedorlaomer and his vassal kings were personally involved in the overthrow.

the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King’s Vale)] “The King’s Vale” is mentioned in 2 Samuel 18:18 as the site of the monument raised by Absalom, and was supposed in the days of Josephus to be two “stadia” from Jerusalem (Ant. vii. 10, 3). The word Shaveh means “a plain,” cf. Genesis 14:5.

The meeting of the king of Sodom with Abram is here strangely interrupted by the story of the appearance of Melchizedek, and is resumed at Genesis 14:21.Verse 17. - And the king of Sodom - Bera, or his successor (vide Ver. 10) - went out to meet him (i.e. Abram) after his return from the slaughter (perhaps too forcible an expression for mere defeat) of Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him (the entire clause from "after" is parenthetical), at the valley of Shaveh. A valley about two stadia north of Jerusalem (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 8:10), supposed to be the valley of the Upper Kedron, where Absalom s pillar was after. wards erected (2 Samuel 18:10); which may be correct if the Salem afterwards mentioned was Jerusalem (vide infra); but if it was not, then the exact site of Shaveh must be left undetermined. Which is the king's dale. Or valley (emek); so styled because suitable for kingly sports or military exercises (Onkelos); because of its beauty (Poole); because Melchisedeck had his camp and palace there (Malvenda); or most likely because of the interview between him and Abram which there occurred (Keil, Lange), with which agrees the rendering τὸ πεδίον τῶν βασιλέων, (LXX.). After conquering all these tribes to the east and west of the Arabah, they gave battle to the kings of the Pentapolis in the vale of Siddim, and put them to flight. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell there, the valley being full of asphalt-pits, and the ground therefore unfavourable for flight; but the others escaped to the mountains (הרה for ההרה), that is, to the Moabitish highlands with their numerous defiles. The conquerors thereupon plundered the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and carried off Lot, who dwelt in Sodom, and all his possessions, along with the rest of the captives, probably taking the route through the valley of the Jordan up to Damascus.
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