Genesis 14:22
And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
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Genesis 14:22-23. Here observe, 1st, Abram gives to God the same titles that Melchizedek had just now used. It is good to learn of others how to order our speech concerning God, and to imitate those who speak well in divine things. 2d, The ceremony used in this oath; I have lift up my hand — In religious swearing, we appeal to God’s knowledge of our truth and sincerity, and imprecate his wrath if we swear falsely; and the “lifting up of the hands” is expressive of both. Lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich — Probably, Abram knew the king of Sodom to be a proud and scornful man, and one that would be apt to turn such a thing as this to his reproach afterward; and when we have to do with such men, we have need to act with particular caution. From a thread to a shoe-latchet — Not the least thing that had ever belonged to the king of Sodom.

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.I have lifted up my hand. - This is a serious matter with Abram. Either before, or then and there, he made an oath or solemn asseveration before God, with uplifted hand, that he would not touch the property of Sodom. He must have felt that there was danger of moral contamination in coming into any political relationship with the cities of the vale. "The Lord, the Most High God, the Founder of heaven and earth." In this conjunction of names Abram solemnly and expressly identifies the God of himself and of Melkizedec in the presence of the king of Sodom. The Most High God of Melkizedec is the God of the first chapter of Genesis, and the Yahweh of Adam, Noah, and Abram.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]. This was the ancient manner of swearing. See Exodus 6:8 Numbers 14:30 Deu 32:40 Ezekiel 20:5,6.

And Abram said to the king of Sodom,.... In reply to his request:

I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord; which was both a gesture of praying and of swearing, and both may be intended here; when he set out on his expedition, it is very probable he prayed to God for success, and swore that if he prospered him, that he would receive no profit or advantage from it to himself; or now in the presence of Melchizedek he lift up his hands and swore that he would take none of the goods he had recovered to his own line; and in this form of praying or swearing, he makes use of the same epithets of God Melchizedek had just used:

the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth: having his heart struck with those just and glorious representations of God, and awed with a sense of such a glorious Being, and being forward to learn and retain everything that tended to make for the glory of God.

And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
22. I have lift up mine hand] i.e. I have sworn, taken an oath with a gesture, symbolizing the appeal to God. Cf. Deuteronomy 32:40; Daniel 12:7.

the Lord, God Most High] i.e. Jehovah El Elyon. The LXX and Syriac Peshitto omit “Jehovah.” The Sam. reads ha-Elohim for “Jehovah.” Abram takes his oath in the name of the God of Melchizedek whom a later scribe probably identified with Jehovah.

Verse 22. - And Abram said unto the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand - a common form of swearing (Deuteronomy 32:40; Ezekiel 20:5, 6; Daniel 12:7; Revelation 10:5, 6; cf. Virg., 'AEn.,' 12:195) - unto the Lord (Jehovah; which, occurring in the present document, proves the antiquity of its use as a designation of the Deity), the most high God, - El-Elion; thus identifying Jehovah with the God of Melchisedeck, and perhaps of the king of Sodom (vide supra) - the possessor of heaven and earth. Genesis 14:22As Abram returned with the booty which he had taken from the enemy, the king of Sodom (of course, the successor to the one who fell in the battle) and Melchizedek, king of Salem, came to meet him to congratulate him on his victory; the former probably also with the intention of asking for the prisoners who had been rescued. They met him in "the valley of Shaveh, which is (what was afterwards called) the King's dale." This valley, in which Absalom erected a monument for himself (2 Samuel 18:18), was, according to Josephus, two stadia from Jerusalem, probably by the brook Kidron therefore, although Absalom's pillar, which tradition places there, was of the Grecian style rather than the early Hebrew. The name King's dale was given to it undoubtedly with reference to the event referred to here, which points to the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. For the Salem of Melchizedek cannot have been the Salem near to which John baptized (John 3:23), or Aenon, which was eight Roman miles south of Scythopolis, as a march of about forty hours for the purpose of meeting Abraham, if not romantic, would, at least be at variance with the text of Scripture, where the kings are said to have gone out to Abram after his return. It must be Jerusalem, therefore, which is called by the old name Salem in Psalm 76:2, out of which the name Jerusalem (founding of peace, or possession of peace) was formed by the addition of the prefix ירוּ equals ירוּי "founding," or ירוּשׁ "possession." Melchizedek brings bread and wine from Salem "to supply the exhausted warriors with food and drink, but more especially as a mark of gratitude to Abram, who had conquered for them peace, freedom, and prosperity" (Delitzsch). This gratitude he expresses, as a priest of the supreme God, in the words, "Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, the founder of heaven and earth; and blessed be God, the Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand." The form of the blessing is poetical, two parallel members with words peculiar to poetry, צריך for איביך, and מגּן. - עליון אל without the article is a proper name for the supreme God, the God over all (cf. Exodus 18:11), who is pointed out as the only true God by the additional clause, "founder of the heaven and the earth." On the construction of בּרוּך with ל, vid., Genesis 31:15; Exodus 12:16, and Ges. 143, 2. קנה, founder and possessor: קנה combines the meanings of κτίζειν and κτᾶσθαι. This priestly reception Abram reciprocated by giving him the tenth of all, i.e., of the whole of the booty taken from the enemy. Giving the tenth was a practical acknowledgment of the divine priesthood of Melchizedek; for the tenth was, according to the general custom, the offering presented to the Deity. Abram also acknowledged the God of Melchizedek as the true God; for when the king of Sodom asked for his people only, and would have left the rest of the booty to Abram, he lifted up his hand as a solemn oath "to Jehovah, the Most High God, the founder of heaven and earth," - acknowledging himself as the servant of this God by calling Him by the name Jehovah, - and swore that he would not take "from a thread to a shoe-string," i.e., the smallest or most worthless thing belonging to the king of Sodom, that he might not be able to say, he had made Abram rich. אם, as the sign of an oath, is negative, and in an earnest address is repeated before the verb. "Except (בּלעדי, lit., not to me, nothing for me) only what the young men (Abram's men) have eaten, and the portion of my allies...let them take their portion:" i.e., his followers should receive what had been consumed as their share, and the allies should have the remainder of the booty.

Of the property belonging to the king of Sodom, which he had taken from the enemy, Abram would not keep the smallest part, because he would not have anything in common with Sodom. On the other hand, he accepted from Salem's priest and king, Melchizedek, not only bread and wine for the invigoration of the exhausted warriors, but a priestly blessing also, and gave him in return the tenth of all his booty, as a sign that he acknowledged this king as a priest of the living God, and submitted to his royal priesthood. In this self-subordination of Abram to Melchizedek there was the practical prediction of a royal priesthood which is higher than the priesthood entrusted to Abram's descendants, the sons of Levi, and foreshadowed in the noble form of Melchizedek, who blessed as king and priest the patriarch whom God had called to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. The name of this royal priest is full of meaning: Melchizedek, i.e., King of Righteousness. Even though, judging from Joshua 10:1, Joshua 10:3, where a much later king is called Adonizedek, i.e., Lord of Righteousness, this name may have been a standing title of the ancient kings of Salem, it no doubt originated with a king who ruled his people in righteousness, and was perfectly appropriate in the case of the Melchizedek mentioned here. There is no less significance in the name of the seat of his government, Salem, the peaceful or peace, since it shows that the capital of its kings was a citadel of peace, not only as a natural stronghold, but through the righteousness of its sovereign; for which reason David chose it as the seat of royalty in Israel; and Moriah, which formed part of it, was pointed out to Abraham by Jehovah as the place of sacrifice for the kingdom of God which was afterwards to be established. And, lastly, there was something very significant in the appearance in the midst of the degenerate tribes of Canaan of this king of righteousness, and priest of the true God of heaven and earth, without any account of his descent, or of the beginning and end of his life; so that he stands forth in the Scriptures, "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life." Although it by no means follows from this, however, that Melchizedek was a celestial being (the Logos, or an angel), or one of the primeval patriarchs (Enoch or Shem), as Church fathers, Rabbins, and others have conjectured, and we can see in him nothing more than one, perhaps the last, of the witnesses and confessors of the early revelation of God, coming out into the light of history from the dark night of heathenism; yet this appearance does point to a priesthood of universal significance, and to a higher order of things, which existed at the commencement of the world, and is one day to be restored again. In all these respects, the noble form of this king of Salem and priest of the Most High God was a type of the God-King and eternal High Priest Jesus Christ; a thought which is expanded in Hebrews 7 on the basis of this account, and of the divine utterance revealed to David in the Spirit, that the King of Zion sitting at the right hand of Jehovah should be a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4).

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