When Abram Heard Lot Had Been Taken Captive, He Went in Pursuit as far as Dan

14: 13-16

DIG: In what way was Abram prepared? How were the women and the other people of the cities who had become prisoners of war given grace? The comparison of ADONAI to a warrior is one of the oldest in the Bible (Exodus 15 and Judges 5). How do you feel about that? Does it make you uncomfortable? Does it excite you? Why?

REFLECT: From what mess would you like to be rescued? What does Abram’s rescue of Lot teach us about forgiveness? How is a tender warrior every man’s purpose? Every woman’s dream? And every child’s hope? When has the LORD protected you?

The man of peace became the man of war to rescue Lot. One who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew (14:13a). For the first time, Abram is referred to as a Hebrew. This term will be used 33 times in the TaNaKh and means one who has crossed over (31:21). Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshcol and Aner, all of whom were local alliances with Abram (14:13b). When the kings of the east left the area of Sodom and Gomorrah with their captives, they moved north along the west bank of the Dead Sea, which was not too far from Hebron and Mamre where Abram was living. You can stand where Abram stood in that day and see any movement that takes place down south toward the Dead Sea.251

One who had escaped the armies of Kedorlaomer came and told Abram what had happened. When Abram heard that his relative, Lot, had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and evidently some Amorites (14:24). The rabbis teach it was Abram’s chief servant, Eliezer of Damascus, alone in view here because the numerical values of the letters of his name when added together total 318! There was no hesitation or root of bitterness on Abram’s part. He could have said, “It serves him right.” But he didn’t. This also shows how large his household was because the 318 trained men were only the ones of fighting age. This does not count the other men, the women or the children. They went in pursuit as far as the city of Dan (14:14). At that point in Jewish history there was no city of Dan, but the point is they went to what would later become Dan, which is the northern most territory of the nation of Isra'el. That is quite a long way. The rabbis teach that when Abram reached Dan his strength failed, because he prophetically foresaw that his descendants would set up an idolatrous golden calf as an idol there (First Kings 12:29).

Even though Abram had 318 trained men, they were certainly no match for Kedorlaomer’s invading armies. But ADONAI was with Abram just as He was with Gideon (Judges 7:1-25). Quite probably, the returning armies were relaxing and enjoying the spoils of war, and the idea of a sudden nighttime attack at night was absolutely the remotest thought from their minds at the time.252 But during the night Abram divided his men to attack them. They soon became confused and demoralized. And he routed them, pushing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus (14:15). There is no such place as Hobah. It refers to Dan, called Hobah that means guilt, because of the idolatrous worship of the gold calf that began there. This is the only place in the Bible that Abram is seen as a warrior. He was a warrior when he had to be, but he was a tender warrior. In the spring of AD 54 Rabbi Sha'ul would write the church at Corinth and remind them of this concept of being a tender warrior when he said: Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love (First Corinthians 16:13-14 New American Standard Bible).

Jesus is a tender warrior (Numbers 21:14; and also see my commentary on Isaiah Hq – Sing to the LORD a New Song, His Praise from the Ends of the Earth). Joshua was getting ready to attack the city of Jericho when he saw a theophany, or a pre-incarnate appearance, of Yeshua Messiah. Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or our enemies?” “Neither,” He replied but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The Second Person of the Trinity, or the Commander of the LORD’s army replied. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so (Joshua 5:13-15). A warrior is one who possesses high moral standards, and holds to high principles. He is willing to live by them, stand for them spend himself in them, and if necessary die for them. No warrior ever made that more obvious than Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Prince of Peace (see my commentary on Isaiah Cn – He Will Be Called Wonderful Counselor) who will establish that peace riding a great white horse as the Head of the angelic armies of heaven (Revelation 19:11-16).253

Therefore, the heart of a warrior is a protective heart. The warrior shields, defends, stands between, and guards. So after Abram recovered all the goods, he brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people of the cities who had become prisoners of war (14:16). As a result, Abram and his fighting men liberated Lot. Unfortunately, Lot and the other people went right back to Sodom! They would not respond spiritually to ADONAI and turn away from their sins. They all knew about the LORD and even Melchizedek king of Salem, and they received grace for a time. But all these people would die in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah except for Lot and his two daughters (19:23-29).


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