Sunday, February 1, 2015

Genesis 14:13-16 You Just Don't Mess With The Big Dog On The Block!

And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.

First of all, Abram means Glorious Father and even though he has not been renamed by God as Abraham, which means Father of Many, Abram was indeed, at the present time, the Father or leader of a very large family.

He was widely known as a Hebrew, which means, One from Beyond. He dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which means, Place of Fatness, Abundance or, most importantly, Strength.

Surviving the previous battle, came an Amorite to Abram. Amorites were the people of east Canaan and beyond the Jordan. He was a brother of Eshcol, a leader of the people around Hebron, and  brother of Aner, the chief of the Amorites. Both the Amorites and the people around Hebron were in allegiance with Abraham. They had a treaty that held each other responsible for the protection of each other.

Let's now take a step back and see what Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations has step into. Even though they had been taxing or extorting Sodom and the surrounding area for years, they failed to see that if they got into a fight with them, they would be taking on the whole surrounding region, including the one that is blessed by the Most High God, Yahweh. Ooops!

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

What is not widely known, is the fact that, that since he left the Ur of the Chaldees, Abram's family had grown into a pretty large contingent, especially since he could easily muster up 318 trained servants. Notice that Abram and his army pursued the enemy, not his neighbors.

Another thing strikes me as I read this. Abram had an armory where he stored and easily access enough weapons to arm his people. At least I was always under the illusion that Abram and his family was a small wandering group of people just trying to survive. In fact, Abram's family was indeed very large. Some estimates are around 1000 to 5000 people at this time. Most military experts state that a standing army of .1% of the population is needed for national security. This would put Abram's family at approximately 3180 people.

They pursued the invading army that took Lot, Abram's nephew, to Dan. The problem with this is the fact that a city, named Dan, did not exist at this time. Dan is the contemporary name for the ancient city of Laish. Dan appearing here in Genesis 14 have prompted some scholars to question the authorship of Genesis. However, Y'shua validated Moses as the author of Genesis many places in the B'rit Hadashah, the New Covenant or New Testament. Most likely the reason Dan appears here is that there was a scribe attempting to to make the passage more clear because Laish was not known to his contemporary readers of the Torah.

And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.

I love this. Not only did Abram have an good sized army, they were quite versed in strategic warfare with a hint of gorilla warfare.  He divided his army and attacked the enemy from two fronts, at night, without night vision equipment. Talk about training. No run of the mill, ragtag, assembly of servants could do this efficiently.

They attacked them at Dan, Laish. The enemy attempted to retreat towards Damacus and Abram and pursued them to Hobah, just east of Damascus and dealt them a significant blow. Either Abram's army killed them all or delivered a major heavy blow because they never came back. Locations of this battle can be seen in the maps below. The first map shows the cities involved in this battle. The second is a local topological map of Dan, Hobah and Damascus.

And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Abram got back everything that was important. Nothing was lost in the battle. That's how   G-d works. Even though we have scars from our daily battles, nothing important is lost.