Genesis 16: Hagar and Ishmael

Earnest Examination

This series is presented as an honest, sincere look into the study of the Bible with my own personal theories, opinions, comments and that of others’ insights and research into what the verses could mean. I cannot claim one way or another that everything that I am stating is fact and the true meaning of what is meant in these verses.

To lay it out in a way that I can manage, I have highlighted the texts of verses that I either don’t understand or have a comment or question about in yellow. And the comments I’ve left beneath it will be of a smaller font and using brown text.

I would love it if you’d join me in this journey and if you have any insights and/or knowledge of these chapters/verses etc., please feel free to share with me and the other readers. Any chance to get a clearer understanding of the Bible and Jesus Christ would be welcomed with open arms.

Version used is from (KJV) Genesis 16

1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

It’s interesting how even though Abram trusted in the Lord that he will have descendants that come from his own body, it did not occur to him that it would come from his own wife, Sarai. Instead, because Sarai thought that she could not bear children, then his descendants would have to come from someone else. Thereby offering up her handmaid so that her husband could have children through his bloodline. Was this planned by God all along? If God is omnipresent and omniscient, then He would already know that this is how the story is going to play out.
3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
I do want to make another point here, about who many believe wrote Genesis to begin with. Of course this question brings up many debates, but the person most referenced as having written Genesis is Moses. Whether that be from word of mouth and passed down traditions and tales, or whether perhaps he had the testimony dictated to him by an angel of the Lord, or the Lord Himself, it is interesting that a lot of these passed down tales give us an inner look into the emotions and feelings of others. Was there written dictation that Hagar began to hate her mistress? Was there proof of some sort that there was animosity brewing between the two because Hagar felt herself better than Sarai because she can conceive and Sarai couldn’t? And this brings into question how these texts could have been written with the knowledge of what people were feeling and thinking. Yes, God would be able to know how everyone’s feeling, so could it be possible that whoever did write Genesis gets insights into everyone’s thoughts and feelings? And if certain chapters were dictated, how can we be, FOR SURE, that the dictation came from an angel of the Lord, or the Lord Himself? Or even if they came from visions or dreams? How can we be sure that these visions/dreams/etc. were not misconstrued?
I also want to bring up the emotion of Hagar herself for her thoughts of pride for being able to conceive and thinking herself better than someone else because of this. I don’t want to judge this characteristic, because I don’t know what’s going on in her mind/thoughts, but thought it was an interesting perspective. Of course this particular version of the text does not reference Hagar’s complete feelings to Sarai like others do, like the NIV for instance. The NIV gives a little more context to this relationship.

5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
Here is another reference to Sarai and Hagar’s relationship, which was never brought up before Hagar became pregnant with Abram’s child. And another wrongdoing, even though it was Sarai’s idea to have Hagar become Abram’s wife as well specifically to have children through her. I also want to make note that at this point, it doesn’t seem as if the Lord has given any instruction as to how to live one’s life. The 10 commandments were not created yet, and the word Love has not even been mentioned yet other than in reference to procreation as can be seen in NIV Genesis 4. In fact, it won’t be mentioned for a few more chapters, and even in that context, as we will see, I have issues with.
So at this point in the Bible, it would appear that people have no way of knowing how to treat each other. We can see such disrespect coming from Hagar to Sarai, and Sarai to Hagar, with not a mention of compassion or kindness. In fact, the last few chapters dealt with gain as far as land and wealth and bloodlines. It’s fascinating that Love has not even been a component yet. Even at the creation of Adam and Eve and the love of a husband and wife, or the love for their children.

7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

The phrase “the angel of the Lord” grabs my attention and to me, implies that this angel is special in some way. Why “THE” angel? Not “an” angel? Why is there this implication that it is not just a “random” angel of the Lord that came to Hagar, but the angel of the Lord? What does this mean? Does this angel have some sort of significance? There are indications of heirarchies within the angelic/heavenly realm, so does this angel hold a particular importance or certain leadership quality that others angels wouldn’t?
9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
This gives me an even deeper impression that this angel, for some reason, holds more weight than the others. Why would this angel specifically say, “I will multiply thy seed”? Wouldn’t that be something that the Lord would say? If the angel is speaking for the Lord, then the wording, I would think, would be more like, “The Lord will multiply thy seed”. Not I, as in the angel itself.
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
Just a quick note, “Ishmael” means “God listens.” or “God will hear.” or similar variants to this.
12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
So why would this be? This sounds like more of a curse than a blessing. Is this “angel of the Lord” merely warning Hagar that this is how her son will be considered? Is it just what was in Ishmael’s destiny? There are theories that Ishmael’s descendants are known today as the Muslims, or Arabs, Arabian Muslims, with some history provided by Muhammad/Quran.
So another question I have is, if the angel never mentioned that Ishmael would grow up to be at odds with every man, would this prophecy still play out as told? Did the angel’s prophetic warning have anything to do with how Hagar raised Ishmael, with the expectation that he would be against others and others against him? Did the angel set the precedent with this foretelling?

13 And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?
Hm… now I’m really confused. The angel of the Lord was speaking to Hagar… so why is this verse now considering him the Lord? And if this was the angel of the Lord, then surely the text would clearly imply again “the angel of the Lord”. Not “name of the Lord that spake unto her.” Unless it is indicating that by being addressed by this angel, she realizes that Thou God, meaning the angel’s God, and thus God Himself, has seen her in her distress and is appealing to her to return to Sarai even amidst all of the hostility. It still does not explain though why in this verse the angel is considered the Lord… Could “the angel of the Lord” be the Holy Spirit? Therefore indeed a significant part of God? Or perhaps as some theories speculate, could it be the Christ Consciousness before Jesus Christ was incarnate? Even so, the strange prediction that Ishmael will play a substantial role in his dealings with other mankind sets an interesting and perplexing anecdote, as if setting the stage for what is to come.
14 Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

Throughout this chapter, I have to bring up again how interesting it is that the one message that Jesus Christ teaches, of Love to God and to each other, has not been mentioned yet. In fact, like I stated above, Love is not even a factor and has not been mentioned in Genesis yet, from Adam and Eve’s creation, to Abram’s timeline, 2,000 years since the beginning, according to the Bible. Has this concept, this feeling, not have even manifested yet? Are humans at this point of time just multiplying out of duty to keep one’s heritage/bloodline going? We can see how people have treated each other throughout all of this, with brother against brother, son against father, woman against woman due to pride, jealousy, envy, etc., etc., etc. I think Love will be a specific recurring topic that I will keep a very close eye on going forward.

 

As usual, I want to reiterate that some of my thoughts and theories may be way off base, and I also research some other things on the side as well to try and get a broader understanding of what I’m reading, so please bear with me, or, even better, if you have insights that bring more light to these verses, please let me know.

I enjoy bouncing off theories and theology off of each other and love to hear other people’s perspectives on things. Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Genesis 15: God’s Covenant with Abram

Earnest Examination

This series is presented as an honest, sincere look into the study of the Bible with my own personal theories, opinions, comments and that of others’ insights and research into what the verses could mean. I cannot claim one way or another that everything that I am stating is fact and the true meaning of what is meant in these verses.

To lay it out in a way that I can manage, I have highlighted the texts of verses that I either don’t understand or have a comment or question about in yellow. And the comments I’ve left beneath it will be of a smaller font and using brown text.

I would love it if you’d join me in this journey and if you have any insights and/or knowledge of these chapters/verses etc., please feel free to share with me and the other readers. Any chance to get a clearer understanding of the Bible and Jesus Christ would be welcomed with open arms.

Version used is from (KJV) Genesis 15

1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
I want to point out the small phrase, “in a vision”. What does this mean, exactly? “In a vision” doesn’t necessarily imply “in a dream”. Was Abram fully awake during this vision? Was he daydreaming? Prophesying? Actually dreaming? Was it a vision in a dream? And how did Abram know that this vision was from the Lord? Did he test this vision? Or just accept it as coming from the Lord? I only pursue this question because we are always told to test spirits, test visions, discern… so that we may not be led astray. Am I implying that Abram possibly was seeing visions from a different entity? Well, I’m not exactly implying anything, but I am attempting to shed light on this matter that to be discerning means to question and search for the Truth, however uncomfortable it may be. And it is my effort to find out if Abram KNEW, from every fiber of his being, if this vision truly came from God or was he being deceived.
2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
…I also wonder about bloodlines, which is clearly what is meant in this verse. Abram is concerned about preserving his bloodline… although, if we take the creation account to heart, then we are all born of Adam and Eve – again, if there’s nothing more to this account – and so the specific pursuit to carry on one’s own bloodline is a fascinating subject to me. Even back then there was so much separation and animosity, quite possibly due to the separation at the Tower of Babel (although even within Cain and Abel’s own family there was already strife and conflict) created families who considered themselves separate from everyone else. It’s interesting and makes me wonder if there’s something more to this history than what most of us were/are led to believe.
3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”
How important is “blood”? Is it about the blood? The DNA? The questions I’m wondering is, why was Abram chosen to be the “people of God”? I haven’t been able to study the Talmud, the Q’uran, Kabbalah, Testament of Abraham, the Ugaritic texts, etc. and it is something that I definitely want to look into in order to get a broader picture of who Abraham is and his descendants. Since Abraham is widely believed to be the line of the C”hosen Ones”, I feel it’s important to find out how, why, for what purpose, etc., etc.
According to this verse, no other bloodline is going to cut it. His adopted son does not suffice. So why is Abraham’s line so important? Why was he chosen?

4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.”
5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
7 Then He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.”
8 And he said, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”

This is interesting as well, because while the Lord God promised Abram the whole world, basically, Jesus Christ’s teachings is to “come out of this world” and inherit the kingdom of God (Heaven). So I find the stark contrast between these two teachings as very intriguing and worth further consideration.
9 So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.

These verses confuse me even more. So the Lord God told Abram to bring Him all of these animals, with no further context to it, but then in the very next verse Abram takes it upon himself to cut them in half and place each piece opposite the other. …Am I missing something here? Is this some kind of ritualistic sacrifice? How does Abram come to the conclusion that this is the act that he must do when God told him to bring those animals to Him? Is it the act of bringing death upon the animals is symbolic of bringing the animals to God? And even if so, why do it in such a specific manner as to cut them in half? And why not the birds? Do these questions get answered in other texts or further verses/chapters of the Bible? This just seems very strange to me and screams of ritualistic sacrifice. Perhaps akin to witchcraft.
Is that blasphemous? Or am I just stating a well-earned speculation that Abram’s actions may be paganistic? It is not my intention to condemn or blaspheme the word of God, but only to raise much needed questions and consideration of the texts and belief structures that it proposes. I am a believer in God and Jesus Christ, and the pursuit of Truth. “Truth” does not mean to blindly listen to certain texts/words/teachings of others, but to sincerely study and learn our surroundings and pray for insight so that we may not be led astray. That is what I am attempting to do.

11 And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him.
…Hm… this lends further credence that the act that Abram performed may have been ritualistic in nature. What is this “horror and great darkness” that fell upon him? Demonic, perhaps?
Not to mention, in some other translations of this verse, they don’t say “a deep sleep” fell upon Abram:

“12 And when the sun was gone down, dread felled on Abram, and a great hideousness and dark assailed him. (And as the sun went down, fear fell upon Abram, and a great dark hideousness assailed him.)”Wycliffe Bible

Sometimes I refer back to the Wycliffe version, since it seems to be the earliest English translation there is, and in his version it does not say that Abram fell into a deep sleep, but rather that dread and fear fell upon him. And the term “assail”, at least in today’s time, implies that he was attacked by this “great dark hideousness”.
13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.
14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

So I’m trying to understand the transition of these past few verses. I can infer a few speculations (but I suppose ‘speculations’ they will remain):

1. The horror and great darkness that befell Abram was the entity that has been speaking to Abram as the word of the Lord. Assailing Abram with his power? His authority? Physically assaulting Abram? Maybe… spiritually?
2. The horror and great darkness was an inclination, a gut feeling, that something bad will happen – follow that up with the Lord saying that his descendants will be in trouble for a few years may have given him this fear/dread. Certainly very likely. Although it doesn’t seem to explain the term “assailed” that was originally used as the translation.
3. Perhaps because of the Lord gifting Abram and his descendants with the land and various possessions, it made the dark entities jealous and wrathful – therefore the darkness is the acknowledgement that Abram’s descendants will go through some hardships in order to rise above these dark entities and inherit the land.

Now, this brings me again to the land and the possessions. I can’t help but keep going back to Jesus Christ’s teachings that worldly possessions mean NOTHING in the eyes of the Lord. In fact, he teaches that those who have riches and wealth and all these possessions are on the WRONG PATH to Heaven. Yet in these biblical teachings, Abram has been chosen to inherit the land and the riches in them. …Am I the only one who doesn’t quite understand this dichotomy? But then I am also reminded of the verse in Matthew 5 where it says that the meek shall inherit the Earth. So here we have Abram and his descendants, being promised inherited land and wealth/possessions, and then here’s Jesus saying that the meek will inherit the land. Are Abram and his descendants meek? Did Jesus offer up sacrifices to God to earn His good graces? Am I speaking out of turn and just not understanding the symbolic or universal workings of the world?

15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.
16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
17 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces.
More interesting implications here, that seem to point to Abram performing a ritualistic spell and/or sacrifice. I know I may get pushback against this speculation, but again, it is NOT to offend anyone. It is only to offer up what an honest look into these verses may provoke in someone who hasn’t studied the Bible and other texts extensively and who is on a sincere path to understanding the Bible and its teachings. From an unbiased and subjective look into these verses, it seems as if Abram is performing witchcraft. Perhaps that is just how people worshipped back in those days, and I can somewhat understand that. And perhaps that is why Jesus Christ came to begin with, to show us that we no longer (or have ever) need to perform these rituals and instead look to being kind and loving to one another and believe in Him to have everlasting life. Of course, that doesn’t explain why this Lord at this time asked to have certain animals brought to him, and doesn’t explain how Abram knew how to set up this altar of sorts.
And speaking of this altar, where did this “smoking oven” and the “burning torch” come from? And it just so happened to ceremoniously pass in between the cut pieces of the animals… It seems quite obvious that this was on purpose and that Abram knew to do this. But how? Who taught him to offer up these animals to the Lord in this manner? And what is the smoking oven that just allegedly appeared out of nowhere? It does not do my peace of mind well to make this connection to Moloch, a terrible deity who is often portrayed as having a furnace or oven for a stomach in which to throw sacrifices into – sacrifices that tragically included (includes?) babies/children. Take another translation from Wycliffe, for example:


“17 Therefore when the sun was gone down, a dark mist was made, and a furnace smoking appeared, and a lamp of fire, and (it) passed through those partings. (And when the sun had gone down, a dark mist came, and a smoking furnace appeared, and a lamp of fire which passed between the pieces of the animals.)”

This is extremely suspicious to me. And I feel rather at odds because as far as I’ve researched, I have not come across a lot of sources making this connection. Am I completely in the wrong here? Why am I having this red flag when it comes to this sacrificial act and the “dark mist” and oven/furnace that just so happened to appear (manifest?) out of nowhere to “pass (collect?)” these sacrifices? I am actually quite perplexed that I don’t see many references to this as even being a possibility. I can’t be the only one who finds these texts suspicious…
18 On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—
19 the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites,
20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,
21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

I know sometimes it would seem as if I’m questioning the veracity of the Bible’s origins, and while that may be true in some sense, it is not meant to presume, condemn, or ridicule, and certainly not meant to certify the propositions I set forth. And I definitely don’t mean to insult or offend anyone, especially not God. It is only to get a clearer understanding of the meanings of the Bible, and the possibility that during so many transitions and translation efforts, and perhaps intentional/unintentional mishandling and misinterpretations, that the Truth along the way may have been concealed more than we’d like.

And as usual, I want to reiterate that some of my thoughts and theories may be way off base, and I also research some other things on the side as well to try and get a broader understanding of what I’m reading, so please bear with me, or, even better, if you have insights that bring more light to these verses, please let me know.

I enjoy bouncing off theories and theology off of each other and love to hear other people’s perspectives on things. Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Fact checking is extremely important. I want to reiterate not to take everything at face value; no matter what you read, where you read it from, or who you hear it from. And to be clear, do not rely on “fact checking” websites to give you accurate information either. These are just as likely, (if not even more likely…), to feed false information and false debunking accounts to manipulate the reader. Please take everything into consideration before adhering to a certain narrative – and always keep your mind open to other possibilities.

Fair use disclaimer: Some of the links from this article are provided from different sources/sites to give the reader extra information and cite the sources, but does not necessarily mean that I endorse the contents of the site itself. Additionally, I have tried to provide links to the contents that I used from other sites as an educational and/or entertainment means only; if you feel that any information deserves further citation or request to be clarified, please let me know through the contact page.

Featured image by Gnattyone from Pixabay

Genesis 14: Abram Rescues Lot

Earnest Examination

This series is presented as an honest, sincere look into the study of the Bible with my own personal theories, opinions, comments and that of others’ insights and research into what the verses could mean. I cannot claim one way or another that everything that I am stating is fact and the true meaning of what is meant in these verses.

To lay it out in a way that I can manage, I have highlighted the texts of verses that I either don’t understand or have a comment or question about in yellow. And the comments I’ve left beneath it will be of a smaller font and using brown text.

I would love it if you’d join me in this journey and if you have any insights and/or knowledge of these chapters/verses etc., please feel free to share with me and the other readers. Any chance to get a clearer understanding of the Bible and Jesus Christ would be welcomed with open arms.

Version used is from (KJV) Genesis 14

Abram Rescues Lot

1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
It’s interesting, what a little peek into a different translation of the Bible can reveal. For instance, I did not know that when this verse states “nations”, it is also meant to mean “goiim”, or “goyim” – as can be seen in the NIV, for example. I am slowly but steadily growing more informed about this term, thanks to some readings into Jewish customs and beliefs, and that history has espoused some interesting (if not, conflicting) view points of this culture. There is so much debate and disagreements about what Judaism entails, and I cannot form a strong opinion on it one way or another because I have not studied it extensively enough.
But what I CAN say, is that it is most definitely WORTH studying, to get a clearer understanding of not only another religion’s belief structure, but also since it seems to be a key component to some of the Bible’s mysteries.
I will leave my opinion at that, and hope that if anyone reads this, that it may compel you to do the same.

2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
So if I’m understanding this correctly, the tribes and “nations” mentioned in verse 1 engaged in war with these kings – yet there is no context about what brought about this conflict. WHY did the “nations” initiate war onto these cities?
3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
Coming down to this verse, perhaps the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Admah, Zeboiim, Zoar – were all subjugated by the kings of Shinar, Ellasar, Elam, and the Tidal nations. It doesn’t quite specify what the conditions were under their rule, but the obvious implications is that the ruled over cities had enough and rebelled, which seemed to have initiated the war.
5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
And again, there is no context about the severity of the rebellion either. What exactly did these rebelling tribes do to spur this attack?
6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar.
8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.

Wow… am I the only one completely lost with all of this pronoun confusion that I see? I have read these verses at least 20 times trying to make sense on who is referred to as “they” in each context. Verse 7 is most undoubtedly indicating that “they” is referring to the king of Chedorlaomer (and his compatriots), but beyond that… I am having a hard time connecting who’s who.
From verse 10 to verse 11, the “they” pronoun seems to have switched ownership. Verse 10 implicates those who lost from the battle – but then verse 11 switches the meaning of “they”, I’m assuming…, to being the victors of the war. It is extremely unclear to me and leaves room for interpretation.
Of course, taking a look into other translations can provide further insight and clarification, but then there’s the question of whether they were misinterpreted or incorrectly transcribed.

12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
And here, by “they”, it’s most likely meant to mean the victor as well. It’s, again, unclear as to the motive of taking Lot, but perhaps this was done in an attempt to either expand upon their own city, and/or use Lot and the other citizens of Sodom as slaves/workers. There is no clear reason and it can only be implied or assumed in these contexts. The goods are an obvious motive, in order to enrich their own community or kingdom.
13 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.
14 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.
This verse does indicate that the taking of the peoples from Sodom were to hold them captive. Again, just as a conquest of war? Or deeper motives? And there is no time frame during this conflict that could tell us how long this struggle ensued for. Days? Months? Years? Would researching/studying other texts such as the Torah/Talmud, Quran, etc. shed further light onto the information of the Bible? Is the Bible only presenting one side of the story while an engaged look into other doctrines could reveal some hidden truths?
15 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.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

So it seems as though Abram and his army were still able to win victory over the men who captured Lot and the others, and their goods, and safely return them back home. And while the below verse indicates that they “slaughtered” Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, it makes no mention of who took over their kingdoms after their death.

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.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Hm… this small verse brings up some controversial topics that send some alarm bells ringing when I read it… Again, perhaps I’m overthinking things, but just within this one passage, I can see references to the transubstantiation, ritualistic practices, sacrificial rites… the debate on whether the God of Abraham is the one True God…
I’m sure that’s probably blasphemy to a lot of people, but I am not the only person to have proposed such a theory. In fact, if one can read the Bible without a blind faith and predisposed conditions on what the verses mean, one could look outside of this paradigm and come to some other interesting premises. I won’t go into too much detail, but they are highly controversial in nature and these suppositions are not to offend or criticize anyone, but just to give a glimpse into some other hypothetical queries that are, in my opinion, worth looking into.

Now, besides the allusion into the stark contrast of the God of Abraham and the One True God, who very well may be the one in the same, there is also the theory that Melchizedek is Jesus Christ, perhaps in a former incarnation. This theory derives from the verses in Hebrews 7:1-3, which states:

“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.”

“King of peace” is also referred to as Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ, although being born of Mary, was not conceived by her or by man, but allegedly by the Holy Spirit. The phrase “like the Son of God” – again, alluding to Jesus Christ, but with one key difference. Jesus Christ IS known as the Son of God. Not like the Son of God. Furthermore, if we’re going to get technical here, which I am, because it’s my effort to seek Jesus Christ and seek the Truth, I can see the obvious contrast compared to Melchizedek, and Jesus Christ.

For instance, whereas Melchizedek is congratulating and blessing Abram and his team of men for retaliating and defeating – no, not just defeating, slaughtering their enemies, Jesus Christ’s teachings, on the other hand, encourages one to love their enemies and turn their cheek against violence. …Admittedly, not sound advice when confronted with warring nations, but perhaps that’s because we as humans have a limited perception on what’s really important in life.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Again, there is the questionable addressing of the pronouns here. The verses start out as Melchizedek blessing Abram and his crew for taking down the enemy and recovering the goods and rescuing their people. Then it segues into “And he gave him tithes of all.” This, to me, would imply that Melchizedek, upon blessing Abram, gave Abram the offering. But this is not the case. Instead, it is Abram who gives the offering – presumably from the spoils of the war, to Melchizedek. And herein lies another huge contrast between Melchizedek and Jesus Christ. Jesus wanted nothing to do with riches, material gain, etc. Instead, he preached to give one’s possessions away and to follow Him. And the True blessing to be received in Heaven into the Kingdom of God. So why was the focus here with Abram upon material possessions, lands, cattle, etc.?
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
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,
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

Here are more references to material gain and riches. Goods, wealth, …stuff. There is an interesting lack of “spirituality” about this whole chapter. Now, while the efforts to save one’s own nation is undoubtedly important, the question soon boils down to, what necessitated it to begin with? What initially led to the rebellion of the five nations against the four kingdoms to begin with? Were they under an oppressive rule? What caused the breakaway and revolution? Living alongside/with other factions, etc. for 12 years, to then create a rebellion in the 13th year, followed by a full-blown attack in the 14th year… It does say that the five kingdoms served Chedorlaomer so perhaps it was a slavery of sorts. Of course, it seems as if Chedorlaomer is only mentioned in this chapter of the Bible, with no other references, so this would be based on supposition of the terminology used alone. Anything else surmised would be based on conjecture.
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

I know sometimes it would seem as if I’m questioning the veracity of the Bible’s origins, and while that may be true in some sense, it is not meant to presume, condemn, or ridicule, and certainly not meant to certify the propositions I set forth. It is only to get a clearer understanding of the meanings of the Bible, and the possibility that during so many transitions and translation efforts, and perhaps intentional/unintentional mishandling and misinterpretations, that the Truth along the way may have been concealed more than we’d like.

And as usual, I want to reiterate that some of my thoughts and theories may be way off base, and I also research some other things on the side as well to try and get a broader understanding of what I’m reading, so please bear with me, or, even better, if you have insights that bring more light to these verses, please let me know.

I enjoy bouncing off theories and theology off of each other and love to hear other people’s perspectives on things. Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Fact checking is extremely important. I want to reiterate not to take everything at face value; no matter what you read, where you read it from, or who you hear it from. And to be clear, do not rely on “fact checking” websites to give you accurate information either. These are just as likely, (if not even more likely…), to feed false information and false debunking accounts to manipulate the reader. Please take everything into consideration before adhering to a certain narrative – and always keep your mind open to other possibilities.

Fair use disclaimer: Some of the links from this article are provided from different sources/sites to give the reader extra information and cite the sources, but does not necessarily mean that I endorse the contents of the site itself. Additionally, I have tried to provide links to the contents that I used from other sites as an educational and/or entertainment means only; if you feel that any information deserves further citation or request to be clarified, please let me know through the contact page.

Featured image by Gnattyone from Pixabay