The story of the capture of Lot (who now headed a separate “clan”) is told in considerable detail in Genesis 14:1-12. When a rebellion between local vassal servant kings and a regional imperial power broke out, Lot and his family were captured, together with everyone else who stood in the way of the winning party. It appears that Abram had excellent people and life skills. He developed a true friendship and military alliance with Eshkol and Aner, who were his neighbors. His man came from the field of battle and reported to Abram at the oaks of Mamre (Mamre was apparently the name of the person who owned the land, as inferred from Gen. 14:24) that Lot had been captured. This was the perfect opportunity for Abram to mimic Cain’s response – “Am I my brother’s keeper?!”

Unlike Cain, and at great personal risk to himself and his entire household (from whom Lot had separated) Abram responded decisively and set out on a daring rescue mission. His young men were fully trained solders. He knew, given the dangers of living in the Middle East at that time (and nothing has really changed), that sooner or later their training would pay off. So he summoned over three hundred of his men, born in his household, along with the men of his military allies Aner, Eshkol and Mamre, and set out towards the very north of what would one day become Israel – the future territory of the tribe of Dan. This essentially continues to fulfill God’s command to explore the entire land he was given as inheritance (Gen. 14:13-14).

Let us read carefully how Moses and the editors formulate the result of Abram’s daring short-term military operation. We read in Genesis 14:16:

וַיָּשֶׁב אֵת כָּל־הָרְכֻשׁ וְגַם אֶת־לוֹט אָחִיו וּרְכֻשׁוֹ הֵשִׁיב וְגַם אֶת־הַנָּשִׁים וְאֶת־הָעָם׃

He brought back all the possessions; he also brought back his kinsman Lot and his possessions, and the women and the rest of the people (Gen. 14:16)

Abram put Lot’s captors to flight and drove them out of the land which God had now promised would belong to him (Gen. 13:14-17, 14:15). What is interesting is that we see here, with the rescue of Lot’s clan, the direct benefit of being connected to Abram even if not part of his immediate family. We might remember that Lot’s children will one day become part of the nations of the world living around Israel. In seeking to understand the Torah’s positive assessment of the life of Abram, we are also forced to face his obvious imperfections. Nevertheless, he is characterized by his trust in God, despite his imperfect behavior. Abram showed himself to be a reliable friend, a loyal relative, and a committed worshiper of the LORD at every critical point in his life.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. And what a wonderful piece of Scripture this is. Thank yo Dr Eli. Your quite right Abraham had no real reason to rescue Lot since given the choice Lot showed little respect for Abram but chose the land where he would dwell while Abram who had the right over Lot humbly allowed Lot to have first choice. How often Abraham demonstrated deep humility and great faith in the living God. Can I thank you Dr for bringing this amazing piece of Scripture to our attention.

  2. Thank you, I am so blessed by your ministry. I do not have the funds to enroll in your lessons, but I so enjoy the beautiful love and teaching of HIS PERFECT WORD. Could you tell me where the best place to shop for a complete Jewish study Bible AND IT COULD BE USED.

  3. What a great contrast: Cain’s rude retort v. Abram’s rapid response. Abram doesn’t dialog with God but goes to the aid of his brother’s son, Lot. Responsibility is key, along with having a heart that hears God and seeks to do his will. Yet, even if Cain had brought the best of the best of his crop but brought it without faith it would be unacceptable with God: for without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). That, surely, was the essence of Cain’s problem. Thank you for this blessing.

    • The essence of Cain’s problem was he didn’t do what God told him to do. He did bring his best, and God rejected it. We are to worship God as He told us to, not as we want. Cain’s sacrifice was like saying he could pay for his own salvation. Like far too many churches, he said “I’ll do it my way” instead of God’s way.

  4. Abraham acted on faith and that was accounted to him as righteousness. He would become our demonstration of faith, a foreshadow of what God planned. As it says in the scriptures “the just shall live by faith. Faith acts in Love and Trust in God’s goodness and mercy toward those that believe in God’s goodness and mercy. David, even though he also sinned was called by God a man of God’s heart. In summary: Abraham had Faith that God would deliver him in the battle to free Lot and his family.

  5. I am not able to do study at the moment,but I do enjoy some of your comments and insights. My mothers family fled from Poland in the mid 1800s to escape antisemitism. My mother taught me as a child to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and to me it seemed a miracle in 1948 to see Israel become a nation in their own right. Not all of our relatives were so fortunate and some of them,39 people, perished in the Holocaust. I have been impressed by Israel’s progress and I followed closely their farming practices .

    • I am referring to later generations that would act in the spirit of Cain as opposed to those that act in the spirit of Abraham.

  6. I’ve recently done a bit of study, and some interesting things to note about Abraham’s rescue of Lot. It was less than 400 years
    Noah had only been dead for 15 or 20 years, Shem was still alive.

    I’d be curious what you think of Melchizadek, since his city wasn’t involved in the battle.

  7. Dr. Eli an amazing reference to Melchizedek as Shem and Abram. Would like more references on slaying of Shems sons by Abram.

    Shalom

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