Genesis 14 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Genesis 14 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

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;

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.

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.

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,

6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness.

7 And they returned, and came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites that dwelt in Hazezon- tamar.

(14:7) "They ... smote all the country of the Amalekites."
The Amalekites were smitten before Amalek (from whom they descended) was born. Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12).
The author is mistaken that the Amalekites were descendants of Esau. The Amelekites were probably descendants from Ham, the son of Noah:

indeed it seems more probable that the Amalekites were of the posterity of Ham, since Chedorlaomer, a descendant of Shem, falls upon them, and smites them; and they being confederates with the Canaanites, and are with the Amorites, Philistines, and other Canaanitish nations, always mentioned, seem to be a more ancient nation than what could proceed from Amalek the son of Eliphaz, since Amalek is said to be the first of the nations, Num. 24:20; nor does there ever appear to be any harmony and friendship between them and the Edomites, as it might be thought there would, if they were a branch of Esau's family; nor did they give them any assistance, when destroyed by Saul, so that they seem rather to be a tribe of the Canaanitish nations

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.

12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

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.

(14:14) "Trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen"
To free Lot from captivity, Abram sends an army of slaves to pursue and smite his captors.
Does God approve of slavery?

(14:14) "Abram ... pursued them unto Dan."
This is an obvious anachronism, since the city of Dan was not named "Dan" until the time of the Judges (Judges 18:29). In fact, Dan (for whom the city was named) was not even born yet (Genesis 30:6).
When was the city of Dan named?
God's 2nd killing
There is not enough information about Abraham's servants to definitely say they were slaves. But we never find Abraham buying or selling them, so it is unlikely they are. He had servants obviously, but from the position they occupied, even finding a wife for his son (Gen. 24:2-4), they appear very unlike slaves. Lastly, would you train your slaves to use weapons and arm them?
On Dan, this could be an anachronism, but it doesn't look like one. This change would have to be made fairly late, for example by Samuel. And I can't imagine Samuel changing the Scripture of Moses, although I have to admit that minor updates to the text when copying was common practise in the Middle East. So with John Gill I believe Josephus remark, Antiquities of the Jews Book 1, chapter 10, paragraph 1, that Dan here does not refer to a city, but to a spring with that name.

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.

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.

19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

(14:19, 22) "The most high God, possessor of heaven and earth"
Who owns the earth?
God created the earth and is therefore its owner. See Matthew 4:9 where the author of the SAB reads something different.

20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

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:

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.