christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

genesis 12:1-17:27, parashah lech lecha

Read Gen 12:1-17:27 at Bible Gateway.

The paragraph divisions for lech lecha are posted here. The chiastic structure formed by lech lecha is posted here. Other chiastic structures within lech lecha can be found here. This week I worked on the chiastic structure for the single paragraph from Gen 14:1-24. It turns out there is not a single chiastic structure that I could find, but several that overlap:

Gen 14:1-17
1a) Gen 14:1-9, War between four kings + Chedorlaomer and five kings + Bera at the Valley of Siddim (chiasm);
1b) Gen 14:10, The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled the Valley of Siddim for the mountains;
1c) Gen 14:11-12, Chedorlaomer’s forces took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, including Lot, and departed;
central axis) Gen 14:13-15, Abram armed his 318 men with his allies + pursued + attacked them as far as Hobah;
2c) Gen 14:16, Abram and his forces brought back all the goods, and Lot and his goods;
2b) Gen 14:17a, The king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley);
2a) Gen 14:17b, After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.

Gen 14:1-9, chiasm of the 1A pair above:
1a) Gen 14:1, The four kings allied with Chedorlaomer king of Elam;
1b) Gen 14:2-3, Made war with the five kings allied with Bera king of Sodom in the Vally of Siddim;
central axis) Gen 14:4-7, Because they rebelled against Chedorlaomer + his attack of the surrounding country;
2b) Gen 14:8, The five kings allied with the king of Sodom joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim;
2a) Gen 14:9, Against the four kings allied with Chedorlaomer king of Elam—four kings against five.

1a) Gen 14:13, Abram learned of it/ he dwelt by his allies Mamre, Eshcol, Aner;
1b) Gen 14:14-15, Abram armed his 318 trained servants + went in pursuit + attacked by night;
1c) Gen 14:16, Abram brought back all the goods + his brother Lot and goods + women and people;
1d) Gen 14:17, The king of Sodom met Abram after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer;
1e) Gen 14:18, Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High;
1f) Gen 14:19a, He blessed Abram: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High;
central axis) Gen 14:19b, Possessor of heaven and earth;
2f) Gen 14:20a, And blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand;”
2e) Gen 14:20b, And he gave him a tithe of all;
2d) Gen 14:21, The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself;”
2c) Gen 14:22-23, Abram said, “I have sworn to God Most High that I will take nothing, lest you say, ‘I have made Abram rich’;
2b) Gen 14:24a, Except only what the (318) young men have eaten;
2a) Gen 14:24b, And the portion of Aner, Eshcol, Mamre; let them take their portion.”

My theory for the reason there is not a single chiastic structure for Gen 14:1-24, is that the section with Melchizedek is its own central axis of a greater chiastic structure which might encompass many chapters of Genesis. It is interesting that the central axis for the Gen 14:13-24 chiastic structure is Melchizedek’s blessing with the emphasis on God Most High as the Possessor of heaven and earth. Here in Gen 14 is the only place in the Scripture that I could find, where God is called by the title “Possessor of heaven and earth.” This is not an accident, as Melchizedek is a prophetic type of Messiah. I am still putting the puzzle pieces into place as to the connection … so perhaps next year …


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