Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Genesis 14- Abraham 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;

During most of Mesopotamian history, the area was ruled by one dictator or another. This appears to be a time of single city-states ruled by individual kings.

There are only two times in the history of the region that this was possible. The later one is too late to be Abraham and we simply don’t have a lot of information from the earlier one (Early Bronze Age). We can’t identify kings and countries because we simply don’t have enough records.

Shinar was probably not Babylon, as is commonly believed. Most think they were the same because the names “Babel” and “Babylon” sound alike in our ears. They aren’t related, however, in Hebrew, at least, no more than the similar words “kitchen” and “chicken” are in English.

“Babel” means “confusion.”
“Babylon” means “Gate of god.”

This Shinar was probably in the North West part of Mesopotamia instead of the south east where we know Babylon was.

Some believe Amraphel is Nimrod. Average ages are old enough for this to be possible.

It is known that this part of Turkey did have different people groups existing side-by-side during the Early Bronze Age. So it is possible that Tidal may have united many of these groups and local rulers and ruled them as “king of the nations.”

Anyway, this was a coalition of all the major powers along the Euphrates River.

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.

Now we learn one of the two reasons this valley was a bad choice for Lot. It seems his new home town was under subjection to the city/state of Elam.

Archeologists have found the remains of five cities in this part of Palestine that suffered two traumatic events (being burnt to the ground) in the Early Bronze Age about twenty years apart.

“Bryant Wood, archaeologist with the Associates of Biblical Research, and William Shea both believe that these cities are to be identified as the infamous cities that were destroyed by God. Wood identifies the sites as:
1) Bab edh-Dhra as Sodom;
2) Numeira as Gomorrah;
3) the site of Safi as Zoar;
4) and the sites of Feifa and Khanazir with Admah and Zeboiim (Wood 1999, pp. 67–69)…

“From their location, their time of occupation, the nature of their destruction, and their abandonment without further occupation, it is already evident that these five towns fit reasonably well with the profile of the five Cities of the Plain in the Bible.”

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.

All the subjected city/states rebelled after twelve years of service.

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 Emins in Shaveh Kiriathaim,

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.

King Chedorlaomer went on a rampage.

Hazezon- tamar is En-gedi according to 2 Chronicles 20:2. This town was only occupied three times in history: under the Romans, when Israel owned the region, and in pre/early history. This must have been during Abram’s time. In fact, there is archeological evidence of (what we think is) these cities being destroyed in this order during the Early Bronze Age.

The Amorites owned what would later become Israel and Judah.

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 (tar pits); and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.

The battle went badly for Sodom and their allies. Their kings retreated and ended up mired in slime (tar) pits.

11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.

Chedorlaomer and company looted the ones who had fought against them.

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

So much for human wisdom.

Lot was not the only captive; just the important one to the story.

God, of course knew this was going to happen. There is no record of Lot asking His council about the choice of new homes. He picked on the basis of human wisdom of what would be best for him and his family.

Proverbs says to “Lean not on thy own understanding.” This is because we humans are not smart enough nor knowledgeable enough to make such decisions.

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.

Mamre and Eshcol joined Abram to pursue the invading kings.

14 And when Abram heard that his brother(‘s son) was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, 318, and pursued them unto Dan.

Imagine how rich Abram was! He had his own army! 318 male servants born in his own house that were trained for war. This doesn’t count female servants born in his house, nor those too young to be trained yet or too old to fight, or those not born in house but bought as adults.

Abram was prepared. He looked ahead and saw that there might be a need in the future for a personal army and he prepared for that need. We should be wise and prepare for the future, but lean on God for our decisions.

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.

Abram’s army of 318 servants and any warriors from his “confederate” allies (verse 13) defeated the four armies of the oppressors.

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.

We don’t know very much about this “king of Salem” though legend says he was Shem. The description in Hebrews 7 could be stretched to fit him (“For this Melchisedec, 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 by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually.")

“Without beginning of days” could mean he dated from before the flood.

The word “Salem” means peace (and is believed to be Jerusalem). The New Testament tells us his priesthood is without end and that Jesus was a priest after this order instead of the Levitical priesthood instituted by Moses. This implied that the Levitical priesthood had an end (which it did in AD70), but that the Melchizedek priesthood will never end, as indeed, it won’t. Jesus will be The Priest forever.

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 has delivered thine enemies into thy hand." And he gave him tithes of all.

Abram paid tithes (literally 1/10) of all that he owned to Melchizedek.

21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.”

The king of Sodom offered to just take his citizens back but let Abram keep the spoil of war. This would have included the things stolen form Sodom in the attack. He may have been that grateful, or he may have been just hoping to not be in a worse condition under Abram than under Chedorlaomer.

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 shoestring, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou should 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.”

Abraham promised God he wouldn’t make a profit on this deal. He only took as his pay the food already eaten by his soldiers. His allies were allowed to keep some of the spoil, but Abram didn’t want the king of Sodom to say he had made Abram rich. His wealth was the work of God, not man.