Genesis 14:5 MEANING

Genesis 14:5
(5) The Rephaims.--Described as an Amorite tribe (Amos 2:9) of great stature, settled in Bashan, where Moses conquered them (Joshua 13:12). We find them also on the other side of Jordan, in Mount Ephraim ( Joshua 17:15), on the western side of Jerusalem (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; 2 Samuel 5:18; 2 Samuel 5:22), and even among the Philistines (2 Samuel 21:16; 2 Samuel 21:18). In many of these places the word is wrongly translated giants. From this wide dispersion of them we may safely conclude that they belonged to the earlier settlers in the land and that only their rulers, like Og (Joshua 9:10), were Amorites.

Ashteroth Karnaim.--The two-horned Astarte, the Ph?nician Venus, identified by the Rephaim with the moon. Her worship had, no doubt, been introduced by the Amorites. This city was the capital of Og (Deuteronomy 1:4), and is called Be-Eshtera, "the house of Astarte," in Joshua 21:27. Its remains have been found at Tell-Ashtereh, in the Hauran, about two leagues from the ancient Edrei.

The Zuzim.--Called in Deuteronomy 2:20 Zamzummim, where they are identified with the Rephaim, of which stock they were an inferior branch. Their capital, Ham, has been identified with Hameitat, about six miles to the east of the lower part of the Dead Sea (Tristram, Land of Moab, p. 117).

The Emims.--Of these also we read in Deuteronomy 2:10-11 : "The Emim . . . also were accounted Rephaim, as the Anakim."

In Shaveh Kiriathaim.--More probably, in the plain of Kiriathaim. This city, given to the tribe of Reuben (Numbers 32:37), was, upon the decay of the Israelites upon the east of Jordan, re-occupied by the Moabites (Jeremiah 48:1), who had taken it from the Emim.

Verse 5. - And in (or during) the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote (because of actual or probable rebellion) the Rephaims. Γίγαντας (LXX.), a tribe of gigantic stature (from an Arabic root, to be high), the iron bed of whose last king, Og, measured nine yards in length and four in breadth (Deuteronomy 3:11); forming a portion of the aboriginal inhabitants of Palestine prior to the invasion of the Canaanites, though existing as a remnant as late as the conquest (Genesis 2:20; Genesis 3:11, 13). In Ashteroth Karnaim. Literally, Ashteroth of the Two Horns; so called either from its situation between two horn-shaped hills (Jewish interpreters), or because of the horned cattle with which it abounded (Hillery), or in honor of the goddess Ashtaroth, Astarte, or Venus, whose image was such as to suggest the idea of a horned figure (A Lapide, Gesenius, Kalisch); identified by some with the capital of Og (Keil), but by others distinguished from it (Wetstein); of uncertain site, though claimed to sin-rive in the ruins of Tell Ashtereh, near the ancient Edrei (Ritter); in those of Afineh, eight miles from Buzrah (Porter); in the modern village Mesarib (Burckhardt); or in El Kurnem or Ophein in Ledsha (Robinson). And the Zuzims. Probably the Zamzummims between the Arnon and the Jabbok (Deuteronomy 2:20). In Ham. "Possibly the ancient name of Rabba of the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 3:11), the remains being still preserved in the ruins of Amman" (Keil). And the Emims. Fearful and terrible men, the primitive inhabitants of Moab (Deuteronomy 2:10, 11); called also Rephaims, as being of colossal stature. In Shaveh Kiriathaim. Literally, the plain of Kiriatkaim, or the plain of the two cities, situated in the district afterwards assigned to Reuben (Numbers 32:37); identified with Coraiatha, the modern Koerriath or Kereyat, ten miles west of Medebah (Eusebias, Jerome, Kalisch), which, however, rather corresponds with Kerioth, in Jeremiah 48:24 (Keil).

14:1-12 The wars of nations make great figure in history, but we should not have had the record of this war if Abram and Lot had not been concerned. Out of covetousness, Lot had settled in fruitful, but wicked Sodom. Its inhabitants were the most ripe for vengeance of all the descendants of Canaan. The invaders were from Chaldea and Persia, then only small kingdoms. They took Lot among the rest, and his goods. Though he was righteous, and Abram's brother's son, yet he was with the rest in this trouble. Neither our own piety, nor our relation to the favourites of Heaven, will be our security when God's judgments are abroad. Many an honest man fares the worse for his wicked neighbours: it is our wisdom to separate, or at least to distinguish ourselves from them, 2Co 6:17. So near a relation of Abram should have been a companion and a disciple of Abram. If he chose to dwell in Sodom, he must thank himself if he share in Sodom's losses. When we go out of the way of our duty, we put ourselves from under God's protection, and cannot expect that the choice made by our lusts, should end to our comfort. They took Lot's goods; it is just with God to deprive us of enjoyments, by which we suffer ourselves to be deprived of the enjoyment of him.And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer,.... Not in the fourteenth year of their rebellion against him, as Jarchi, but from their becoming vassals to him:

and the kings that were with him; those kings before mentioned:

and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim; which were in their way to Sodom, &c. and very probably were confederates with the five kings; the Targum, and so the Septuagint, render the word "giants", as it is in Deuteronomy 2:11; but they were one of the nations or tribes of the Canaanites, Genesis 15:20; and had their name either from the Hebrew word which signifies to be healthful and robust, as those people might be, or from Rephas, the Remphan of Stephen, Acts 7:43; called Chiun, Amos 5:26; and with Cronus or Ham the father of Canaan, as Bishop Cumberland (c) observes; and these dwelt in Ashteroth Karnaim, which was a place in Bashan, Deuteronomy 1:4; it is about six miles, as Eusebius (d) says, from Adraa or Edrei, and in the Apocrypha:"Then Maccabeus marched forth to Carnion, and to the temple of Atargatis, and there he slew five and twenty thousand persons.'' (2 Maccabees 12:26)mention is made of a place called Carnion, where was a temple of Atergates, a Phoenician deity, as Ashteroth or Astarte, was; and this city here had its first name from Astarte the wife of Cronus or Ham, and whose name may be preserved in Carnaim, as Bishop Cumberland thinks; though as Astarte is said by Sanchoniatho (e) to put on her head the mark of her sovereignty, a bull's head, that is, with its horns, this might be another of her names retained in this city; and it is certain that she was a Phoenician goddess, called the goddess of the Zidonians, 1 Kings 11:5; and Sanchoniatho relates (f), that the Phoenicians say, that Astarte is she, who among the Greeks is called Aphrodite or Venus; and Astarte is called by Lucian (g) the Phoenician Venus, and by Cicero (h) the Syrian Venus; and if she was the same with Diana or the moon, as some think, she might have the name of Carnaim from its two horns, as the word signifies: our English poet (i) seems to have this in his thoughts, when he speaks of Astoreth as the goddess of the Phoenicians: however the in habitants of this place who belonged to the Canaanites were first attacked by the four kings and routed, though not utterly destroyed, because we hear of them afterwards, as well as they that follow:

and the Zuzims in Ham; or Hemtha, as Onkelos and Jonathan render it, a place so called from Ham the father of Canaan, and was somewhere in the land of Canaan or near it, and near the former place; for it can hardly be thought the land of Egypt, sometimes called the land of Ham, is meant; these Zuzim are supposed by Jarchi to the same with the Zamzummim in Deuteronomy 2:20; the word is by Onkelos and Jonathan rendered strong and mighty ones, as also by the Septuagint, mighty nations:

and the Enims in Shaveh Kiriathaim: a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakim, and were accounted giants as they, and who in later times were by the Moabites called Emim, Deuteronomy 2:10; and therefore Moses gives them the same name here, which they had from the dread and terror they injected into men, and so the word in all the three Targums is rendered terrible ones; and these dwelt in Kiriathaim, a city in the tribe of Reuben, taken from Sihon, king of the Amorites, and which seems to be situated in a plain, see Joshua 13:19.

(c) Sanchoniatho's Phoenician History, p. 220, 221. (d) Apud Reland. Palest. illustrata, tom. 2. p. 5. 98. (e) Sanchoniatho's Phoenician History, p. 35. (f) Ibid. p. 36. (g) De Dea Syria. (h) De Natura Deorum, l. 3.((i) ------------with these in troop Came Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians call'd Astarte queen of heav'n, with crescent horns. --Milton's Paradise Lost, B. 1. l. 437, 438, 439.

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