Posted in history, theology

Who was King Chedorlaomer in Genesis?

By Elizabeth Prata

Jut as it didn’t take long after the Fall for the first murder, (Genesis 4, Cain killed Abel), it also didn’t take long for the first war to erupt, Battle of the Valley of Siddim. (Genesis 14).

In those days Kings ruled cities and near environs. There was what was known as the Five Cities of the Plain; Sodom, Gormorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, plus tiny Zoar. (Genesis 13:10-13). They are also known as the Cities of the Valley. It used to be a fertile and lush area, that was the reason Lot chose it when Abraham suggested they split their flocks due to crowding. Now it’s an area of wasteland, salt, and not much else. Most people believe the Plains referred to is the area south of the Dead Sea (Salt Sea).

The kings of the cities of Shinar had warred with the kings of the Plains and won. (Victors were Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim.)

The triumphant kings exacted tribute from the vanquished, and expected it regularly. Chedorlaomer is mentioned as the King receiving the tribute, perhaps he was the lead king among the five who were allies. His Elamite kingdom extended in what is today modern day Iran along the Persian Gulf. It is believed that the Elamite nation began in the area of modern day Iran sometime around 2700 BC and continued through 640 BC. From the Table of Nations of Noah blessing his sons Ham, Japheth and Shem, that the Elamites were perhaps descendants of Shem.

Except, 13 years later, having grown rebellious with the state of things, the Kings of the Plain decided to stop paying the tribute to Chedorlaomer. Of course this promoted a war, Chedorlaomer having called upon his allies for rectification of the situation.

Well, the Kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah Zeboiim and tiny Zoar, lost soundly. Chedorlaomer  ransacked the Cities of the Plain and carried off as much booty as they could, including Abraham’s nephew Lot and all his people and all his goods. (Genesis 14:12).

We know from the subsequent chapters that Abraham pursued Lot’s kidnappers for hundreds of miles. With 300 men Abraham eventually got Lot back and all his people and all his goods, too. Abraham praised the Lord.

Who was Chedorlaomer, though? Not much else is known of him via the Bible. He held sway as a successful King over a large area, so he must have been powerful. He is also noted in Chapter 14:5 to have warred against Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim, and Horites and conquered them, too.

His name is known to be a compound word meaning worshiper- ‘Chedor’ and ‘la’omer,’ (“lagamaru”), the name of an Elamite deity, noted by Assurbanipal. In 1896 TG Pinches was reviewing some of the clay tablets held by the British Museum (they had been severely delayed in cataloging them, over 21,000 tablets came in from one site alone) and he thought he read Chedorlaomer’s name on one of the tablets, and there was general excitement in the biblical archaeology community for some years, but it was later disproven. To my knowledge, there are no secular sources in archaeology that mention Lot’s kidnapper king.

Now, Abraham was savvy in war and knowledgeable, but the Bible notes that he defeated mighty Chedorlaomer, powerful King of Elam and victor over many tribes, with only 318 men. As we know, the LORD does this to indicate HIS power and might, over all humans, including mighty kings, if it be His will. Melchizedek King of Salem said as much in Genesis 14:19-20,

Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!

Blessed be the Lord, King of Kings, King over all, even mighty Chedorlaomer, who, in the end, worshiped wrongly and paid the penalty for it. All those who believe in King Jesus, King of all, will have eternal life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10).

crown

Posted in theology

On Every High Hill…

By Elizabeth Prata

‘Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD’.

For they also built for themselves high places and sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree. 24There were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel. (1 Kings 14:23-24).

Reading through 1 Kings is just killing me. I mourn, cry the sins of Israel & Judah, and then take a look at myself and my own sins and idols and mourn some more. We’re no different than the folks in that book, but when such abominable sins stain from the bottom right up to the top, the kings and rulers, it’s a sure course toward judgment, individually and nationally. And it sure came. Reading the book, remember this really happened. God really judged King Jeroboam and the result surely came to pass.

you also have done more evil than all who were before you, and have gone and made for yourself other gods and molten images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back— 10therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone. 11″Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs will eat. And he who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat; for the LORD has spoken it.'” (1 Kings 14:9-11).

I think I exclaimed out loud when I read it. Woe! Any individual failure to follow the commands of God resulted in judgment. Any failure of the nation to follow the commands of God resulted in judgment. Any failure of the Kings God had raised up to follow the commands of God resulted in judgment.

One part of the above verse in the chapters I read this morning really got to me: “on every high hill”. They worshiped their false gods by building altars and pillars and poles on the high places, which they thought brought them closer to heaven.

Do we individually here in America, or as a nation, or think our rulers and judges and governors will escape judgment as they not only turn their backs on God but applaud themselves for doing so? Here in America we have abominations ON EVERY HIGH HILL. Planned Parenthood facilities (baby killing stations), false religions welcomed and spoken of highly, homosexuality flags waving from high places and more and worse.

My friend Pastor Phil wrote this morning:

“In my reading of Romans 1:18-32, I believe we as a nation are not aware of that God’s judgment is upon us. How? First, God has given us over to the “lusts of our hearts.” Second, God has given us over to “dishonorable passions,” specifically homosexuality. Third, God has given us over to a “debased minds.” Moreover, those who give their approval to those who practice these unrighteous actions are just as guilty. The only hope for our nation and those who do not honor the Lord is to repent of these sins and to turn to Jesus Christ for His forgiveness and new life.”

I pray for individuals to be saved by being given the spirit of repentance, and I pray for leaders. But I also pray for the Lord to soon come. It’s hard to see so much sin & evil every day ON EVERY HIGH HILL.

But I am also grateful and joyful. He has given me eternal life. He has given me knowledge of the Savior. He has given me the mind of Christ, a mind that was once as debased as all the others on the high hill. He has given me life, joy, purpose, and illuminating wisdom from scripture.

As Paul ruminated, we are torn. We decry the evil that’s in the world, it feels almost like it must have to Noah, but again, we remain on earth to do His work and His will, which is also good. I’m grateful the world did not end before I myself was saved. Others being saved today and tomorrow and the next will no doubt feel the same. So as Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21-24,

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

I don’t know for whose sake He is keeping me here, lol. The work I do for Jesus is certainly not as significant as Paul’s was, but if the Lord is pleased to keep me here on earth to do His will and work, then I am relieved I have the Spirit to pray to for help in withstanding the woes and griefs and traps of the sin and evil all around.

What a Savior. His ways are transparent but inscrutable. This we know though: The evil on every high hill will not stand in the end. The idols and poles and altars will melt away and righteousness will reign. Jesus is higher than every high hill and His power exceeds the evil that satan can do. Hallelujah.

high hill

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

The Man of God and the old prophet (and don’t forget the shriveled hand!)

1 Kings 13 has an interesting little scene. The book was written about 550BC. It’s rich with drama, meaning, and life lessons even for us at this telescoped end of time. The chapter 13 I’d read yesterday regarded the coming destruction of the false altar at Bethel, and the king Jeroboam, who’d allowed it and even served as priest there. “A Man of God” was tasked with bringing the King a message about the false worship at Bethel and God’s extreme disapproval of it.

There are so many lessons in this chapter. We could look at the chapter in terms of the idolatrous worship … or the precision of God’s pronouncements …or how we must believe His word … or what constitutes right worship … or how God formerly authenticated His word by signs … but I’m not focusing on any of those wonderful lessons today. First, I’ll recap.

God sent a Man of God (AKA prophet) to speak truth to King Jeroboam. ‘Man of God’ is a title Paul designated to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:11) and also was given in the Old Testament to Moses (Deuteronomy 33:1), David (Nehemiah 12:24), Elijah (1 Kings 17:18) and Elisha (2 Kings 4:7). The phrase designates the man as set apart and having a unique relationship with God and bringing missives originating in God and from God. The Man of God AKA prophet is God’s special representative, one whom God has personally chosen and sent.

The Man of God pronounced judgment upon the King by prophesying a future King emerging from the house of David (which Jeroboam hated) who will be born 360 years into the future named Josiah who will pull down the false altars, pour out the ashes onto the ground (unclean) and burn human bones on them (indicating a slaughter of the false priests).

The King did not take the message lightly and stretched out his hand, pointed to the Man of God, and said ‘seize him!’ The King’s hand withered, a sign that the messenger was true. After some pleading and tears, the King’s hand was restored and the Man of God went his way.

God had said not to stop for hospitality anywhere at any time, in fact, to go home another way. The Man of God refused hospitality at the King’s table (after the King’s hand was restored), a huge snub in the Middle East and a further message not to consort with Jereoboam. But then we see the Man of God idly sitting under an oak tree. He is not hurrying, he has no sense of urgency to leave the idolatrous area.

Here comes is the interesting part.

“He … found him sitting under an oak” (1 Kings 13:14). It must be considered significant that the man of God was idly resting under an oak tree instead of returning to Judah, and the man could not have been blameless, because God had dearly instructed him to waste no time on his mission. Many a servant of God has been overcome with disaster in a moment of idleness. Coffman Commentary

Compare with Abraham’s servant sent to fetch a wife for Isaac. In Genesis 24:33, the servant would not eat until he had spoken his piece. Afterward, he was urged to delay his departure, but the servant still would have none of it, even though the wife had been obtained and seemingly, his mission was done. He said, “Do not delay me, since the Lord has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.” (Genesis 24:56).

Abraham’s servant kept the LORD first.

Back to the 1 Kings 13 chapter. There lived another prophet from the immediate area. The prophet’s sons came to him and told what had happened with the King. The old prophet purposed to go find this Man of God. The prophet did not repent. He did not fall on his face. He did not go to the King. He made a plan, a dastardly plan instead, to seek out the messenger.

He asked his sons which way the Man of God went. He asked his sons to saddle the donkey. He went out searching for the Man of God. He took time and effort to seek out the Man of God. Note this. When the prophet found the Man of God, he asked the Man of God to eat with him at his house. The Man of God said no, I can’t. I must go my way.

Here is where the prophet’s plan gets dastardly. Up to now one might defend him, might, thinking he wanted to speak further with such a Man of God, learn from him, pray with him. Perhaps a case could be made for the old prophet’s good will. But here the Bible plainly says, the old prophet lied.

He told a whopper. The old prophet claimed to have heard from God, via an angel, bearing a message that directly contradicts the Man of God’s previous command. The old prophet said the angel told him that God said it was now OK to come and eat and stay.

There is such a thing as an earthly chain of command. The command hierarchy is there for a reason. Even more so in dealing in spiritual warfare. If you have orders from the General of the Army, and you receive a contradictory order from a Captain, what will you do? Seek verification, of course.

One might wonder why the Man of God didn’t seek verification from the LORD of hosts.

In any event, the man of God was quite foolish to believe the words of the lying pretender. Would God have told the man of God one thing and then have contradicted it by sending an authentic word by another? “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1). Although not stated, there appears to have been an unworthy desire on the part of the man of God to return, and, where there is an antecedent willingness, there is always provided by the Evil One an opportune invitation to do wrong.

The Bible never said why the old prophet lied. He had his reasons. Likely jealousy, power, or greed, the usual sins behind why people lie. How devastating to know the old prophet used God as a cover in his lie!

As Coffman said above, the Man of God is not without culpability. He lingered, he listened to the old prophet, and he failed to seek verification of the message allegedly from God. He did not keep God first, but disobeyed God to satisfy an appetite. Soon after, he was killed on the road home by a lion.

Today there are a lot of the types of ‘old prophets’ running around claiming to be men and women of God and teaching lies. They say, ‘an angel from God told me to tell you’ … When you listen to one of today’s (false) Bible teachers, and they pronounce some kind of revelation from God they’ve allegedly received, it will be obscure and ambiguous. “I see a coming outpouring…” or “I believe that the Lord has placed it on my heart to tell you…”

Remember the clarity and precision with which the Man of God in this chapter pronounced God’s word to Jeroboam. It was given expressly, authenticated by a miraculous sign, and came true perfectly as stated 360 years later.

Take aways:

–The man (and woman) of God needs to keep God first.
–Obey God as exactly as possible.
–Be purposeful in our duties.
–When listening to other ‘men of God’, verify the message.
–There are people who claim to be of God who are just liars who work hard at catching you in order to speak lies and divert you (and me) from our duties.
–Let us not be caught lingering under a tree. Being purposeful and productive makes us harder to catch.

The warning for present-day Christians in this is clear enough. There are many pious, attractive, and pretentious religious propositions in our own times that, in the last analysis, are nothing but lies, dressed up with every plausible appearance of authenticity by the devices of Satan, but still unqualified lies. Coffman’s Commentary

The Old Testament is a wonderful wonderful book. I’ve been camped out on this chapter for two days and I barely scratched the surface of meaning and illumination. What a great gift the Bible is!