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Genesis 14:21 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And the king of Sodom said to Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And the king of Sodom said to Abram, Give me the souls, and take the property for thyself.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then said the king of Sodom unto Abram,—Give unto me the persons, but, the goods, take thou for thyself.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And the king of Sodom saith unto Abram, 'Give to me the persons, and the substance take to thyself,'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And the king of Sodom said to Abram: Give me the persons, and the rest take to thyself.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And the King of Sodome said vnto Abram, giue me the persons, and take the goods to thy selfe.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And the king of Sodom said to Abram, Give me the men, and take the horses to thyself.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And the king of Sedom said unto Avram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And the king 4428
{4428} Prime
מֶּלֶךְ
melek
{meh'-lek}
From H4427; a king.
of Sm סְדֹם 5467
{5467} Prime
סְדֹם
C@dom
{sed-ome'}
From an unused root meaning to scorch; burnt (that is, volcanic or bituminous) district; Sedom, a place near the Dead Sea.
said 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
Avrm אַברָם, 87
{0087} Prime
אַבְרָם
'Abram
{ab-rawm'}
Contracted from H0048; high father; Abram, the original name of Abraham.
Give 5414
{5414} Prime
נָתַן
nathan
{naw-than'}
A primitive root; to give, used with great latitude of application (put, make, etc.).
z8798
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
me the persons, 5315
{5315} Prime
נֶפֶשׁ
nephesh
{neh'-fesh}
From H5314; properly a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental).
and take 3947
{3947} Prime
לָקַח
laqach
{law-kakh'}
A primitive root; to take (in the widest variety of applications).
z8798
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
the goods 7399
{7399} Prime
רְכוּשׁ
r@kuwsh
{rek-oosh'}
From passive participle of H7408; property (as gathered).
to thyself.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Genesis 14:21

_ _ the king of Sodom said ... Give me the persons — According to the war customs still existing among the Arab tribes, Abram might have retained the recovered goods, and his right was acknowledged by the king of Sodom. But with honest pride, and a generosity unknown in that part of the world, he replied with strong phraseology common to the East, “I have lifted up mine hand” [that is, I have sworn] unto the Lord that I will not take from a thread even to a sandal-thong, and that that I will not take any thing that [is] thine, lest thou shouldst say, I have made Abram rich” [Genesis 14:22, Genesis 14:23].

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Genesis 14:21-24

_ _ We have here an account of what passed between Abram and the king of Sodom, who succeeded him that fell in the battle (Genesis 14:10), and thought himself obliged to do this honour to Abram, in return for the good services he had done him. Here is,

_ _ I. The king of Sodom's grateful offer to Abram (Genesis 14:21): Give me the soul, and take thou the substance; so the Hebrew reads it. Here he fairly begs the persons, but as freely bestows the goods on Abram. Note, 1. Where a right is dubious and divided, it is wisdom to compound the matter by mutual concessions rather than to contend. The king of Sodom had an original right both to the persons and to the goods, and it would bear a debate whether Abram's acquired right by rescue would supersede his title and extinguish it; but, to prevent all quarrels, the king of Sodom makes this fair proposal. 2. Gratitude teaches us to recompense to the utmost of our power those that have undergone fatigues, run hazards, and been at expense for our service and benefit. Who goes a warfare at his own charges? 1 Corinthians 9:7. Soldiers purchase their pay dearer than any labourers, and are well worthy of it, because they expose their lives.

_ _ II. Abram's generous refusal of this offer. He not only resigned the persons to him, who, being delivered out of the hand of their enemies, ought to have served Abram, but he restored all the goods too. He would not take from a thread to a shoe-latchet, not the least thing that had ever belonged to the king of Sodom or any of his. Note, A lively faith enables a man to look upon the wealth of this world with a holy contempt, 1 John 5:4. What are all the ornaments and delights of sense to one that has God and heaven ever in his eye? He resolves even to a thread and a shoe-latchet; for a tender conscience fears offending in a small matter. Now,

_ _ 1. Abram ratifies this resolution with a solemn oath: I have lifted up my hand to the Lord that I will not take any thing, Genesis 14:22. Here observe, (1.) The titles he gives to God, The most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, the same that Melchizedek had just now used, Genesis 14:19. Note, It is good to learn of others how to order our speech concerning God, and to imitate those who speak well in divine things. This improvement we are to make of the conversation of devout good men, we must learn to speak after them. (2.) The ceremony used in this oath: I have lifted up my hand. In religious swearing we appeal to God's knowledge of our truth and sincerity and imprecate his wrath if we swear falsely, and the lifting up of the hand is very significant and expressive of both. (3.) The matter of the oath, namely, that he would not take any reward from the king of Sodom, was lawful, but what he was not antecedently obliged to. [1.] Probably Abram vowed, before he went to the battle, that, if God would give him success, he would, for the glory of God and the credit of his profession, so far deny himself and his own right as to take nothing of the spoils to himself. Note, the vows we have made when we are in pursuit of a mercy must be carefully and conscientiously kept when we have obtained the mercy, though they were made against our interest. A citizen of Zion, if he has sworn, whether it be to God or man, though it prove to his own hurt, yet he changeth not, Psalms 15:4. Or, [2.] Perhaps Abram, now when he saw cause to refuse the offer made him, at the same time confirmed his refusal with this oath, to prevent further importunity. Note, First, There may be good reason sometimes why we should debar ourselves of that which is our undoubted right, as St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 8:13; 1 Corinthians 9:12. Secondly, That strong resolutions are of good use to put by the force of temptations.

_ _ 2. He backs his refusal with a good reason: Lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich, which would reflect reproach, (1.) Upon the promise and covenant of God, as if they would not have enriched Abram without the spoils of Sodom. And, (2.) Upon the piety and charity of Abram, as if all he had in his eye, when he undertook that hazardous expedition, was to enrich himself. Note, [1.] We must be very careful that we give no occasion to others to say things which they ought not. [2.] The people of God must, for their credit's sake, take heed of doing any thing that looks mean or mercenary, or that savours of covetousness and self-seeking. Probably Abram knew the king of Sodom to be a proud and scornful man, and one that would be apt to turn such a thing as this to his reproach afterwards, though most unreasonably. When we have to do with such men, we have need to act with particular caution.

_ _ 3. He limits his refusal with a double proviso, Genesis 14:24. In making vows, we ought carefully to insert the necessary exceptions, that we may not afterwards say before the angel, It was an error, Ecclesiastes 5:6. Abram here excepts, (1.) The food of his soldiers; they were worthy of their meat while they trod out the corn. This would give no colour to the king of Sodom to say that he had enriched Abram. (2.) The shares of his allies and confederates: Let them take their portion. Note, Those who are strict in restraining their own liberty yet ought not to impose those restraints upon the liberties of others, nor to judge of them accordingly. We must not make ourselves the standard to measure others by. A good man will deny himself that liberty which he will not deny another, contrary to the practice of the Pharisees, Matthew 23:4. There was not the same reason why Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, should quit their right, that there was why Abram should. They did not make the profession that he made, nor were they, as he was, under the obligation of a vow. They had not the hopes that Abram had of a portion in the other world, and therefore, by all means, let them take their portion of this.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Genesis 14:21

Give me the souls, and take thou the substance — So the Hebrew reads it. Here he fairly begs the persons, but as freely bestows the goods on Abram. Gratitude teaches us to recompense to the utmost of our power those that have undergone fatigues, or been at expence for our service.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
persons:
Heb. souls,
Genesis 14:21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
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