The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleGenesis 14:1
And it came to pass, in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar,
&c.] Or Babylon, as Onkelos, where Nimrod began his kingdom,
(Genesis 10:8-10) . This was Nimrod himself, as the Jewish writers generally
says; though more likely Ninyas the son of Ninus and Semiramis, and
grandson of Nimrod; or rather some petty prince or deputy governor of
Shinar, under the king of Babylon; since, though named first, he was
not the principal in this war, but fought under the king of Elam, and
as an ally and auxiliary of his; and it may be the kingdom of Babylon
was not as yet of any great extent and power, and that all those
stories told of Ninus, Semiramis, and Ninyas, are mere fables; and
indeed we hear nothing in Scripture of this kingdom, and the kings of
it, from this time, until the times of Merodach Baladan, the son of
Baladan king of Babylon, in the reign of Hezekiah king of Judah; nor of
the Assyrian kingdom, and the kings of it, until Pul king of Assyria,
in the times of Menahem king of Israel; wherefore it is greatly to be
questioned, whether those kingdoms rose to any considerable height
until these times: though some think that Shinar here does not intend
Shinar in Chaldea or Babylon, which was too far distant from Abram, but
Shinar in Mesopotamia, a large city at the foot of a mountain, three
days distant from Mansil, which is now, in Arabic, called Singjar, and
by Ptolemy, Singara F14
Arioch king of Ellasar;
or Telassar, according to the Targum of
Jonathan, a place in Mesopotamia, inhabited by the children of Eden,
(Isaiah 37:12) ; and Stephanus F15 makes mention of a city in Coelesyria,
upon the borders of Arabia, called Ellas, of which this prince may be
thought to be the governor; or rather he was king of a people called
Elesari, whose country is placed by Ptolemy F16 in Arabia; and could
Ninyas be thought to be Amraphel, this king would bid fair to be
Ariaeus a king of Arabia, or a son of his of the same name, that was a
confederate of Ninus, as Diodorus Siculus F17 relates out of Ctesias.
Chedorlaomer king of Elam;
or the Elamites, as the Vulgate Latin
version, the Persians, see (Acts 1:9) . This led Diodorus F18 to say, that
the war Moses speaks of is what the Persians waged against the
Sodomites. This seems to have been the most powerful prince at this
time, to whom the five kings of Sodom… had been subject for twelve
years, but now had rebelled, and to subdue them again he came forth,
with three other kings his allies, see (Genesis 14:4,5) ; but if Elam is the
same with Persia, as it often signifies, or with Elymais, a part of
Persia, that kingdom could not be at this time so large and potent as
it has been since; or Chedorlaomer would not have stood in need of the
assistance of other princes against such petty kings as those of Sodom,
&c. Nor does it seem credible that he should come out of Persia, and
pass through so great a part of the world as the countries of Assyria,
Chaldea, Mesopotamia, Syria, and part of Arabia and of Canaan, to bring
five such small towns or cities into subjection to him, as he must, as
Sir Walter Raleigh F19 observes; nor could the trifle of goods, as they
may be comparatively called, he carried off, be an equivalent to the
expense he must be at in so long a march. It is more probable,
therefore, that this was the name of some place near to the land of
Canaan, built by some of the posterity of Elam, the son of Shem, and
called after the name of their ancestor; or it may be a colony of the
Elamites in those parts, of which this prince was their head and chief:
and Tidal king of nations;
that is, either of other nations distinct
from those before mentioned, so Aben Ezra; or else, as he also
observes, the name of a province; or as Jarchi and Ben Melech, the name
of a place called Goim, because there were gathered together many out
of various nations and places, and they set a man to reign over them,
whose name was Tidal; just as one of the Galilees in later times was
called Galilee of the nations, for a like reason. Sir Walter Raleigh
F20 conjectures, that as there were many petty kingdoms joining to
Phoenicia and Palestine, as Palmyrene, Batanea, Laodicene, Apamene,
Chalcidice, Cassiotis and Celibonitis, these might be gathered together
under this man. According to Eupolemus F21, an Heathen writer, these
several princes were Armenians that fought with the Phoenicians, and
overcame them, by whom Lot was carried captive. Josephus F23 indeed,
accommodating himself to the Greek historians, and in favour of them,
says that the Assyrians at this time were masters of Asia, and led out
an army under four generals, and made the kings of Sodom… tributary
to them; and they rebelling against them, made another expedition upon
them under these four kings as their generals, and conquered them: but
it seems not likely that the Assyrian monarchy was so large at this
time; or if it was, these live petty kings of the plain of Jordan, who
had not so much ground as our Middlesex, as Sir Walter Raleigh F24
observes, and perhaps not a quarter of the people in it, would never
have dared to have engaged with so powerful an adversary.
F14 Hyde Hist. Relig. Pers. c. 2. p. 46.
F15 De Urbibus.
F16 Geograph. l. 6. c. 7.
F17 Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 90.
F18 Apud Drusium in loc.
F19 History of the World, par. 1. B. 2. c. 1. sect. 13. p. 138.
F20 Ibid. sect. 11. p. 137.
F21 Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 17. p. 418.
F23 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 9.
F24 Ut supra, (History of the World, par. 1. B. 2. c. 1.) sect. 10. p. 136.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 14:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=ge&chapter=014&verse=001>. 1999.