Genesis 14:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 14:20, NIV: "And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.' Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything."

Genesis 14:20, ESV: "and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything."

Genesis 14:20, KJV: "And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."

Genesis 14:20, NASB: "And blessed be God Most High, Who has handed over your enemies to you.' And he gave him a tenth of everything."

Genesis 14:20, NLT: "And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.' Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered."

Genesis 14:20, CSB: "and blessed be God Most High who has handed over your enemies to you. And Abram gave him a tenth of everything."

What does Genesis 14:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Abram is returning from defeating the four kings of the east, in order to rescue his nephew Lot and all of Lot's possessions. In doing so, Abram has also recovered the plunder taken by the enemy, including all that was taken from Sodom. Bera, the king of Sodom (Genesis 14:2), has come out to meet Abram, as has the king of Salem: a mysterious figure called Melchizedek. Here, King Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God, continues his blessing for conquering Abram begun in the previous verse.

The blessing given states clearly that the Lord was responsible for this victory, something Abram was clearly already aware of. Abram responds by tithing on the plunder he has recovered from the four kings of the east. He gives ten percent of all of it to this priest of God, Melchizedek. This may have been a customary response to a blessing at this time, but it certainly would not have been required of Abram. As the victor, the spoils of war would likely have been his to claim. He chose not to keep them.

This act of tithing will also serve as an example to Israel and God's people in the future. Tithing to the priests will become required by God's Law (see Numbers 18; Leviticus 27:30-33).