What does Genesis 14:23 mean?
ESV: that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’
NIV: that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, 'I made Abram rich.'
NASB: that I will not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, so that you do not say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’
CSB: that I will not take a thread or sandal strap or anything that belongs to you, so you can never say, 'I made Abram rich.'
NLT: that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’
KJV: That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
Verse Commentary:
Abram's response to the king of Sodom continues in this verse. Bera, Sodom's king (Genesis 14:2), has demanded that Abram give him back the people he has rescued from the enemy and keep the possessions for himself. This was after watching Melchizedek, whose name means "King of Righteousness" bless Abram and receive a tithe of Abram's spoils (Genesis 14:19–20). The contrast between these two kings is a major factor in interpreting this story.

Abram could have claimed the right to keep all of the war loot for himself. Instead, he responds by saying that he has taken an oath before God not to keep even a thread or a sandal strap from Sodom. Why? He doesn't want the king of Sodom, or anyone else, to take credit for Abram's success. Abram does not want to be associated, in any way, or in any sense, with the wicked culture of Sodom, or her king (Genesis 13:13).

This oath demonstrates Abram's commitment to making it clear that all he had was given to him by the Lord. For God's glory, Abram didn't want any hint of confusion about the source of his wealth, or his victory over the enemy, or his allegiance to God. God Most High was the one who would get the credit for Abram's success.
Verse Context:
Genesis 14:17–24 tells the story of a meeting between Abram and two kings. Returning as the victor after having defeated the eastern kings and recapturing all their plunder, Abram is met by the king of Sodom and by Melchizedek, the mysterious king of Salem. Melchizedek, also known as a priest of God Most High, gives Abram bread, wine, and a blessing from God. Abram gives this priest ten percent of all the plunder. Sodom's king demands his people back, but offers to let Abram keep the riches. Abram refuses to keep anything. He doesn't want to be associated, in any way, with such an ungodly ruler.
Chapter Summary:
This short chapter is packed with action, adventure, and war. An army from the east comes to reestablish its rule over the kings of the city-states of Canaan. Five kings from the Dead Sea region rebel, are defeated, and Sodom is looted. Abram's nephew Lot is captured and taken away. Abram and his own small army chase down the eastern kings, defeating them and recapturing all that was lost. Returning home, Abram is met by a mysterious king and priest of God Most High called Melchizedek.
Chapter Context:
At first, Genesis 14 seems unrelated to the previous chapter. Four kings from the east come to wage war against the kings and people groups of Canaan, including five kings from cities around the Dead Sea. The eastern kings defeat all challengers, looting Sodom and carrying off Lot and his entire family. Now Abram reappears in the story to chase down the departing army, defeat them in a single night, and retrieve all that was lost. On the way home, he is met by a mysterious king and priest of God Most High known as Melchizedek.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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