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Lech Lecha

  
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 14:14
 14:15
14:14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he called out all his 318 fighting men who had been born in his house. He hurried after [the invaders], catching up with them in Dan.
Vayishma Avram ki nishbah achiv vayarek et-chanichav yelidey veyto shmonah asar ushlosh me'ot vayirdof ad-Dan.
14:15 He divided [his forces] against them [and attacked] that night - he and his servants. He attacked, and pursued [the invaders] as far as Chovah, which is to the left of Damascus.
Vayechalek aleyhem laylah hu va'avadav vayakem vayirdefem ad-Chovah asher mismol le-Damasek.



Commentary:

fighting men
  (Ibn Ezra). Or 'students' (Rashi).

Chovah
  See Judith 4:4, 15:4. This is unidentified, but since they were heading northeast, it would be to the northwest of Damascus, possibly in the valley where the Albana River comes through the mountains. The Targum has 'north of Damascus.'

called out
  Or 'hurried' (Targum), or 'armed' (Ibn Ezra).

Dan
  A city at the northern end of the Holy Land, 12 miles north of Lake Hula, and 120 miles north of Hebron. It may have been called that since it would later be named Dan, or else there may have been an ancient city there by that name (Radak). Targum Yonathan identifies it as Dan of Caesarea, since Caesarea was some three miles to the east of Dan. (See Joshua 19:47, Judges 18:29). Saadia identifies it with the Banias River.

This indicates that the invaders had a head start, and Abraham did not catch up with them until Dan.

Damascus
  The capital of Syria, 42 miles northeast of Dan. This was probably as far as they could pursue in a single day. See note on Genesis 30:36.





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