If, as Rashi explains, only Eliezer accompanied Avraham in the battle against the four kings (based on the fact that the Gematriya of Eliezer is 318), why does the Torah write (in plural) that "he armed his disciples"? Moreover, bearing in mind the principle that "a Pasuk never deviates from its simple Peshat," how will we interpret the simple explanation of the Pasuk?
Targum Yonasan: Avraham actually armed all his disciples, only they refused to accompany him, at which point he picked out Eliezer, who agreed to go with him.
Sifsei Chachamim and Da'as Zekenim: When they arrived at the battle-front, Avraham announced that all those afraid of the sins that they had committed should go home. They all went home, except for Eliezer.
Gur Aryeh: Refer to 14:14:1.1:1.
Since the Torah lists only Avraham's disciples and Eliezer, how can it write later (14:24) that Aner, Eshkol and Mamrei joined him too?*
Why does it say that Avraham pursued the four kings until Dan?
Rashi: Because Avraham's descendants would one day put up an image (a golden calf) there, his strength left him. 1
Seforno: Avraham raced after them as far as Dan, where he surprised them with a totally unexpected raid on their encampment.
Gur Aryeh: How do we know that Avraham stopped for this reason? The next verse already says that he chased them until Chovah (14:15), which Rashi also identifies as Dan. We learn from the redundancy that he stopped only because he was unable to continue, for he was weakened.
What is the meaning of the word, "va'Yarek"?
Da'as Zekenim, based on Nedarim 32a: a) Rav said, "Horikan (he loaded them with; alternatively, emptied them 2 of) Torah." b) Shmuel said, Avraham loaded them with gold (so they would not seek spoils, just to save lives).
Avraham knew that he needed to establish Klal Yisrael. How could he risk his life?
Lev Eliyahu (Sefer Shemos, p. 65): Avraham saw the Shechinah (Divine light) in front of him, and entered the war with full Bitachon. 1
And even so, afterwards he was worried lest he had received his eternal reward in the war! (PF)
QUESTIONS ON RASHI
Rashi writes: "318 - This is the Gematriya of 'Eliezer'." Rabeinu Bachya asks - Surely there were 318 in the literal sense! Why would the Torah speak in code?
Gur Aryeh: Avraham was able to defeat the four kings only due to his unique spiritual level, 1 and only Eliezer was on the level to be his servant and assist him. 2 They alone were worthy of defeating the kings. In order to disguise the miracle, Avraham took along additional servants, but specifically 318 of them, the value of "Eliezer," so they too would have his Tzurah (i.e. express and actualize this potential).
Compare to Maharal (Gevuros Hashem Ch. 6, p. 37). The real aim of the four kings was to attack Avraham and his unique mission.
See Maharal (Chidushei Agados, Vol. 3, p. 82, to Bava Basra 58a), regarding the relationship of Avraham and Eliezer. Avraham ruled over his 248 limbs (Nedarim 32b); i.e. over his entire physicality (Chomer) likewise the greatest of giants was his Eved. Eliezer too was no ordinary Eved.
Rashi writes: "... his descendants would place an [idolatrous] calf there." Why did this weaken Avraham's strength now? Is there such a connection between the sin and its location?
Gur Aryeh: Maharal (Chidushei Agados Vol. 3 p. 201, to Sanhedrin 96b): Many locations in Eretz Yisrael have tendencies towards certain things. Just as Yerushalayim was ready to be the city of HaSh-m, Dan carried a tendency for idolatry. Klal Yisrael was in some way inclined towards idolatry, therefore Avraham was weakened, as if the idol was already there.
Rashi writes: "va'Yarek [means 'arming with weapons']... as does... 'Arik Charbi' (Shemos 15:9)." There, however, Rashi specifically translates as, "I will draw (i.e. remove) my sword," and not, "I will arm"?
Sifsei Chachamim: Here we are forced to say that it means "arming;" elsewhere, we can explain simply.
Mizrachi: Since Shemos 15:9 does not say "b'Charbi," but rather "Charbi," it does not mean "arming."
Gur Aryeh: Because the Torah chooses to write "Arik" (and not "Eshlof"), the word carries both meanings. We find that the Torah often uses terms that convey a double meaning.