Hebrews 7:1-3 – Who Was Melchizedek?

In Hebrews 5:1-10 the writer of Hebrews discussed the high priesthood of Christ. Jesus is the superior High Priest because he was a human, like us, yet he was also God.  Because of this unique combination, Jesus is able to be the perfect high priest forever, a priest that is not like the line of earthly priests descended from Aaron and the tribe of Levi, but a priest in the order of Melchizedek, the mysterious priest from Genesis 14. But because this was a difficult concept, the writer digresses into a warning to his readers not to be lazy in their spiritual development.  They ought to be interested in the difficult “meat” of the Word of God.

11Q Melchizedek

In chapter 7, the writer of Hebrews argues Jesus is the Perfect High Priest, in the order of Melchizedek, who serves as a “type” of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is the Perfect High Priest, he is able to meet our needs in a way that no human priest ever could.

Melchizedek is identified by the writer of Hebrews as both a priest and a king. While he is mentioned in Genesis 14 and Psalm 110, there is a great deal of interest in him in the Second Temple period.  Genesis 14 describes Abram’s rescue of Lot from the hands of invaders from the east. Lot was living in Sodom when it was captured by five kings from the east. Abram rallies a small army and pursues the invaders, and routs their army.  While returning from the battle, Abram is met by Melchizedek, who greets him and blesses him.  Genesis 14:18-20 describes Abram worshiping the most High God with Melchizedek and offering a tithe to God through this mysterious priest.

Psalm 110 also refers to  Melchizedek.  This psalm is perhaps the most cited messianic Psalm in the New Testament.  The author of Hebrews used it in chapter 1 and it appears in Acts and Paul as well.  What is important for our reading of Heb 7 is that the Psalm connects the davidic ruler to “the priesthood of Melchizedek.”

There were a number of interpretations of Melchizedek current in the first century, perhaps explaining why the author of Hebrews used this rather obscure character as an analogy for Jesus.

  • The Dead Sea scrolls make Melchizedek into a paradigm for the righteous remnant, awaiting the return of the Messiah.  He functions very much like Michael in Daniel 12.  He is a defender of Israel who will return to punish those who opposed the righteous remnant.
  • The Targum Jonathan argued that Melchizedek was Shem, the son of Noah.  In the genealogies of Genesis, Shem would outlived Abraham by 35 years.  The Jews sought to find a way to explain the great Abraham giving honor to Melchizedek, they did this by making him one of Abraham’s great ancestors.
  • The philosopher Philo described Melchizedek as the “divine logos,” not God but God’s representative in this world

The reason for all this speculation is that there is not much said in Gen 14 about who Melchizedek.  That he worships the God Most High and was the king of Salem (presumably Jerusalem) is remarkable indeed.  Perhaps the motivation is that Melchizedek was the king of Jerusalem in the age prior to the Davidic Kingdom.  Since David captured Jerusalem as his capitol, he became a king in the line of Melchizedek.  As the son of David, Jesus is both a king (in the line of David) and a priest (in the line of Melchizedek).

47 thoughts on “Hebrews 7:1-3 – Who Was Melchizedek?

  1. Although (as I state quite frequently), I am no expert when it comes to Biblical and Jewish history, I gravitate towards the idea that Melchizedek was Shem himself. It is hard for me to grasp the idea that Melchizedek could be some angel or an idea or concept. The whole reason that Jesus is referred as Melchizedek is so that the title of “High Priest” can be bestowed upon Jesus, and how could this be so with Melchizedek being an angel? I am drawn towards the conclusion that Melchizedek is a person and was a real priest of the Most High God (as Genesis 14:18 says). He was named the king of Salem (Jerusalem) and a priest at the same time. Having an angel as a king doesn’t flow, neither does the idea of having an angelic priest. As Jobes follows this through, David eventually conquers Salem and claims it as the capital for the Israelites where he builds the temple. This title of priesthood of the Most High God will eventually fall on Jesus the Son of God. With the Levite priests not yet established, Jobes states, “…one could reason that all of the tithes of ancient Israel collected under the old covenant established by Moses were symbolically offered to God by their ancestor Abraham through the priest Melchizedek” (Jobes, 104). If anything, who else would be a priest of the Most High God, but someone from the line of Noah? There are certainly other gentiles that were mentioned as God-fearing, but they would not have held such a significant role such as being a priest!

    • I do like how you threw the few questions at the end of your post. The role of priest hood was an important role and it was specifically for the people from the Levi. But before the Levite priests where established, Melchizedek was the priest who carried out the priesthood duties. We see Abraham tithing to Melchizedek, whereby the tithing at this time had a lot of restriction and who has to be tithed to or not. This confirms how Melchizedek is a person and also is a priest of most high God.
      Jesus is the high priest because He was fully human as discussed in Hebrews 5:1-10. This means the job of a priest was for a human being, which justifies that Melchizedek was a person not an angelic being.

  2. Jesus the high priest. Jesus the Son of Man. Jesus the Son of God. Jesus the King of Kings. Jesus the….you get the picture. Jesus had to come and be all these things and be perfect so that in his death and resurection all would be saved.

    Jesus was the representitive of the world to His Father. We as man were so sinful that we needed some to represent as a sacrifice to God. Jesus was this man. The first few chapters in Hebrews does its best to prove this point. Hebrews points out people like Melchizedek who show that Jesus came from the line of high priest. Hebrews is a great book that points to Jesus being who he said he was and who the people who were with him said he was.

  3. I don’t see that knowing who Melchizedek was specifically would lend any more to parallel that the author of Hebrews is drawing. We know that Melchizedek was a high priest and a king. Maybe that is the whole point right there. Maybe it is showing that Jesus is also a high priest (which a main theme running through the whole book of Hebrews) and that Jesus is royal (a theme which appears throughout all of scripture).

    To my limited knowledge there are few, if any, references in the rest of the Bible, to Jesus being a high priest. For the author of Hebrews to make this connection really causes the book to stand alone, showing a side of Jesus’ ministry that was being overlooked by the other New Testament authors.

    Besides, the fact that the Lord did not preserve any other information about Melchizedek kind of seems to point to this. If understanding who Melchizedek was necessary to understanding the connection between him and Christ then it seems like God would have preserved the knowledge that we needed.

    • cwitt: Makes some good points, in the sense of revelation. But I like the so-called theological point of Philo, that Melchizedek was like the “divine logos”, in the more Jewish sense as God’s representative. But of course we see in the NT revelation: Jesus as the “Perfect” Priest and King! One cannot but note the Platonic here.

    • I think that the writer’s point is a bit more obscure – since Melchizedek is without Genealogy in Gen 14, he is like Jesus, without ancestors, perhaps even eternal? This raises (in my mind) a host of questions since that is not how I read Gen 14!

      • Certainly “Melchizedek” is regarded as a prototype of Jesus; the Messiah and the messianic blessings include justice and peace. It looks like Ps. 110: 4 led to the idea or truth of the eternity of Melchizedek.

  4. God is the highest priest there is no one above or near him. I think that Melchizedek is talked about as “like Jesus” is interesting because there is no one like Jesus that can do what Jesus can or did. I think that when comparing high priests there is only one who is the highest and that is God.

  5. I have never had any specific view on this topic simply because like Adam, I am no expert on biblical and Jewish history. I have always held the view that Jesus was in the line of Melchizedek because that is what I read in the bible. As mentioned it makes sense that if David is in the line of Melchizedek through becoming king and Jesus is in the line of David, then simply through linear continuation of the generations Jesus would be in the line of Melchizedek. Now I do know that in order to fit the characteristics of being a priest Jesus had to be human. And looking at Melchizedek as mentioned in Hebrews as both a priest and a king it somewhat makes sense that Jesus would be similar. As it has already been stated by some, we really don’t have a ton of information about Melchizedek and what he did, but we do see that he was connected and as mentioned already, King of Jerusalem. The thing mentioned by Jobes that caught my attention was that “Hebrews also points out that Abraham tithed to God through Melchizedek and received God’s blessing through Melchizedek (Heb 7:4,6). This demonstrates that the father of God’s Chosen people tithed and worshiped Yahweh through a priest who was not of the tribe of Levi, because that tribe wouldn’t come into existence until hundreds of years later.” (Jobes 104) This caught my attention because all we see in normal writings about priests are that they come from that one specific tribe, but have we ever really thought about what the case was before that tribe was on the planet?

  6. I think the only thing that I have gotten from reading this post and people’s replys is that God is the high priest and no one is above him or near that high of a status. No one comes close to the role of God. I like Cody’s post and how he talks about Melchizedek. I also agree that if God wanted us to know his connection with Melchizedek that he would have given us the knowledge that we needed to understand it. I’m not even going to lie a lot of this stuff confuses me because I have never really looked into books with this great of detail. So bare with me I’m a beginner.

  7. The book of Hebrews presents Jesus Christ as being from the royal line of David, as belonging to the “order of Melchizedek” and therefore superior to the Levitical priests. Melchizedek is a mysterious figure both in Genesis and in Hebrews. John MacArthur says that “the Levitical priesthood was hereditary, but Melchizedek’s was not. His parentage and origin are unknown because they were irrelevant to his priesthood”. No record existed of Melchizedek’s birth or death which seems to add to the mystery of who he was. Upon return from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, we read that Abraham gives to Melchizadek a tenth of the spoils he collected. In antiquity, it was common for people to give a tithe to a god or his representitive. John MacArthur states, “That proves Melchizedek was superior to Abraham”. The lessor person tithes to the greater. It is worth noting just how and why Melchizedek suddenly appears and then disappears off the pages of scripture see how important of a role he played in the Priesthood in addition to being the King of Salem? The ESV Bible says that “As far as OT narrative is concerned, it shows no end to his priesthood”. Exactly who he was and what his role pertained to in Hebrew scriptures leaves one to wonder if he were not a type of Christ.

  8. I can honestly agree with just about everyone else on this post that this topic in particular has never really interested me. Through writing my paper this past week though a question came up to what the high priest was and what the qualification were and how the whole process actually worked and found some interesting things. Through reading all of this I agreed with Curtis that I read through the passages that Jesus was in the line of Melchizadek simply because it is read that way and simply just took it that way. According to Leviticus 8, God spoke through Moses to appoint Aaron and his sons as priests. Considering the position of a high priest is to be a lifetime position, from what I learned from P.Long, the only other way of become a High Priest is through God appointing them. There are also quite a few qualifications of being a High Priest. It states that Melchizadek is a king and a priest and Jesus is very similar. Jesus was made high priest and was predicted as High Priest since the Old Testament in Psalm 110. Because Jesus exceeds all qualification of being High Priest it only makes sense that he would be. Because of Jesus, he is forever The High Priest. I guess after thinking about all of this I can say that who Melchizadek is still doesn’t make sense to me because I haven’t cared. But I also think that this is possibly something I should know when it comes to “proofing” the bible and being positive in what I believe and talk about.

  9. Melchizedek is one of those incredibly fascinating characters of the scriptures because we find ourselves wanting to know more when the just is not much information at all like Enoch where we know just enough to ask questions and yet after that it is all theory and semantics. I think scripture has these characters like this on purpose because we know exactly what we need to, no more no less, just like a wizards timeliness the scripture says precisely what it means to. We know Melchizedek was a high priest and king of Salem, he had no issue worshiping God with Abram and out side of that little else. So to see Christ in the line of Melchizedek we can safely say that He is a high priest and king and understands the divinity of the one true God.

  10. Those who follow the teaching in the spirit knows that Jesus upon ascending to heaven took his priestly robes.He is the high priest in the Heavenly sanctuary, where he is interceding daily for all sins that are repented by Christians. The Bible reaffirms this that once the work of probation or investigation will be over in the heavenly sanctuary and all cases shall have been ended, Christ shall remove the priestly garments and and shall wear royal garment as ruler over his kingdom, and He will return to the world as a king to rule in the throne of David.You will remember Christ having, a golden septre to rule all the nations.
    Additional reading for detail is available in the Book ….The Great Controversy by Hellen G. White. avaailable online as audio book.
    May God those who seek the truth.

  11. Thankfully there is no “probation” for the real Christian life, but there is real Christian perseverance! Also Christ’s “Intercession” is even now based upon that one great “expiation” (Death) of Christ!

  12. ok I’m no bible expert but I do believe that this whole thing is about relevelation. However with my limited knowledge I believe Jerusalem which is refered to as Salem where Melchezedek was King was the heavenly Jerusalem because Jerusalem itself was not yet built here on earth since we all Know Solomon built it. So with this knowledge then it would seem that King Melchezedek would be Jesus Himself. The breaking of bread and drinking wine that happened between Abram and Melchezedek even shows that it was The Lord. Anyways that’s whats strong in my heart.

    • That is all quite possible, except that David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites about the year 996 B.C. (2 Sam 5:6-10) and then expanded the Jebusite city (2 Sam 5:11-12), well before Solomon was born. Since he captured it, the city existed long before David’s time and appears in a couple of places in the earlier history as Salem (Melchizedek in Gen 14). The tribe of Judah captured the city in Judges 1:8, but the Benjamintes did not hold the territory and it was eventually recaptured by the Jebusites. Joshua 15:8 describes the settlement near the Valley of Hinnom as Jebusite territory, notice the parenthetical “update” to include the name Jerusalem.

      Solomon built the Temple on Mount Moriah, near what was then Jerusalem. The city and the Temple both eventually expanded so that they were the same city. Perhaps that is what you were thinking of.

  13. One of my favorite quotes from Jobes is “…rather than concluding that [Melchizedek] was supernatural, simply believe that he was a human priest-king whose lineage had been lost or considered unimportant at the time Genesis was written” (105). The author of Genesis may have thought at the time of writing the book that Melchizedek was important in the storyline of Abraham. However, the author probably would have never guessed that Melchizedek had a storyline of his own that would intertwine with the saving of mankind. I believe that the appearing insignificance is why God choose to use Melchizedek in the first place. With the story of Jesus, His beginnings were humble. He was not born in Jerusalem but in Bethlehem, born to an average couple rather than to a king. Jesus was born into humble circumstances and being the line of Melchizedek was part of that humbleness. Melchizedek was mentioned briefly in the Bible, had no parents or lineage recorded. All that was known about him was his place of reign and that he worshiped the one true God (Gen. 14:17-24). To the naked eye, Melchizedek was not very important in the storyline of the Bible. However, hundreds of years later Melchizedek became part of the most important story ever told. The story of Jesus Christ.

  14. I really hope whoever posted about Melchizedek before me spelled his name right because I copied and pasted his name. These are the types of mysteries that I long to read about in the Bible. Not only do we have someone who is regarded as King of Righteousness and a High Priest that is not Jesus, but we have someone who is related to Jesus is some sort. I look at the three ideas or concepts behind who Melchizedek is and i began to think logically. I would not think that it is Shem because he has already has a place in God’s divine scripture. Whoever Melchizedek is is important because all scripture is God-breathed. The other two points seem like guesses that we can not prove not to be true. With that being said I would tend to agree with what Sarah Maas stated above, “…rather than concluding that [Melchizedek] was supernatural, simply believe that he was a human priest-king whose lineage had been lost or considered unimportant at the time Genesis was written” (105). Jobes makes a good point. At the time the lineage of this person did not need to be shared. Maybe everyone who the Bible was written to knew who Melchizedek was, and therefor there is no need to write that down.

  15. I will only comment on Gen 14:18, as I know some Hebrew but no Greek.

    The Hebrew term that is rendered as rendered “Melchizedek” in most English translations is explicated at: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H4442.

    The correct transliteration in modern transliteration systems is Malkiy-Tsedeq, pronounced by Anglophones as mal·kē·tseh’·dek. The “Ts” is a single sound represented by the Hebrew letter tsadi and is pronounced as in Tsar or pits. I have heard some very amusing attempts to pronounce the word — such as mel·chiz·ed·ek, with the ch as in cheese.

    As for meaning, the word is a compound of two common Hebrew words. Malkiy is a form of Melek or Melech (Ch is guttural as in loch), which is translated as king. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H4428 Tsedeq (https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6664) is usually translated as righteous, but can also mean justice or even charity.

    I think the correct translation of Malkiy-Tsedeq is King of Righteouness and it is a title not a proper name.

    I leave theological conclusions to the reader.

    • This is the correct translation (and pronunciation) of the name מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק, but it is not certain it is a title. Two things: first, Genesis 14:18 says “Melchizedek king of Salem.” There is a name and a title. Salem is likely Jerusalem, well before David captured the city from the Jebusites.

      Second, very similar names appears in Joshua 10:1-3 and Judges 1:5. Adonia-zedek (אֲדֹנִי־צֶדֶק, Lord of Righteousness) and Adoni-bezek (אֲדֹנִ֥י בֶ֙זֶק֙), the Lord of Bezek. The Hebrew word bezeq probably means “fragment,” or “sherd” (D. G. Schley, “Adoni-Bezek (Person)”, 1:74). This might very well refer to an “old Canaanite god, Ṣedeq who was at one time the patron deity in Jerusalem.” Schley goes on to suggest “David’s choice of a priest of unknown origin, Zadok ((Heb Ṣādôq, Ug Ṣaduq), to serve alongside Abiathar, may have resulted from a desire (or need) to secure the loyalty of the Jebusite cult in Jerusalem” (ABD 1:75).

      The name is really a good old Canaanite name, even if the king mentioned in Genesis 14 worshiped the most high God.

      • Rulers often have epithets as well as proper names. E.g.: Charles the Bold, baptised Charles Martin, Duke of Burgundy.

        Thus a text could read: “The Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold” without mentioning his proper name.

        This biblical text could easily, and properly be translated as: “The King of Shalem, who was called the King of Righteousness” and his proper name which could have been the ancient Semitic equivalent of John Thompson, might not have been mentioned at all.

      • I should add that I do not recall any other Hebrew proper names that use a derivative of Melek as part of the name.

      • Abimelech king of Gerar, (Gen 20:2), “my father the king”
        Allammelech, a place name meaning ““king’s terebinth,” Josh 19:26
        Abimelech, Gideon’s son in Judges 9
        Ruth’s husband Elimelech, “my God the king”
        Ahimelech, high priest at Nob (1 Sam 21:1), “my brother the king”
        Ahimelech the Hittite (1 Sam 26:6), one of David’s soldiers
        Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth (2 Sam 11:21).
        Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim (2 Kings 17:31).
        Adrammelech, son of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:37)
        Nathan-melech the chamberlain (2 Ki 23:11)
        The sons of Micah: Pithon, Melech… (1 Chron 8:35)
        Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch who was in the king’s house (Jer 38:7), “Servant of the King”
        Regem-melech, (Zech 7:2), possibly a title, “the title of an official, spokesman, herald of the king” (HALOT)

        So as many as 13 other examples, although one is probably a title and one is a place name. Abimelech is a great name for the son a king, Ahimelech would not be literally Saul’s brother since he cannot be from the tribe of Benjamin and be a priest. I think it is probably a name taken to show loyalty to the king. And there is example of someone just called Melech! I could also mention Molech, the god’s name was melech, but the vowels for “shame” (bosheth) were added to mock the god.

        Melchizedek could be a title, but there is no telling for sure given the many examples here of non-kings with melech in their names.

  16. I find it interesting the Jesus was compared to Melchizedek. Like Jobes states Melchizedek “is only mentioned in the Bible ten times and eight of those times were in Hebrews where he is presented as an analogy for the priesthood of Jesus Christ.” (103). I see where the confusion is with the comparison to Jesus because how little Melchizedek is mentioned. Hebrews explains Melchizedek for efficiently in Passage 7:1-2. For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.” The following verses then go on to state that Melchizedek had no parents or a beginning of fay or end of life. I personally like how Jobes puts it “The idea that Melchizedek was a supernatural being has come into Christian tradition with speculation that perhaps he was a preincarnation appearance of the Son.” (105). My first had thoughts about Melchizedek were similar to this. this. Maybe he was. but personally, I believe that if he was the preincarnation to Christ, Wouldn’t God have mentioned him more or pointed to this more often throughout the Bible? I have many wonders when it comes to Melchizedek, but I do know one thing. Jesus was the ultimate high priest. Most likely compared to Melchizedek due to his faithful heart, and servant attitude toward God.

  17. I had remembered my dad mentioning Melchizedek when I was younger, but I never paid much attention or cared to know what the big deal was. I now find it Melchizedek so interesting and find myself asking my dad all about this mysterious priest. Melchizedek is a name mentioned only twice in the Old Testament, Genesis and Psalms. Melchizedek is the name of a high priest of God mentioned briefly in Genesis 14 after Abraham had just conquered Sodom and Gomorrah and given Melchizedek a tenth of everything he had acquired (Gen 14). Hebrews 7 further explains that Melchizedek was named king of peace, king of righteousness, and “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually” (v.3). This brings me to the conclusion that “Targum Jonathan’s” argument of Melchizedek being son of Noah is false and has no backing.

    Is he in fact the Prince of Peace? Jobes suggests that Melchizedek was a preincarnation of the son of God (105). Hebrews continues to compare Jesus to Melchizedek because both obtained perfection in priesthood. Jesus is the Davidic Messiah; He is named Lord and priest after the order of Melchizedek. “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4). Melchizedek resembles Jesus because they both remain High Priests for all eternity. Jesus was able to attain and maintain the role of High Priest because He became flesh and blood, yet also God. Personally, I can’t wait to find out all these questions when I get to heaven!

  18. Melchizedek, being mentioned so little in the Bible makes me wonder why he is compared to Christ. I can see why people can compare him to Christ, I just have a hard time doing so. “Melchizedek was a gentile not an Israelite” (ebook). Jobes mentions that since Melchizedek was from the gentile line and not the line of Israelites it is hard for others to understand why they would be compared to each other. I would have to agree, Gentiles, before Christ died and rose again, were not accepted as holy people. Melchizedek, being a gentile is being uncleaned back then. I understand that he can be known as the prince of peace.. is that really a concept that can be accepted or truth? Christ is known as the prince of peace, but he actually brought peace. Personally, I am confused with the comparison, and do not fully understand, yet I can also see how others can.

  19. I like to lean more towards Melchizedek is Shem. But I can also see where people might want to say he is an angel or someone from God. He meets Abraham on the way back from battle and blesses him. He is mentioned as a high priest and a king. We know hebrews compares Jesus to him because Jesus is the high priest and a king. we know Jesus was not from the levites but was from the tribe of Judah. So he had to get his priesthood from somewhere. It makes sense that he was in the line of Melchizedek because his priesthood would come from that. Maybe my genealogy is all messed up and I am in no way a person who knows everything about the Bible. but Jesus’s priesthood has to come from somewhere.

  20. Melchizedek is a mysterious figure and not a lot of information is found to explain about him. Both Genesis and Hebrews bring out this mysterious figure, but Hebrews uses this figure in relation to Jesus Christ being named as the high priest, the greatest high priest. In Genesis 14:18, Melchizedek is named as the priest of the most high God. This time period, the priests where seen as political leaders, so he was named king of Salem present day Jerusalem. Jesus being called the greatest high priest and He from the line of David can be a little confusing. During David’s time, he captures Jerusalem and makes it his capital, David becomes a king in the line of Melchizedek. This justifies the reason to why Jesus is the highest priest in the order of Melchizedek. Before the establishment of the Levite priests, Jobes states, “… one could reason that all of the tithes of ancient Israel collected under the old covenant established by Moses were symbolically offered to God by their ancestor Abraham through the priest Melchizedek.” (Jobes 104)
    In Hebrews 5:1-10 Jesus’ priesthood is discussed. Jesus is the great high priest because He was fully human but still fully God. This shows that the work of priesthood is a human job and responsibility. With this I come to a conclusion that Melchizedek is a person not just an angelic being.

  21. Melchizedek has always been a person in the Bible in which I have always wanted to know more about. The comparison between him and Christ does seem a bit strange to me by the author of Hebrews. One thing we know about the about Melchizedek is that he was a priest, and a high priest. Which if we know from previous readings is that one of the qualifications for High Priesthood is that they must be divinely appointed (P. Long, 52.) Whether the comparison fits at all is tough to argue because it seemed like Melchizedek is more notable remarked as a well known priest, someone who was truly a humble servant of Yahweh. The problem I have with comparing him to Jesus is that simply he was just a great priest, yet even with being a human Jesus knew about the role he was playing before he was even playing it. Wasn’t Melchizadek following the rules Yahweh had set for him back in the OT before the time of Jesus. Jesus was just living his life, and yet the author of Hebrews classifies him as the high priest. It is just hard for me to understand the fact that the comparison is from a random priest in the Old Testament, and Jesus, someone who knew all that was before he was even born.

  22. As we learn about Melchizedek, I find it so interesting how many similarities there are between Jesus and this mysterious priest. According to Jobe these similarities include Melchizedek’s name foreshadowing the work and impact of the Messiah (Jobes, 104), he brought God’s blessing to Abraham, and that he was thought to be not far off from a supernatural being (Jobes, 104-105).
    It is also quite clear that as we learn about Melchizedek, we gain depth into the important place of Jesus as High Priest. Whether the comparison is appropriate or not, it is a pivotal tool of Hebrews to illustrate the superiority of Christ to the audience of Hebrews. Furthermore, it is quite inspiring to observe the humility of Jesus, who knew his own identity as High Priest, throughout the gospels. One question that comes to mind is that if Jesus had compared himself/claimed himself above both Moses and Melchizedek, would many people have ostracized and become hard toward him and his message? I feel that this is quite likely because many people turned away from him and called Jesus blasphemous when he claimed himself the Son of God and Messiah. Jesus’ humility directly relates to not only his identity but also his mission. We can see these qualities also illustrated in Melchizedek’s life and ministry.
    One final thought regarding Melchizedek is that it has been affirmed that Melchizedek is a person not angel. Because he is so mysterious in life and in death it is often misconstrued that he was an angel. However, because we see the Bible discuss Melchizedek in the genealogy of David, as well as in Jesus’ priesthood explained in Hebrews 5, that we are reassured that Melchizedek was indeed human.

  23. To start off, the name, Melchizedek, is derived from two Hebrew words: מלך (melek) meaning ‘king’ and זדך (zedek) meaning ‘righteousness.’ Furthermore, when these two words are put together, forming a Hebrew construct chain, there is an ‘i’ sound placed between the words, looking as such in Hebrew: מלךי זדך pronounced: meleki zedek, meaning, King of Righteousness. Thus, the name Melkizedek is more likely a title over a name. Furthermore, Melkizedek has other titles as well, such as, King of Salem (Genesis 14:18)
    As far as being a Biblical character, Melkizedek only appears three times within the Bible. However, these three appearances are very important. Within Genesis, Abraham tithes a portion of his spoils from war to Melkizedek, something against Jewish customs, for Jews only tithed to God (Gen 14:18-20). The ESV Study Bible claims that this action of tithing gives merit to the words Melkizedek speaks (ESVSB 76). Melkizedek appears a second time as David is anointed high priest, “in the order of Melkizedek” (Psalm 110). Lastly, Melchizedek appears in Hebrews, as Jesus is compared to Melkizedek, in discussion with Jesus being a high priest (Hebrews 7:1-3).
    Many scholars have other opinions as well about who Melkizedek was. Philo stated that Melkizedek was the divine logos, not God but God’s representative in this world. There are also claims that Melkizedek is Shem, the son of Noah. However, this has not been verified as fact.
    In conclusion, there is not much known about Melkizedek. He has many titles and appears to have a large importance within the Bible. He was a priest of God (Gen 14:18) and was “Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever” (Hebrews 7:3).

  24. Melchizedek also interested me, mostly just due to the fact that there is not much about him mentioned in scripture. Melchizedek wasn’t one of those classic Old Testament bible characters that I grew up hearing stories about. I think I was in middle school or early high school before I actually read the passages in which he was presented to Abram. I remember reading that passage and coming away somewhat confused. The idea of an unknown priest king who worshiped God, was somewhat confusing. Where did he come from? Why wasn’t he mentioned in another part of the Old Testament? My conclusion from the beginning was that Melchizedek was a representation of Christ. A Christ figure per say, but I always wondered if he was real or if he was just a representation of Christ woven in as a myth. After studying deeper about what Hebrews has to say about that subject, it is really important to understand who Melchizedek was considering the importance of his role in Jesus high priesthood. Jobes points out something interesting that I had never considered before, Melchizedek was a gentile (2011). This would make sense considering the time line of the Israel’s formation, but it was still something interesting for me to think about, in lieu of Christ genealogy.


    Jobes, K. H. (2011). Letters to the Church: A Survey of Hebrews and the General Epistles. Zondervan.

  25. As we know that the Bible suddenly mention about Melchizedek in Genesis 14. However, the Bible does not give us the specific about his biography. Melchizedek, all we know about him is Melchizedek, whose name means king of righteousness, was a king of Salem and priest of the Most High God (Gen. 14:18-20, Psalm 110:4). Melchizedek’s sudden appearance and disappearance in the book of Genesis is somewhat mysterious. The writer of Hebrews symbolizes Jesus Christ’s higher priesthood through the example of a mysterious Old Testament figure names Melchizedek as the king of Salam and as a priest of the Most High God. Melchizedek brings out bread and wine and he blesses Abraham. Melchizedek is the first person in the Old Testament to be called a priest. Following Abraham’s defeat of the five kings, Abraham goes out to meet the king of Sodom. If Abraham did not know that who Melchizedek was when he suddenly appeared he was in trouble. It was very interesting that how did Abraham know that Melchizedek was the Most High Priest. And how did Melchizedek know Abraham. And how was the relationship between them. In Psalm 110, Melchizedek is presented as a type of Christ. This is repeated in the book of Hebrews, where both Melchizedek and Christ are considered kings of righteousness and peace. It seem like the description of Melchizedek is figurative, the details of having no genealogy, no beginning or ending and simply state the mysterious of the person who met Abraham. Are Melchizedek and Jesus the same person? Is Melchizedek come down from heaven? Is he an angel? Is he a Gentile or Jewish? Did God choose him before Abraham was called in Ur? Melchizedek is one of the most interest people in the Bible. It is very clear that they both like Melchizedek was both pies and king, Jesus is also both priest and king.

  26. I think that it is interesting that Melchizedek was a priest and a king, which was not normal for the time. In fact it never happened because the Priests all came from the tribe of Levi whereas the Kings came from the tribe of Jesse so it was impossible for the king and the priest to be the same person. It is strange that Melchizedek seems to be a very important analogy to the Jews but that we have no other knowledge of him, I wonder why, whether there were lost documents or just we weren’t meant to know. Jobes in chapter 3 talks about how Melchizedek was technically a Gentile and that because of this it raises the question about how his priesthood is an analogy for Jesus, since Jesus was not Gentile. The Dead Sea Scrolls are an interesting point as they are the oldest record we have of the Bible. The note about Philo calling Melchizedek a representative of God but not God himself was an important distinction for Melchizedek versus Jesus because Melchizedek was fully human but Jesus was fully human and fully God. It provides another reason that Christ is going to be a better, more fully holy high priest because he is also fully God.

  27. it is interesting to know that Melchizedek has been mentioned throughout the Bible and yet we do not fully know who he was. all we know about him is what the Bible said about him. he, like this post says, is both a king and a priest. the Jewish people did not do this when they had kings and priests, because the tribe of Levi were the ones who had the role of priesthood. Saul tried to offer a sacrifice to God while he was king, however Samuel told him that he should have waited for him to make the offering. because of what Saul did, his kinghood line, per say, was cut off. this is where Samuel is told to find David, man after God’s own heart. David’s kinghood stays even during the split of northern and southern kingdoms, the Israelites being captured, and then returning back home under Roman rule. joseph was in the Davidic line of kingship and his wife Mary was giving birth to Jesus. as Jesus grew up, he taught all over Jerusalem and to the neighboring cities. he had authority of a king and empathy of a priest, just like Melchizedek.

  28. There is very little we know about Melchizedek. It is interesting that he isn’t given more emphasis in Scripture due to the obvious correlation he has between Jesus as Messiah and himself, as can be seen in Psalms and Hebrews. Hebrews mentions Melchizedek so that he can express his thoughts on Jesus as the Great High Priest (Jobes, 2011). Melchizedek is understood to be identified as a king and a high priest, who was given a tithe from Abram to be given to God in Genesis 14 (Long, 2018). However, because there is so little evidence of who Melchizedek is, many have found to speculate who he is. Some say he is an angelic being, others say he is Shem (Jobes, 2011). No matter who he is, although that is an important aspect to consider when comparing him with Jesus, Hebrews ensures to explain what it means for Jesus to be a Great High priest in, “the line of Melchizeked”. Jesus not only became an ordinary priest, like the Levites, he became the Perfect Priest, and eternal priest and then on top of that became a king within the line of David (Long, 2018). This parallels with the identity of Melchizedek who was a great high priest and king. We may not kow everything about Melchizedek but we can infer the meaning behind his reference and why Hebrews uses him as a way of explaining Jesus to Jewish Christians who might have understood this reference. Understanding the identity of Melchizedek may just have to be something that we discover after death and into eternity.

  29. The fact that we know so little about Melchizedek makes understanding the significance of Christ’s comparison to him difficult. Personally I am partial to a more symbolic interpretation of Christ’s relationship to Melchizedek. Like Melchizedek, Christ acts as our high priest and as the king of our lives. Hebrews is full of warnings regarding turning away from salvation, and this comparison serves to emphasize that in turning from Christ, one denounces both their faith and their lord. Hebrews expands more on Jesus as the high priest, and his role as lord is evident in the whole Bible. The challenging question for theological thinkers of today is whether lose salvation once it is assured.

  30. I’ve written several papers now on Christ’s role as the great High Priest. While there is a bit of a challenge in understanding what this means for the modern reader, there are several good passages in Hebrews that explain the role of a priest and what they did. Thus it is still fairly easy to understand the significance of the role, even if we do not completely understand everything it entailed. What is much more of a struggle is to understand who Melchizedek was and why Christ would be called a high priest in his order. While we can turn to other scripture to help us interpret the role of the high priest, Melchizedek is not mentioned very many other places in scripture. The blog mentions Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 as the only chapters besides Hebrews that mention Melchizedek, and how there was a great interest in him in the second temple period. One of the most interesting things I learned about Melchizedek through class and the textbook was the lack of ancestry or background. In the Bible, it is common for people to be introduced as “the son of ___.” But that is not done with Melchizedek, in fact, there is no information about his background. It is much more difficult to understand how Melchizedek foreshadows Jesus when there is so little about who Melchizedek was. Melchizedek does explain how Jesus can be both a priest and king at the same time though. Jesus was born into the lineage of David, who was a king, which meant that he was most definitely not from the tribe of Levi, which he would have had to be in order to be a priest. However, being a priest in the order of Melchizedek freed him from the requirement that he had to be a Levite to be a priest.

  31. Melchizedek is an interesting character. His short mention in Genesis 14 when Melchizedek blesses Abraham and Abraham tithes to God through Melchizedek who is considered “Priest of God most high” has a lot of significance that is only revealed many years later when Jesus comes to earth (Genesis 14:18). This moment is interesting because the Jewish people would have probably immediately remembered Melchizedek because of his interaction with Abraham since Abraham was (and is) such an important figure who represents both a man’s faithfulness to God, but even more God’s faithfulness to man. But for Christians today the interaction between Melchizedek and Abraham and its importance could be easily overlooked. Jesus’s role in bringing salvation to those who trust in him could not be accomplished without Jesus being our great high priest that brought us into a restored relationship with God. Jobes notes that the people of Jesus’ time would have known that he was not from the tribe of Levi and therefore was not a priest by the traditional standards. This is where Hebrew’s proclamation of Jesus being a priest in the order of Melchizedek is so important. Suddenly with this proclamation we can understand how it is possible for Jesus to be a high priest and not be from the tribe of Levi. Along with this Melchizedek becomes a much more intriguing character who brings the idea of Christ’s priesthood and kingship into a full circle while also remaining quite a mystery. I think that it is important to remember that Melchizedek was both a king and a priest. Jesus being from the order of Melchizedek shows that he is both king and high priest as well.

  32. The author of Hebrews notes that, when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, it can be said that Levi also paid tithes to him because he was residing within Abraham’s loins (Hebrews 7:9). Perhaps he is drawing a similar conclusion while citing Psalm 110. Psalm 110 was delivered not by David, but to David by the writer. The psalmist is blessing David and admonishing him as an eternal priest in the pattern of Melchizedek. In the same way then as Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek because he was in the loins of Abraham, perhaps Jesus was also blessed by this psalmist because he came from the loins and lineage of David. Though this is not a clear point drawn by the author, it perhaps would be an analysis that he would have agreed with.

    Truly, all of Psalm 110 can apply to Jesus as well as David. In the Psalm, David is invited to sit at the Lord’s right hand, with his enemies being made his footstool. His dominion begins at Jerusalem and spreads to the whole earth, and he rules over all the peoples and forces. He is an eternal priest in the line of Melchizedek, and he rules over the nations, executing judgement on them and filling Gehenna with its corpses.

    Hebrews really could be a case study on how to exegete a passage of scripture well. The author does a beautiful job of taking bits and pieces from Psalms and extending their metaphors to bring glory to God, knowledge of Christ, and application to the Church.

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