SPECIAL TOPIC: MELCHIZEDEK (from Gen. 14:18)

The name means "king of righteousness" or "my king is righteous" (BDB 575, KB 593, similar to Jos. 10:1; "Zedek" may relate to a Canaanite astral god, Zedek, i.e.,"My King is Zedek"). The name (Melchizedek) appears only in Gen. 14:18 and in Ps. 110:4 in the OT.  The Psalm 110 passage caused the Dead Sea Scrolls community to expect two Messiahs.

1. a royal one from the tribe of Judah

2. a priestly one from the tribe of Levi

The NT book of Hebrews (i.e., chapter 7) uses this Canaanite priest/king as a type of a "superior" priesthood.

1. his genealogy is not given

2. Abram offers a tithe to him (Heb. 7:20, a sign of an acknowledgment to a superior)

3. he is leader of the city later to become Jerusalem (see Special Topic: Salem)

4. he is a priest (unusual at this period, the father acted as priest for the family, cf. Gen. 31:54; Job 1) to God Most High (El Elyon, לא בוילע, cf. Gen. 14:19,20; identified with YHWH in 14:22)

By means of rabbinical hermeneutics the author of Hebrews uses him as a type/symbol of a better priesthood than Aaron/Levi.

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