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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 7 - Verse 2

Verse 2. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all. That is, a tenth part of all the spoils which he had taken, Ge 14:20; thus acknowledging that, in dignity of office, Melchisedek was greatly his superior, Heb 7:4,6,8.

This does not appear to have been, on the part of Abraham, so much designed as a present to Melchisedek personally, as an act of pious thankfulness to God. He doubtless recognised in Melchisedek one who was a minister of God, and to him, as such, he devoted the tenth of all which he had taken, as a proper acknowledgment of the goodness of God and of his claims. From this it is evident that the propriety of devoting a tenth part of what was possessed to God, was regarded as a duty before the appointment of the Levitical law. Some expression of this kind is obviously demanded, and piety seems early to have fixed on the tenth part as being no more than a proper proportion to consecrate to the service of religion, for the propriety of the use which the apostle makes of this fact, See Barnes "Heb 7:4, See Barnes "Heb 7:6"; See Barnes "Heb 7:8".

 

First being. The first idea in the interpretation of his name and office, etc. First being mentioned as king of righteousness, and then as king of peace.

King of righteousness. The literal translation of the name Melchisedek. See Barnes "Heb 7:1".

The argument implied in this by the remarks of the apostle is, that he bore a name which made him a proper emblem of the Messiah. There was a propriety that one in whose "order" the Messiah was to be found should have such a name. It would be exactly descriptive of him; and it was worthy of observation, that he of whose "order" it was said the Messiah would be should have had such a name. Paul does not say that this name was given to him with any such reference, or that it was designed to be symbolical of what the Messiah would be; but that there was a remarkable coincidence; that it was a fact which was worth at least a passing thought. This is a kind of remark that might occur to any one to make, and where the slight use which Paul makes of it would not be improper anywhere; but it cannot be denied, that to one accustomed to the Jewish mode of reasoning—accustomed to dwell much on hidden meanings, and to trace out concealed analogies—it would be much more obvious and striking than it is with us. We are to place ourselves in the situation of those to whom Paul wrote—trained up with Jewish feelings, and Jewish modes of thought—and to ask how this would strike their minds. And this is no more unreasonable than it would be in interpreting a Greek classic, or a work of a Hindoo philosopher, that we should endeavour to place ourselves in the situation of the writer, and of those for whom he wrote, and ascertain what ideas would be conveyed to them by certain expressions. It is not meant by these observations that there was really no intrinsic force in what Paul here said respecting the import of the name. There was force; and all the use which he makes of it is proper. His meaning appears to be merely that it was a fact worthy of remark, that the name had a meaning which corresponded so entirely with the character of Him who was to be a high priest of the same "order."

And after that. He is mentioned after that with another appellation equally significant.

King of peace. A literal translation of the appellation "king of Salem," Heb 7:1. The idea of Paul is, that it was worthy of remark that the appellation which he bore was appropriate to one whose ministry, it was said, the priesthood of the Messiah would resemble.

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