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7It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.

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7. The less is, 114114     The words are in the neuter gender, “what is less blessed by the greater.” This is an idiom; the neuter is put for the masculine, as πᾶν is used for all men in John 6:37, and πᾶν μωρὰ for foolish men in 1 Corinthians 1:27. The meaning is, “the inferior is blessed by his superior.” — Ed etc. Let us first know what the word blessed means here. It means indeed a solemn praying by which he who is invested with some high and public honor, recommends to God men in private stations and under his ministry. Another way of blessing is when we pray for one another; which is commonly done by all the godly. But this blessing mentioned by the Apostle was a symbol of greater authority. Thus Isaac blessed his son Jacob, and Jacob himself blessed his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh. (Genesis 27:27; 48:15.) This was not done mutually, for the son could not do the like to the father; but a higher authority was required for such a blessing as this. And this appears more evident still from Numbers 6:23, where a command is given to the priest to bless the people, and then a promise is immediately added, that they would be blessed whom they blessed. It hence appears that the blessing of the priest depended on this, — that it was not so much man’s blessing as that of God. For as the priest in offering sacrifices represented Christ, so in blessing the people he was nothing more than a minister and legate of the supreme God. In the same sense ought to be understood what Luke records when he says, that Christ lifted up his hands and blessed the Apostles. (Luke 24:50.) The practice of lifting up the hands he no doubt borrowed from the priests, in order to show that he was the person by whom God the Father blesses us. Of this blessing mention is also made in Psalm 116:17; 118:1

Let us now apply this idea to what the apostle treats of: The blessing of the priest, while it is a divine work is also an evidence of a higher honor; then Melchisedec, in blessing Abraham, assumed to himself a higher dignity. This he did, not presumptuously, but according to his right as a priest: then he was more eminent than Abraham. Yet Abraham was he with whom God was pleased to make the covenant of salvation; though, then, he was superior to all others, yet he was surpassed by Melchisedec. 115115     There are three kinds of blessing mentioned in Scripture, — prayer for a blessing, Matthew 5:44; prophetic blessing, as in the case of the patriarchs, chapter 11:20, 21; and sacerdotal blessing, as recorded in Numbers 6:23-27. The latter is what is meant here. It was a blessing announced in the name of the Lord, or a prayer offered in his name, and by his authority. — Ed.




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