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7. Melchizedek the Priest
1For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, by interpretation, King of righteousness, and then also King of Salem, which is King of peace; 3without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God), abideth a priest continually. 4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the chief spoils. 5And they indeed of the sons of Levi that receive the priest's office have commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though these have come out of the loins of Abraham: 6but he whose genealogy is not counted from them hath taken tithes of Abraham, and hath blessed him that hath the promises. 7But without any dispute the less is blessed of the better. 8And here men that die receive tithes; but there one, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9And, so to say, through Abraham even Levi, who receiveth tithes, hath paid tithes; 10for he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him. 11Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it hath the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be reckoned after the order of Aaron? 12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13For he of whom these things are said belongeth to another tribe, from which no man hath given attendance at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord hath sprung out of Judah; as to which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests. 15And what we say is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, 16who hath been made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life: 17for it is witnessed of him,
Thou art a priest for ever
After the order of Melchizedek.
18For there is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh unto God. 20And inasmuch as it is not without the taking of an oath 21(for they indeed have been made priests without an oath; but he with an oath by him that saith of him,
The Lord sware and will not repent himself,
Thou art a priest for ever);
22by so much also hath Jesus become the surety of a better covenant. 23And they indeed have been made priests many in number, because that by death they are hindered from continuing: 24but he, because he abideth for ever, hath his priesthood unchangeable. 25Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this he did once for all, when he offered up himself. 28For the law appointeth men high priests, having infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was after the law, appointeth a Son, perfected for evermore.
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.