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Hebrews 7

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The Nature of Melchizedek’s Priesthood

7:1 Now this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him. 1  7:2 To him 2  also Abraham apportioned a tithe 3  of everything. 4  His name first means 5  king of righteousness, then king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 7:3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, he has neither beginning of days nor end of life but is like the son of God, and he remains a priest for all time. 7:4 But see how great he must be, if 6  Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe 7  of his plunder. 7:5 And those of the sons of Levi who receive the priestly office 8  have authorization according to the law to collect a tithe from the people, that is, from their fellow countrymen, 9  although they too are descendants of Abraham. 10  7:6 But Melchizedek 11  who does not share their ancestry 12  collected a tithe 13  from Abraham and blessed 14  the one who possessed the promise. 7:7 Now without dispute the inferior is blessed by the superior, 7:8 and in one case tithes are received by mortal men, while in the other by him who is affirmed to be alive. 7:9 And it could be said that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid a tithe through Abraham. 7:10 For he was still in his ancestor Abraham’s loins 15  when Melchizedek met him.

Jesus and the Priesthood of Melchizedek

7:11 So if perfection had in fact been possible through the Levitical priesthood – for on that basis 16  the people received the law – what further need would there have been for another priest to arise, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in Aaron’s order? 7:12 For when the priesthood changes, a change in the law must come 17  as well. 7:13 Yet the one these things are spoken about belongs to 18  a different tribe, and no one from that tribe 19  has ever officiated at the altar. 7:14 For it is clear that our Lord is descended from Judah, yet Moses said nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. 7:15 And this is even clearer if another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 7:16 who has become a priest not by a legal regulation about physical descent 20  but by the power of an indestructible life. 7:17 For here is the testimony about him: 21 You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” 22  7:18 On the one hand a former command is set aside 23  because it is weak and useless, 24  7:19 for the law made nothing perfect. On the other hand a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 7:20 And since 25  this was not done without a sworn affirmation – for the others have become priests without a sworn affirmation, 7:21 but Jesus 26  did so 27  with a sworn affirmation by the one who said to him, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,You are a priest forever’” 28 7:22 accordingly Jesus has become the guarantee 29  of a better covenant. 7:23 And the others 30  who became priests were numerous, because death prevented them 31  from continuing in office, 32  7:24 but he holds his priesthood permanently since he lives forever. 7:25 So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 7:26 For it is indeed fitting for us to have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 7:27 He has no need to do every day what those priests do, to offer sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this in offering himself once for all. 7:28 For the law appoints as high priests men subject to weakness, 33  but the word of solemn affirmation that came after the law appoints a son made perfect forever.

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1 sn A series of quotations from Gen 14:17-19.

2 tn Grk “to whom,” continuing the description of Melchizedek. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

3 tn Or “a tenth part.”

4 sn A quotation from Gen 14:20.

5 tn Grk “first being interpreted,” describing Melchizedek.

6 tn Grk “to whom.”

7 tn Or “a tenth part.”

8 tn Or “the priesthood.”

9 tn Grk “from their brothers.” See BDAG 18-19 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.b.

10 tn Grk “have come from the loins of Abraham.”

11 tn Grk “the one”; in the translation the referent (Melchizedek) has been specified for clarity.

12 tn Grk “is not descended from them.”

13 tn Or “a tenth part.”

14 sn The verbs “collected…and blessed” emphasize the continuing effect of the past actions, i.e., Melchizedek’s importance.

15 tn Grk “in the loins of his father” (a reference to Abraham). The name “Abraham” has been repeated in the translation at this point (cf. v. 9) in order to clarify the referent (i.e., what ancestor was in view).

sn The point of the phrase still in his ancestor’s loins is that Levi was as yet unborn, still in his ancestor Abraham’s body. Thus Levi participated in Abraham’s action when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.

16 tn Grk “based on it.”

17 tn Grk “of necessity a change in the law comes to pass.”

18 tn Grk “shares in.”

19 tn Grk “from which no one.”

20 tn Grk “a law of a fleshly command.”

21 tn Grk “for he/it is witnessed that.”

22 sn A quotation from Ps 110:4 (see Heb 5:6 and 6:20).

23 tn Grk “the setting aside of a former command comes to pass.”

24 tn Grk “because of its weakness and uselessness.”

25 sn The Greek text contains an elaborate comparison between v. 20a and v. 22, with a parenthesis (vv. 20b-21) in between; the comparison is literally, “by as much as…by so much” or “to the degree that…to that same degree.”

26 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

27 tn The words “did so” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.

28 sn A quotation from Ps 110:4 (see Heb 5:6, 6:20, and 7:17).

29 tn Or “surety.”

30 tn Grk “they on the one hand” in contrast with “he on the other hand” in v. 24.

31 tn Grk “they were prevented by death.”

32 tn Grk “from continuing” (the words “in office” are supplied for clarity).

33 sn See Heb 5:2 where this concept was introduced.



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