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Genesis 14:18-20

Context
14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem 1  brought out bread and wine. (Now he was the priest of the Most High God.) 2  14:19 He blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by 3  the Most High God,

Creator 4  of heaven and earth. 5 

14:20 Worthy of praise is 6  the Most High God,

who delivered 7  your enemies into your hand.”

Abram gave Melchizedek 8  a tenth of everything.

1 sn Salem is traditionally identified as the Jebusite stronghold of old Jerusalem. Accordingly, there has been much speculation about its king. Though some have identified him with the preincarnate Christ or with Noah’s son Shem, it is far more likely that Melchizedek was a Canaanite royal priest whom God used to renew the promise of the blessing to Abram, perhaps because Abram considered Melchizedek his spiritual superior. But Melchizedek remains an enigma. In a book filled with genealogical records he appears on the scene without a genealogy and then disappears from the narrative. In Psalm 110 the Lord declares that the Davidic king is a royal priest after the pattern of Melchizedek.

2 tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause significantly identifies Melchizedek as a priest as well as a king.

sn It is his royal priestly status that makes Melchizedek a type of Christ: He was identified with Jerusalem, superior to the ancestor of Israel, and both a king and a priest. Unlike the normal Canaanites, this man served “God Most High” (אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, ’elelyon) – one sovereign God, who was the creator of all the universe. Abram had in him a spiritual brother.

3 tn The preposition לְ (lamed) introduces the agent after the passive participle.

4 tn Some translate “possessor of heaven and earth” (cf. NASB). But cognate evidence from Ugaritic indicates that there were two homonymic roots ָקנָה (qanah), one meaning “to create” (as in Gen 4:1) and the other “to obtain, to acquire, to possess.” While “possessor” would fit here, “creator” is the more likely due to the collocation with “heaven and earth.”

5 tn The terms translated “heaven” and “earth” are both objective genitives after the participle in construct.

6 tn Heb “blessed be.” For God to be “blessed” means that is praised. His reputation is enriched in the world as his name is praised.

7 sn Who delivered. The Hebrew verb מִגֵּן (miggen, “delivered”) foreshadows the statement by God to Abram in Gen 15:1, “I am your shield” (מָגֵן, magen). Melchizedek provided a theological interpretation of Abram’s military victory.

8 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Melchizedek) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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