and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace."
Without father or mother, without genealogy,1 without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God2 he remains a priest forever.
Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch3 Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!45
Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people5--that is, their brothers--even though their brothers are descended from Abraham.
This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed6 him who had the promises.77
And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater.
In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living.89
One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham,
because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people),9 why was there still need for another priest to come10--one in the order of Melchizedek,11 not in the order of Aaron?
For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.