Hebrews 7

Melchizedek's Priesthood Like Christ's

1 For this 1Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the 2Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace.
3 Without father, without mother, 3without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like 4the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually *.
4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the 5patriarch, 6gave a tenth of the choicest spoils.
5 And those indeed of 7the sons of Levi who receive the priest's office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended * from Abraham.
6 But the one 8whose genealogy is not traced from them 9collected a tenth from Abraham and 10blessed the one who 11had the promises.
7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater.
8 In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, 12of whom it is witnessed that he lives on.
9 And, so * to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes,
10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.
11 13Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it 14the people received the Law ), what further need was there for another priest to arise 15according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?
12 For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.
13 For 16the one concerning whom 17these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar.
14 For it is evident that our Lord was 18descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.
15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,
16 who has become such not on the basis of a law of 19physical requirement, but according to the power of 20an indestructible life.
18 For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment 22because of its weakness and uselessness
19 (for 23the Law made nothing perfect ), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better 24hope, through which we 25draw near to God.
20 And inasmuch * as it was not without an oath
21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, "26THE LORD HAS SWORN AND 27WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, 'YOU ARE A PRIEST 28FOREVER ' ");
22 so much the more also Jesus has become the 29guarantee of 30a better covenant.
23 The former priests, on the one hand, existed * in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing,
24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues 31forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
25 Therefore He is able also to 32save forever * those who 33draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to 34make intercession for them.
26 For it was fitting for us to have such a 35high priest, 36holy, 37innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and 38exalted above the heavens;
27 who does not need daily *, like those high priests, to 39offer up sacrifices, 40first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did 41once for all when He 42offered up Himself.
28 For the Law appoints men as high priests 43who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints 44a Son, 45made perfect forever.

Hebrews 7 Commentary

Chapter 7

A comparison between the priesthood of Melchizedec and that of Christ. (1-3) The excellence of Christ's priesthood above the Levitical priesthood is shown. (4-10) This is applied to Christ. (11-25) The faith and hope of the church encouraged from this. (26-28)

Verses 1-3 Melchizedec met Abraham when returning from the rescue of Lot. His name, "King of Righteousness," doubtless suitable to his character, marked him as a type of the Messiah and his kingdom. The name of his city signified "Peace;" and as king of peace he typified Christ, the Prince of Peace, the great Reconciler of God and man. Nothing is recorded as to the beginning or end of his life; thus he typically resembled the Son of God, whose existence is from everlasting to everlasting, who had no one that was before him, and will have no one come after him, in his priesthood. Every part of Scripture honours the great King of Righteousness and Peace, our glorious High Priest and Saviour; and the more we examine it, the more we shall be convinced, that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Verses 4-10 That High Priest who should afterward appear, of whom Melchizedec was a type, must be much superior to the Levitical priests. Observe Abraham's great dignity and happiness; that he had the promises. That man is rich and happy indeed, who has the promises, both of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This honour have all those who receive the Lord Jesus. Let us go forth in our spiritual conflicts, trusting in his word and strength, ascribing our victories to his grace, and desiring to be met and blessed by him in all our ways.

Verses 11-25 The priesthood and law by which perfection could not come, are done away; a Priest is risen, and a dispensation now set up, by which true believers may be made perfect. That there is such a change is plain. The law which made the Levitical priesthood, showed that the priests were frail, dying creatures, not able to save their own lives, much less could they save the souls of those who came to them. But the High Priest of our profession holds his office by the power of endless life in himself; not only to keep himself alive, but to give spiritual and eternal life to all who rely upon his sacrifice and intercession. The better covenant, of which Jesus was the Surety, is not here contrasted with the covenant of works, by which every transgressor is shut up under the curse. It is distinguished from the Sinai covenant with Israel, and the legal dispensation under which the church so long remained. The better covenant brought the church and every believer into clearer light, more perfect liberty, and more abundant privileges. In the order of Aaron there was a multitude of priests, of high priests one after another; but in the priesthood of Christ there is only one and the same. This is the believer's safety and happiness, that this everlasting High Priest is able to save to the uttermost, in all times, in all cases. Surely then it becomes us to desire a spirituality and holiness, as much beyond those of the Old Testament believers, as our advantages exceed theirs.

Verses 26-28 Observe the description of the personal holiness of Christ. He is free from all habits or principles of sin, not having the least disposition to it in his nature. No sin dwells in him, not the least sinful inclination, though such dwells in the best of Christians. He is harmless, free from all actual transgression; he did no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth. He is undefiled. It is hard to keep ourselves pure, so as not to partake the guilt of other men's sins. But none need be dismayed who come to God in the name of his beloved Son. Let them be assured that he will deliver them in the time of trial and suffering, in the time of prosperity, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment.

Cross References 45

  • 1. Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:6
  • 2. Mark 5:7
  • 3. Hebrews 7:6
  • 4. Matthew 4:3; Hebrews 7:1, 28
  • 5. Acts 2:29; Acts 7:8
  • 6. Genesis 14:20
  • 7. Numbers 18:21, 26; 2 Chronicles 31:4
  • 8. Hebrews 7:3
  • 9. Hebrews 7:1
  • 10. Hebrews 7:1
  • 11. Romans 4:13
  • 12. Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 6:20
  • 13. Hebrews 7:18; Hebrews 8:7
  • 14. Hebrews 9:6; Hebrews 10:1
  • 15. Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 7:17
  • 16. Hebrews 7:14
  • 17. Hebrews 7:11
  • 18. Numbers 24:17; Isaiah 11:1; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6; Revelation 5:5
  • 19. Hebrews 9:10
  • 20. Hebrews 9:14
  • 21. Psalms 110:4; Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 7:21
  • 22. Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:21; Hebrews 7:11
  • 23. Acts 13:39; Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:21; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1
  • 24. Hebrews 3:6
  • 25. Lamentations 3:57; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 10:1, 22; James 4:8
  • 26. Psalms 110:4; Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 7:17
  • 27. Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Romans 11:29
  • 28. Heb 7:23f, 28
  • 29. Psalms 119:122; Isaiah 38:14
  • 30. Hebrews 8:6
  • 31. Isaiah 9:7; John 12:34; Romans 9:5; Heb 7:23f, 28
  • 32. 1 Corinthians 1:21
  • 33. Hebrews 7:19
  • 34. Romans 8:34; Hebrews 9:24
  • 35. Hebrews 2:17
  • 36. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15
  • 37. 1 Peter 2:22
  • 38. Hebrews 4:14
  • 39. Hebrews 5:1
  • 40. Leviticus 9:7; Hebrews 5:3
  • 41. Hebrews 9:12, 28; Hebrews 10:10
  • 42. Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14, 28; Hebrews 10:10, 12
  • 43. Hebrews 5:2
  • 44. Hebrews 1:2
  • 45. Hebrews 2:10

Footnotes 9

  • [a]. Lit "according to"
  • [b]. Or "tithes"
  • [c]. Lit "have come out of the loins of"
  • [d]. Or "tithes"
  • [e]. Lit "has blessed"
  • [f]. Lit "has arisen from"
  • [g]. Lit "fleshly commandment;" i.e. to be a descendant of Levi
  • [h]. Lit "The greater number have become priests..."
  • [i]. Or "completely"

Chapter Summary


The apostle having made mention of Melchizedek in the latter part of the preceding chapter, proceeds in this to give some account of him, and of the excellency of his priesthood, and to show that Christ is a priest of his order, and is superior to Aaron and his sons. He first declares what Melchizedek was, that he was both king and priest; he names the place he was king of, and tells whose priest he was, even the priest of the most high God; and goes on to observe what he did, that he met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, that he blessed him, and took tithes of him, Heb 7:1,2 and then interprets his name, and royal title, the one signifying king of righteousness, the other king of peace; that for anything that can be learned from the Scriptures, it is not known who was his father or his mother; what his lineage and descent; when he was born, or when he died; and that he is like to the Son of God, and continues a priest, Heb 7:2,3 upon which the apostle calls upon the Hebrews to consider the greatness of his person; and as it appears from that single instance of his receiving tithes from the patriarch Abraham, Heb 7:4 by which it is evident, that he is greater than the Levites; and which is demonstrated in the following particulars: the Levites received tithes of their brethren that came out of Abraham's loins, as they did, but Melchizedek, whose descent was not from them, received tithes from Abraham himself, and besides blessed him; and it is a clear case, that the lesser is blessed of the greater, Heb 7:5-7 the Levites were mortal men that received tithes, but a testimony is bore to Melchizedek, that he lives, Heb 6:8 yea, Levi himself paid tithes to Melchizedek, since he was in the loins of his father Abraham when Melchizedek met him, and took tithes of him; and therefore must be greater than Levi, Heb 7:9,10. And next the apostle proves the imperfection of the Levitical priesthood from this consideration, that there is another priest risen up, not of the order of Aaron, but of the order of Melchizedek, of which there would have been no need, if the Levitical priesthood had been perfect; nor would it have been changed, as it is, and which has also made a change of the law, by which it is established, necessary, Heb 7:11,12 that the priest that is risen up is not of the order of Aaron, is clear, because he is of another tribe, even of the tribe of Judah, to which the priesthood did not belong, Heb 7:13,14, and that he is of the order of Melchizedek, and so not according to the ceremonial law, but after the power of an endless life, is manifest from the testimony of the sacred Scripture, Heb 7:15-17 which lies in Ps 110:4 and that the ceremonial law, on which the Levitical priesthood stood, is changed and abrogated, is strongly asserted, and the reasons of it given, because it was weak and unprofitable, and made nothing perfect; and this was disannulled by Christ, the better hope brought in, who has made something perfect, and through whom we have access to God, Heb 7:18,19. Moreover, the superior excellency of Christ's priesthood to the Levitical one is shown in several particulars; the priests of Aaron's order were made without an oath; Christ was made with one, as is evident from the above cited testimony, Heb 7:20-22 they were many, he but one; they were mortal, and did not continue, he continues ever, having an unchangeable priesthood, Heb 7:23,24 wherefore, as they were not suffered to continue by reason of death, their priesthood was ineffectual; they could not take away sin, and save sinners; but Christ is able to save to the uttermost all that draw nigh to God by him, as a priest, and that because he ever lives to complete his office by intercession, Heb 7:25 wherefore such an high priest as he is, must become men, and be suitable to them, especially since he is pure and holy, and in such an exalted state, Heb 7:26 and this is another difference between him and the priests under the law; they were men that had infirmity, and were guilty of sins themselves, and so had need to offer for their own sins, and then for the sins of others; but Christ, the Son of God, who was consecrated a priest for evermore, by the word of the oath, had no sin of his own to offer sacrifice for, only the sins of his people, which he did once, when he offered himself, Heb 7:27,28.

Hebrews 7 Commentaries

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