Hebrews 7:1-16

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.

Hebrews 7:1-16 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO HEBREWS 7

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 7:1-16 In-Context

1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most 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, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually .
4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils.
5 And those indeed of the 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 whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had 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, of 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 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law ), what further need was there for another priest to arise according 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 the one concerning whom these 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 descended 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 physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.
17 For it is attested of Him, "YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK."
18 For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness
19 (for the Law made nothing perfect ), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
20 And inasmuch as it was not without an oath

Cross References 20

  • 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

Footnotes 7

  • [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
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