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The Priestly Order of Melchizedek (v. 1-10)
Melchizedek greeted Abraham after he returned from his 'slaughter of the kings' and Abraham gave him 10% of the spoils. The descendants of Levi who priests have a commandment to take 10%, but Melchizedek is an outsider. Yet he takes his tithe from Abraham and blesses him. Since the superior bless the inferior, it is clear that Melchizedek was superior to Abraham. This is particularly noteworthy as Melchizedek has no genealogy, although his name translates to 'king of righteousness'. It could be said that Levi paid tithes through Abraham as he was born after all of this went down between Melchizedek and Abraham.
The whole idea that Melchizedek has no genealogy is interesting for sure, and the fact that his name translates to 'king of righteousness' makes me very suspicious. I have 2 ideas to explain this, first, this is all made up and it is bad writing. You are just being lazy if your library cop is named bookman. The second is that this guy was embarrassed about his background or hated his parents or something and invented a new persona. As long as you are going to give yourself a new name, why not pick something that sounds good, like Max Power? The real answer is surely something else, but these are the things that occurred to me while I was reading. (pop quiz, who can identify the two TV references in this paragraph?)
Jesus Compared to Melchizedek (v. 11-28)
Perfection was impossible to attain under the Levitical priesthood, otherwise there would have been no reason to have Jesus be a new high priest and start a new priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. For new high priest necessarily bring along a change of rules, so Jesus only came along because such a change was necessary.
This would probably make a lot more sense if I had already read the old testament and had any clue what was up with Melchizedek. Apparently he set things in motion way back when and had a hand in the rules of the old testament. And Jesus came along and allowed those rules to be changed. Also, apparently Melchizedek was immortal in some fashion or another, I don't quite get that part. In all honesty, I'm finding it hard to care about this stuff. My motivation to read the bible has always been centered around what lessons (good or bad) could be learned from reading it, I really don't care about how they organize their leadership. There was one verse that did catch my attention though.
v.18 "a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness"
Why would a perfect God make a weak and useless commandment?
Guzik argues that the law is God's perfect standard, but it gives no one the power to keep that standard. So it is valuable as a demonstration of what God wants, but it is not the basis of a walk with God. This is interesting, I was going to argue that this is hardly useless then, and therefore his interpretation is a bit off base. However, his translation says unprofitable instead of useless. According to the lexicon (if I'm using it correctly) it seems that unprofitable is a better fit than uselessness.