Οὗτος γὰρ ὁ Μελχισέδεκ, βασιλεὺς Σαλήμ, ἱερεὺς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου, ὁ συναντήσας Ἀβραὰμ ὑποστρέφοντι ἀπὸ τῆς κοπῆς τῶν βασιλέων καὶ εὐλογήσας αὐτόν,
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of most-high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessing him.
Paraphrase: Now let’s consider the Old Testament priests. They mediated between the people and God. Can we say that Jesus is superior to the Mosaic religion in this respect as well? Well let’s start our analysis here by looking to the source of Jesus’ claim to the priesthood. Consider Melchizedek who was both the king of Salem (later this city was named Jerusalem by David who conquered it, 2Sam 5) and a priest of the all sovereign God. Clearly, he was a great man but consider how great a man he was. We know that it was this man who met Abraham after Abraham had rescued the people of Sodom from their conquerors. (Gen 14) Furthermore, we know that it was Melchizedek who blessed Abraham on this occasion. (Gen 14:19)
There is no finite verb in this first verse.
ᾧ καὶ δεκάτην ἀπὸ πάντων ἐμέρισεν Ἀβραάμ, πρῶτον μὲν ἑρμηνευόμενος βασιλεὺς δικαιοσύνης ἔπειτα δὲ καὶ βασιλεὺς Σαλήμ, ὅ ἐστιν βασιλεὺς εἰρήνης,
to whom even a tenth from all Abraham divided up, on the one hand first being interpreted king of righteousness, and then even king of Salem which is king of peace.
Paraphrase: He gave a tenth of all the plunder he had taken in the previous battle to Melchizedek. Now this man’s name is actually two words in Hebrew, the word מֶלֶךְ (see here) which means “king” and the word צֶדֶק (see here) which means “righteousness”. This man was also the king of Jerusalem which has the word שָׁלוֹם in it which means peace (see here) thus making Melchizedek the king of peace.
ἀπάτωρ, ἀμήτωρ, ἀγενεαλόγητος, μήτε ἀρχὴν ἡμερῶν μήτε ζωῆς τέλος ἔχων, ἀφωμοιωμένος δὲ τῷ υἱῷ τοῦ θεοῦ, μένει ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸ διηνεκές.
fatherless and motherless, without a genealogy, neither beginning of days or having end of life, being similar to the Son of God, He remains a priest continually.
Paraphrase: Furthermore, this man appears in Scripture without any mention of a mother or father, no genealogy; it’s almost as if he never began and never came to his end. He just seems to go on always existing. Now, of course, we know that Melchizedek was born and that eventually he did die; but the way he is represented in Scripture is just like the Son of God, our great high-priest Jesus. Jesus really does have no beginning, and He will certainly never die. He is eternal both in terms that He had no beginning and will have no end. What does this mean for us? This means that priests born in the order of Melchizedek have an everlasting priesthood, and Jesus was born in this order.
Θεωρεῖτε δὲ πηλίκος οὗτος ᾧ δεκάτην Ἀβραὰμ ἔδωκεν ἐκ τῶν ἀκροθινίων ὁ πατριάρχης.
now see how great this man was to whom a tenth Abraham, the patriarch, gave from the plunder.
Paraphrase: Now why do I bring up this man Melchizedek? Because he is the source of Jesus’ priesthood. Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek just like the Mosaic priests are from the order of Levi, and Levi, as you well know, was a son of Abraham. Now let’s put these two men, Melchizedek and Abraham side by side. First, note that Abraham gave to Melchizedek a tenth of all the plunder that he took from the rescue of Lot.
πατριάρχης is in apposition to Ἀβραὰμ.
καὶ οἱ μὲν ἐκ τῶν υἱῶν Λευὶ τὴν ἱερατείαν λαμβάνοντες ἐντολὴν ἔχουσιν ἀποδεκατοῦν τὸν λαὸν κατὰ τὸν νόμον, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτῶν, καίπερ ἐξεληλυθότας ἐκ τῆς ὀσφύος Ἀβραάμ ·
and the sons of Levi, who received the priesthood, have a command to collect the tithe from the people according to the law; this is, their brothers although coming from the loins of Abraham.
Paraphrase: Now recall from the law that the Levites were given the priestly office by God. (Ex 29:1) Part of their responsibility was to collect tithes from all the people of Israel. Now all the people of Israel descended from Abraham, the Levites as well as the other tribes.
ὁ δὲ μὴ γενεαλογούμενος ἐξ αὐτῶν δεδεκάτωκεν Ἀβραάμ, καὶ τὸν ἔχοντα τὰς ἐπαγγελίας εὐλόγηκεν.
but not the one genealogizing from them received the tithe of Abraham, even the one having the promises, he blessed.
Paraphrase: In the situation before us, however, it was the not one who descended from Abraham who received Abraham’s tithe! Furthermore, it was the not one who descended from Abraham who gave the blessing. The very one who we revere as the father of our people and who was so privileged to receive the promises and covenant of God was blessed by Melchizedek.
δεκατόω can mean to receive or to pay a tithe.
χωρὶς δὲ πάσης ἀντιλογίας τὸ ἔλαττον ὑπὸ τοῦ κρείττονος εὐλογεῖται.
καὶ ὧδε μὲν δεκάτας ἀποθνῄσκοντες ἄνθρωποι λαμβάνουσιν, ἐκεῖ δὲ μαρτυρούμενος ὅτι ζῇ.
καὶ ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν, δι’ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Λευὶ ὁ δεκάτας λαμβάνων δεδεκάτωται,
ἔτι γὰρ ἐν τῇ ὀσφύϊ τοῦ πατρὸς ἦν ὅτε συνήντησεν αὐτῷ Μελχισέδεκ.
Εἰ μὲν οὖν τελείωσις διὰ τῆς Λευιτικῆς ἱερωσύνης ἦν, ὁ λαὸς γὰρ ἐπ’ αὐτῆς νενομοθέτηται, τίς ἔτι χρεία κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Μελχισέδεκ ἕτερον ἀνίστασθαι ἱερέα καὶ οὐ κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Ἀαρὼν λέγεσθαι;
μετατιθεμένης γὰρ τῆς ἱερωσύνης ἐξ ἀνάγκης καὶ νόμου μετάθεσις γίνεται.
ἐφ’ ὃν γὰρ λέγεται ταῦτα φυλῆς ἑτέρας μετέσχηκεν, ἀφ’ ἧς οὐδεὶς προσέσχηκεν τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ ·
πρόδηλον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξ Ἰούδα ἀνατέταλκεν ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν, εἰς ἣν φυλὴν περὶ ἱερέων οὐδὲν ⸃ Μωϋσῆς ἐλάλησεν.
Καὶ περισσότερον ἔτι κατάδηλόν ἐστιν, εἰ κατὰ τὴν ὁμοιότητα Μελχισέδεκ ἀνίσταται ἱερεὺς ἕτερος,
ὃς οὐ κατὰ νόμον ἐντολῆς σαρκίνης γέγονεν ἀλλὰ κατὰ δύναμιν ζωῆς ἀκαταλύτου,
μαρτυρεῖται γὰρ ὅτι Σὺ ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Μελχισέδεκ.
ἀθέτησις μὲν γὰρ γίνεται προαγούσης ἐντολῆς διὰ τὸ αὐτῆς ἀσθενὲς καὶ ἀνωφελές,
οὐδὲν γὰρ ἐτελείωσεν ὁ νόμος, ἐπεισαγωγὴ δὲ κρείττονος ἐλπίδος, δι’ ἧς ἐγγίζομεν τῷ θεῷ.
Καὶ καθ’ ὅσον οὐ χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας οἱ μὲν γὰρ χωρὶς ὁρκωμοσίας εἰσὶν ἱερεῖς γεγονότες,
ὁ δὲ μετὰ ὁρκωμοσίας διὰ τοῦ λέγοντος πρὸς αὐτόν · Ὤμοσεν κύριος, καὶ οὐ μεταμεληθήσεται, Σὺ ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ),
κατὰ τοσοῦτο κρείττονος διαθήκης γέγονεν ἔγγυος Ἰησοῦς.
Καὶ οἱ μὲν πλείονές εἰσιν γεγονότες ἱερεῖς διὰ τὸ θανάτῳ κωλύεσθαι παραμένειν ·
ὁ δὲ διὰ τὸ μένειν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἀπαράβατον ἔχει τὴν ἱερωσύνην ·
ὅθεν καὶ σῴζειν εἰς τὸ παντελὲς δύναται τοὺς προσερχομένους δι’ αὐτοῦ τῷ θεῷ, πάντοτε ζῶν εἰς τὸ ἐντυγχάνειν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν.
Τοιοῦτος γὰρ ἡμῖν καὶ ἔπρεπεν ἀρχιερεύς, ὅσιος, ἄκακος, ἀμίαντος, κεχωρισμένος ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν, καὶ ὑψηλότερος τῶν οὐρανῶν γενόμενος ·
ὃς οὐκ ἔχει καθ’ ἡμέραν ἀνάγκην, ὥσπερ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς, πρότερον ὑπὲρ τῶν ἰδίων ἁμαρτιῶν θυσίας ἀναφέρειν, ἔπειτα τῶν τοῦ λαοῦ τοῦτο γὰρ ἐποίησεν ἐφάπαξ ἑαυτὸν ἀνενέγκας )·
ὁ νόμος γὰρ ἀνθρώπους καθίστησιν ἀρχιερεῖς ἔχοντας ἀσθένειαν, ὁ λόγος δὲ τῆς ὁρκωμοσίας τῆς μετὰ τὸν νόμον υἱόν, εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τετελειωμένον.