Adam Clarke on WHO was Melchizedek

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      Tammy Roesch


      “A thousand idle stories have been told about this man, and a thousand idle conjectures spent on the subject of his short history given here and in Heb. vii. At present it is only necessary to state that he appears to have been as real a personage as Bera, Birsha, or Shinab, though we have no more of his genealogy than we have of theirs…”

      “Melchizedek is called here king of Salem, and the most judicious interpreters allow that by Salem, Jerusalem is meant. That it bore this name anciently is evident from Ps. 76:1, Ps. 76:2… From the use made of this part of the sacred history by David, Psa_110:4, and by St. Paul, Heb_7:1-10, we learn that there was something very mysterious, and at the same time typical, in the person, name, office, residence, and government of this Canaanitish prince.” {His comments on Genesis 14:18}

      “Without father, without mother” {Hebrews 7:3 KJV}

      The object of the apostle, in thus producing the example of Melchisedec (verses 1 & 2) was to… (2) answer the objections of the Jews against the legitimacy of the priesthood of Christ, taken from the stock from which he proceeded.

      The objection is this: If the Messiah is to be a true priest, he must come from a legitimate stock, as all the priests under the law have regularly done; otherwise we cannot acknowledge him to be a priest: but Jesus of Nazareth has not proceeded from such a stock (verse 14); therefore we cannot acknowledge him for a priest, the antitype of Aaron.

      To this objection the apostle answers, that it was not necessary for the priest to come from a particular stock, for Melchisedec was a priest of the most high God, and yet was not of the stock, either of Abraham or Aaron, but a Canaanite. It is well known that the ancient Hebrews were exceedingly scrupulous in choosing their high priest… (1) God had commanded. Lev_21:10, that the high priest should be chosen from among their brethren, i. e. from the family of Aaron… it was necessary that he who desired this honor should be able to prove his descent from the family of Aaron… and that they might be well assured of all this, they took the utmost care to preserve their genealogies,

      “But the wise men say if she be of the same mother, they cast her out; but if of the same father, they retain her, שאין אב לגוי shein ab legoi, “for a Gentile has no father;” i.e. his father is not reckoned in the Jewish genealogies. In this way both Christ and Melchisedec were without father and without mother; i.e. were not descended from the original Jewish sacerdotal stock. Yet Melchisedec, who was a Canaanite, was a priest of the most high God…

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