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1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
Ver. 1. For this Melchisedec ] Some make him the same with Shem; others say it was the Holy Ghost; others say it was Christ himself under the guise of a king and priest. It is most probable that he was a mortal man, and a Canaanite, but yet a most righteous man, and a priest of the most high God by special dispensation; and that Chedorlaomer and the other kings that over ran the country, and spoiled it, forbare, out of reverence to the man and his office, to meddle with Melchisedec’s territories.
2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Ver. 2. Gave a tenth part of all ] So to set forth his thankfulness to God for the victory. The Lord is the man of war, Exodus 15:3 ; the Lord and victor of wars, as the Chaldee there expresseth it. Conquerors should send to him, as Joab to David, to take the honour of the day, 2 Samuel 12:28 . The very heathens, after a victory, would consecrate something to their gods. The Romans had a custom, when they had received any great victory, the conqueror in his triumphant chariot rode to the Capitol, where in all humility he did present a palm to Jupiter, and offer in sacrifice a white bullock; so acknowledging it was his power whereby the conquest was achieved. a
a ... laurumque superbam in gremio Iovis abscissis deponere Poenis. Et taurum album Iovi mactabant. Livy.
3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Ver. 3. Without father ] viz. That we find mentioned in the Holy Scripture. Hence the Melchisedechian heretics held that he was the Holy Ghost; or at least some created angel. See Cunaeus de Rep.Hebrews 3:3; Hebrews 3:3 . Without father and mother he was not in respect of generation, but in respect of commemoration; his parents are not mentioned: no more are Job’s, or the three children’s.
Like unto the Son of God ] As having neither fellow nor successor. And being a lively type of Christ, who is the true Trismegist, in regard of his three offices. The heathens called their Mercury (haply the same with Melchisedec) Trismegist, or thrice great; because he was the greatest philosopher, the greatest priest, and the greatest king. (Marcil. Ficin. in arg. ad Tris. Pimandr.)
4 Now consider how great this man was , unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
Ver. 4. How great this man was ] It is goodness that renders a man great, and the grace of God that ennobleth, Isaiah 43:4 ; Hebrews 11:2 . Keep close to God, and then ye shall be some of God’s Rabbis, as Daniel calls them, Daniel 9:27 . See Job 32:9 . Great men indeed, not with a belline (war-like), but with a genuine, greatness.
The tenth of the spoils ] Gr. ακροθινια , the top of the heap.
5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
Ver. 5. To take tithes of the people ] If tithes be Jewish, saith M. Harris, and yet ministers must have a maintenance, how will men satisfy their consciences in the particular quantity they must bestow upon them? the Scripture speaks only of the tenth part. Can any show us where the old apportion is reversed, and which is that quota pars now that conscience must rest in?
6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
Ver. 6. Received tithes of Abraham ] Gr. δεδεκατωκε , tithed or tenthed Abraham, by the same divine right whereby he blessed him. Melchisedec did not take only that which Abraham was pleased to give him, but he tithed him, saith the text, he took the tenths as his due.
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
Ver. 7. The less is blessed, &c. ] The pastor therefore blessing his people according to his office, is greater than his people in that respect.
8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them , of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
Ver. 8. That he liveth ] Tithes then are due to the ministers of Christ that liveth, because due to Melchisedec, to whom Abraham paid them as a priest and tithe-taker, and type of Christ. Who therefore should receive them for him, but those that are in his stead? 2 Corinthians 5:20 .
9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
Ver. 9. Levi also paid tithes ] If any shall object, so did Christ also, sith he was in the loins of Abraham too; it may be answered, that though Christ was of Abraham, yet he was not by Abraham. But Levi was both.
10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
Ver. 10. In the loins of his father ] So we were all in the loins of Adam when he fell (as all the country is in a parliament man), and fell with him.
11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
Ver. 11. If therefore perfection ] i.e. Justification, sanctification, salvation.
12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Ver. 12. A change also of the law ] "For we are not under the taw, but under grace." The gospel is post naufragium tabula, a plank after shipwreck, and hath its remuneration,Hebrews 11:6; Hebrews 11:6 , viz. of grace and mercy. By law here some understood only the law of priesthood.
13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
Ver. 13. Pertaineth to another tribe ] That of Judah,Hebrews 7:14; Hebrews 7:14 , which therefore is first reckoned, Revelation 7:5 , among those that were sealed; as of those that came by Rachel, Nepthalim hath the first place; because in that tribe Christ dwelt, viz. at Capernaum; Ut utrobique superemineat Christi proerogativa.
14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
Ver. 14. Nothing concerning priesthood ] For when Reuben, by defiling Bilhah, lost his birthright, the birthright was given to Joseph, the kingdom to Judah, and the priesthood to Levi. But God translated the priesthood, and settled it upon his Son Christ, who sprang out of Judah, in a time when it was commonly bought and sold to the vilest of men, and all was out of order.
15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
Ver. 15. After the similitude of Melchisedec ] i.e. After an order distinct and different from that of Aaron.
16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
Ver. 16. Of a carnal command ] i.e. External and ceremonial.
But after the power ] Both of God the Father, who made him a priest, and of God the Son, who is the Father of eternity, Isaiah 9:6 , and a Priest for ever; which word "for ever" the apostle expoundeth and improveth in the last clause of this verse, "the power of an endless life."
17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Ver. 17. For he testfieth ] Thus the author still argueth out of Scripture, as knowing that quicquid non habet authoritatem ex Scripturis, eadem facilitate contemnitur qua approbatur, whatsoever is not grounded upon Scripture authority is as easily rejected as received. (Jerome.)
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
Ver. 18. For there is verily a disannulling ] Gr. υθετησις , an outing, cassating, expunging.
Of the commandment ] See Trapp on " Heb 7:12 " See Trapp on " Heb 7:16 "
For the weakness and unprofitableness ] sc. To justify, sanctify, save,Romans 8:2; Romans 8:2 ; though as a schoolmaster to Christ, and a rule of life, it is of singular use still.
19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did ; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Ver. 19. But the bringing in ] The law is a superintroduction to Christ our hope, who is the end of the law to every believer,Romans 10:4; Romans 10:4 .
We draw nigh to God ] Having boldness and access with confidence, Ephesians 3:11 , by the faith of Christ our High Priest; who leads us by the hand, and presents us to his Heavenly Father, as Joseph did his two sons to Jacob, that he might bless them.
20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest :
Ver. 20. Not without an oath ] A singular confirmation: what a monstrous sin then is unbelief!
21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec)
Ver. 21. And will not repent ] Will not change his mind upon pretence that second thoughts are better. Those that can play with oaths, and can slip them as easily as monkeys do their collars, have nothing of God in them.
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
Ver. 22. Jesus was made a surety ] As he was our surety to God for the discharge of our debt (the surety and debtor in law are reputed as one person), so he is God’s surety to us, for the performance of his promises. Christ was the surety of the first covenant (saith one), to pay the debt; of the second covenant, to perform the duty.
23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
Ver. 23. By reason of death ] Neither their holiness nor learning could privilege them from death’s impartial stroke. Non te tua plurima Pantheu, labentem texit pietas. All our learning also is soon refuted with one black theta, which understanding us not, snappeth us unrespectively without distinction, and putteth at once a period to our reading and to our being.
24 But this man , because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
Ver. 24. He continueth ever ] What need then is there of a vicar, as the pope will needs be styled?
An unchangeable ] Gr. απαραβατον , impassable. He needeth no successor.
25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Ver. 25. To the uttermost ] Perpetually and perfectly, so as none shall need to come after him to finish what he hath begun. He is a thorough Saviour, a Saviour in solidum, and doth not his work to the halves. How blasphemous then is that direction of the Papists to dying men, Coniunge, Domine, obsequium meum cum omnibus quae Christus passus est pro me: Join, Lord, mine obedience with all those things that Christ hath suffered for me.
26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
Ver. 26. Who is holy ] As the high priest of old, Leviticus 21:18 ; Exodus 28:36-2.28.43 .
Harmless ] Without any birth mark.
Undefiled ] Free from actual pollution, without original blemish or actual blot,1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 1:19 .
Higher than the heavens ] That is, than the angels, those heavenly courtiers, Daniel 10:13 .
27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Ver. 27. Who needeth not daily ] καθ ημεραν . Or, on a certain day of the year, so. at the feast of the expiations, Leviticus 16:29 ; see Hebrews 10:1 .
First for his own sins ] Else how could he stand before God for others? the priests therefore had their laver wherein to wash, before they offered any man’s sacrifice. The brazen altar stood without, the incense altar of gold within the sanctuary; to signify that our own lusts must be sacrificed ere we take upon us to pray for ourselves or others. David observeth this method, Psa 35:1-28 Psalms 51:1-19.51.19 . He first gets pardon for himself, and then makes request for Sion.
28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Ver. 28. For the law maketh ] As if the apostle should say, Shall I sum up and shut up all in a word? the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity, &c. Dull scholars must have it over and over. Nunquam satis dicitur, quod nunquam satis diseitur. (Seneca.)
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 7". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent