Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Hebrews 7

Verse 1

This Melchizedek (ουτος ο Μελχισεδεκhoutos ho Melchisedek). The one already mentioned several times with whose priesthood that of Christ is compared and which is older and of a higher type than that of Aaron. See Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:1-7 for the only account of Melchizedek in the Old Testament. It is a daring thing to put Melchizedek above Aaron, but the author does it. Moffatt calls Hebrews 7:1-3 “a little sermon” on Hebrews 6:20. It is “for ever” (εις τον αιωναeis ton aiōna) that he explains. Melchizedek is the only one in his line and stands alone in the record in Genesis. The interpretation is rabbinical in method, but well adapted to Jewish readers. The description is taken verbatim from Genesis except that “who met” (ο συναντησαςho sunantēsas) is here applied to Melchizedek from Genesis 14:17 instead of to the King of Sodom. They both met Abraham as a matter of fact. For this verb (first aorist active participle of συνανταωsunantaō) see Luke 9:37.

Slaughter (κοπηςkopēs). Old word for cutting (κοπτωkoptō to cut), here only in N.T. These kings were Amraphel, Arioch, Chedorlaomer, Tidal. Amraphel is usually taken to be Khammurabi.

Priest of God Most High
(ιερευς του τεου του υπσιστουhiereus tou theou tou hupsistou). He is called “priest” and note του υπσιστουtou hupsistou applied to God as the Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews did. It is used also of Zeus and the Maccabean priest-kings. The demons apply it to God (Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28).

Verse 2

A tenth (δεκατηνdekatēn). It was common to offer a tenth of the spoils to the gods. So Abraham recognized Melchizedek as a priest of God.

Divided (εμερισενemerisen). First aorist active of μεριζωmerizō from μεροςmeros (portion), to separate into parts. From this point till near the end of Hebrews 7:3 (the Son of God) is a long parenthesis with ουτοςhoutos of Hebrews 7:1 as the subject of μενειmenei (abideth) as the Revised Version punctuates it. Philo had made popular the kind of exegesis used here. The author gives in Greek the meaning of the Hebrew words Melchizedek (King of righteousness, cf. Hebrews 1:8) and Salem (peace).

Verse 3

Without father, without mother, without genealogy (απατωρ αμητωρ αγενεαλογητοςapatōr class="normal greek">απωμοιωμενος — amētōr class="normal greek">απομοιοω agenealogētos). Alliteration like Romans 1:30, the first two old words, the third coined by the author (found nowhere else) and meaning simply “devoid of any genealogy.” The argument is that from silence, made much of by Philo, but not to be pressed. The record in Genesis tells nothing of any genealogy. Melchizedek stands alone. He is not to be understood as a miraculous being without birth or death. Melchizedek has been made more mysterious than he is by reading into this interpretation what is not there.

Made like (τωι υιωι του τεουaphōmoiōmenos). Perfect passive participle of υιοςaphomoioō old verb, to produce a facsimile or copy, only here in N.T. The likeness is in the picture drawn in Genesis, not in the man himself. Such artificial interpretation does not amount to proof, but only serves as a parallel or illustration.

Unto the Son of God
(μενει ιερευςtōi huiōi tou theou). Associative instrumental case of εις το διηνεκεςhuios

Abideth a priest
(εις τον αιωναmenei hiereus). According to the record in Genesis, the only one in his line just as Jesus stands alone, but with the difference that Jesus continues priest in fact in heaven.

(eis to diēnekes). Old phrase (for the continuity) like eis ton aiōna in N.T. only in Hebrews (Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 10:1, Hebrews 10:14, Hebrews 10:21).

Verse 4

How great (πηλικοςpēlikos). Geometrical magnitude in contrast to arithmetical (ποσοςposos), here only in N.T., “how distinguished.” He received tithes from Abraham (Hebrews 7:4-6) and he blessed Abraham (Hebrews 7:6-7) and even Levi is included (Hebrews 7:8-10).

Out of the chief spoils (εκ των ακροτινιωνek tōn akrothiniōn). Old word from ακροςakros top, and τιςthis a heap (the top of the pile).

(πατριαρχηςpatriarchēs). lxx word (πατριαpatria tribe, αρχωarchō to rule) transferred to N.T. (Acts 2:29).

Verse 5

The priest‘s office (την ιερατειανtēn hierateian). lxx and Koiné word from ιερευςhiereus in N.T. only here and Luke 1:9.

To take tithes (αποδεκατοινapodekatoin). Present active infinitive (in -οινoin not -ουνoun as the best MSS. give it) of αποδεκατοωapodekatoō a lxx word (απο δεκατοωapo class="normal greek">απο — dekatoō), to take a tenth from (αδελπουςapo).

(λαονadelphous). Accusative case in apposition with τουτ εστινlaon (people) unaffected by the explanatory phrase καιπερ εχεληλυτοταςtout' estin (that is).

Though come out
(καιπερkaiper exelēluthotas). Concessive participle (cf. Hebrews 5:8) with εχερχομαιkaiper (perfect active of exerchomai).

Verse 6

He whose genealogy is not counted (ο μη γενεαλογουμενοςho mē genealogoumenos). Articular participle with negative μηmē (usual with participles) of the old verb γενεαλογεωgenealogeō trace ancestry (cf. Hebrews 7:3)

Hath taken tithes (δεδεκατωκενdedekatōken). Perfect active indicative of δεκατοωdekatoō standing on record in Genesis.

Hath blessed
(ευλογηκενeulogēken). Perfect active indicative of ευλογεωeulogeō likewise standing on record. Note the frequent perfect tenses in Hebrews.

Him that hath the promises
(τον εχοντα τας επαγγελιαςton echonta tas epaggelias). Cf. Hebrews 6:12, Hebrews 6:13-15 for allusion to the repeated promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:3, Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:14; Genesis 15:5; Genesis 17:5; Genesis 22:16-18).

Verse 7

Dispute (αντιλογιαςantilogias). Ablative case with χωριςchōris For the word see Hebrews 6:16. The writer makes a parenthetical generalization and uses the article and neuter adjective (το ελασσονto elasson the less, υπο του κρειττονοςhupo tou kreittonos by the better), a regular Greek idiom.

Verse 8

Here (ωδεhōde). In the Levitical system.

There (εκειekei). In the case of Melchizedek.

Of whom it is witnessed
(μαρτυρουμενοςmarturoumenos). “Being witnessed,” present passive participle of μαρτυρεωmartureō (personal construction, not impersonal).

That he lives
(οτι ζηιhoti zēi). Present active indicative of ζαωzaō). The Genesis record tells nothing of his death.

Verse 9

So to say (ως επος ειπεινhōs epos eipein). An old idiom, here only in the N.T., common in Philo, used to limit a startling statement, an infinitive for conceived result with ωςhōs

Hath paid tithes (δεδεκατωταιdedekatōtai). Perfect passive indicative of δεκατοωdekatoō “has been tithed.” This could only be true of Levi “so to speak.”

Verse 10

In the loins of his father (εν τηι οσπυι του πατροςen tēi osphui tou patros). Levi was not yet born. The reference is to Abraham, the forefather (πατροςpatros) of Levi. This is a rabbinical imaginative refinement appealing to Jews.

Verse 11

Perfection (τελειωσιςteleiōsis). Abstract substantive of τελειοωteleioō More the act than the quality or state (τελειοτηςteleiotēs Hebrews 6:1). The condition is of the second class, “if there were perfection, etc.” The Levitical priesthood failed to give men “a perfectly adequate relation to God” (Moffatt).

Priesthood (ιεροσυνηςhierosunēs). Old word, in N.T. only here, Hebrews 7:12, Hebrews 7:24. Cf. ιερετιαhieretia in Hebrews 7:5. The adjective ΛευειτικηLeueitikē occurs in Philo.

Received the law
(νενομοτετηταιnenomothetētai). Perfect passive indicative of νομοτετεωnomotheteō old compound to enact law (νομοσ τιτημιnomos class="normal greek">τις ετι χρεια — tithēmi), to furnish with law (as here), only other N.T. example in Hebrews 8:6.

What further need was there?
(ην ανtis eti chreia). No copula expressed, but it would normally be ηνēn an not just ετερον ιερεαēn “What need still would there be?”

Another priest
(ετερονheteron hierea). Of a different line (αλλονheteron), not just one more (ανιστασταιallon). Accusative of general reference with the infinitive ανιστημιanistasthai (present middle of και ου λεγεσταιanistēmi intransitive).

And not to be reckoned
(ουkai ou legesthai). The negative ou belongs rather to the descriptive clause than just to the infinitive.

Verse 12

The priesthood being changed (μετατιτεμενης της ιεροσυνηςmetatithemenēs tēs hierosunēs). Genitive absolute with present passive participle of μετατιτημιmetatithēmi old word to transfer (Galatians 1:6).

A change (μετατεσιςmetathesis). Old substantive from μετατιτημιmetatithēmi In N.T. only in Heb. (Hebrews 7:12; Hebrews 11:5; Hebrews 12:27). God‘s choice of another kind of priesthood for his Son, left the Levitical line off to one side, forever discounted, passed by “the order of Aaron” (την ταχιν Ααρωνtēn taxin Aarōn).

Verse 13

Belongeth to another tribe (πυλης ετερας μετεσχηκενphulēs heteras meteschēken). See Hebrews 2:14 for μετεχωmetechō perfect active indicative here. A different (ετεραςheteras) tribe.

Hath given attendance at (προσεσχηκενproseschēken). Perfect active indicative (watch perfects in Hebrews, not “for” aorists) of προσεχωprosechō old verb, here with either νουνnoun (mind) or self (εαυτονheauton) understood with dative case (τωι τυσιαστηριωιtōi thusiastēriōi the altar, for which word see Matthew 5:23; Luke 1:11).

Verse 14

It is evident (προδηλονprodēlon). Old compound adjective (προ δηλοςpro class="normal greek">ανατεταλκεν — dēlos), openly manifest to all, in N.T. only here and 1 Timothy 5:24.

Hath sprung (ανατελλωanatetalken). Perfect active indicative of anatellō old compound to rise up like the sun (Matthew 5:45).

Verse 15

Yet more abundantly evident (περισσοτερον ετι καταδηλονperissoteron eti katadēlon). Only N.T. instance of the old compound adjective καταδηλοςkatadēlos thoroughly clear with ετιeti (still) added and the comparative περισσοτερονperissoteron (more abundantly) piling Ossa on Pelion like Philemon 1:23.

Likeness (ομοιοτηταhomoiotēta). See Hebrews 4:15, only N.T. examples. Cf. the verb in Hebrews 7:3.

Ariseth another priest
(ανισταται ιερευς ετεροςanistatai hiereus heteros). As said in Hebrews 7:11, now assumed in condition of first class.

Verse 16

Carnal (σαρκινηςsarkinēs). “Fleshen” as in 1 Corinthians 3:1, not σαρκικηςsarkikēs (fleshlike, 1 Corinthians 3:3). The Levitical priests became so merely by birth.

Of an endless life (ζωης ακαταλυτουzōēs akatalutou). Late compound (alpha privative and verbal adjective from καταλυωkataluō to dissolve, as in 2 Corinthians 4:1), indissoluble. Jesus as priest lives on forever. He is Life.

Verse 17

It is witnessed (μαρτυρειταιmartureitai). Present passive indicative of μαρτυρεωmartureō The author aptly quotes again Psalm 110:4.

Verse 18

A disannulling (ατετησιςathetēsis). Late word from ατετεωatheteō (alpha privative and τιτημιtithēmi), to set aside (Mark 6:26), in N.T. only here and Hebrews 9:26. Common in the papyri in a legal sense of making void. Involved in μετατεσιςmetathesis (change in Hebrews 7:12).

Foregoing (προαγουσηςproagousēs). Present active participle of προαγωproagō to go before (1 Timothy 1:18).

Because of its weakness
(δια το αυτης αστενεςdia to autēs asthenes). Neuter abstract adjective with article for quality as in Hebrews 7:7 with διαdia and accusative case for reason.

(ανωπελεςanōpheles). Old compound (alpha privative and οπελοςophelos) useless, and neuter singular like αστενεςasthenes In N.T. only here and Titus 3:9.

Verse 19

Made nothing perfect (ουδεν ετελειωσενouden eteleiōsen). Another parenthesis. First aorist active indicative of τελειοωteleioō See Hebrews 7:11. And yet law is necessary.

A bringing in thereupon (επεισαγωγηepeisagōgē). An old double compound (επιepi additional, εισαγωγηeisagōgē bringing in from εισαγωeisagō). Here only in N.T. Used by Josephus (Ant. XI. 6, 2) for the introduction of a new wife in place of the repudiated one.

Of a better hope
(κρειττονος ελπιδοςkreittonos elpidos). This better hope (Hebrews 6:18-20) does bring us near to God (εγγιζομεν τωι τεωιeggizomen tōi theōi) as we come close to God‘s throne through Christ (Hebrews 4:16).

Verse 20

Without the taking of an oath (χωρις ορκωμοσιαςchōris horkōmosias). As in Psalm 110:4.

Verse 21

Have been made (εισιν γεγονοτεςeisin gegonotes). Periphrastic perfect active indicative of γινομαιginomai (perfect active participle of γινομαιginomai) and then εισινeisin The parenthesis runs from οι μεν γαρhoi men gar (for they) to εις τον αιωναeis ton aiōna (for ever, end of Hebrews 7:21).

But he with an oath (ο δε μετα ορκωμοσιαςho de meta horkōmosias). Positive statement in place of the negative one in Hebrews 7:20.

Verse 22

By so much also (κατα τοσουτο καιkata tosouto kai). Correlative demonstrative corresponding to κατ οσονkath' hoson (the relative clause) in Hebrews 7:20.

The surety (εγγυοςegguos). Vulgate sponsor. Old word, here only in the N.T., adjective (one pledged, betrothed), from εγγυηegguē a pledge, here used as substantive like εγγυητηςegguētēs one who gives a pledge or guarantee. There may be a play on the word εγγιζωeggizō in Hebrews 7:19. ΕγγυαωEgguaō is to give a pledge, εγγυαλιζωeggualizō to put a pledge in the hollow of the hand. It is not clear whether the author means that Jesus is God‘s pledge to man, or man‘s to God, or both. He is both in fact, as the Mediator (ο μεσιτηςho mesitēs Hebrews 8:6) between God and man (Son of God and Son of man).

Verse 23

Many in number (πλειονεςpleiones). Comparative predicate adjective, “more than one,” in succession, not simultaneously.

Because they are hindered (δια το κωλυεσταιdia to kōluesthai). Articular infinitive (present passive) with διαdia and the accusative case, “because of the being hindered.”

By death
(τανατωιthanatōi). Instrumental case.

From continuing
(παραμενεινparamenein). Present active infinitive of the compound (remain beside) as in Philemon 1:25 and in the ablative case.

Verse 24

Because he abideth (δια το μενειν αυτονdia to menein auton). Same idiom as in Hebrews 7:23, “because of the abiding as to him” (accusative of general reference, αυτονauton).

Unchangeable (απαραβατονaparabaton). Predicate adjective in the accusative (feminine of compound adjective like masculine), late double compound verbal adjective in Plutarch and papyri, from alpha privative and παραβαινωparabainō valid or inviolate. The same idea in Hebrews 7:3. God placed Christ in this priesthood and no one else can step into it. See Hebrews 7:11 for ιερωσυνηhierōsunē f0).

Verse 25

Wherefore (οτενhothen). Since he alone holds this priesthood.

To the uttermost (εις το παντελεςeis to panteles). Old idiom, in N.T. only here and Luke 13:10. Vulgate renders it in perpetuum (temporal idea) or like παντοτεpantote This is possible, but the common meaning is completely, utterly.

Draw near
(προσερχομενουςproserchomenous). Present middle participle of προσερχομαιproserchomai the verb used in Hebrews 4:16 which see.

To make intercession
(εις το εντυγχανεινeis to entugchanein). Purpose clause with ειςeis and the articular present active infinitive of εντυγχανωentugchanō for which verb see Romans 8:34. “His intercession has red blood in it, unlike Philo‘s conception” (Moffatt).

Verse 26

Became us (ημιν επρεπενhēmin eprepen). Imperfect active indicative of πρεπωprepō as in Hebrews 2:10, only there it was applied to God while here to us. “Such” (τοιουτοςtoioutos) refers to the Melchizedek character of Jesus as high priest and in particular to his power to help and save (Hebrews 2:17.) as just explained in Hebrews 7:24. Moffatt notes that “it is generally misleading to parse a rhapsody” but the adjectives that follow picture in outline the qualities of the high priest needed by us.

Holy (οσιοςhosios). Saintly, pious, as already noted. Cf. Acts 2:24; Acts 13:35.

(ακακοςakakos). Without malice, innocent. In N.T. only here and Romans 16:18.

(αμιαντοςamiantos). Untainted, stainless. In the papyri. Not merely ritual purity (Leviticus 21:10-15), but real ethical cleanness.

Separated from sinners
(κεχωρισμενος απο των αμαρτωλωνkechōrismenos apo tōn hamartōlōn). Perfect passive participle. Probably referring to Christ‘s exaltation (Hebrews 9:28).

Made higher than the heavens
(υπσηλοτερος των ουρανων γενομενοςhupsēloteros tōn ouranōn genomenos). “Having become higher than the heavens.” Ablative case (ουρανωνouranōn) after the comparative adjective (υπσηλοτεροςhupsēloteros).

Verse 27

First (προτερονproteron). Regular adverb for comparison between two, though πρωτονprōton often occurs also (John 1:41), with επειταepeita (then) following.

For the sins (τονton). Only the article in the Greek with repetition of υπερhuper or of αμαρτιωνhamartiōn

When he offered up himself
(εαυτον ανενεγκαςheauton anenegkas). First aorist active participle of αναπερωanapherō to offer up. See same idea in Hebrews 9:14 where εαυτον προσηνεγκενheauton prosēnegken is used. Old verb for sacrifice to place on the altar (1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:24).

Verse 28

After the law (μετα τον νομονmeta ton nomon). As shown in Hebrews 7:11-19, and with an oath (Psalm 110:4).

Son (υιονhuion). As in Psalm 2:7; Hebrews 1:2 linked with Psalm 110:4.

(τετελειωμενονteteleiōmenon). Perfect passive participle of τελειοωteleioō The process (Hebrews 2:10) was now complete. Imperfect and sinful as we are we demand a permanent high priest who is sinless and perfectly equipped by divine appointment and human experience (Hebrews 2:17.; Hebrews 5:1-10) to meet our needs, and with the perfect offering of himself as sacrifice.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Hebrews 7". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.