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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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When Abram returned from the slaughter of the Assyrians, in his way to Hebron, he was met at Shaveh, or King's Dale, afterward the valley of Jehoshaphat, between Jerusalem and Mount Olivet, by Melchizedek, king of Salem, the most ancient quarter of Jerusalem, a priest of the most high God, who gave him bread and wine, and blessed him in the name of the "most high God, Creator of heaven and earth;" to whom Abram in return piously gave tithes, or the tenth part of all the spoils as an offering to God, Hebrews 7:2 . This Canaanitish prince was early considered as a type of Christ in the Jewish church: "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek," Psalms 110:4 . He resembled Christ in the following particulars:

1. In his name, Melchizedek, "King of Righteousness;"

2. In his city, Salem, "Peace;"

3. In his offices of king and priest of the most high God; and

4. In the omission of the names of his parents and genealogy, the time of his birth and length of his life, exhibiting an indefinite reign and priesthood, according to the Apostle's exposition, Hebrews 7:5 .

The import of this is, that he came not to his office by right of primogeniture, (which implies a genealogy,) or by the way of succession, but was raised up and immediately called of God to it. In that respect Christ is said to be a priest after his "order." Then, again, that he had no successor, nor could have; for there was no law to constitute an order of succession, so that he was a priest only upon an extraordinary call. In this respect our Lord's priesthood answers to his, because it is wholly in himself, who has no successor. An infinite number of absurd opinions have been at different times held respecting this mystic personage, as that he was Shem, or Ham; or, among those who think he was more than human, that he was the Holy Ghost, or the Son of God himself; absurdities which are too obsolete to need refutation.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Melchizedek'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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