Locate verse: Type a verse reference like 'Romans 10:9' or abbreviated 'Rm 10:9'.
By just typing the verse one can jump to the corresponding verse on the active page (only works if the current page displays a chapter).
If a chapter and a verse is entered without a book, the current selected book is assumed.
Providing only the name of a book will bring one to the chapter index of that book.
Examples (without the quotes): '1 Tim 3:16', 'Rv 1:8', 'Matthew 5', '3:16', '8', 'Phm'.
THE LETTER TO THE HEBREWS
“A SUPERIOR PRIESTHOOD BY
Key Word: Priest
Theme Verse: 24
Hebrews 7:1-3 – Regarding Melchizedek
HE7:1 Now, regarding238
Melchizedek – king of Salem, priest of the Most High God
– the one who, having
met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, blessed him,
Now, regarding: Paul now picks up the subject of Melchizedek which he introduced in Hebrews 5:6, 10. He first alludes to Genesis 14:18, 20, then continues to interpret details.
HE7:2 and to whom
Abraham also apportioned one-tenth of the booty
[Genesis 14:18, 20] – [this Mechizedek] is, indeed, first, translated “King of Righteousness,”239
and secondly, also, King of Salem, which means “King of Peace”240
King of Righteousness: The name means “king of righteousness.” Some feel such a king ruled the city which would become Jerusalem around 1933 BCE.
King of Peace: The name “Salem” means “peace.”
HE7:3 – fatherless, motherless, without genealogy, having neither a beginning of days, nor having an end of life241
– but having been made like the Son of The God – he remains a priest continuously.242
Fatherless, motherless, without genealogy, having neither a beginning of days, nor having an end of life: Though this language has been interpreted with extreme literality, it seems reasonable to give Paul some latitude in his use of the analogy regarding Melchizedek. The king-priest appears suddenly in the Genesis account without explanation. It is from this standpoint Paul writes and it seems unnecessary to make more of it than need be. One understand of Melchizedek’s identify is mention in the Targums of Jerusalem and of Jonathan – regarded as true by some Jews – regards Melchizedek as the son of Noah, Shem. Shem was possibly still alive and may have lived longed than Sarah.
From a strict perspective Jesus was neither fatherless, motherless or without genealogy. Nor was he without a beginning of days as Micah 5:1, 2 shows Messiah to have had an “origin.” [Proverbs 8:22] However, it serves Paul’s developing
point to use Melchizedek, mentioned in the Messianic Psalm 110:4, as just a parable or analogy, much the same as he does with Sarah and Hagar in Galatians chapter 4. It was a common teaching practice among rabbis and later Christian “fathers.”
But having been made like the Son of The God – he remains a priest continuously: Or, KJV: made like unto the Son of God;
MON: resembling the; NOR: a true symbol of the Son of God; NAS: he abides a priest perpetually; WMS: priest continues on and on with no successor. This is part of the analogy and thus from this aspect Melchizedek points toward a priest who remains so into perpetuity. The “he” is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Hebrews 7:4-10 – How Great Melchizedek
HE7:4 All you [Hebrews] behold, then, how great this person243
[is] to whom Abraham the patriarch gave one-tenth of the booty of war.
HE7:5 Indeed, those of the son of Levi, according to the Law’s commandment, receive to the priestly office a tithe from the people [of Israel], that is, from their brothers having even also come forth from the loin of Abraham.
HE7:6 However, the person who did not trace a genealogy244
from them accepted tithes from Abraham, and then blessed [the patriarch] who had received the promises [from God].
The person who did not trace a genealogy: Or, KJV: whose descend is not counted from them; RHM: he who deriveth not his
pedigree from among them; MOF: he who had no Levitical genealogy. That is, Melchizedek, who for the purposes of Paul’s analogy is without such a genealogy. Paul is going to use this in parallel with Jesus also not being of the tribe of Levi.
HE7:7 Now without any contradiction – the lesser is blessed by the greater.245
Lesser is blessed by the greater: Thus Melchizedek was greater than Abraham – almost an unbelievable thought to a Jew.
HE7:8 And in the case of the [Levite priests] – men who die – they receive tithes; but, the one here being testified about is living.246
The one here being testified about is living: Paul likely is continuing his analogy regarding Melchizedek who is –
for the purposes of the illustration – “without an end of life.” Thus, the person being testified about – Melchizedek – is unlike the Levitical priesthood of dying men. This becomes a parallel with Jesus Christ.
HE7:9 So it might be said – by means of Abraham, Levi – who receives tithes – has also paid tithes,247
HE7:10 because Levi was in the loin of the forefather [Abraham] when he went to meet Melchizedek.
Hebrews 7:11-14 – If Levitical Priesthood Perfect, Why Another?
HE7:11 So then, indeed, if perfection was by means of the Levitical priesthood248
– for it was legally appointed in behalf of the people [of Israel] – what need would there be for another [priesthood] after the lineage of Melchizedek,249
and not according to the lineage of Aaron?250
If perfection was by means of the Levitical priesthood: [KJV] Or, TCN: if perfection had been attainable; GDS: now if anything final had been really accomplished through. Paul will explain what he means by “perfection” as he continues to develop his theme. [Hebrews 7:19; 9:9] The Greek is just the simple TELOS [“end”] and occurs in a variety of forms at Hebrews 2:10; 5:9; 7:19, 28; 9:9, 11; 10:1, 14; 11:40; 12:2, 23. The idea is consistent with Paul elsewhere. [Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:21]
Another [priesthood] after the lineage of Melchizedek: Or, KJV: after the order of. Compare notes on Hebrews 5:6.
Not according to the lineage of Aaron: Or, KJV: after the order of Aaron; RHM: the rank of; BER: Aaronic order; NEB: the succession of Aaron.
HE7:12 For since a change of priesthood occurs, it would require also a change in the Law.251
HE7:13 For what is being said about this person252
– who was from a different tribe [of the Hebrews] – is so because he was from such [a tribe] that never had anyone who approached to serve at the [temple] altar.
What is being said about this person: Or, KJV: for he of whom these things are spoken. It seems from what follow this person is Jesus Christ.
HE7:14 Because it is very clear that our Master has sprung out of [the tribe of] Judah253
– a tribe about which Moses said nothing regarding priests.
Hebrews 7:15-17 – Like Melchizedek Another Priesthood
HE7:15 Also, it is clearly evident that a different priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,254
A different priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek: Paul bases this on Psalm 110:4.
HE7:16 who has become a priest, not according to a commandment of [the] Law which depends upon fleshly connections, but rather, according to the power of a life which can never dissolve.255
According to the power of a life which can never dissolve: [RHM] Or, KJV: power of an endless life; WEY: indestructible
life; MON: the energy of any indissoluble life; CON: imperishable; WMS: on the basis of a power flowing from a life that cannot end; TCN: beyond the reach of death. Paul compares another difference between the two priesthoods: one is continually in the process
of dying and thus needing a succession; while that after the likeness of Melchizedek is everlasting. See notes on Romans 6:9 in Nazarene Commentary 2000. [Revelation 1:18] The Greek for “cannot dissolve” is AKATALYTOU [Strong’s Exhaustive
Concordance #179], or “indissoluble,” that is, permanent. The suggestion is strong that the priesthood is unending and therefore will always be necessary.
HE7:17 For, there is
a testimony [which states]:
“You are an everlasting priest256according to the lineage of Melchizedek.” [Psalm 110:4]
Or, a priest for ever. Compare notes on aionon at Hebrews 5:9 and Hebrews 6:2.
Hebrews 7:18-25 – Ineffective Commandment Set Aside
HE7:18 For, indeed, there occurs a setting aside of the preceding commandment257
[in the Law of Moses] because if its weakness and lack of real benefit.258
There occurs a setting aside of the preceding commandment: [RHM] Or, KJV: there is verily a disannulling of the commandment
going before; PME: definite cancellation; GDS: abrogated; CON: annulled. The law regarding the Levitical priesthood was described as for an “indefinite” but unknown length of time. Some versions err in saying “forever” or “everlasting”
for the Hebrew word carries the idea of an “indefinite time.”
Because if its weakness
and lack of real benefit: [WEY] Or, KJV: weakness and unprofitableness; CON: weak and profitless; TCN: both inefficient and useless; NEB: impotent and useless; BAS: feeble and without profit. This reflects Paul at Romans 8:3. The “Law is perfect and good” in that it fully accomplished its purpose in preserving a nation until Messiah, as well as pointing forward to that Messiah. The Law proves weak because of human sin, but it served as a custodian until Messiah arrived. [Galatians 3:19, 23, 24]
HE7:19 Because the Law [of Moses] perfected nothing,259
but the introduction of a better hope did260
– by which [hope] we are drawing near to The God.261
The Law [of Moses] perfected nothing: [RHM] Or, KJV: the law made nothing perfect; ABUV: completed nothing; KNX: had nothing
in it of final achievement; PME: the Law was incapable of bringing anyone to real maturity. Though the Law was “holy, righteous, and good” [see notes on Romans 7:12 in Nazarene Commentary 2000] God never intended that the Law itself would be the
sole means of fulfilling His “eternal purpose.” [Acts 13:39; Galatians 2:16; see notes on Hebrews 10:1]
The introduction of a better hope did: [TCN] Or, KJV: the bringing in of a better hope; RHM: superinducing of a better hope; LAM: come in its place. See the notes on Hebrews 6:18. The only hope the Law held out was the possibility of everlasting life
on earth. This “better hope” mentioned here is heavenly life. [2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Timothy 4:18; John 14:1-3; 1 Peter 1:3, 4]
By which [hope] we are drawing near to The God: [KJV] Or, PME: approach; KNX: enabling us to come close to God. [See notes on Romans 5:2 and Hebrews 4:16; 10:19] The Law was limited in this approach to God. Paul will go on to explain how this approach
HE7:20 Also, in as much as [the Law’s priesthood] was lacking a sworn oath –
HE7:21 for, indeed, priests have become such without a sworn oath262
– there is someone who becomes [a priest] by means of a sworn oath. Because that One said regarding [this new priest]:
“YHWH swore263– and He will not change His determination – ‘You are an everlasting priest.’”
Priests have become such without a sworn oath: Paul points to another superiority to the priesthood that is in the likeness
YHWH swore: The Tetragram YHWH would occur in the Hebrew Text.
HE7:22 Just so, Jesus has received a pledge of a better covenant.264
A pledge of a better covenant: Or, KJV: was Jesus made a surety of a better testament; WMS: a guarantee; GDS: the agreement
which he guarantees is better than the old one; MOF: superior covenant. Psalm 110:4 represents a pledge of covenant promise from God to this new priest. How this was “better” is next explained. Paul will also go on to introduce a “new covenant”
based on Jeremiah 31:31. See notes on Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24. The KJV uses “testament” which is an ancient word for a pledge or covenant. It is drawn from the Latin for TESTES, or male reproductive organs because men used to bond their agreement
by touching the inner thigh. [Genesis 24:2]
HE7:23 Also, [under the Law] there were many priests in succession because death prevented them from remaining [priests].265
Priests in succession because death prevented them from remaining [priests]: One of the weaknesses of the Levitical priesthood
– death. Another superiority is the priest in the likeness of Melchizedek is such for ever. [1 Chronicles 6:4; Numbers 20:28; Joshua 24:33]
HE7:24 But, [Jesus] remains a priest always
without having a succession to his priesthood.266
[Jesus] remains a priest always without having a succession to his priesthood: Or, KJV: but, this man, because he continueth
ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood; WMS: his life goes on for ever; ASV: priesthood unchangeable; KNX: priestly office is unchanging; RHM: untransmissible; GDS: untransferable; RSV: priesthood permanently; MON: inviolable; has no successors in office. This
is based on Psalm 110:4. Compare notes on Hebrews 7:16; 13:8.
HE7:25 Also, because of [remaining alive forever] [Jesus] is able to completely save267
those approaching The God by his agency.268
[Jesus] is continually living to make intercession in their behalf.269
[Jesus] is able to completely save: [WMS] Or, KJV: able also to save them to the uttermost; RHM: to the very end; MON: continue saving to the uttermost; NEB: save absolutely; GDS:
he is forever able to save all. A Christian is “saved” upon accepting Christ and being baptized. [1 Peter 3:19] However, this is conditional and based on obedient faith to the end. Final and absolute salvation occurs after the judgment of Christ.
[2 Corinthians 5:10] Compare notes on Hebrews 5:9.
Those approaching The God by his agency: [RHM]
Or, KJV: that come unto God by him; MON: ever drawing near to God through him. Compare notes on Hebrews 10:19.
Continually living to make intercession in their behalf: [RHM] Or, KJV: see he ever liveth to make intercession for them; NEB: plead in their behalf. Not only does Christ offer himself as a sacrificial offering but he also is an everlasting intercessor
for those in need. See notes on Romans 8:34 in Nazarene Commentary 2000. See Hebrews 9:24 and compare notes on 1 John 2:1. [Isaiah 53:12]
Hebrews 7:26-28 – A Priest Suitable for Us
HE7:26 For it was most appropriate for us to have such a High Priest270
separated from sinners,274
and having now become higher that the heavens.275
For it was most appropriate for us to have such a High Priest: Or, KJV: for such an high priest became us; RSV: fitting;
MON: needed; WEY: exactly suited. Compare notes Hebrews 4:15.
Loyal: Or, KJV: holy; NEB: devout;
MOF: saintly; GDS: godly. The Greek is HOSIOS [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #3741] and is used uniquely here in relation to Christ’s attributes. The Hebrew word HASID is translated by HOSIOS in the Jewish Greek LXX. HASID means covenant-loyalty
or faithful to an agreement. Though most render the word by “holy” and some “pious” judging from HASID “loyal” is closer to the mark [and “covenant-faithfulness” closer yet]. See commentary in Dictionary of
New Testament Theology, Volume 2, page 236ff. See notes on Ephesians 4:24 in Nazarene Commentary 2000. This Priest is completely loyal and faithful to God’s covenants. He is truly hasidim. See the prophecy of Isaiah 16:5. [See notes on Hebrews
Guileless: [ASV] KJV: harmless; RSV: blameless; MOF: innocent. The Saints are also described
as “guileless.” [See notes on Romans 16:18 in Nazarene Commentary 2000] There is no deceit in this Priest. He has no hidden agenda harmful to those he serves. He may be taken at face value for he is completely honest and innocent. [Isaiah 53:9]
Undefiled: [KJV] Or, TCN: spotless; RSV: unstained. This Priest is unspotted from the world. [James 1:27] The Levitical priests
had many regulations regarding what was ceremonially clean or undefiled and impossible for a man to perfectly attain. The Nazarene lists those characteristics which “defile” a person. [Mark 7:15-23]
Separated from sinners: [KJV] Or, RHM: set apart; TCN: withdrawn from; WEY: far removed from sinful men; MOF: far from all contact with the sinful; BAS: having no part with sinners; BER: in a different class from sinners. It is likely this latter rendering is closer to the mark. Jesus said he came to call sinners and throughout his life he was much in contact with them. However, now that he has become such a High Priest he no longer is in such close association with sinners. This High Priest was never a sinner himself. It is worthy of note that the designation “Pharisee” means “separated.” It is clear this High Priest does not separate himself from sinners otherwise he could not intercede for them as mentioned above. [1 John 2:1, 2]
Having now become higher that the heavens: [RHM] That is, the Celestialum. Or, KJV: made high than the heavens; MOF: lifted high above; GDS: raised above the very heavens; TCN: exalted above the highest Heaven. See the notes on Hebrews 4:14 and the word heavens. Though Jesus passed through the earth’s atmospheric heaven [Acts 1:9-11], and likely beyond the stellar universe, it seems fair to conclude here that “heavens” refers to the angelic celestialum and all the heavenly powers and authorities. [See notes on Ephesians 1:19-22 in Nazarene Commentary 2000.]
HE7:27 [Jesus] does not need to daily offer up sacrifices for his own sins as those former hierarchical priests276
– who made sacrifices for themselves first, and then afterward for all the people277
[of Israel] – because [Jesus] did this only one time when he sacrificed himself.278
Not need to daily offer up sacrifices for his own sins as those former hierarchical priests: Or, KJV: who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice. [Numbers 28:3] The Greek for “high priest(s)” is ARCHIEREIS from which the English “hierarchy” [temple ruler] comes. This is another reason for the superiority of Jesus’ priesthood.
Sacrifices for themselves first, and then afterward for all the people: [KJV] Or, RHM: beforehand over his own sins to be offering sacrifices – after that over those of the people. [Compare Leviticus 9:8, 15.]
[Jesus] did this only one time when he sacrificed himself: [MON] Or, KJV: for this he did once, when he offered up himself; TCN: when he offered himself as the sacrifice; BER: when he brought himself as an offering. On the matter of “once” or “only one time” see the notes on Romans 6:10 in Nazarene Commentary 2000 and those of Hebrews 9:28 and Hebrews 10:14. Jesus is not sacrificed daily as in the Roman Mass.
HE7:28 For the Law [of Moses] appoints humans as hierarchical priests having weaknesses;279
but in contrast, the Word of the sworn oath – which came after the Law [of Moses]280
– [appoints] an everlasting Son who has been perfected.281
The Law [of Moses] appoints humans as hierarchical priests having weaknesses: Or, KJV: which have infirmity; BER: weak human beings; WMS: imperfect; NEB: in all their frailty; GDS: full of imperfection. [Exodus
29:9; Leviticus 16:11] Beginning with Aaron, the human weaknesses of the Hebrew high priests became apparent. [Exodus 32:1ff; Numbers 12:1ff; Numbers 20:9-13]
The Word of the sworn oath – which came after the Law [of Moses]: Or, WMS: which was spoken after the time of the law; TCN: the words of God’s oath, which was later than the Law. He refers to Psalm
110:4 which dated 500 years after the Law.
[Appoints] an everlasting Son who has been perfected:
Or, KJV: maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore; ASV: appointed a Son, perfected for evermore; BER: appoints the forever-perfect Son; GDS: appoints a son, fully qualified to b high priest forever. The word “perfected” likely implies inaugurated
or installed as such a priest. Compare “perfect” at Hebrews 2:10 and Hebrews 5:9.
Review Questions on Chapter Seven
How does the Son have a superior priesthood?
With whom is he compared and why?
How is this new priesthood superior to the Law of Moses?
What kind of priest do we, Christians, have?
What is another difference between the two priesthoods?
How does Jesus contrast with the sinning Hebrew priests?
Summary of Chapter Seven
Having started by proving that the Son became better than the angels, Paul now proves this appointed Son has a superior priesthood. He describes Melchizedek and gives the background from Genesis 14:18-20, using this as the basis of an analogy with the Son
as a new kind of priest. He first establishes that Melchizedek was greater than both Abraham and the Levitical priesthood. He then provides other reasons why this priesthood after the likeness of Melchizedek was superior. Another priesthood arises, one with
the power of an indestructible life. Because of remaining alive forever, this undying Priest is always alive to come to the aid of those in need. Paul describes some of the characteristics of this new High Priest and why he is superior to the Levitical priesthood.