BUT THE ONE WHOSE
GENEALOGY IS NOT TRACED FROM THEM COLLECTED A TENTH FROM ABRAHAM: ho de me genealogoumenos (PPPMSN) ex
auton dedekatoken (3SRAI) ton abraam: (Heb 7:4; Genesis 14:19,20 )
But (de) introduces a
striking contrast (see value of assessing each
term of contrast).
Spurgeon - He had no predecessor
in his priesthood, and he had no successor. He was not one who took a holy
office and then laid it down; but as far as the historic page of Scripture
is concerned we have no note of his quitting this mortal scene. He
disappears, but we read nothing of his death any more than of his birth. His
office was perpetual, and passed not from sire to son; for he was the type
of One “who has become a priest not according to a law of physical
requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life” (Heb
from genea [from ginomai = to become] = a generation, a race,
posterity, that which has been begotten + lego = to choose, to pick
out, to reckon) means to reckon or trace a genealogy or ancestry.
The only other use of genealogeo
in Scripture is in the
1 Chronicles 5:1 Now the sons of
Reuben the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born, but because he
defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the
son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy (Hebrew =
yachas = to reckon genealogically ; Lxx = genealogeo) according to the
The one whose genealogy is not traced
from them - More literally this reads "he who is not genealogically
derived from them". Obviously, this description refers to Melchizedek who
was not a descendant of Abraham.
In this verse the writer substantiates
the fact that the Melchizedekian priesthood and thus Christ's
priesthood is superior to the Aaronic (Levitical) priesthood because Levi's
great-grandfather Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek and Levi, though as yet
unborn, was involved in this transaction (see
Hebrews 7:9 note).
Obviously Levi was not born until many years after the event in Genesis 14
and yet as the Jews well knew Abraham was the father the Hebrew race. It
follows that all twelve tribes including the tribe of Levi (and the priestly
family) were represented in Abraham in Genesis 14 when he recognized the
superiority of Melchizedek by paying a tenth to him and receiving
Melchizedek's priestly blessing. And as he goes on to state in the next
verse no one disputes the fact that "the lesser is blessed by the greater".
Thus in this dual manner the surpassing greatness of the royal priesthood of
Melchizedek is emphasized.
Collected a tenth (1183)
from dekatos = tenth) means to take tithes or a tenth from (active voice as in
Hebrews 7:6) or to pay tithes (passive voice in
Hebrews 7:9). There is one
use in the
Nehemiah 10:37 We will also bring
the first of our dough, our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the new
wine and the oil to the priests at the chambers of the house of our God, and
the tithe of our ground to the Levites, for the Levites are they who receive
the tithes (Hebrew = 'asar = to take or give a tenth; Lxx = dekatoo) in all the rural towns.
signifies that this collection was made historically at a point in time in
the past and that it remains on the written record of Scripture.
Vincent explains "Melchisedec, who has no part in the
Levitical genealogy, and therefore no legal right to exact tithes, took
tithes from the patriarch himself. Hence he was greater than Abraham. The
right of the Levitical priest to receive tithes was only a legal right,
conferred by special statute, and therefore implied no intrinsic superiority
to his brethren; but Melchisedec, though having no legal right, received
tithes from Abraham as a voluntary gift, which implied Abraham’s recognition
of his personal greatness.
MacDonald "was an unusual and unconventional
transaction. Abraham, called to be the father of the nation from which
Messiah would come, was paying deference to one who was not connected with
the chosen people. Melchizedek’s priesthood leaped over racial barriers. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
AND BLESSED THE
ONE WHO HAD THE PROMISES: kai ton echonta (PAPMSA) tas epaggelias eulogeken
(3SRAI): (Hebrews 6:13-15; 11:13,17; Genesis 12:2,13; 13:14-17;
17:4-8; 22:17,18; Acts 3:25; Romans 4:13; 9:4; Galatians 3:16)
Melchizedek collected a tenth from
Abraham, and also blessed Abraham, this latter act demonstrating (including
Abraham's receipt of the blessing) the implied superiority of Melchizedek.
Blessed the one who had the promises - Melchizedek accepted the
exalted position Abraham accorded him, and gave the patriarch his blessing.
from eu =
good + logos = word) is the verb form meaning to speak well of, to
celebrate with praises, to praise. When used by men toward men it means to
speak well of with praise and thanksgiving (English "eulogize"). It means to
invoke God’s blessing upon them.
Blessed is in the
tense indicating that
it has occurred at a point in time in the past and still remains
on record in Genesis.
Let us first know what the word blessed
means here. It means indeed a solemn praying, by which he who is invested
with some high and public honour, recommends to God men in private stations
and under his ministry. Another way of blessing is when we pray for one
another, which is commonly done by all the godly. But this blessing
mentioned by the apostle was a symbol of greater authority. Thus Isaac
blessed his son Jacob, and Jacob himself blessed his grandsons (Gen.
27:27, 48:15). This was not done mutually, for the son could not do like
the father; but a higher authority was required for such a blessing as this.
And this appears more evident still from Num. 6:23, where a command is
given to the priest to bless the people, and then a promise is immediately
added, that they would be blessed whom they blessed. It hence appears that
the blessing of the priest depended on this,—that it was not so much man’s
blessing as that of God. For as the priest in offering sacrifices
represented Christ, so in blessing the people he was nothing more than a
minister and legate of the supreme God
Adam Clarke quotes Macknight...
The blessing here spoken of...is not the
simple wishing of good to others, which may be done by inferiors to
superiors; but it is the action of a person authorized to declare God’s
intention to bestow good things on another.
Leon Morris explains that...
There are senses of the word "bless" in
which men "bless" God, i.e., praise him, or in which an inferior prays that
God will prosper some superior. But the word is not used in such a way here.
It is rather the official pronouncement given by an authorized person. When
that happens, there is no denying that it proceeds from a superior. (Gaebelein,
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan
Who had the
promises - This descriptive phrase is used as a "synonym" for Abraham
("the possessor of the promises") who had received the promises. The
writer by using this description exalts Abraham in order still more to exalt
The promises include
those described in the following passages (these Scriptures are not an
exhaustive record of the promises to Abraham, eg, Psalm 105:42, Acts 7:17,
Romans 4:13ff, Hebrews 119, 17, et al)...
Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD said to
Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your
father's house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a
great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you
shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who
curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be
blessed."...7 And the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants
I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD who had
appeared to him.
Genesis 13:15 for all the land
which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. 16
"And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if
anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be
numbered. 17 "Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for
I will give it to you."
Genesis 15:18 On that day the LORD
made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this
land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates
Genesis 17:4 "As for Me, behold,
My covenant is with you, And you shall be the father of a multitude of
nations. 5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall
be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 "And
I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and
kings shall come forth from you. 7 "And I will establish My covenant between
Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for
an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.
8"And I will give to
you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the
land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
Genesis 22:17 indeed I will
greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the
heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall
possess the gate of their enemies.
Acts 3:25 "It is you who are the
sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers,
saying to Abraham, 'AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE
Galatians 3:16 Now the promises
were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as
referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ.
Hebrews 6:13 For when God made
the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore
by Himself, 14 saying, "I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU, AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY
YOU." 15 And thus, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.
Normally one would suppose that the one
who had the promises (Abraham) might be considered to have been above
being blessed by any other man. However, as the writer has made amply clear,
Melchizedek is not "any other man" but is indeed a unique and great
king-priest. This fact again accentuates that the Priesthood of Jesus
according to the Order of Melchizedek was greater than the Levitical
priesthood. This may seem repetitious to us today for the Temple in
Jerusalem has long disappeared and most of us are "wild olive branches"
(Gentiles) and not likely to seek to cling to the old ways of the Levitical
priesthood. But for a Jew in the time of this writing (the Temple was still
standing), this paradigm shift called for such inspired repetition.
from epí = intensifies verbal meaning + aggéllo
= to tell, declare) originally referred to an announcement or declaration
(especially of a favorable message)
but in later Greek came to mean a declaration to do something with the
implication of obligation to carry out what is stated (thus a promise or
pledge). Epaggelia was primarily a legal term denoting summons, a
promise to do or give something (or to refrain from doing something).
NT promises refer almost exclusively the promises of God. For more on
Clearly promise is a
in this epistle where
epaggelia is used 14 times in 13 verses (27.4% of the 51
NT uses) (See notes
Expositor's Greek Testament writes that...
The point which the writer here brings out is that although Abraham had the
promises, and was therefore himself a fountain of blessing to mankind and
the person on whom all succeeding
generations depended for blessing (cp Ge 12:3 "And I will bless
those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in
you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."), yet
Melchizedek blessed him!
Vincent explains that...
Melchisedec accepted the position
accorded to him by Abraham’s gift of tithes by bestowing on Abraham his
blessing, and Abraham recognised his superiority by accepting his blessing.
He who had received the divine promises might have been supposed to be above
being blessed by any man. The significance of this acceptance is brought out
in the next verse.