The Greatness of Melchizedek

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham as he[a] was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,[b] to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth of everything[c]—in the first place, his name is translated “king of righteousness,” and then also “king of Salem,” that is, “king of peace”; without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God—he remains a priest for all time.

But see how great this man was, to whom Abraham[d] the patriarch gave a tenth from the spoils! And indeed those of the sons of Levi who receive the priesthood have a commandment to collect a tenth from the people according to the law, that is, from their brothers, although they are descended from Abraham[e]. But the one who did not trace his descent from them collected tithes from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. Now without any dispute the inferior is blessed by the more prominent. And in this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case it is testified that he lives. And, so to speak[f], even Levi, the one who receives tithes, has paid tithes through Abraham. 10 For he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

The Superiority of Jesus to Melchizedek

11 Thus if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood, for on the basis of it the people received the law, what further need is there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek and not said to be according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when[g] the priesthood changes, of necessity there is a change of the law also. 13 For the one about whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord is a descendant of Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses said nothing concerning priests. 15 And it is still more clear, if another priest according to the likeness of Melchizedek arises, 16 who has become a priest not according to a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is testified,

“You are a priest forever[h] according to the order of Melchizedek.”[i]

18 For on the one hand a preceding commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), but on the other hand there is the introduction of a better hope through which we draw near to God. 20 And by as much as this was not without an oath (for these on the one hand have become priests[j] without an oath, 21 but he with an oath by the one who said to him,

“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,
    ‘You are a priest forever[k]’”[l]),

22 by so much more[m] Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

23 And indeed many have become[n] priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he, because he continues forever[o], holds the priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore also he is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him, because he[p] always lives in order to intercede on their behalf.

26 For a high priest such as this indeed is fitting for us, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and having become exalted above the heavens, 27 who does not need every day[q] like the former high priests to offer up sacrifices for his own sins and then for the sins of the people, because he did this once for all when he[r] offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men as high priests who have weakness, but the statement of the oath, after the law, appoints a Son, who is made perfect forever[s].


  1. Hebrews 7:1 Here “as” is supplied as a component of the participle (“was returning”) which is understood as temporal
  2. Hebrews 7:1 This verse contains a number of quotations from Gen 14:17–19
  3. Hebrews 7:2 A quotation from Gen 14:20
  4. Hebrews 7:4 Some manuscripts have “even Abraham”
  5. Hebrews 7:5 Literally “coming forth from the loins of Abraham”
  6. Hebrews 7:9 Literally “as if to say a word”
  7. Hebrews 7:12 Here “when” is supplied as a component of the temporal genitive absolute participle (“changes”)
  8. Hebrews 7:17 Literally “for the age”
  9. Hebrews 7:17 A quotation from Ps 110:4 (see also Heb 5:6; 6:20)
  10. Hebrews 7:20 Literally “are having become priests”
  11. Hebrews 7:21 Literally “for the age”
  12. Hebrews 7:21 A quotation from Ps 110:4 (see also Heb 5:6; 6:20; 7:17)
  13. Hebrews 7:22 Some manuscripts have “so much more also”
  14. Hebrews 7:23 Literally “are having become”
  15. Hebrews 7:24 Literally “for the age”
  16. Hebrews 7:25 Here “because” is supplied as a component of the participle (“lives”) which is understood as causal
  17. Hebrews 7:27 Literally “have necessity every day”
  18. Hebrews 7:27 Here “when” is supplied as a component of the temporal participle (“offered up”)
  19. Hebrews 7:28 Literally “for the age”