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Hebrews 7 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

The Priestly Order of Melchizedek

This “King Melchizedek of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him”; and to him Abraham apportioned “one-tenth of everything.” His name, in the first place, means “king of righteousness”; next he is 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 forever.

See how great he is! Even[a] Abraham the patriarch gave him a tenth of the spoils. And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to collect tithes[b] from the people, that is, from their kindred,[c] though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man, who does not belong to their ancestry, collected tithes[d] from Abraham and blessed him who had received the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case, tithes are received by those who are mortal; in the other, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

Another Priest, Like Melchizedek

11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the levitical priesthood—for the people received the law under this priesthood—what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising according to the order of Melchizedek, rather than one according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 Now the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

15 It is even more obvious when another priest arises, resembling Melchizedek, 16 one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is attested of him,

“You are a priest forever,
    according to the order of Melchizedek.”

18 There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand, the introduction of a better hope, through which we approach God.

20 This was confirmed with an oath; for others who became priests took their office without an oath, 21 but this one became a priest with an oath, because of the one who said to him,

“The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever’”—

22 accordingly Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant.

23 Furthermore, the former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently he is able for all time to save[e] those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other[f] high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 7:4 Other ancient authorities lack Even
  2. Hebrews 7:5 Or a tenth
  3. Hebrews 7:5 Gk brothers
  4. Hebrews 7:6 Or a tenth
  5. Hebrews 7:25 Or able to save completely
  6. Hebrews 7:27 Gk lacks other
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Hebrews 7 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: but he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16 who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21 (for those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 by so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

KJV reproduced by permission of Cambridge University Press, the Crown’s patentee in the UK.

Hebrews 7 New English Translation (NET Bible)

The Nature of Melchizedek’s Priesthood

Now this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him.[a] To him[b] also Abraham apportioned a tithe[c] of everything.[d] His name first means[e] king of righteousness, then king of Salem,[f] that is, king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, he has neither beginning of days nor end of life but is like the son of God, and he remains a priest for all time. But see how great he must be, if[g] Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe[h] of his plunder. And those of the sons of Levi who receive the priestly office[i] have authorization according to the law to collect a tithe from the people, that is, from their fellow countrymen,[j] although they too are descendants of Abraham.[k] But Melchizedek[l] who does not share their ancestry[m] collected a tithe[n] from Abraham and blessed[o] the one who possessed the promise. Now without dispute the inferior is blessed by the superior, and in one case tithes are received by mortal men, while in the other by him who is affirmed to be alive. And it could be said that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid a tithe through Abraham. 10 For he was still in his ancestor Abraham’s loins[p] when Melchizedek met him.

Jesus and the Priesthood of Melchizedek

11 So if perfection had in fact been possible through the Levitical priesthood—for on that basis[q] the people received the law—what further need would there have been for another priest to arise, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in Aaron’s order? 12 For when the priesthood changes, a change in the law must come[r] as well. 13 Yet the one these things are spoken about belongs to[s] a different tribe, and no one from that tribe[t] has ever officiated at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord is descended from Judah, yet Moses said nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. 15 And this is even clearer if another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest not by a legal regulation about physical descent[u] but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For here is the testimony about him:[v]You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”[w] 18 On the one hand a former command is set aside[x] because it is weak and useless,[y] 19 for the law made nothing perfect. On the other hand a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 And since[z] this was not done without a sworn affirmation—for the others have become priests without a sworn affirmation, 21 but Jesus[aa] did so[ab] with a sworn affirmation by the one who said to him, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,You are a priest forever’”[ac] 22 accordingly Jesus has become the guarantee[ad] of a better covenant. 23 And the others[ae] who became priests were numerous, because death prevented them[af] from continuing in office,[ag] 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently since he lives forever. 25 So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 For it is indeed fitting for us to have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need to do every day what those priests do, to offer sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this in offering himself once for all. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men subject to weakness,[ah] but the word of solemn affirmation that came after the law appoints a son made perfect forever.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 7:1 sn A series of quotations from Gen 14:17-19.
  2. Hebrews 7:2 tn Grk “to whom,” continuing the description of Melchizedek. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
  3. Hebrews 7:2 tn Or “a tenth part.”
  4. Hebrews 7:2 sn A quotation from Gen 14:20.
  5. Hebrews 7:2 tn Grk “first being interpreted,” describing Melchizedek.
  6. Hebrews 7:2 sn These words are repeated from the quotation of Gen 14:18 in the previous verse.
  7. Hebrews 7:4 tn Grk “to whom.”
  8. Hebrews 7:4 tn Or “a tenth part.”
  9. Hebrews 7:5 tn Or “the priesthood.”
  10. Hebrews 7:5 tn Grk “from their brothers.” See BDAG 18-19 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.b.
  11. Hebrews 7:5 tn Grk “have come from the loins of Abraham.”
  12. Hebrews 7:6 tn Grk “the one”; in the translation the referent (Melchizedek) has been specified for clarity.
  13. Hebrews 7:6 tn Grk “is not descended from them.”
  14. Hebrews 7:6 tn Or “a tenth part.”
  15. Hebrews 7:6 sn The verbs “collected…and blessed” emphasize the continuing effect of the past actions, i.e., Melchizedek’s importance.
  16. Hebrews 7:10 tn Grk “in the loins of his father” (a reference to Abraham). The name “Abraham” has been repeated in the translation at this point (cf. v. 9) in order to clarify the referent (i.e., what ancestor was in view).sn The point of the phrase still in his ancestor’s loins is that Levi was as yet unborn, still in his ancestor Abraham’s body. Thus Levi participated in Abraham’s action when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.
  17. Hebrews 7:11 tn Grk “based on it.”
  18. Hebrews 7:12 tn Grk “of necessity a change in the law comes to pass.”
  19. Hebrews 7:13 tn Grk “shares in.”
  20. Hebrews 7:13 tn Grk “from which no one.”
  21. Hebrews 7:16 tn Grk “a law of a fleshly command.”
  22. Hebrews 7:17 tn Grk “for he/it is witnessed that.”
  23. Hebrews 7:17 sn A quotation from Ps 110:4 (see Heb 5:6 and 6:20).
  24. Hebrews 7:18 tn Grk “the setting aside of a former command comes to pass.”
  25. Hebrews 7:18 tn Grk “because of its weakness and uselessness.”
  26. Hebrews 7:20 sn The Greek text contains an elaborate comparison between v. 20a and v. 22, with a parenthesis (vv. 20b-21) in between; the comparison is literally, “by as much as…by so much” or “to the degree that…to that same degree.”
  27. Hebrews 7:21 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  28. Hebrews 7:21 tn The words “did so” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
  29. Hebrews 7:21 sn A quotation from Ps 110:4 (see Heb 5:6; 6:20, and 7:17).
  30. Hebrews 7:22 tn Or “surety.”
  31. Hebrews 7:23 tn Grk “they on the one hand” in contrast with “he on the other hand” in v. 24.
  32. Hebrews 7:23 tn Grk “they were prevented by death.”
  33. Hebrews 7:23 tn Grk “from continuing” (the words “in office” are supplied for clarity).
  34. Hebrews 7:28 sn See Heb 5:2 where this concept was introduced.
New English Translation (NET)

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