Martin McNamara, «Melchizedek: Gen 14,17-20 in the Targums, in Rabbinic and Early Christian Literature», Vol. 81 (2000) 1-31
The essay is introduced by some words on the nature of the Aramaic translations of Gen 14 used in the study (the Tgs. Onq., Pal. Tgs. as in Tgs. Neof. I, Frg. Tgs., Ps.-J.). Tg. Neof. identifies the Valley of Shaveh (Gen 14,17) as the Valley of the Gardens (pardesaya). The value of Tg. Neof.s evidence here is doubtful. Most Targums retain Melchizedek as a personal name (not so Tg. Ps.-J.). Salem of v. 18 is identified as Jerusalem. Melchizedek is identified as Shem, son of Noah, mainly because of the life-span assigned to Shem in Gen 11. The question of Melchizedeks priesthood in early rabbinic tradition and in the Targums (Tg. Gen 14; Tg Ps. 110) is considered, as is also the use of Jewish targumic-type tradition on Melchizedek in such early Fathers as Jerome, Ephrem, and Theodore of Mopsuestia.
mean. There may possibly be an eschatological reference. In any event, the key text of v. 4 (MT: "a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek") practically disappears in translation, and the Targum gives the non-historical, eschatological, understanding of the verse. It reads (without significant variation in the texts):
The LORD has sworn and will not relent: "You are appointed as chief for the world to come, on account of (Nygb; MP110 llgb) the merit that you have been a righteous king".
y)kz Kylm tywhd )twkz(llgb) Nynb yt)d )ml(l )brl ynmtm )t)d Tg.Ps.
The exact traditions behind this rendering remain to be identified. While all mention of Melchizedek appears to be lost, the rendering is modelled on the Hebrew text. The Hebrew Nhk, "priest" (originally designating Melchizedek), is rendered as )br, "prince", the term used in the Targums of the Pentateuch to render Nhk of the Hebrew text when a respected, non-Jewish, priest is in question, for instance Putiphar (Gen 41,45.50; 46,20), priest of On, and Jethro (Exod 3,1; passim), priest of Midian. The following word, Mlw(l, "for ever" is paraphrased as "the world to come". The words ytrbd-l( ("according to the order of"?), somewhat in the tradition of R. Ishmael, is taken as if it meant "because", while qdc yklm is paraphrased (as in Tg. Ps.-J.) as "a just king".
7. "... he (Melchizedek) went out to meet Abram" (Tg. Ps.-J. v.18)
This observation is found only in Tg. Ps.-J. It is not in the HT, in the LXX or in the other Targums. In the translation of this verse Tg. Ps.-J. has inserted what has been said with regard to the king of Sodom in v. 17. Tg. Ps.-J.s added detail is interesting in that it is also found in Heb 7,1. The author of Hebrews may have been influenced by targumic or Hebrew tradition, although this is not required by the evidence46.
8. The Offering of Bread and Wine (v. 18a)
The targumic renderings seem to exclude any liturgical-sacrificial interpretation of Melchizedeks action. All the Targums translate the HT )y(wh by q[y]p), the aphel of qpn. With regard to the objects brought out, Tgs. Onq., Neof. and Ps.-J., with the LXX, and Pal. Syr, with the