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.
HT have "bread and wine". The Frg. Tg.P has "food and wine"; 1QapGen has "food and drink" (ht#$mw lk)m), indications of the hospitality on Melchizedeks part.
9. Melchizedeks Priesthood; Melchizedek a High Priest?
Melchizedek was a priest of El-Elyon (Gen 14,18), Nwyl( l)l Nhk. That Melchizedek was a priest was not denied by R. Ishmael, whose point was that his priesthood (namely that of Shem) was transferred to Abraham. The biblical statement that Melchizedek was a priest is repeated in such texts as 1QapGen 22.15; the LXX; Josephus, Ant. 1.180; War 6.438; Philo, Leg. all. 3.79,82; De congr. 18.99. Likewise the Syro-Palestinian translation and Frg. Tg.VNL ("He was priest of God Most High"). See also Tg. Neof. and Frg. Tg.P both of which say Melchisedek was a priest, and add a reference to his having served in the high priesthood. We shall return presently to these texts.
Some targumic texts speak of a high priesthood with regard to Melchizedek 47 (=Shem). With regard to Shem (and by implication Melchizedek) we may note Tg 1 Chr 1,24 where Shem of the HT is paraphrased as "Shem the high priest" ()br )nhk M#$)48.
The title "high priest" for Melchizedek may be an old one49. However, Melchisedek is not so called in any of the Targums of Gen 14,18, although the designation "high priest" does occur in Pal. Tg. texts. In two texts, however (Frg. Tg.P and Tg. Neof.) Melchizedek is called "a priest ... who served in the high priesthood".
The words "high priest" (lwdgh Nhkh) are found only two or three times in the entire Pentateuch (Num 35,25.28, and possibly 35,32, see