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.
the Greek and Samaritan Pentateuch). In the Pal. Tg. (Tg. Neof.) the title "high priest" occurs a limited number of times, sometimes in free paraphrase, but mostly as a slight expansion of a term in the biblical text. Thus in Tg. Neof. Exod 21,14: "[And if] a man [wilfully attacks] another to kill him treacherously, even if he is the high priest who stands and serves at my altar, you shall take him from there and you shall kill him" (an expansion of the HT: " ...kill him treacherously, you shall take him from my altar..."). It also occurs as an expansion in Tg. Neof. Lev. 21,1, in a context speaking of the sons of Aaron: "The high priest shall not make himself unclean..." (MT: "No one shall make himself unclean"). In Tg. Neof. Deut 26,3 "the priest who is in office at that time" is expanded in Tg. Neof. as "the high priest who is in office at that time". In the Book of Numbers Tg. Neof. introduces the designation on a number of occasions. Aaron is called "the high priest" at Num 4,16.28.33; there is mention of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, "the high priest" (17,2.4; 26,1); Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the "high priest" (25,11); an unnamed "high priest" (4,20; 35,32)50.
In the paraphrase of Gen 14,18 Tg. Neof. and also in Frg. Tg.P Melchisedek is not directly called a high priest, but is said to have served in the high priesthood. Thus in Frg. Tg.P: "... he was priest of the Most High ... and stood and ministered in the high priesthood ()tbr )twnhkb #$m#$mw My)q) before God Most High". Likewise in Tg. Neof.: "he was a priest ministering in the high priesthood before God Most High ()hl( )hl) Mdq htbr [h]tnhkb #$m#$m Nhk hwh)".
A priest ministering in the high priesthood is equivalently called high priest. With regard to the term "priest" and this expression "high priesthood" in Tg. Neof. we may note that Neof. reserves the terms for Aaron and his sons, and for Melchizedek51. The respected non-Jewish Putiphar, priest of On, and Jethro, priest of Midian, each is called a "prince" (hbr); see Tg. Neof. Gen 41,45.50 (also in Tg. Cairo Genizah MS E and 41,45 in Frg. Tg.P); 46,20; Exod 3,1, etc. The Egyptian priests are called )yrmwk¸ a term reserved for non-Jewish priests (see Tg. Neof. Gen 47,22.26).
The expression "high priesthood" occurs only once in Tg. Onq., that is at Num 16,10, where it is found in all the Tgs. of the Pentateuch, namely Tgs. Onq., Neof. and Ps.-J. where Gods words to the sons of