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.
Korah "... you yet seek the priesthood, hnhk-Mg Mt#$qbw, as well", are rendered as "you wish to assume (Tg. Neof.; Tg. Onq. "you seek") the high priesthood also". It may be that the this phrase once occurred more widely in Tg. Onq., and was later deleted.
The term "priesthood", hnhk, occurs eight times in the Hebrew Pentateuch, twice in Exodus (29,9; 40,15) and six in Numbers (Num 3,10; 16,10; 18,1.7.7; 25,13), and only in two of those (Exod 40,15; Num 16,10) does Tg. Neof. expand with the addition of "high". In Tg. Neof. there are 32 occurrences of the term "priesthood" (hnwhk), and in 22 of these the term is qualified as "high"52. Of these texts only two are extant in the Frg. Tgs., namely Gen 14,8 (P) and Exod 1,21 (PVN) and here, too, we have the addition "high". A free Palestinian Targum midrash on Gen 49,3 says that the high priesthood was originally destined for Reuben, Jacobs first-born but, because of his sin, the high priesthood was given to Levi (Tg. Neof. Gen 49,3; also Frg. Tgs.PVN, and possibly a Cairo Genizah Pal. Tg. text, M. Kleins MS Z)53.
The text corresponding to "high priesthood" of Pal. Tg. Gen 49,3 in BerR 98,4 speaks simply of "priesthood"54. It must be noted that