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.
to the positioning and formulation of the elements of the paraphrase. The growth which has given us our present texts may have been gradual and varied. It is possible that certain phrases were added in the process of transmission to an already established base text. It is recognised among scholars today that Tg. Ps.-J. is a later and scholarly composition, from a scholars study rather than from a liturgical or community setting. It was probably composed in the seventh-ninth centuries. Its author used Tg. Onq., the Pal. Tgs., rabbinic texts and other sources known and unknown, and probably made additions of his own.
II. Encounter at the Valley of Shaveh,
that is the Kings Valley (Gen 14,17)
For an easy and convenient comparative reading of the different Targums we offer here the English translation of Tgs. Onkelos, Neof., Neof. marg, Frg. Tgs.PVNL and Ps.-J. which correspond to Gen 14,17-20. The Hebrew text of Gen 14,18-20 and the Aramaic text of the Targums are given at the beginning of sections III and IV of this article.
17 Then the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after [Abram] had returned
from slaying Chedor-laomer and the kings who were with him to the empty plain, which is
the race-course of the king.
17 When he returned from defeating Chedor-laomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him at the levelled plain, which is the kings race-course.
17 And the king of Sodom came out to meet him, after he had returned from slaying Chedorlaomer aand the kings who were with him, in the Valley of the Gardensa, that is, the valley of the king.
17a-a and the kings who were with him in the Valley of Hazoza, that is the place [lit house] of the Valley of the King (Frg. Tgs.VNL); to the Valley of Hazoza, that is the place [lit: house] of the Valley of the King (Tg. Neof. marg).
|18 Now Melkhizedek, king of Jerusalem, brought out bread and wine, for he was ministering before God Most High.||18 And the righteous king he is Shem, the son of Noah the king of Jerusalem, came out to meet Abram, and he brought out to him bread and wine; and at that time he was ministering before God Most High.||18 aAnd Melchisedech, the king of Jerusalem he is Shem the Great brought out bread and wine, for he was a priest ministering in the high priesthood bbefore God Most Highab.||18a-a and Melchisedek the king of Jerusalem, he is Shem the Great, was a priest to God Most High (Frg. Tgs.VNL); and Melchi-zedek the king of Jerusalem who is Shem the Great was a priest of the Most High; he brought out|
|19 And he blessed him and said:Blessed be||19 He blessed him and said: Blessed be||19 And he blessed him and said: Blessed is||food and wine, and he was standing, ministe-|