Joseph A. Fitzmyer, «Melchizedek in the MT, LXX, and the NT», Vol. 81 (2000) 63-69
Melchizedek is mentioned in the Hebrew Old Testament only in Gen 14,18-20 and Psalm 110,4. The details about this (originally Canaanite) priest-king in these passages were further read and understood in the Hellenistic and Roman periods of Jewish, and later Christian, history. This is seen in the translation or interpretation of the passages in the Septuagint, the writings of Flavius Josephus, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in the Peshitta, where a process of allegorization was at work.
The sacred text of the written Word of God, almost from the time that it was first consigned to writing, underwent various modes of reading and relecture. In the Hellenistic and Roman periods the reading of the OT continued in various ways. As an example we have chosen the figure of Melchizedek, who appears in two contexts of the OT and the understanding of him and his role developed in significant ways in these periods1.
Melchizedek is mentioned in the Hebrew text of the OT only in Gen 14,18-20 and in Ps 110,4. The first of these passages occurs as part of the pericope, Gen 14,17-24, which tells of Abrams return from the defeat of the kings, Chedorlaomer and his associates. Verses 18-20 run as follows:
18And Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was a priest of the Most High God, 19and he blessed him, saying, Blessed be Abram by the Most High God, creator of heaven and earth! 20And blessed be the Most High God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand! And he gave him a tenth of everything2.
The second mention of Melchizedek (Ps 110,4) is found in a royal psalm, in which an unnamed king of the Davidic dynasty is addressed; some victory or conquest is celebrated, and he is said to be a priest forever and is associated with the past as a successor of Melchizedek. The text is usually translated: YHWH has sworn and will not go back on His word: "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Whatever the exact