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Melchizedek ( Hebrew מַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק [ malkit͡sæːdæq ] "king of righteousness" or "my king is (God) Zedek", German pronunciation: [ mɛlçiːzedɛk ] or [ mɛlçizeːdɛk ]) - also Melchizedek , Melchizedek , Melkisedek - is a mythical king and Priest mentioned in the Bible .

Melchizedek in the Old Testament

Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was a priest of the Most High God. He blessed Abram and said: Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be the Highest God, who delivered your enemies to you. Abram then gave him a tithe of everything. ( Gen 14.18-20  EU )
Meeting of Abraham and Melchizadech, oil painting by Dierick Bouts

According to this passage, Melchizedek is the "King of Salem" and a " Priest of the Most High God". “King of Salem” can be interpreted as “King of Jerusalem” or as “King of Peace” (Salem could mean peace here) and leaves open whether this royal title is associated with worldly power. The name Melchizedek can be translated differently, depending on whether a predicative or nominal meaning of the two components of the name King and Justice is seen: "King of Justice", " Melek is just" (predicative) or "King is Zädäq" (nominal). Melchizedek blesses Abraham , then Abraham tithes Melchizedek .

The meaning of Melchizedek is that he is the first priest ever mentioned in the Tanakh and that he uses bread and wine for his sacrifice, not meat from sacrificial animals like the later priests of the Old Testament. Furthermore, “Salem” is often interpreted as the city of Jerusalem , and this biblical passage would then be the earliest historical reference to this city, which is otherwise not yet mentioned in the Torah . In addition, the passage allows conclusions to be drawn about Abraham, who is mentioned here together with Melchizedek.

Melchizedek is also mentioned in Psalm 110.4 EU , a promise of sovereignty to the Davidic king of Israel , who is also high priest : "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek".

Christian interpretations

Sacrifice of Melchizedek, Sarleinsbach high altar (1904)

In the New Testament, the figure of Melchizedek is specifically emphasized in the Epistle to the Hebrews in chapters 5-7. The letter to the Hebrews calls Jesus Christ a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek ( Heb 5: 6, 10  EU ) and links it to an independent soteriology .

The letter interprets the receipt of blessings and the tax as a subordination of Abraham to Melchizedek and thus a subordination of the old covenant to the new covenant. According to the letter, Psalm 110 :EU finds its fulfillment in the priesthood of Jesus Christ for the following reasons:

  • As King of Israel David is an ancestor of Jesus Christ (according to Mt 1,6  EU ), therefore “You are a priest”, although David himself was not a priest.
  • Christ's priesthood is eternal.
  • Melchizedek does not mention ancestors or descendants, neither the beginning of his days nor the end of his life. The royal priesthood of Christ is neither inherited from ancestors nor is it passed on to descendants, for Christ never dies again.
  • The Lord's Supper, instituted by Jesus to commemorate his death and resurrection , is celebrated with bread and wine “according to the order of Melchizedek” (cf. Gen 14.18  EU ).
  • Abraham, who voluntarily subordinates himself to Melchizedek, is considered here to be the embodiment of all the Israelites who descended from him , including the later Levites and their priesthood, which has thus submitted to the eternal priesthood of Christ. From now on there is no longer a priesthood based on descent, since Christ is the only high priest and all Christians have been “priests” since then and thus have direct access to God ( Hebrews 10: 19-22  EU ).

Importance to the Rastafarian

The Rastafari believe that God appeared three times on earth in the form of a human. The first incarnation was in the form of Melchizedek.


Web links

Commons : Melchizedek  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Christfried Böttrich, Miriam von Nordheim-Diehl:  Melchizedek. In: Michaela Bauks, Klaus Koenen, Stefan Alkier (eds.): The scientific biblical dictionary on the Internet (WiBiLex), Stuttgart 2006 ff., Accessed on June 26, 2015.
  2. Karen Engelken: Art. Melchizedek , in: Neues Bibellexikon Volume II H – N, Sp. 754.