But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Whose descent.—Better, whose genealogy (Hebrews 7:3).
Received tithes.—Rather, hath taken tithes of Abraham, and hath blessed him that hath the promises. In Melchizedek we see a man who, though no law gave him pre-eminence, takes tithes of Abraham, and therefore appears in Scripture as holding a position of inherent and acknowledged superiority. This superiority is not dwelt upon, for the same thought will be presented still more strikingly in connection with the blessing (Hebrews 7:8). “Hath taken tithes,” “hath blessed:” here, as in many other passages, the writer refers to facts recorded in Scripture not as belonging to the past, but as they now stand before us in the unchanging and ever present word of God.
And blessed him - Blessed him as a priest of God; blessed him in such a manner as to imply acknowledged superiority; see Hebrews 7:1.
That had the promises - The promise that he should have a numerous posterity; that in him all the nations of the earth should be blessed; see Hebrews 6:12-16.
received—Greek, "hath received tithes."
blessed—Greek, "hath blessed." The perfect tense implies that the significance of the fact endures to the present time.
him that had—"the possessor of the promises," Abraham's peculiar distinction and designation. Paul exalts Abraham in order still more to exalt Melchisedec. When Christ is the subject, the singular "promise" is used. "The promises" in the plural, refer to God's promise of greatness to himself and his seed, and of the possession of Canaan, twice repeated before the blessing of Melchisedec. As the priests, though above the people (Heb 7:7) whom it was their duty to "bless," were yet subordinate to Abraham; and as Abraham was subordinate to Melchisedec, who blessed him, Melchisedec must be much above the Levitical priests.
But he whose descent is not counted from them; he drew not his genealogy from any priests before him, but is greater than those priests, who by genealogy and succession were made such, and set above their brethern by God himself: he being independent, having no progenitor, priest, or successor, is greater than whom he decimateth.
Received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises; he decimated Abraham, the father of the Levitical priests, and by the Most High’s order blessed him, by assuring him of his peace with God, grace continually from him, and multiplying temporal and spiritual blessings to him, according as God promised, Genesis 15:1, &c. And this he did to him, though Abraham was a patriarch, and privileged with promises above any other; yet though God were made over to him in all his fulness, the blessing given him of fatherhood to a numerous nation, even the visible church of God among Israel, as to all believing Gentiles, who had Canaan literally promised to his posterity, and even this Salem, among the rest, of which Melchisedec was king, and the heavenly Canaan to himself; and above all, the promised Messiah to descend from him, in whom himself and all nations were to be blessed; he, so great in promises, is tithed and blessed by a greater Melchisedec.
and blessed him that had the promises; of a Son, and of the Messiah, that should spring from him, in whom all nations should be blessed, and of the land of Canaan, and of the blessings of grace and glory. This shows that Melchizedek had a descent, though it was not known; and that, since his descent was not the same with the Levites, he was a more proper type of Christ, who belonged not to that, but another tribe.But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Hebrews 7:6. Notwithstanding this privileged position of the Levitical priests (Hebrews 7:5), Melchisedec yet occupies a far higher position.
ὁ δέ] is not to be taken alone, as by Böhme, Kuinoel, and Klee, and then to be supplemented by τὴν ἱερατείαν λαβών from Hebrews 7:5; but ὁ δὲ μὴ γενεαλογούμενος ἐξ αὐτῶν belongs together: Melchisedec, on the contrary, without (μή) his family or descent being derived from them, received tithes of Abraham.
ἐξ αὐτῶν] refers neither to the Israelites (Epiph. Haer. 67. 7; Cornelius a Lapide, Braun, Ernesti, Schulz) nor to Levi and Abraham (Grotius), but to the υἱοὶ Λευΐ, Hebrews 7:5.
The parallel clause, καὶ τὸν ἔχοντα τὰς ἐπαγγελίας εὐλόγηκεν] and blessed him who had the promises, serves yet further to make manifest the dignity and exaltedness of Melchisedec. For, by the fact that Abraham had received the divine promises, that his seed should be multiplied, and in him all nations of the earth should be blessed (Genesis 12:2 f., Hebrews 13:14 f.), he had been already most highly favoured of God. How high thus must that man stand, who imparts his blessing to one already so highly favoured, since truly—as is immediately expressly added, Hebrews 7:7—the dispenser of the blessing is ever more exalted than the recipient of the blessing! Oecumenius: ἐξῆρε τὸν Ἀβραάμ, ἵνα πλεῖον ἐξάρῃ τὸν Μελχισεδέκ.Hebrews 7:6. In striking contrast, ὁ δὲ μὴ γενεαλογούμενος … “but he whose genealogy is not counted from them hath taken tithes of Abraham, and blessed [see below] him that hath the promises”. γενεαλογέω is classical Greek, meaning, to trace ancestry, see Herod. ii. 146. ἐξ αὐτῶν, not “from the sons of Israel” (Epiphanius in Bleek), but “from the sons of Levi,” Hebrews 7:5; and who therefore had no claim to tithe appointed by law, and yet tithed Abraham. καὶ τὸν ἔχοντα, in Vulgate “qui habebat”; in Weizsäcker “der die Verheissungen hatte,” not “hat”; so Vaughan correctly, “The possessor of”. “Him who owned the promises.” Cf. Burton, 124 and 126. εὐλόγηκε, on the perfects of this verse and of this Epistle (Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 11:5, etc.), Mr. J. H. Moulton asks, “Has anyone noticed the beautiful parallel in Plato, Apol., 28 c., for the characteristic perfect in Hebrews, describing what stands written in Scripture? ὅσοι ἐν Τροίᾳ τετελευτήκασι (as is written in the Athenian’s ‘Bible’) is exactly like Hebrews 7:6; Hebrews 11:17; Hebrews 11:28” (Expositor, April, 1901, p. 280). Vaughan also says: “The γέγραπται (so to say) quickens the dead, and gives to the praeterite of the history the permanence of a perfect”. Yes; but to translate by the perfect sacrifices English idiom to Greek idiom. See Burton, 82, “When the Perfect Indicative is used of a past event which is by reason of the context necessarily thought of as separated from the moment of speaking by an interval, it is impossible to render it into English adequately”. The point which the writer here brings out is that, although Abraham had the promises, and was therefore himself a fountain of blessing to mankind and the person on whom all succeeding generations depended for blessing, yet Melchizedek blessed him; and as the writer adds:—6. and blessed] Lit., and hath blessed. Second point of superiority. The act is regarded as permanent and still continuous in its effects, in accordance with the writer’s manner of regarding Scripture as a living and present entity.Hebrews 7:6. Ἐξ αὐτῶν) from them, as he was more ancient even than they.—καὶ, and) This verse has two propositions, of which the explanation precedes the first, follows the second: Chiasmus. And at the same time this second point—the superiority of Melchisedec to Abraham—namely, the blessing, is conveniently connected with the former point concerning tithes, because its description is afterwards completed.—τὸν ἔχοντα, who had) This both increases Abraham’s dignity, and intimates that even the posterity, who had been then already promised to Abraham, would yield the superiority to Melchisedec.—τὰς ἐπαγγελίας, the promises) plural. Where Christ is the subject, it is called the promise: promises refer to other things. Already GOD had twice promised to Abraham, Genesis 12:2; Genesis 13:15, before the blessing of Melchisedec.—εὐλόγηκε, blessed) The blessing which the priests pronounced on the people, is also by implication contained in the Protasis concerning the Levitical priests.
Lit. he who is not genealogically derived from them: Melchisedec. The verb N.T.o.
Received tithes of Abraham
Melchisedec, who has no part in the Levitical genealogy, and therefore no legal right to exact tithes, took tithes from the patriarch himself. Hence he was greater than Abraham. The right of the Levitical priest to receive tithes was only a legal right, conferred by special statute, and therefore implied no intrinsic superiority to his brethren; but Melchisedec, though having no legal right, received tithes from Abraham as a voluntary gift, which implied Abraham's recognition of his personal greatness.
And hath blessed him that had the promises
Melchisedec accepted the position accorded to him by Abraham's gift of tithes by bestowing on Abraham his blessing, and Abraham recognized his superiority by accepting his blessing. He who had received the divine promises might have been supposed to be above being blessed by any man. The significance of this acceptance is brought out in the next verse.
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