Melchizedek is a character only mentioned twice in the entire Hebrew Bible and yet he becomes one of the main characters in the Letter to the Hebrews. What was it about this Melchizedek that was so important that he receives such a prominent place in Hebrews’ midrash on the Messiah? In this series we will investigate the passages referring to Melchizedek in the Hebrew Bible and the extra-Biblical references to him in 2nd Temple Jewish literature. We will especially focus upon the Melchizedek Scroll (11Q13) from Qumran which provides important parallels to the Letter to the Hebrews’ usage of Melchizedek. The Melchizedek Scroll depicts Melchizedek as the agent of YHWH who enacts an eschatological Jubilee on the Day of Atonement which is similar to the theme of Hebrews.
For this Melchizedek was king of Salem, priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth of everything. First, by the translation of his name, he is “King of Righteousness”; and then also King of Salem, which is “King of Peace.” Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life but made like a son of God, he remains a priest for all time.