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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Hebrews: Chapter 7)

7:1 {This Melchizedek} (houtos ho Melchisedek). The one already mentioned several times with whose priesthood that of Christ is compared and which is older and of a higher type than that of Aaron. See Ge 14:18-20; Ps 110 for the only account of Melchizedek in the Old Testament. It is a daring thing to put Melchizedek above Aaron, but the author does it. Moffatt calls verses 1-3 "a little sermon" on 6:20. It is "for ever" (eis ton ai“na) that he explains. Melchizedek is the only one in his line and stands alone in the record in Genesis. The interpretation is rabbinical in method, but well adapted to Jewish readers. The description is taken verbatim from Genesis except that "who met" (ho sunantˆsas) is here applied to Melchizedek from Ge 14:17 instead of to the King of Sodom. They both met Abraham as a matter of fact. For this verb (first aorist active participle of sunanta“) see Lu 9:37.
{Slaughter} (kopˆs). Old word for cutting (kopt“, to cut)
, here only in N.T. These kings were Amraphel, Arioch, Chedorlaomer, Tidal. Amraphel is usually taken to be Khammurabi.
{Priest of God Most High} (hiereus tou theou tou hupsistou). He is called "priest" and note tou hupsistou applied to God as the Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews did. It is used also of Zeus and the Maccabean priest-kings. The demons apply it to God (Mr 5:7; Lu 8:28).

7:2 {A tenth} (dekatˆn). It was common to offer a tenth of the spoils to the gods. So Abraham recognized Melchizedek as a priest of God.
{Divided} (emerisen). First aorist active of meriz“, from meros (portion), to separate into parts. From this point till near the end of verse 3 (the Son of God) is a long parenthesis with houtos of verse 1 as the subject of menei (abideth) as the Revised Version punctuates it. Philo had made popular the kind of exegesis used here. The author gives in Greek the meaning of the Hebrew words Melchizedek (King of righteousness, cf. 1:8) and Salem (peace).

7:3 {Without father, without mother, without genealogy} (apat“r, amˆt“r, agenealogˆtos). Alliteration like Ro 1:30, the first two old words, the third coined by the author (found nowhere else) and meaning simply "devoid of any genealogy." The argument is that from silence, made much of by Philo, but not to be pressed. The record in Genesis tells nothing of any genealogy. Melchizedek stands alone. He is not to be understood as a miraculous being without birth or death. Melchizedek has been made more mysterious than he is by reading into this interpretation what is not there.
{Made like} (aph“moi“menos). Perfect passive participle of aphomoio“, old verb, to produce a facsimile or copy, only here in N.T. The likeness is in the picture drawn in Genesis, not in the man himself. Such artificial interpretation does not amount to proof, but only serves as a parallel or illustration.
{Unto the Son of God} (t“i hui“i tou theou). Associative instrumental case of huios.
{Abideth a priest} (menei hiereus). According to the record in Genesis, the only one in his line just as Jesus stands alone, but with the difference that Jesus continues priest in fact in heaven. {Continually} (eis to diˆnekes). Old phrase (for the continuity) like eis ton ai“na, in N.T. only in Hebrews (7:3; 10:1,14,21).

7:4 {How great} (pˆlikos). Geometrical magnitude in contrast to arithmetical (posos), here only in N.T., "how distinguished." He received tithes from Abraham (verses 4-6a) and he blessed Abraham (6b-7) and even Levi is included (verses 8-10).
{Out of the chief spoils} (ek t“n akrothini“n). Old word from akros, top, and this, a heap (the top of the pile). {Patriarch} (patriarchˆs). LXX word (patria, tribe, arch“, to rule) transferred to N.T. (Ac 2:29).

7:5 {The priest's office} (tˆn hierateian). LXX and "Koin‚" word from hiereus, in N.T. only here and Lu 1:9.
{To take tithes} (apodekatoin). Present active infinitive (in -oin, not -oun, as the best MSS. give it) of apodekato“ a LXX word (apo, dekato“), to take a tenth from (apo).
{Brethren} (adelphous). Accusative case in apposition with laon (people) unaffected by the explanatory phrase tout' estin (that is). {Though come out} (kaiper exelˆluthotas). Concessive participle (cf. 5:8) with kaiper (perfect active of exerchomai).

7:6 {He whose genealogy is not counted} (ho mˆ genealogoumenos). Articular participle with negative (usual with participles) of the old verb genealoge“ trace ancestry (cf. verse 3) {Hath taken tithes} (dedekat“ken). Perfect active indicative of dekato“, standing on record in Genesis. {Hath blessed} (eulogˆken). Perfect active indicative of euloge“, likewise standing on record. Note the frequent perfect tenses in Hebrews.
{Him that hath the promises} (ton echonta tas epaggelias). Cf. 6:12,13-15 for allusion to the repeated promises to Abraham (Ge 12:3,7; 13:14; 15:5; 17:5; 22:16-18).

7:7 {Dispute} (antilogias). Ablative case with ch“ris. For the word see 6:16. The writer makes a parenthetical generalization and uses the article and neuter adjective (to elasson, the less, hupo tou kreittonos, by the better), a regular Greek idiom.

7:8 {Here} (h“de). In the Levitical system.
{There} (ekei). In the case of Melchizedek.
{Of whom it is witnessed} (marturoumenos). "Being witnessed," present passive participle of marture“ (personal construction, not impersonal).
{That he lives} (hoti zˆi). Present active indicative of za“). The Genesis record tells nothing of his death.

7:9 {So to say} (h“s epos eipein). An old idiom, here only in the N.T., common in Philo, used to limit a startling statement, an infinitive for conceived result with h“s.
{Hath paid tithes} (dedekat“tai). Perfect passive indicative of dekato“, "has been tithed." This could only be true of Levi "so to speak."

7:10 {In the loins of his father} (en tˆi osphui tou patros). Levi was not yet born. The reference is to Abraham, the forefather (patros) of Levi. This is a rabbinical imaginative refinement appealing to Jews.

7:11 {Perfection} (telei“sis). Abstract substantive of teleio“. More the act than the quality or state (teleiotˆs, 6:1). The condition is of the second class, "if there were perfection, etc." The Levitical priesthood failed to give men "a perfectly adequate relation to God" (Moffatt).
{Priesthood} (hierosunˆs). Old word, in N.T. only here, verses 12,24. Cf. hieretia in verse 5. The adjective Leueitikˆ occurs in Philo.
{Received the law} (nenomothetˆtai). Perfect passive indicative of nomothete“, old compound to enact law (nomos, tithˆmi), to furnish with law (as here), only other N.T. example in 8:6.
{What further need was there?} (tis eti chreia;). No copula expressed, but it would normally be ˆn an, not just ˆn: "What need still would there be?" {Another priest} (heteron hierea). Of a different line (heteron), not just one more (allon). Accusative of general reference with the infinitive anistasthai (present middle of anistˆmi intransitive).
{And not to be reckoned} (kai ou legesthai). The negative ou belongs rather to the descriptive clause than just to the infinitive.

7:12 {The priesthood being changed} (metatithemenˆs tˆs hierosunˆs). Genitive absolute with present passive participle of metatithˆmi, old word to transfer (Ga 1:6).
{A change} (metathesis). Old substantive from metatithˆmi. In N.T. only in Heb. (7:12; 11:5; 12:27). God's choice of another kind of priesthood for his Son, left the Levitical line off to one side, forever discounted, passed by "the order of Aaron" (tˆn taxin Aar“n).

7:13 {Belongeth to another tribe} (phulˆs heteras meteschˆken). See 2:14 for metech“, perfect active indicative here. A different (heteras) tribe.
{Hath given attendance at} (proseschˆken). Perfect active indicative (watch perfects in Hebrews, not "for" aorists) of prosech“, old verb, here with either noun (mind) or self (heauton) understood with dative case (t“i thusiastˆri“i, the altar, for which word see Mt 5:23; Lu 1:11).

7:14 {It is evident} (prodˆlon). Old compound adjective (pro, dˆlos), openly manifest to all, in N.T. only here and 1Ti 5:24f.
{Hath sprung} (anatetalken). Perfect active indicative of anatell“, old compound to rise up like the sun (Mt 5:45).

7:15 {Yet more abundantly evident} (perissoteron eti katadˆlon). Only N.T. instance of the old compound adjective katadˆlos thoroughly clear with eti (still) added and the comparative perissoteron (more abundantly) piling Ossa on Pelion like Php 1:23.
{Likeness} (homoiotˆta). See 4:15, only N.T. examples. Cf. the verb in verse 3.
{Ariseth another priest} (anistatai hiereus heteros). As said in verse 11, now assumed in condition of first class.

7:16 {Carnal} (sarkinˆs). "Fleshen" as in 1Co 3:1, not sarkikˆs (fleshlike, 1Co 3:3). The Levitical priests became so merely by birth.
{Of an endless life} (z“ˆs akatalutou). Late compound (alpha privative and verbal adjective from katalu“, to dissolve, as in 2Co 4:1), indissoluble. Jesus as priest lives on forever. He is Life.

7:17 {It is witnessed} (martureitai). Present passive indicative of marture“. The author aptly quotes again Ps 110:4.

7:18 {A disannulling} (athetˆsis). Late word from athete“ (alpha privative and tithˆmi), to set aside (Mr 6:26), in N.T. only here and 9:26. Common in the papyri in a legal sense of making void. Involved in metathesis (change in verse 12). {Foregoing} (proagousˆs). Present active participle of proag“, to go before (1Ti 1:18).
{Because of its weakness} (dia to autˆs asthenes). Neuter abstract adjective with article for quality as in verse 7 with dia and accusative case for reason.
{Unprofitableness} (an“pheles). Old compound (alpha privative and ophelos) useless, and neuter singular like asthenes. In N.T. only here and Tit 3:9.

7:19 {Made nothing perfect} (ouden etelei“sen). Another parenthesis. First aorist active indicative of teleio“. See verse 11. And yet law is necessary.
{A bringing in thereupon} (epeisag“gˆ). An old double compound (epi, additional, eisag“gˆ, bringing in from eisag“). Here only in N.T. Used by Josephus ("Ant". XI. 6, 2) for the introduction of a new wife in place of the repudiated one.
{Of a better hope} (kreittonos elpidos). This better hope (6:18-20) does bring us near to God (eggizomen t“i the“i) as we come close to God's throne through Christ (4:16).

7:20 {Without the taking of an oath} (ch“ris hork“mosias). As in Ps 110:4.

7:21 {Have been made} (eisin gegonotes). Periphrastic perfect active indicative of ginomai (perfect active participle of ginomai) and then eisin. The parenthesis runs from hoi men gar (for they) to eis ton ai“na (for ever, end of verse 21). {But he with an oath} (ho de meta hork“mosias). Positive statement in place of the negative one in verse 20.

7:22 {By so much also} (kata tosouto kai). Correlative demonstrative corresponding to kath' hoson (the relative clause) in verse 20.
{The surety} (egguos). Vulgate "sponsor". Old word, here only in the N.T., adjective (one pledged, betrothed), from egguˆ, a pledge, here used as substantive like egguˆtˆs, one who gives a pledge or guarantee. There may be a play on the word eggiz“ in verse 19. Eggua“ is to give a pledge, eggualiz“, to put a pledge in the hollow of the hand. It is not clear whether the author means that Jesus is God's pledge to man, or man's to God, or both. He is both in fact, as the Mediator (ho mesitˆs, 8:6) between God and man (Son of God and Son of man).

7:23 {Many in number} (pleiones). Comparative predicate adjective, "more than one," in succession, not simultaneously. {Because they are hindered} (dia to k“luesthai). Articular infinitive (present passive) with dia and the accusative case, "because of the being hindered."
{By death} (thanat“i). Instrumental case.
{From continuing} (paramenein). Present active infinitive of the compound (remain beside) as in Php 1:25 and in the ablative case.

7:24 {Because he abideth} (dia to menein auton). Same idiom as in verse 23, "because of the abiding as to him" (accusative of general reference, auton).
{Unchangeable} (aparabaton). Predicate adjective in the accusative (feminine of compound adjective like masculine), late double compound verbal adjective in Plutarch and papyri, from alpha privative and parabain“, valid or inviolate. The same idea in verse 3. God placed Christ in this priesthood and no one else can step into it. See verse 11 for hier“sunˆ.

7:25 {Wherefore} (hothen). Since he alone holds this priesthood.
{To the uttermost} (eis to panteles). Old idiom, in N.T. only here and Lu 13:10. Vulgate renders it "in perpetuum" (temporal idea) or like pantote. This is possible, but the common meaning is completely, utterly.
{Draw near} (proserchomenous). Present middle participle of proserchomai, the verb used in 4:16 which see.
{To make intercession} (eis to entugchanein). Purpose clause with eis and the articular present active infinitive of entugchan“ for which verb see Ro 8:34. "His intercession has red blood in it, unlike Philo's conception" (Moffatt).

7:26 {Became us} (hˆmin eprepen). Imperfect active indicative of prep“ as in 2:10, only there it was applied to God while here to us. "Such" (toioutos) refers to the Melchizedek character of Jesus as high priest and in particular to his power to help and save (2:17f.) as just explained in 7:24f. Moffatt notes that "it is generally misleading to parse a rhapsody" but the adjectives that follow picture in outline the qualities of the high priest needed by us.
{Holy} (hosios). Saintly, pious, as already noted. Cf. Ac 2:24; 13:35.
{Guileless} (akakos). Without malice, innocent. In N.T. only here and Ro 16:18. {Undefiled} (amiantos). Untainted, stainless. In the papyri. Not merely ritual purity (Le 21:10-15), but real ethical cleanness.
{Separated from sinners} (kech“rismenos apo t“n hamart“l“n). Perfect passive participle. Probably referring to Christ's exaltation (9:28).
{Made higher than the heavens} (hupsˆloteros t“n ouran“n genomenos). "Having become higher than the heavens." Ablative case (ouran“n) after the comparative adjective (hupsˆloteros).

7:27 {First} (proteron). Regular adverb for comparison between two, though pr“ton often occurs also (Joh 1:41), with epeita (then) following.
{For the sins} (ton). Only the article in the Greek with repetition of huper or of hamarti“n.
{When he offered up himself} (heauton anenegkas). First aorist active participle of anapher“, to offer up. See same idea in 9:14 where heauton prosˆnegken is used. Old verb for sacrifice to place on the altar (1Pe 2:5,24).

7:28 {After the law} (meta ton nomon). As shown in verses 11-19, and with an oath (Ps 110:4).
{Son} (huion). As in Ps 2:7; Heb 1:2 linked with Ps 110:4.
{Perfected} (tetelei“menon). Perfect passive participle of teleio“. The process (2:10) was now complete. Imperfect and sinful as we are we demand a permanent high priest who is sinless and perfectly equipped by divine appointment and human experience (2:17f.; 5:1-10) to meet our needs, and with the perfect offering of himself as sacrifice.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Hebrews: Chapter 7)

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